I can't believe how well I crack myself up. I know I say this a lot, but I truly do make myself laugh, probably more than anyone else in my life. I am a ridiculous person and I love myself.
I didn't intend on writing a blog today, but I think that was a good transition for a topic I've been wanting to rant about for a while but keep forgetting to:
Everyone I know has had a horrible misconception about me. My first impression is not a good one, I get it. The thing that grates on every last nerve of my being is that when people begin to hang out with me, talk with me, etc, they always always always always ALWAYS tell me how they thought I was some combination of the following: bitch, mean, mad, upset, angry, rude, or surly. Mostly, people say my first impression is being a bitch.
I think it is a consequence of having a healthy (maybe too healthy...) self esteem. I think I am awesome and I don't want to have masses of people flocking me to hang out. I'm a busy person and there are people I don't want to convey my awesomeness to because they are irritating. I'm not interested in having irritating people in my life. So, I put up this wall of indifference so that people interested can take a step and say something to me and I will respond. I am very open with people and it kills me that people say I seem like a bitch.
Well, read my memoir. I think that will explain it.
Sticks and Stones and All That
“Mom.” I smiled to ease the impact my verbal blow would cause and placed my hand on her forearm. “It looks like you have a mullet.”
Believe it or not, this is a marked improvement of my tactfulness. A few years ago, I would not have even tried to comfort her with a smile or gesture and I probably would have said something much more snarky. When I was in high school, my mom asserted herself against me and told me in no uncertain terms that with my rude, disrespectful, and malicious attitude, it was a wonder I had any friends. She told me the only saving grace was my wit.
“Just because people don’t know you’re being a bitch at first doesn’t make it ok,” she added. Hearing my mom call me a word generally reserved for the lowest of women, or recently, women who like bling and booty calls, made me reevaluate how I spoke to others.
My mother is not the only sensitive person in my life, and often times I have to monitor myself to accommodate people’s sensitivities I do not even know about in order to keep my job at the writing Center. To someone who is insecure in his or her writing, I need to be a source of encouragement, not berate the misuse of commas and abuse of the word “and”. It is much more difficult for me to stop my instincts when they are screaming to tell people that if they cannot say a portion of their paragraph in one breath, they need to consider adding some form of punctuation! Instead, I must gently remind them that if they find themselves writing “and” more than twice in one sentence, they need to use a period or semicolon.
I think having a high opinion of myself to begin with may have contributed to my struggle in monitoring my blunt delivery. I have always believed myself to be funny, witty, charming, and intellectual enough to allow myself the freedom to say what I want in any way I prefer to say it. After all, if people did not like what I had to say, they would leave me alone and I appreciate irritating people who do not linger in my life.
Given that I have a history of speaking my mind and not getting in trouble for it added fuel to the forge where I manufacture double-edged swords. Not only could I attack someone with a sharp, offensive comment but I could disguise it as something funny that made my victim have to think about what I had said in order to understand the sting they felt.
I was my own weapon and I loved myself for it.
When my mom blazed at me for the first time in my life, I soon realized the importance of having a network of people I could share a mutual, healthy respect with. It is a struggle for me to bite my tongue, turn the other cheek, let something slide, and cross a bridge when I am itching to let an unsuspecting person tremble at the thought of asking the Data Analysis professor to explain cross multiplication when I need help understanding integers or whatever I was supposed to be learning, and I was not graceful when I detailed exactly how that girl should try something wild and keep her mouth shut. Being nice to people I do not know does not come easily to me, but every smile, every moment of eye contact, is a conscious effort at my attempt to be an open, friendly, and considerate person. Just don’t tell my mom.