You coulda fooled me!

31 01 2011

I need to preface this post by saying I don’t 100% agree with the sentiment expressed within.  I do, however like the way I expressed it and think there’s some food for thought here.  It’s easy to be hyper-sensitive at times and perceive things that are not actually taking place.

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“He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool.”
— Brigham Young

Tonight I went to a dance.  It was weird, but I was there.  It was a dance in downtown SLC at a Masonic lodge put on by some people who throw parties and dances for single people over the age of thirty five.  So I went with a friend for something to do, to hang out, dance a little, mingle, munch on some snacks, say hi to some friends and call it a night.

It was good for the most part, but I do have one big complaint.  And I hate to complain.  I used to like to complain a lot.  I used to have a good old time blogging and criticizing people, complaining about all sorts of crazy and unimportant things I found irritating in my life.  That was back when I was basically miserable inside; happy on the outside but tormented on the inside.  Now I’m what you see is what you get.

So I wandered down to the area where all the people I know are dancing and they’re laughing, having a good time and dancing.  Now, the deal here is that all the guys want the women to like them and they’re all trying to impress all the women.  And all the women want to look good enough to be accepted by the other women and to be liked by all the guys.  So there’s this dynamic going on of human mating rituals, showing off, trying to impress each other and all sorts of one-upsmanship and I’m just there to hang out.  I could give two shits about impressing anyone or making a love connection.

what's your perspective?These are people I know, I’ve associated with in the past; not people I’d put on my Christmas list or to whose funerals I would be invited, but they are people I’ve shared the social spotlight with and we have common friends.  When I go to these dances I don’t get all excited and immediately run out on the dance floor and start cutting a groove to China.  I like to stand back for a while, watch everyone, see who is around, watch what’s happening, have some snacks, meet a person or two and then maybe dance a little bit.  I think because I approach it this way that some people think I’m being a snob or anti-social.  It’s not that at all; I just like to soak things in.  I’m different from most people and I don’t feel like I have to jump into the fray to avoid missing some critical moment in social evolution.  OK, that was a snobbish comment; maybe I should take it back.  It doesn’t apply to everyone but I know it applies to some.

When I finally got down to the group I started dancing with my friend and I said hello to a few of the people there from across the room; talked to one or two of them a little bit.  There were some casual hellos given with a little courteous wave of the hand but it was mostly insincere, formal gesturing.

When the whole shebang was through the house lights came up and all the glad handing and hugging commenced and people started saying their goodbyes.  This is where it was really apparent that I was not part of the pack.  Eye contact was avoided with me by people I’ve had lengthy intimate conversations with in the past and except for a few of them who are genuinely cool people, nobody had any time or interest in my being there.  I only bring this up because I know why it happened like this.  It’s because of my past; because I spent some time in jail and that I have a reputation for associating with more rough-around-the-edges sorts of crowds.  In short, it’s a result of the choices I’ve made in the past.

Now, it does bother me on some level but I really want to say it doesn’t bother me at all, and tomorrow it isn’t going to bother me one bit and I’m going to feel like I shouldn’t have made this blog post at all; but like I said in the preface, I think there’s some food for thought in here.

Truly, it doesn’t really bother me other than just on the surface.  I mean I could take them or leave them, except that they’re my brothers and sisters and I do care for them and love them, but they’re just people, regular people who have regular lives.  They come and go; they’re not a critical part of my life.

But this sort of thing has never happened to me before although I have witnessed it happening to others in this very same circle.  I have seen people come and go from this social circle because they become offended and feel ostracized by the indifference of others.

I like to talk to people.  I like to say hello to strangers and make conversation with people I don’t know.  I like to make someone I don’t know laugh and try to make an impression on them to help them feel like there’s somebody out there who found them interesting enough to give their attention to.  That’s what uplifting our brothers and sisters is about.  And it’s not about doing it just to get it done, it’s about being sincerely interested in another person.

This sort of snubbing I see going on with people of this age only happens in Utah and in the LDS social circles.  It’s sad but true.  I certainly hate to be critical of my people; and they are my people because of my ancestry, my culture and the group I primarily identify myself with.

The core of our religious beliefs is Jesus Christ and love, compassion and service.  The purpose of our very lives is to help up build the kingdom of God on the earth and welcome all of our brothers and sisters into the fold; especially those who have been lost and wandering; not to shun them because they have habits or tendencies toward things that go against the teachings of our gospel.  Because to be completely honest, all of us are guilty of that very thing.  If that were not true none of us would need repentance.  It’s just that many people have bad habits that are easy to hide, that don’t outwardly offend others or make others out-rightly uncomfortable.

don't do it!Say there’s one guy who shows up reeking of cigarette smoke, wearing a Headbanger’s Ball t-shirt and another guy shows up who has just spent the past three hours watching hard-core pornography in the privacy of his own home.  How easy is it to pass judgment in a case like that?  The outward appearance is important, but the truth is more important.

Sometimes I wonder if the feeling is that if they associate with me they will somehow be categorized by their peers as being sympathetic to whatever behavior or experience in my past opposes their values.  I have a checkered past and it surely rubs some people the wrong way.  And there are others who look right past it and know me as the person I am; not for the light that shines on me but for the light that shines from me.

Often times, people close themselves off and huddle together in their social groups like Jr. High School kids.  I know they don’t do this on purpose and I know they have bigger hearts than I’m making it sound like, but their actions certainly mean something.  I know they do good things and give service, are good parents, good friends and good, honest citizens.  I tried to socialize with them, I tried to be a part of the crowd, tried to be friendly, tried to open up but there’s something going on, something about me that threatens or otherwise makes them feel uneasy.

Somebody is going to read this blog post and word is going to spread and then they’ll know how I feel, then they will feel justified in ignoring me because they can point to the attitude expressed in this blog post and say it’s because of my own behavior I feel this way.  But I didn’t feel this way until tonight.

Look up!So I got this off my chest, it’s just a rant and it’s probably an overblown misunderstanding but the essence of what I’m saying is surely going to resonate with some people who understand exactly where I’m coming from.  Then there will be the defensive group who won’t have a clue what I’m talking about and think I’m just being a jerk.  Then there might be a couple who are exceptions, who were actually very cool to me and who don’t belong as part of this rant, but who mistakenly think I still mean them too.

You can’t make everyone happy all of the time.  There’s no use in trying, so I just tell the truth, call it like I see it, speak my mind, say what I’m feeling and let the cards fall where they may.  This makes some people uncomfortable but I live life with a clean conscious knowing that I’m honest and truthful.  People don’t have to guess what I’m thinking or wonder how I feel.  Despite all of this ranting, I have nothing against any of these good people and I admire all of them in many different ways.

It’s just unfortunate that some of them feel uncomfortable.  Is it my fault or is it their problem? I don’t know.  I don’t think it really matters anyway.  I think what matters is that the future holds good things and that everything is going to be just fine and that I have no reason to bitch about anything.

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3 responses

31 01 2011
Lance Blas

WORD!

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31 01 2011
calmerthanyouare

Well said!

Like

31 01 2011
Little Lebowoski

Dude… Jesus hung with the sinners. Not the saints. Paul was Saul. Alma the Younger probably partied harder than any rock star. Judge not lest ye be judged blah blah blah.

Project love and it’ll come back, brah. Maybe not in what is perceived as an uncomfortable moment with the wussy who doesn’t dare make eye contact. But maybe the wussy will dwell on the encounter at some point and find strength there.

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