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.