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Shades of Grey

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I had a conversation with a friend recently which got me thinking and actually caused a little self-examination. The topic was meeting people and finding out later about those pesky important details that wind up derailing a relationship. My girlfriend is having a lot of difficulty sustaining a relationship with the guys she is meeting. After the initial fun and excitement of meeting, at some point their true colors emerge and unfortunately they are not colors she is attracted to. My guy friend said that people should be honest and upfront, in theory laying your crazy cards on the table from “jump street” so you don’t have to become interested in someone who you are just going to be disappointed by later anyway.


So I got to thinking about this topic. We are now fully submerged in this world where it easier than ever to misrepresent or pretend, (the internet). People are regularly using graphics from other sites, a hot actor’s picture, or borrowing models pictures as their social networking representation of themselves. It is a crazy place to visit and if your self-esteem is at issue, you can feel saggy, baggy, and fat in a hot second after looking at all the women in their size 0, implanted, airbrushed glory. You wonder why you can’t have some of those gorgeous hunks of manhood who show their beautifully sculpted and well oiled ab’s or their incredibly hot well you get the idea.


We all know there are rotten people in the world, there are people who purposely try to hide who they are or mask certain characteristics and attitudes. They absolutely portray themselves as someone they are not when meeting people. In the end these are the easy people to dismiss because no matter how good they are, if you are on your game, you will start seeing through them. 


I’m more interested in the everyday person. How many of us actually think they are representing themselves honestly? How many of us deny those characteristics of ourselves that we don’t like so much? How many of us try to represent the person we are trying to be?


I always considered myself to be a good person. I believe that I have a good head on my shoulders, have common sense, and a sense of humor. I listen well and actually offer good advice (don’t take it but good at offering it). I don’t intentionally hurt people and am very non-confrontational. I am pretty laid back, and try to be sensitive to other people’s feelings. I have tried for a long time now not to judge people because I try to live by “unless I am in that position, I really don’t know what I would do” mantra. 


In the last year or so, I have a sneaking suspicion that if you asked others about who I am, they may have some additions or modifications to my list. I have a sneaking suspicion that I would have a few modifications or additions to the list as well. 


For a long time I was more spectator than participant in my own life. There is a safety in staying in the shadows, a cop out for sure but much less turbulent. For a long while, this strategy allowed me to not have to question things, not have to really think about things, or examine myself too deeply because I was not really living my life. The repercussions are more internal that way, not sure if that makes you a martyr or idiot but ignoring felt safer. 


Life has a way of introducing new experiences whether you are prepared to deal with them or not. Each new experience comes with its own set of challenges. I am finally figuring out who I am, what I feel, what I believe deep down. Some of the things I always believed I have started questioning. I have had to deal with the fact that maybe I am a person who actually possesses characteristics that I never thought did. Sometimes self discovery is a bitch.


I hear most often about our dislike of liars and cheaters. Seems logical, if you are going to take time to get to know someone, you are going to take a pass on someone who tells you from the beginning that they are a liar and cheater.


Here is the issue I see, how many of us aren’t liars and cheaters? People separate lying and cheating into categories, to make them selves feel better. I can say with absolute certainty that we are all liars, we can paint it or wrap it in ribbon but we all lie. We lie to save peoples feelings, we lie about stupid little things, some lie about big things but in the end we have all done it and probably do it more often than we even realize. So if we lie and say we did it to spare someone’s feelings or it was a little white lie, then you are not really a liar but if you blatantly tell lies, you purposely withhold information, than you are the kind of liar that is no good? Do we all get to draw our own lines?


I’m going out on a limb here and will say that I am also pretty sure that most of us cheat or have cheated. We cheat at games, cards, maybe on a test in school, maybe a little on a tax return. I think that it is possible that more people lie than cheat but as members of the human race, its probably safe to assume it’s happened. Again we find ourselves up against that invisible line determining when you are not a cheater and when you are. So, cheating about unimportant things (obviously up for individual interpretation) exempts you from ‘cheater’ status but if you cheat on a significant other, or if you cheat people out of money, then you are characterized as a cheater?


With lines getting fuzzier, with black and white merging to shades of grey, maybe more of us are more confused than deceitful? Maybe as human beings capable of learning and questioning, we are these imperfect works in progress, trying to put our best foot forward? Maybe we are just hoping that our crazy cards will somehow fit nicely with someone else’s—is that such a bad thing?

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