Saturday, June 4, 2011

Just Visiting

I don't know how important it is to have an actual membership and actually take advantage of the privilege that's attached to a membership. I'm very aware that to qualify to enter the business class waiting lounge one must purchase a ticket. I know that for every place with or without membership, there's always a "doorkeeper" who guards against people who supposedly "don't belong." We've heard the slogan, "membership has its privilege," and for the most part people buy into it. I myself buy into it. Let's face it, there are places out there where being a member is something I'd rather not be.

I maybe dating myself, but there used to be a brand name for jackets called Members Only. It was an earlier thin bomber style jacket with this special sort of extra straps on the shoulder. Now for those who were able to afford such a brand name jacket, they were enjoying a social "membership status" within the community. In my case, that community was junior high school elite. In those days, there were different imitators of that style of jackets. Compass Point was one of the other imitation brands. Now the hierarchy in school was for those who wore the actual MO jackets. If you had a CP jacket, that was acceptable as long as 1) you were considered by the elite as "cute," 2) you wore other brand name attire with logos of a triangle, a polo player, or alligator.

Unfortunately, I only possessed a Compass Point jacket.

I was not considered a "member" in junior high. It was challenging when other friends of yours were benefiting from "membership privileges," and then there's the strain of dealing with them as well as them dealing with you. So at an early age, I learned the PERCEIVED dynamics of "membership," "membership privileges," "door keeper," "belonging," and "not belonging."

Noticed I said "PERCEIVED?"

The perception of "members only" (not the brand name) is artificially constructed by humanity. Ever talk to some "guru" or someone considered "spiritual?" They always talk about being a "member of the human race." And people react as if they heard it for the first time. As corny as it sounds, there is SOME truth to what they are saying. The point they attempted to make was that "membership" is artificially created. Do we really need a membership to drink water, eat food, find love? No we don't. However we create organizations and things with membership requirements that leaves us with the impression that without membership, we may not be able to eat, drink, and love.

For the first time in my life, I attended a Toastmasters meeting. All this time in the public eye and my pursuit of personal growth, I never attended a Toastmasters meeting. I looked at the site in advance to get the information on the date, location, and agenda. I came to the meeting with the mindset that I'm there as a "visiting guest" as oppose to a "member." I left as a "guest." What surprised me was that even as a "visiting guest," (non-member) there were privileges attached. It was the first time I came upon a situation that even not having membership "has its privileges." I had barely sat down for 30 seconds when the forum person invited the "guest" to present a "table" speech in front of the group. The premise of the table speech is to speak for 2-3 minutes after grabbing an item from the bag. I grabbed scotch tape. I talked about "sticking together" as a community. Not bad for something on the fly. At the conclusion of the meeting, I received the "Table Award." I was dumbfounded because I was "not a member" of the group. I did not feel worthy of the honor because I was "not a member." The head of the meeting insisted that it didn't matter, and until I decide to become a member, I was more than welcomed to attend their meetings as a guest.

If only junior high were as opened as Toastmasters...

No comments:

Post a Comment