The Lawyer Whose Mouth Never Moves
By Winnie Kyomuhendo
I was about 11 years old when I decided that I wanted to and would become a lawyer. My young mind pictured a confident female wearing fashionable suits and formal dresses with high heels, tossing legal jargon all over the place and making a lot of money. I was convinced that the legal profession had been created especially for me and that I would grow up to take my rightful God-ordained place in the profession.
I felt certain that everyone around me (especially the adults) would be pleased to hear about my grand plans for my future, and would cheer me on to my throne at the helm of the legal profession. I remember telling one of my aunts about my dreams, certain that she would cheer me on. Her response (in typical Ugandan English):
“You! You who says only two words per year! You also want to be a lawyer?! But your mouth never moves!”
Friends, that was the moment I realized that I had a difficult journey ahead of me! My aunt’s remark brought me tumbling back down to earth and nearly crashed my little heart. Throughout my childhood, I do not remember anyone telling me that I could be a good lawyer on account of my introversion. Comments such as “you don’t know how to argue” or “you’re too quiet to talk in court” became commonplace. I suffered a lot of discouragement until I resolved to ignore the comments. Even after I had started working as a lawyer, I still often caught myself questioning my abilities and whether my character was well suited to my profession.
I have grown to understand myself better and I now know for a fact that the legal profession is not a reserve of the talkative types. Introverts come with their own special set of gifts that can add value to any profession. If you are an introvert and you doubt whether you have any gifts, you only have to think about those things that people keep commending you on. Think really hard and you will be amazed to find that you have so much to offer. All the people in your life that value you have good reasons for doing so. It is not accidental that they keep on choosing you.
As I brag to myself about how amazing I am with my “two words per year” (they have since increased to ten or so words😊), I am also conscious that I need to keep improving myself and let my light shine in the way that my maker intended.