Sunday, September 23, 2012

I act like an a** sometimes, Part One

A few of you may be asking, "Sometimes?" I deserve that. While I know I can't please everyone all the time (or however that saying goes), I sure do seem to make people annoyed with me more often than I should. It's not that I intend to or anything, but there are times where I come off much harsher than I intended. I have to wonder if some of that comes from the fact that I'm generally good-natured and don't have a temper, which has the result of causing a complaint or strong opinion from me seem anger-filled or just plain mean. It would be easy to place all the blame on those people's interpretations or thin skin, but then that takes away any ownership on my part. And to be frank, at least some of this seems like a problem I should be working on, not them.

A few years ago there were quite a few people who told me I needed to be more free with my emotions. They said I was too neutral, too nice, too accepting. I can't count how many times I heard the phrase, Stand for something or you'll fall for anything during that time. I was labeled (to my face by some but behind my back by many more) as a pushover, a doormat, or worse. Again, to be frank, they were right. It was while in the belly of those years that I let my marriage slip through my hands, forgot who I was, and lost my edge. They were sad years. 

After Ell left me, I decided those years of darkness were over for me. I decided to start being true to myself and my desires, to be honest, and to be real. In that bold step, I also had to come to terms with the fact that my honest feelings weren't always going to be agreed with or accepted. After all, opinions are what they are or they wouldn't be opinions. That might mean a heated exchange, harsh words directed at me, or actual arguments. But for once, I had to face those to really be who I really was. 

To my surprise, instead of people liking me for finally being myself, I was challenged and disagreed with to the point of losing friends. The odd part to understand was that these honesty-of-life changes and firm opinions of mine were not earth shaking or drastic. There were no declarations of idol worship, warrants for my arrest, cocaine binges, or changes in my belief systems. I didn't start performing bad at my job, take up with the wrong crowd, become an alcoholic, or blow my money on fast cars and faster women. None of that. But taking one side over the other in a disagreement between friends caused me to be labeled an ass. Admitting I was becoming a beer snob caused me to be labeled an ass. Defending myself when I was being mistreated caused me to be labeled an ass. When Sam allowed his emotions to show, all of a sudden he was an ass. When Sam was proving a point, all of a sudden he was an ass. And here's the real fun one, when Sam was asked for his opinion and then gave it, all of a sudden he was an ass. 

Please, please, please hear me when I say this: none of the scenarios I just mentioned are merely my impressions or happened in my head. On the contrary, those are actual situations where in the end I heard the words, "Sam, you're an ass!" Let me revisit the first paragraph by saying this: there is no way for me to be completely impartial so there is no way for me to write about anything else but my impressions. And my impression was that --at least for some of the people in those situations-- they liked me better when I was the friendly wallflower who never ventured too far into a discussion as to make waves. Again, just my impression, but it happened way too often to not be at least a little part of the truth. 

The writing of this post has not gone the way I set out for it, so I'll make this a multi part posting event. At some point I want to expose a not-so-proud moment and apologize, but I think I have some more soapboxing to do and some soul bearing. I think this is going to be one of those sessions where I should probably be under the care of a professional whilst laying on a couch. 


Blogger Kimmy said...

I tend to be very non-confrontational, "too nice" and rarely stand up for myself like I should...but the moments when I actually do? It always, always blows up in my face. And, people wonder why I don't stand up for myself, and why I keep things to myself!

Good post. Off to read parts 2 and 3!

10:05 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Why is that do you think?

Many would call me opinionated here on ELEVEN, but written word is much different than in person (the whole hide behind the Internet thing), and in person I can surely have my soapbox moments, but in a face-to-face argument I'm not usually vocal. And then there's the occasion to speak my mind and it's, whoa Sam, ease up there. Do some people just have a pass to be in-your-face and we don't? Where does that come from?

In person, Rob and my Dad (the two that come to mind) are/were as unswerving in their opinions as anyone and I never once felt like they were being jerks. What is built into people like them that never causes anyone to be annoyed or angry at them for speaking their minds but when we do it we're labeled, "stubborn" or, "harsh" or worse? It's confusing to say the least.

7:13 AM  
Blogger Kimmy said...

I agree, it's confusing and very frustrating. When I do speak my mind, it takes a lot for me to do so, and so it's quite deflating when someone comes against me for it.

I think that because we are usually so easygoing, people expect that, and it's like we aren't aloud to be anything but that. It's frustrating because I know so many vocal and opinionated people who can get away with saying virtually whatever they want, but I have to maintain my agreeable nature or else.


6:30 PM  

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