Tag Archives: Perception

The Idea of Perspective FREAKS Me OUT

Ever taken a step back from a situation in which you’re dealing with someone who is clearly irrational and realized that, to them, you are just as clearly irrational?

I have dealt with some twisted people. The people who know that they’re twisted and continue to act that way because they don’t care, I may actually prefer them. While they scare me as people, and make me think about corruption and question humanity, at least I can be assured that we’re somewhat within the same mindset. We both know they’re in the wrong. I just happen to be the only one out of the two of us who has a problem with it.

Then there are the people who truly scare me. These are the people behaving in such twisted and such hateful ways without recognizing anything wrong with what they’re doing. You know that saying, “If you’ve got haters, it’s because you’re doing something right?” I do not like that saying, for this reason. To them, I’m the hater, and they’re doing everything right. I’m the twisted person.

Don’t your parents and peers ever put you into check? Doesn’t anyone ever tell you how Not Okay you are? I always wonder, before realizing that the answer to that must be No. However we all are, we have been fostered to be that way. That means that at either some, or multiple points in our lives, people have been encouraging the way we think, and telling us that our actions are okay.

PPHHFEEEWW! That’s my mind going off in crazy directions as I start to question whether I’ve been raised correctly, and if I have proper judgment. I’d like to think that I do, but I can’t really know anything. It’s pretty arrogant to assume that your perception of the world is correct. Not only arrogant; it’s stupid. We don’t know everything, and a lot of what we’ve been taught has been warped for some other purpose. This is how countries get locked into atrocious wars: excluding their enemies from their moral spheres of concern, with each believing that they are good and just, while the other is bad. We’ve seen Pocahontas, right? Disney’s illustration of the mirror image perception phenomenon was the only thing I didn’t have a problem with in the movie! This is how you get schoolchildren thinking that other people in other countries are evil. You don’t pop out of the womb with your mindset and lifestyle; you learn it.

On a smaller scale, I’m running into more and more people these days who have problems with each other, mainly because each thinks the other is selfish, only caring about themselves, while believing that they themselves are putting in all this effort to care for the selfish one. Does that make sense? Here I am in the middle, seeing how both of them are simultaneously selfish and selfless. Do I tell them, or let them silently stew at each other? And now, are people out there thinking that I’m selfish, when I think that they’re too self-absorbed? I’ve already admitted to being wary of my self-absorption, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve caught all of it. Oh look, here I am making two other people’s problems about me. Hmmm.

It’s just scary knowing that people out there are seeing the world differently, going by different moral compasses, and the only thing I have to guide myself isn’t even entirely under my own control.

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I Don’t Want to Be an Elf

Do you know the story of the elves and the shoemaker? If you don’t, I’ll explain:

There’s a shoemaker who isn’t doing well, mainly because he is terrible at his job and can’t come up with new designs. He has one final order, and if he can’t deliver he’ll lose his business. He stays up all night trying to make decent shoes, but everything comes up terrible. In despair, he throws down his work and goes to bed, knowing he’ll wake up a failure in the morning.
He doesn’t. When he wakes up, there is a pair of spectacular shoes waiting for him. He sells them, pretending they’re his work, and all of a sudden he gets fame and recognition. Recognition for nothing. He keeps leaving the material out, and somehow each night new shoes are made.
Eventually, the shoemaker decides he wants to know what’s going on, so he pretends to go to sleep, but actually spies on his materials. After a while, he sees two little elves come out of his chimney, and he watches them create the most beautiful shoes of all. The next day he sells them, of course, and waits for the process to repeat. Except this time, the elves don’t come. He’s forced to make the shoes himself after that, but with the knowledge he’s picked up from spying on the elves, it’s a lot easier. Also, he’s become so famous that no one even cares about the quality of his goods anymore.

The point of me telling that at all is that I relate very strongly to the elves. I feel like a lot of the work I do goes unrecognized, either because people don’t think to be appreciative of it, or because someone steamrolls me and takes credit for everything I’ve done. Even if they don’t mean to do it, the more dominant personalities stifle my voice, while stealing my already-spoken words.

It sucks. For reasons other than it just being annoying to have your work stolen.
It sucks because when things like this happen, I’m the only one being inconvenienced. If we’re working toward a common interest, putting a project together, or generally trying to help people, the end goal is to accomplish whatever we’re accomplishing for the sake of the accomplishment. Does that make sense? It shouldn’t be about praise for the people working, but about actually doing something and reaching a goal. I’m actually all for team effort without any “I”s. I prefer it. However, when someone from the rest of the team tries to step up and get “I”-Recognition, with my work, I have a problem.
The thing is, I’m usually the only one who recognizes that the person accepting praise doesn’t really deserve it. And what can I do about that? I can’t correct everybody, saying that the person who should really be praised is myself, because I don’t want praise. I want to help people. It would also make me look like an asshole. The only thing worse than a person accepting credit for what’s being done is the person who actually deserves the credit, saying that they deserve it. It’s like George Castanza with his Big Salad situation.


I feel for him, slightly. Correcting the mistake makes everything about you, instead of the people or things you’re trying to help.

I recognize this. It’s the reason I’ll stay silent while inwardly, simultaneously cursing the other person for their thievery, and being disgusted with myself for being insecure enough to be bothered by it in the first place. Oh, my beautiful, painful head!

I don’t want this to happen any more. I don’t want to be an elf that people can walk over. And yet, because I actually care about what I’m doing, I don’t know how not to be.

