Monday, March 15, 2010

Just Who Do You Think I am?

I ask that (even though I am not really asking) because everyone has a different opinion about us. No surprise there, I know. It's when these viewpoints are become shitty ones, or not linked to the reality of we you are, that they get interesting.

Take for example an opinion one of my aunt's has had for a while now. On the average of about once a quarter, she loves to blurt out, "Oh, you're so bossy!" It has never been said in reaction to anything I have done, but yet I can tell in the way she expresses herself about it that she entirely believes what she is saying. That is her reality.

This particular opinion is deemed shitty by me because I do not want to be considered bossy. As a matter of fact, I am tempted to come to my own Anti-Stalin defense by pointing out that she is the only person who has ever said this, and by telling you a bajillion stories of my being the very opposite of bossy (like the time my hair stylist was burning my scalp with the blow dryer and I winced through it instead of speaking up because I considered anything else to be telling her how to do her job, which would be bossy). However, the point of this post is not for you to outclick convinced I am not bossy.

So what is my point then, right?

Well here's the jam man: once I stopped being defensive about what she thought, that is to say, I dropped the knee jerk reaction to label her opinion as "shitty", it got interesting.

With defenses down one time, I asked her why she thought I was bossy. And then I waited. She told me I was bossy because all Italian women are. All of them.

So okay, some aunt who sees you on holidays stereo-stamped you bossy in context perhaps with her Italian experiences. Not a far fetched thing, right? I mean, how well could she know you over a bustling table of food and conversation twice a year?

Well actually, I sort of anticipated she would know me a little bit better. You see, she raised me for several years when I was a teenager. I see her nowadays on a weekly basis. So it is actually a total curiousity to me that she doesn't know me all that well at all.

It also reminds me that she is not alone.

I had been hanging out with one of my guy friends regularly for at least a year when he made a comment that revealed he thought I was college educated. He just assumed it he said. Really? We have been hanging out all this time, talking about everything under the sun and you just filled in the blanks like that? I didn't take offense, I found it fascinating in a way that he had just sketched in whatever went along with his evolving image of who I am for him.

There's a lot of other examples I could provide you, but who cares?

The truth is what you make it. Your truth is what you believe. That's the interesting, hilarious, shitty, fascinating, terrifying reality folks.

And you probably knew that, but I am still learning.

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