Seated next to me from Chicago to New York was Aliza. As soon as I entered the row she introduced herself, then questioned me rapidly: “What’s your name?”, “Are you married?”, “How old are you?”
Throughout our delayed flight, she shared her anxiety about whether her caregiver would wait for her at LaGuardia; would I help her get to baggage claim (of course); could I help her get her bag out of overhead storage (yes); whether her phone would have enough battery power to call her caregiver (I offered mine); that she misses her family in Chicago; that she hates living in New York.
Aliza is twenty-four and has some disorder that makes it hard for her to get through the world alone. She also says what’s on her mind. I found that refreshing and inspiring.
Aliza was free, fresh and unashamed. The time I spent with her makes me recognize there’s plenty to say that goes unsaid because it’s not so comfortable to speak about. For some, they are feelings of affection, which is particularly tragic. For others, anxiety, because we want to be strong. For me, it’s disagreement with a proposed course or idea, because I don’t want to offend the proposer.
There have to be filters between the brain and the mouth, otherwise we’d all be friendless and jobless.
Still, because we work in a business that relies so heavily on strong relationships, I suggest the community could be a little stronger, maybe more successful, if we speak our minds more often.
Thank you, Aliza, for raising my awareness and reminding me to more often say what’s on my mind.