Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Methodical matters

I keep a lot of things to myself.

The reasons I do are as numbered as the stars in the sky and these days I find myself hesitant to say this or do that.  I get so preoccupied, wrapped around my internal dialogue, questioning the purpose and trying to anticipate the outcome...time ticks away on the clock and soon I realize the moment has passed--whatever point I wanted to make is no longer relevant.  Through my own resistance I have squelched my own opportunity.  It's an ability...a talent...at which I excel.

I've been struck lately by change.  A shift in my own character.  For the better or the worse is undecided.  Perhaps time will tell.

But there was a time when I did not feel so compelled to measure every word, if I had something to say, I said it.  I burned with a desire for knowledge and discovery.  Continuous improvement was my personal mantra and interaction was the key.  Always respectful of differences and mindful of opinions, I found it easy to flow into almost any dialogue, overjoyed with content and instantaneously touched by the fresh air of gentle breezes that rushed as doors and windows opened in my mind.  Fueled by an instinctive need to grow and reach new heights of understanding I said what I felt, had my peace and was content with just the expression of the words; I was free to interact. It was enough for me and I moved on.

Now, I feel stuck.

Sunk knee deep in mire oozing with discontent so thick I don't want to move for fear I will lose my balance. It's a precarious hold I have on myself.  How did I get here?  What happened?  Something is wrong.

That's just it.  It's that word.  Wrong.

I know I wasn't always right all those years ago, and if someone said I was wrong, the words often bounced right off me.  I was learning, expanding, growing and reaching.  I knew being wrong could teach me what is right.  But now, being wrong, or being told I'm wrong, petrifies me..............................................................................................................................................into silence.

For someone who thrives on communication it feels like a death sentence.

Sometimes I think too much emphasis has been placed on two words, politically correct.  Where did that come from anyway?  Was it really necessary to label common decency and courtesy and sense with, of all things, the word political?  Political?  What in the world does political have to do with these nuances anyway?  From it's very inception, in every suggestion of what is politically correct I have read or heard, some part of me always wanted to scream out  It's called social conscience, moral compass, empathy, and cultural awareness.  Minding your manners.  In my mind, putting together the words politically correct created one more oxymoron and, yet another joke.

I believe the values, morals and beliefs instilled in my character from my life experiences are more meaningful and socially relevant now, than ever before.  I don't believe being politically correct has accomplished anything positive; on the contrary I get the sense it has pulled society apart, rather than drawing us together.  Years ago I felt free to speak my mind; guided by an innate understanding of what is right and wrong, I knew certain words or expressions were offensive to others.  For those words I had no use.  I knew to avoid them.  Period.

Sometimes I wonder if being politically correct places too much emphasis on preserving the individual at the expense of the community.

My mother always warned me to use my words with care, for the meaning of words can easily be misconstrued by another, and good intentions can be twisted into something else.  Even now writing these words I sense my intent may be lost, hastily misconstrued into some unbalanced diatribe for the amusement of another; the essence of my feelings filtered into something else--something they are not.

I've been told I am very articulate and yet I feel dumb.  I am an open-minded person and yet I feel so closed.  The quest for growth that ignited improvement seems burned out, the flame sputtering, as if from a lack of oxygen.

Twenty years ago I heard Dixie Carter's character on a television show say something that struck adeep chord in me, so much so that I felt the words were actually Dixie Carter's own, written into the script.  She said "The purpose of etiquette is to put people at ease, not make them feel uncomfortable or socially lower than others."  Proper etiquette puts us all on the same level and allows civility to flourish.  And to breathe.

I need to breathe.  I want to breathe.  Maybe I should throw caution to the wind.

Fresh air cannot circulate where obstructions block the flow.  There are doors and windows to be opened, again.

 

Be who you are and say what you feel,
for those who matter do not mind,
and those who mind do not matter.
--Dr. Suess

8 comments:

cdittric77 said...

I know how you feel - I think the cautious nature we have all taken to not offend has hampered our ability to even speak measured criticism.

We have swung the pendulum too far so that measured criticism and open debate is no longer appreciated.

That makes it hard for us to say anything, even if it is to criticize ourselves.

Charley
http://journals.aol.com/CDittric77/Courage

randlprysock said...

So very eloquent and well put but allows me to breathe.  I love this entry.  Part of it describes me too and I feel like I can relate.  
Lisa

http://journals.aol.com/randlprysock/AdventuresFromFlorida/  

nhd106 said...

Hi,
It's so easy to say "I can relate", but the truth is that I can.  All those conflicts can be consuming...as it seems to be doing to you as well.
One thing that I noticed upon reading this entry is that you write "I don't want to move for fear I will lose my balance".   Oh, my new friend, it appears to me that you are not feeling very balanced at this very moment.   Your feeling "out of balance" is possibly what's making  you seek...seek so desperately that it hurts.   Sometimes we just need to be still and see what happens.  Fear is immobilizing...yet maybe a change will help bring balance BACK.  Wait...breathe...and let it happen.
(I hope that you trust that my words are just my opinion and not meant to hurt...never.)

Nancy

djohn52 said...

That entry is so real. Now add shyness and a soft voice to it!  You can never say anthing, and when you do someone else drowns you out!

I've known people that have a thought and instantly out their mouth it came.  No door inbetween their brain and tongue. I've been blessed in that God gave me a door! But somewhere along the line the hinges rusted.  It is so hard to open that door when I do want to say something. I wait until it's quiet so I can be heard, then I wait a second too long and it won't come out.  So frustrating!

I totally agree with you about the politically correct thing.  It is mostly UNcommon sense and reverse descrimination.  Here's one for Dr. Suess!!!!! Salute!

Take Care!

Darlene
http://journals.aol.com/djohn52/AgeingGracefullyWithAllTheHelpIC/

queenb8261 said...

Why note open the door and a few windows?
Barb

shayshaydc said...

It's funny how things can change in your life!! They have mine just over the past year!!! For the good or for the bad... who knows!!!! I love the Dr. Suess quote!!! Well said!!! http://journals.aol.com/shayshaydc/Golfaholic
Sharon:)

karebear4x4 said...

as i have learned it through my spiritual journey, there is nothing "wrong" ever   for Life is   we are each individuals in our expressions free (as we choose to be) to Be & express ourselves however we feel   it is not your responsibility on how others react to whatever you have to say   allow them their own reactions   allow yourself to be spontaneous and free   yes i feel there are better ways to get the same point across sometimes, but to always watch my words is enslaving   we need our spirits to be free   i am a free spirit   just being myself, i am lost in my uniqueness as you can be as well   Be a free spirit my friend, the true self you are!~kbear

stupidsheetguy said...

I think in our quest to become as one our need for "diversity" was detoured into divisiveness. No one has benefited from our obsession to be Politically Correct, because I often find that the more truthful the statement, the more heated the backlash is. The truth often hurts, and we may not like to hear it, but the fact remains that the truth is the truth.

For a great mind to be silenced in deference to political correctness, well, that's the bigger travesty, in my opinion.


Jimmy