-->

22 July, 2008

Do you really want to know what people think of you?

Location: the space outside yourself
Mood: guarded

When I was younger, maybe in high school, I always used to wonder what people thought of me. I imagined such scenarios as being able to see a printed list of everyone's impression of me. Or of being in the room, invisible, and listening to people discuss. Or of dying, and then wondering what people would say in the aftermath. That desire to know about this hung with me for a long time. When I got to be older, maybe 30 or so, I started to realize that the impression that I thought I was giving was probably not incredibly similar to that which I am actually giving. This was a result of some observations that people made to me, unsolicited. I heard things like "intense", "confrontational", "argumentative", "defensive", "intimidating". Granted, those are some of the negatives, and I am sure there were plenty of positives as well. But especially the fact that many of these centered around intensity was something that I had not fully realized at an early enough point in my life. I guess it is because I am living inside my own mind, the level of "intensity" is all relative. When I have a thought, I want to express it. When I have a question, I want to ask it. When I have a complaint, I tend to voice it. To me, anything else would seem illogical. But apparently, this is not the way the average person sees it.

I wonder sometimes if this is because, at age 30, I moved from Boston to Seattle. The East Coast confrontational attitude may have been considered the norm, but arriving here, it was suddenly uncomfortable for people. I remember being told to chill out, or relax, early in graduate school, by friends who are from the Northwest. Now that I think about it, I guess that is probably a big part of it. And that is interesting. In a way, we are defined not just by who we are, but by who we are in the context of our surroundings. I did not necessarily change, but the impression I create did change because of the expectations of people in my life. I guess I knew a lot more people who behave like I do back in Boston. But on the contrary, I know many more people who think similarly to me out here.

I guess I just can't win.

1 comment:

  1. "When I have a thought, I want to express it. When I have a question, I want to ask it. When I have a complaint, I tend to voice it. To me, anything else would seem illogical. But apparently, this is not the way the average person sees it."

    This is the way things should be. Anything else is illogical. And average people are stupid. :)

    ReplyDelete