One day my co-worker told me they watched people. And yes, they were quite perceptive but when you get down to it you can never understand a person completely.
I remember sitting in the car with my father and mother one day, driving past the drug store on the way home, they were arguing, and my father spat out, “You can’t know exactly what I’m going to do!” to which my mother replied, “Yes I can! Because you’re so predictable and I know you!” That has always stuck with me. My father fighting for his last rights of freedom: his mind, his thoughts, his actions. He was very passionate that day in the car.
I don’t watch people, like my co-worker does, I listen. They notice if there is a stray hair clinging wistfully to someone’s sweater or if there is something on their face but I hear people’s contradictions, their tone of voice, and the disingenuous phrases that pass their lips all too frequently. People want to hide their insecurities and meanness; the things that make them ugly.
This bothers me. Mostly because I am an open book, easy to read, and I feel better saying, “Yeah, I’m anxious to do X, Y, and Z but I’m going to do it anyways because I have to.” How else are you going to grow? Why hide your insecurities and doubts when someone else is or has worked to overcome the same obstacle you face?
Lately I’ve been listening to my co-worker. Have you ever met one of those people who after every sentence that could be slighting to someone they say, “Just kidding!”? After listening to that a thousand times a day the expression loses its meaning and I no longer believe that my co-worker is ‘kidding’. It’s more like they accidentally let the truth slip out and now they’ve got to back pedal and cover up their ugliness.
It pisses me off but I also want to tell them, “it is okay to be human and say stupid shit…it’s not ideal in the very social world we live in but at least you’re being genuine.” I can’t stand fake people.
I had a friend once who did not hold back her honest thoughts and opinions; she was authentic. Two times during our friendship she gave me her honest to God opinion of my life situation and both times it hurt me, deeply. You know why it hurt so much? Because I already knew what she was saying was true and I didn’t want to believe it.
The truth ain’t always pretty.