Monday, February 21, 2011

Embracing the invisible...

Lately, one of the *in* things has been to "embrace imperfection", and I am all for that. You know that old adage "Nobody's perfect"? Well, it was coined for a reason. Reason is, it's 100% true. We live in stressful times right now. Many people are dealing with lives that are not what they planned. Perhaps it makes folks feel better to practice this *in* thing.

However. (Here's where the invisible part comes in.) There has to be some visible imperfection to embrace. I'm not gonna say never, but you usually can't embrace something that you don't really think exists. I bring this up because in real life and online I see a surprising amount of this, and not only is it just a facade or coverup, I also think the people trying to appear to embrace something they don't want to admit exists leaves, shall we say, their naked arsses hanging out for everyone else to see...everyone but them, apparently. Or maybe that's the joke, I dunno. I don't see the humor in doing that.

I'm in a private online chat group that formed a couple years ago as a bit of a rebellion against the attitude that was beginning to prevail about the time that the book "The Secret" caught fire. Nowadays, it is generally known this book is a veritable pile of b.s. for the most part. But the themes of positive thinking and retaining a positive aura were of course mined to the point of overkill and distortion, and suddenly diversity of opinion was the black sheep of the online family. Our online group is not a gossip nasty nook. Au contraire. Mentioning names, links, relationships, and obvious facts are forboden. We bring up more general thematic trends to notice and beware of. And the other day, the invisible imperfection embrace was the subject of a very long convo.

A convo that brought up instances of people ignoring others who asked something they didn't want to answer, instead of using good manners to explain they prefer not to answer, for example. Apparently, there's some folks out there who would just rather completely blow you off if you do anything they think is contaminating their positive aura with anything negative.

A few in my group actually think that kind of behavior borders on supertitious. I'm more in the category that sees it as a little rude, selfish, weak-willed, along those lines. I think back to the generation who made Zig Ziglar a household name, and before him, Dale Carnegie of "How to Win Friends and Influence People" fame. I think both of these men would be turning over in their graves to see how little their landmark strategies are avoided today. I mean, my memory of reading Carnegie is fuzzy, but I know for damn sure that he never advised to just walk away or to chastise with expulsion or to not respond when someone reaches out to you, no matter what they say.

Oh, Great Spirit, cast out all those with negative thoughts from my life! Nope, pretty sure he never would have signed off on that one.

So my group got me thinking. At first, I thought, man what a trivial gripe! Then, I began to see that there were some people that I knew, in my real life and online, who suffer from this. For me it was kinda like when you realize that someone you know and think is condescending as hell is actually terribly insecure and in pain and is covering up. And when I say suffering, I really do think they are. Because it's remarkably freeing and delicious to be imperfect and to be perfectly fine with it. Maybe even proud of it, a little, but just okay with it is the picture of good emotional health. I think.

I really try to give a lot of latitude to others online, so it took me a little while to realize that I do not enjoy what they were talking about...and then I thought about what I do enjoy.

You see, I love reading bloggers who write about their boys' buggers, their daughters' catfights and tantrums, their marital spats, their stupid behaviors, all the real and tangible problems of life. I love hearing about it all from my irl friends even more. This to me screams authentic life, real people.

"Always put your best foot forward" was the literal thing to do no matter what back in a time when knowing these truths about you could result in your spouse losing his job or not getting the better one, or your kid being excluded. Or prove you were a bad mother. Nowadays, it might subject you to a little idle long as Child Protective Services cannot be involved, that is.

True, there are still some jobs that require you to appear to be upstanding, but there's also never been a time more understanding of imperfection. And I'm not saying it's okay to take on Snookie as a mentor for good behavior. Not at all. It's just that I lament and feel for those folks who try so hard to only show a perfect family and life picture, because it's transparently showing a cancerous mass of insecurity and self-doubt. And ulcer-inducing stress. Cuz that's a lot of needless burden to carry. And it distances you from others much more than it ever unites.

I admit that I really haven't analyzed it much deeper than that. Instead, my head took me down a back side road of this topic, to thinking about bloggers I love, who need to express themselves no matter what (and more than a photo or a phrase) and blog the occasional long post about their problems or feelings. I don't always know what to say, and I hardly ever comment at all because of my fingers, but they usually have my heart.

Then I think of the couple of bloggers I read who are trying so hard to keep that perfect veneer up that I know hardly anything about them other than what they carefully have chosen for me to know, and I realize that it keeps them from having my heart, even though they may need it just as much or more.

And the longer they hold that veneer up, the more likely I am to just walk away. Even when I don't want to. I hesitate to go where I am not wanted. Even if that is not what they want deep down, it is the message they send. I know well that I've done the same things myself before, even when I didn't mean to or want to. Tis the nature of life, I suppose.

I guess I just prefer, identify more and group with *real* people, warts and all. Among them, I'm not the only smiling face with a wart or two on it. :-) xoxo