To the Old Man in Rite Aid who Told Me To Smile

Dear Man,

First of all, I’m sorry for calling you old, only because that makes it seem as if you were some dirty old man, which you weren’t. I’d like to think that you had the kindest intentions when you came up to me, but the fact remains that you were older than my father, and you really shouldn’t have walked up at all. This is the only apology you will receive from me.

It used to be that when I went out alone, I would put on the meanest face possible, just so people wouldn’t talk to me. Then I got sucked into the world of retail, where you have to look somewhat approachable at all times, and most of the meanness melted away out of habit. When you caught me on line at Rite Aid that day, I wasn’t thinking about my face at all, because I was caught up in trying to separate my thoughts. One thought floated out from the rest: it’s good that I’m around strangers, because I don’t care about these people, and I don’t have to worry about what they’ll think if I absentmindedly start acting unhappy.
It was at this moment that I noticed your slow approach. I figured you would pass by me, and then when you opened your mouth, I got ready to tell you that Yes, the line formed behind me.

“Smile,” you said. (What? I thought)
It was the first time this had happened to me. How do you like that, Man? You were my first. I’d heard about the Stop Telling Women to Smile campaign, and taken part in enough discussions about the liberties men take on the street to make me never want to walk outside again, but this was my first “smile”. It wasn’t until you actually told me to rearrange my face in a way that would be more pleasing to you, that it really hit me how outrageous that command is.
“You’re too beautiful to look unhappy,” you informed me. (What? I thought, and then a confusion of Who’s, How’s, and Why’s)
That was just, there was so much to go off of that one comment. First of all, I was aware of the fact that you believed you had complimented me. Of course! You called me beautiful. Unsolicited, in line at a Rite Aid, where I was minding my own business, you came over and let me know that you found me attractive, and this was obviously supposed to make my day. Never mind the fact that you just twisted your “compliment” into a way to completely invalidate my feelings.
Where do people get the idea that attractive people must be happy? Does no one realize how wrong that is, or are we all too shallow? I remember reading an article about a girl who was bullied so much that she jumped off of a bridge. The article showed a picture of a smiling, blonde, and yes, attractive, young woman. What did people comment about? Not about how awful bullying is, or how there need to be more supportive groups to prevent suicide, or anything that could have led in any way to some type of resolution. Almost all of the comments were along the lines of “She was so beautiful. Why did she have to die?” or, “This is so sad. She was so pretty.” Would it have been any less sad if she hadn’t been attractive? Her beauty didn’t keep the bullies away. I wonder if she tried to tell people about her problems, but was waved off because she was “too beautiful to be unhappy”?
I was also simultaneously aware that if I didn’t say thank you or appear pleased and gracious in some way, I would seem rude. That’s what society instills into girls. “Don’t ask for it, and don’t encourage anyone, but if you don’t take everything guys yell at you with a smile and a thank you, and if you don’t acquiesce to whatever they want, you’re a rude bitch!” There was no winning, and I didn’t feel like being particularly polite, so I smiled warmly into your eyes and simply said, “Ohhh..” Man, did you even recognize that as my pathetic attempt at shutting you down?
“It could be worse. You could be dating me.”
Apparently, you’d missed my rudeness. You were suggesting that I would ever be in a situation in which we were dating.
I don’t like absolutes, and I’m not judging girls who get involved with men five times their age, but that is not my style. This comment was so ridiculous, if I could have processed it entirely, I probably would have laughed. Or not.
I was already realizing that Not Only were you injecting unsolicited opinions into my life, Not Only were you de-legitimizing my feelings, but now you were Also making the assumption that any emotional turmoil in my life will have to do with whomever I date. It’s not like I could have complex issues going on that don’t involve my vagina. I was just a pretty face to you, and ornaments don’t have real feelings.

********************
I was crying in the hallway, a couple weeks after Edward had jumped in front of his train. My friend was comforting me. By all appearances, we were skipping class, and before long a security guard came up to us.

“What’s wrong?” he asked. I was fine ignoring him, but she seemed uncomfortable with the situation.
“Is it boy trouble?” he prodded.
That made me look up. He honestly thought that I would skip class to cry in the hallway about a boy? He genuinely believed that my life was so shallow, so predictably teenager-ish that that was the situation at hand? Offense made me almost forget the reason we were out in the first place.

No” I spat at him, with all the contempt I had the energy to muster. He looked extremely taken aback.

**********************

“My name’s ____” you said with a laugh, and I was grateful, because I really didn’t know how to respond to your previous comment.
“Nice to meet you,” I quietly lied, knowing that I would not give you any name in return.
“You have a nice day,” you said.
“Thanks, you too,” I responded, as the cashier was finally ready for me. Asshole.
The worst part is that I know you didn’t have malicious intentions. You genuinely thought that what you were saying to me was okay. I’m sure that there are people who will say that I overreacted to the situation, even though outwardly I simply let it happen. The thing is, I know that my feelings are valid. I find it so stupid that guys can do or say pretty much whatever they want to girls, and if the girls let their offense be known the guys turn around and say that the girls are wrong. How can you really stand there and believe that what you said wasn’t offensive, if multiple people are offended? Are you really so wrapped up in male privilege that self-reflection doesn’t exist in your world? I guess so. And is it really so wrong for females not to fall over in appreciation of your attention? Apparently, because now I feel guilty, and sorry for you, that I called you a name in my head.

Whatever, though. You may not be an bad person in real life, but that was a bad move.