Friday, January 20, 2006

don't speak

I didn't mean to start a controversy with the last post. For those of you who thought I was being snobby, I wasn't, I promise...and I also wasn't trying to garner synthetic sympathy or pats on the back. I was just stating some observations that I've made over the last few years since graduation.

This is a hard line to walk...between honesty and self-deprication and lying to protect other people's feelings. If I was completely honest all the time, I would say some really mean things and that's just not my style...but I want to be true to myself and I have to believe that that balance exists.

Maybe the trick is to learn how to keep your mouth shut? I've never been very good at that. In fact, when I got to the MTC and they hit me with the "Quiet Dignity" Lecture, I thought I had to leave. It didn't used to be part of my character. Instead of cultivating quiet, I learned how to back pedal. To play both sides of the board as Matt pointed out to me. Is it possible to learn how to be honest? To be excited about your life and proud of who you are without being boastful? To be perceptive and opinionated about the world around us without expressing it in a hurtful way? Is it possible to NOT care what other people think, but still be intuitive and helpful?


Sara McOllie said...

I think we are all born being honest and we then put up bstacles to that honesty, such as kindness, fear, anger, etc. After time we may lose sight of our honest self. But I think we can learn to recognize when we are placing those obstacles in the way and through that process learn to be honest again.

Sara McOllie said...

why can't the comment section have spell check? Or does it, and I just don't know?

Tamara said...

I have no idea if that balance is possible, NB. I certainly have never found a way to figure it out. I'm not nearly as sassy as I used to be, and I'm not nearly as down on myself as I have been. But I'm far from having the balanced beauty you describe.
I mean, really... I think I'm the only person I know who's positive blog comments and compliments in the classroom can somehow stir up a personal offense in someone. What can I say? It's a gift...
If anyone has suggestions how to cultivate skills NB has described, please post!

Kirsten J said...

"This is a hard line to walk...between honesty and self-deprication and lying to protect other people's feelings."

This, my friend, is the big challenge in blogs--as you and I have agreed for some time now.

Outside of blogs, you talking about what you were wasn't a sneaky vehicle to get some brags in under the guise of something else. You had a very interesting point.

Yeah, I went to a teeny junior college and met some of the most brilliant people I know, and now I'm at a university (not an ivy league but still somewhere you'd expect to see something somewhat impressive) and I have met some of the biggest dolts here. So in each and every case, there are numerous examples of what Adam said, and he's right...

But here's my thing on the "well that's not necessarily true because I knew this one guy who..." thing. There's the exception and then there's the rule. The rule is the most common and most likely outcome, the thing that's probably true. The exception is that phenomenon that leaves hundreds of broken-hearted emulators in its wake.

While it's wise not to make assumptions on someone's intellect/work ethic based solely upon what school they went to and stuff like that, it's certainly not a weak point when you do.

My favorite exception/rule situation: teen moms who actually stay with/marry their knocker-uppers, get educations, and live happily together as marriage counselors who teach their kids pithy life lessons over big oak farm tables every night. While that's great and we all enjoy the Hallmark Movies they make about stuff like that, there are about one of those for every million teen preg cases...and any pregnant teenage girl who looks to the exception--not the rule--for her decision on what to do, is being a moron. There are several cases where the rule is more helpful than its teensy glimmer of an exception.

Obviously, this is SO not the same as looking at academic credentials and disregarding what it likely took someone to earn them. Teen pregnancy is a life changing event. Evaluating your intelligence or work ethic as measured by what your diploma says has a much wider margin of error. Fortunately in your case, you're razor sharp. You're the reason people assume East Coast schools must be for super-humans. You're the one perpetuating the stereotype!!! :)

Adam said...

Welcome to my world NB. Quite often I'll have nothing to say because: a. people will not believe it, or b. people think I'm bragging about myself. It's dark side of being double-awesome that you don't see on the E! specials about me.

All of this will be much better when I'm supreme commander of humanity. Then I'll say whatever is on my mind, and people will know that it's true because "Hey, he's the supreme commander!"

Of course, it will still be a problem for the rest of you guys. I don't know how to help you there. I guess you could be in my entourage.