Thursday, November 21, 2013

Honestly, Who Really Cares?

As children, we are programmed to always think about what we allow people to see of us. We must be mindful that we are always on our best behavior when we are out in public. We do not want to give people the wrong idea of who we are. As women, we were encouraged to “act like a lady” (whatever that meant). As men, they were encouraged to be strong, be a man (uh huh, sure). But then, as adults, we are encouraged to live our lives. Enjoy it to the fullest, with no regrets. To make the most of the time that we are given and never take it for granted. And to say what we mean, and mean what we say. But, we cannot help but to revert back to our upbringing & think about our behavior and how we would like people to perceive us.

I can recall back to my undergrad experience when during a workshop held by the Office of Career Services, we were told to always be on our “P’s & Q’s” for we may never know who may come to campus looking for the next best thing. Or, again, be sure to act like a lady, we do not want to make a bad name for ourselves. After hearing all of that, I began to wonder, who am I doing this much work for & why?

The other night, as I sat in my living room after a long day’s work, I began to revisit conversations with my friends regarding the amount of effort we put into “altering” ourselves just to make a good impression. We would constantly debate on whether or not it was conforming just to make other people happy. Of course, no one really seen it the way I did, which for me confirmed that I would have to conform my thoughts just to be heard. But often times, I would be encouraged to try to “soften” my personality for some people to get to know me. Or I would be asked to “smile” just so I would give the impression that I was approachable. And after all of this I would ask, why?

Another conversation that I revisited pertained to a request that I received from a colleague who wanted to know why (1) she could not find me on Facebook and (2) why we were not friends on Facebook. Now, I had a few reasons that I wanted to share with her as to why she could not find me on Facebook & why we were not friends, but I refrained from doing so because I wanted to be sure that I made a good impression ( :-D ). But after all of that, I simply stated that I choose to keep my personal life separate from my professional and for me, Facebook is personal. In a society where everything we say, do, think, and feel is put under a microscope, where will we be able to be ourselves?

And after all of this thinking, over analyzing multiple conversations, I began to ask myself, do people really care what my thoughts are? How I am feeling? Or whether or not we are friends on a social media site? If we really think about it, do we really care how someone is feeling? That they do not like pizza today? That their dog just ran away? Or that they are no longer friends with the person that they went to Junior High School with? Does it really bother us if people are overtly honest? Are we really that sensitive to someone sharing their thoughts on critical social issues? Are we that controlling that even a simple blog post can cause so much uproar that the site removes it because it was the honest truth?

As a human being, I can say, I really do not care. I would love to think that I live in a society, a world where everyone is honest regardless of how it may make someone else feel at the end of the conversation. But hey, I live in this society, where we smile and say we are doing fine when in actuality we are mourning the loss of a close family member or the fact that we lost our job.

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