Saturday, November 05, 2016

Love It or Hate It...

Every Friday night, Margot Potter hosts, "The Lady Party".  (Even though I'm a man, I've been graciously invited to join in on the fun and as a feminist, I enjoy Margot's message and what she aims to do.)  The Lady Party usually takes the form of a Live Stream event on Margot's Facebook page and she talks about all different topics relating to being a woman, aging, kindness, and self-acceptance.  She tackles all the varying aspects of life as seen through her particular sparkly lens.  She recently started a blog to supplement the Live Stream events with essays and more in-depth content.  CLICK HERE to visit her new blog.

Last night's Lady Party included a two-part question for her audience... "what do you hate about yourself and what do you love about yourself"?

My response was that I have "diarrhea of the mouth".  It's something that my mom used to say about me and it's such a vivid and graphic description, that it has always stuck in my mind.  It's also a very apt description.  It's not that what I say is poop, but that sometimes I have a hard time of holding back and the words... errrhhhh.... flow freely and with great force.  It is something that I love and hate about myself.

For a most of my life, I've been marginalized and pushed aside.  Whether it was my mixed race, my sexuality, or my age... there was always someone trying to discredit me and tell me not to talk out of turn.  When I was young, I grew up in a household where my parents were both raised with the mottos that, "children should be seen and not heard" and "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say it at all" and "don't speak unless you're spoken to".  While certainly there are virtues to all these old sayings and there are merits to learning manners, they also perpetuate a culture of silence.  We were taught from so very early on that our voices were not to be valued as beautiful and unique, but that they were sources of trouble.  And I got in trouble a lot.  I always questioned authority and got in trouble for talking back.  I guess this started when there were things that happened where I was forced to be quiet and called a liar and a troublemaker.  That little boy lives in my memories and is a reminder of the dangers of silence.

Later in life, there were always other people who tried to suppress my voice.  I was always shocked by how there were so many people able to do bad things, because no one wanted to say anything.  Over the years, I've met several individuals who repeatedly mistreated others, threatened people, stole ideas, damaged businesses, and manipulated people... but got away with it because no one wanted to name them.  I discovered that this was called, "professionalism".  You didn't rock the boat.  You didn't name names.  If you accused someone openly, you became Enemy Number One.  If you had problems, you were told to keep it behind closed doors or that it needed to be swept under the rug.  Often times these guilty culprits got away with wrongdoings on more than one occasion, because they would browbeat others into submission and silence.  They used that silence as a shield to protect them and their misdeeds.  Fortunately for them, we are a culture of silence and raised on sayings that reinforce the idea of maintaining the semblance of peace at any cost.  Unfortunately for the rest of us, that need for maintaining the status quo allows great horrors to take place and we are shown by example how it will continue.

When we were asked what we love and what we hate about ourselves, my mouth is what came to mind first.

I love that I am willing to speak up for what I feel is right.  If I've determined that what I have to say is honest and true, I'll shout it from the rooftops.  It gets me in trouble sometimes.  I've lost friends.  I've lost business.  I've lost credibility in some people's eyes.  Once from behind the curtain at a trade show I overheard someone say, "Be careful what you say around him, because he'll repeat it."  It's not that I'm not trustworthy or can't keep a secret or that I'm an insufferable gossip, it's that if you say or do something wrong, I believe you should be held accountable for it.  I hold myself to this standard.  I would never say or do anything that I would not stand behind.  Sure... there are some things that are private and I'm not going to openly go into graphic details about them, but if I were compelled by a good enough reason and if the relevancy of those detail were crucial, of course I would tell them.

What I hate about this is that it isn't easy.  It ruffles feathers and can stir things up.  There's part of me that seeks tranquility and peacefulness and sometimes when you speak your mind, it's anything but peaceful or tranquil.  I also hate that because of my mouth, sometimes those around me are hurt.  I am more than willing to accept the consequences of my actions, but I feel bad that sometimes those consequences are felt by others as well.  I'm lucky though that I am surrounded by people who know and understand me and trust that if I charge into battle, I don't do so frivolously or without thought.  I'm lucky to have people around me that trust me to be honest, genuine, and that I'll always fight for what I think is right and good.  If I see something, I'll say something.

In the end, love it or hate it, it is all a part of me.  They are all aspects of the same being and while I may have conflicting feelings about it, I've come to know peace by accepting that they are intrinsic to my nature.  I can try to fight it, or I can try to acknowledge it and move forward, knowing what I know and trying to lessen the aspects that give me grief or anxiety – for all things are can be both blessings and curses, and it takes us and our good judgement to decide which it'll be.


Ann Schroeder said...

I love this post because a lot of this is me too. It's hard not to be straightforward. But it certainly can get us in trouble of sorts. I'd still rather be who I am.

Margot Potter said...

I love this and you! The Lady Party is all inclusive, and it's always more fun when you're there. Keep speaking your truth, we are listening. Love, Madge