The dear and beloved Kvetch has this post up today about keeping quiet. It made my ears perk up, because this is a subject I have been thinking about lately myself.
I am a keeper-quieter, mostly. (There are people right now who are laughing at that statement, given how many protests I have marched in and how many city council meetings I have spoken before. I guess I have to clarify: I tend to keep quiet in personal relationships).
I hate to hurt people, to call them on their bullshit, or to cause controversy. I would rather just let people walk on me than to confront them about anything.
I remember a while ago on one of MTV's Real-something shows, the cast was all f***ed up, so they had some kind of intervention that included trust exercises and bonding moments, all facilitated by a scary-cheerful woman. One of the exercises was that they all, as a group, had to pretend they were dying, except one person, whom they conveyed their most important messages to. And they had to select that person by telling everyone else "You die," and only one person "You live."
The facilitator said that when we withold our truth from people, we are telling them "You die."
At first I thought this was BS, a buncha new-agey hoo-hah. But it stuck with me for some reason. I guess the reason is that it is really true.
When we hide our true selves from the people who are important to us, we are saying "You don't get all of me. You only get the edited version. I don't think you deserve or can handle the real me." And we kill of a little of our relationship with them.
Believe me, I am the Queen of the Edited Version. I think if people in one part of my life described me to people in another, the two groups wouldn't think they were talking about the same person.
I am forever getting gifts that are totally generic or inappropriate and I know why. It is because I show so little of myself to so many people that they have no idea who I am, what I want, or what makes me happy. I spend all my time trying to not offend them, to make them not worry about me, or to make them happy, that they never get to know me.
I'm getting better as I get older and wiser. For instance, at BlogHer I was pretty much in line with the person I feel like I am inside.
There are other places where I still have a hard time, like with my parents. I hide so much from them because I feel like they can't handle the truth. I want to protect them from the full brunt of Tropical Storm Suebob. I hate worrying them.
I used to work with this fabulous woman, Amy. She was her true self, all the time. Take it or leave it. She said whatever the hell popped into her head. She had people who couldn't stand her because of it, but I was one of her true fans. I looked at her like an amazing statue or a bird with fabulous plumage - magnificent creation!
That's what I want to grow up to be like. My own true self. I think that's the best I can hope for.
Update from the Being Who You Are Front: Our grocery store got remodeled and one of the new "features" is security cameras with monitors hanging above every third aisle. So who am I? I am the kind of person who hears a good song on the PA system, sees herself on a security monitor, and starts to dance.
The great part is that people from adjacent aisles can see the monitor, but by the time they come around the corner to peek at the freak, I have already gone back to looking like I am seriously inspecting the dental floss. Good fun.
Please stop by Linkateria today. The last video is especially marvelous.