Monday, May 6, 2013

Public Hearing

There’s a line that exists somewhere between acceptable public discourse and “hiding your crazy.”

There’s a point at which you’re sharing too much.

A boundary that can be crossed.

Apparently, I’m not so good with boundaries.

And that’s just one of the things I’ve heard - repeatedly - through the years.

But you know, it’s usually right after I’ve been brought in on something, have had some trouble or crisis disclosed to me, and then after hearing the same statements or rehashed ideas over and over again ~ whether in any particular conversation or over the course of good-grief-will-this-Ever-get-better ~ when I state my opinion or I ask my questions or I share what I honest-to-goodness believe and intend to be encouragement that I’m told I’ve crossed a line.

I also hear that I carry on a bit.  Thought I’d make an example with that previous sentence.

I hear that I’m too often thinking of what I want to say rather than listening. Thought I’d highlight that here with my use of I.

I also hear - repeatedly - that I’m abrasive.  And that, friends, is my favorite.

Gentle and quiet.*
Sweetly listening.

This is what I’m supposed to be, right?

Yeah, I don’t know.

And probably one of the coldest implications I hear is that I will never change.

Yeah, I don’t know.

Not that I was an exactly gentle and quiet child but I don’t think I used my words back then.  Not for most of my life, in fact.  Not properly, at least.  Certainly not the way I wanted to.  (Though, I can see that I didn’t actually know for most of my life how it was that I wanted to use my words.)

I’ve changed in that way.

I have, in fact, tried to change into the quiet, gentle listener but it always winds up looking as if I’m sitting on eggshells.  And then I’m accused of “treating someone like a child.”

There’s another accusation that doesn’t trouble me because I know the truth and this is that I do my best to be truthful.  I try to share my own experience of life without unfairly exposing the lives of others.  I try to share in a manner that displays the manners taught to me.  I try to hide my crazy.

But maybe I am, in fact, still on the wrong side of the line.  Maybe I’m still not using my words properly.

So here.  This is not self-deprecation but for the public hearing:

I am sometimes abrasive, sometimes curt, sometimes critical.
I am sometimes long-winded, sometimes crazy-acting.
I am often thinking of what I want to say next.
I am often thinking of how your story relates to mine and how mine relates to yours.
I am probably never going to be the keep-my-mouth-shut-if-I’ve-been-sought type.
I am usually thinking about how many of us are dealing with private struggles.
I am almost always thinking about how much better the world would be if we could all just stop being so critical of one another.
I am including myself in “we.”
I am doing the best I can.
I am not really always doing the best I can.
But I want to be.
And that’s the truth.

Is that really so crazy?

*“Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.  For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves.”
1 Peter 3:4-5
I hated to take a verse out of context.  I tried to expand this passage into the message but it became what it became.  I believe that much of 1 Peter 3 is relevant to the message of this post.

1 comment:

Bob said...

Kudos, Amanda. I wish I'd written this first.

And for the record, I value you just as you are. Be at peace with yourself. You're doing just fine.