"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Honesty

Facebook drives me completely crazy. Yes, it has been invaluable for staying in touch with certain friends and family, re-connecting with people from the past, and sharing information with like-minded peers (all of which are why I continue to go) But my list of reasons it bugs the ever-loving *^#@ out of me is lengthy.

One thing that frustrates me is that it's all too easy to become a facade of yourself. People can present whatever they want to present - whether it's true or not - and leave the rest at home. It's smoke and mirrors and posturing and showing off... not unlike a high school dance or a night out at the bar (or the club or wherever it is that people who go out go)

I have no interest in being anyone other than who I am, whether it's on Facebook or in "real life." Take me or leave me, I am authentically me. I don't know how to be anyone else, nor do I have the desire - or time or energy - to try. I'd like to think that what you see on Facebook is very much what you'd see in person, if real life was in fact doled out in little status-sized snippets. I found it really interesting then, when I came across something called the Truth Game. I don't play it, as those time-sucking little games are another of my Facebook pet peeves, but a quick perusal proved to be very enlightening. Basically, your friends can answer yes/no questions about what they perceive to be true about you... about everything from your dancing ability to your religious beliefs to everything in between. Every so often I get a notice that someone answered a question about me, and I can go see what the question was, and how they answered. Since I don't play I can't "unlock" my answers to see who said what, but I kind of like that it's anonymous. A lot of my friends' answers are in fact spot-on, but many are not.

In the interest of full disclosure, here are a few that people got right and a few they got wrong.

I was happy - and amused - to see that people correctly guessed that I brush my teeth regularly, have never used steroids, don't swear like a sailor (at least out loud), and don't need to "come out of the closet." It's also nice to know that no one thinks I'm materialistic, and that people find me to be a good friend.

No one who answered thought I'd ever failed a test - Wrong. I have failed a test. Several in fact. Usually in something related to math, but occasionally in science, and probably a time or two in history. I was on honor roll more often than not when I was in school, but if I was bored or distracted or tired or lovesick or apathetic... I didn't much care about passing tests. The report card comment that plagued me my entire school career was "Not working up to full potential", and I earned it. School bored me. I'm so thankful that I'm an adult now and can learn how and when and why I want. And no one ever tells me I don't work up to my full potential anymore.

Similarly to above, no one thought I'd ever failed a class. To be totally honest, this may be true, but I do remember one semester in my senior year when my apathy towards school was high, I'd already gotten into college, and I let my grades dip, dip, dip, with no sense of shame. It was a very a bad semester for French if I recall (which is ironic, since I love learning foreign languages now) but I don't remember if I actually failed. And in college, I came VERY close to failing Statistics, a class that filled me with such dread I could break into a cold sweat right now just thinking about it. I did okay in the beginning, and then suddenly it got hard. I got a 23, yes out of 100, on my second test. I didn't want it to bring down my GPA, as I was finally taking lots of writing and English classes which I loved - and did very well in - so I decided to take it pass/fail. I did end up passing the course, but b a r e l y. I still have nightmares about it.

Everyone also answered that they thought I was religious. To be fair, I have never liked the word "religious," even back when I was, by most people's definition, religious. It sounds too controlled to me. Too regimented. Too bound by the rules. It makes me think of conflicts and wars. It makes me think of someone who would preach, and someone who would judge others. Surely there are people out there who consider themselves religious who do not do those things, but for whatever reason, the word has always had a negative connotation in my mind. Yes, I have a strong belief and faith in God. But I'm far more inclined to consider myself "spiritual" rather than religious. Far more likely to focus on the relationship and not the rules. I value, and even embrace, different beliefs, and would never judge another's religion or lack thereof. I don't consider myself religious, but clearly I present myself as something that others see as religious. Is it just a matter of semantics? Perhaps, but I don't think so.

Finally, and by far the most puzzling to me, was the question "Do you think this person has ever done anything they're ashamed of?" EVERYONE answered no. Really? Of course I've done things I'm ashamed of! Is there anyone who hasn't? I'm ashamed that I stole a toy from preschool, even though I knew it was wrong, and I'm ashamed that I lied to my mother about it. I'm ashamed of the way I messed with the mind of the very sweet kid who had a crush on me in Jr High. I'm ashamed of the way I handled a situation with a not-very-nice person a couple of years ago, and I'm ashamed of the way I continue to handle it. I'm ashamed every time I have a less-than-stellar parenting moment. And I'm ashamed of a whole bunch of stuff in between.

We wouldn't be human if we didn't have some bad days, and we wouldn't be human if we didn't make some bad decisions. I'm not ashamed of who I am... I'm me, and I like me. But I'm human.

And I'm still thinking about that Statistics class.





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