Monday, August 1, 2011

Confessions of a Straight Talker

Facebook is great for a lot of things, including stimulating political debate. But one thing it can also do is piss people off. Especially when you're an outspoken, straight-talking Irish tomboy lass like me who grew up to be a professional writer. I've pissed some people off online with my straightforward, open, no-nonsense style of late. They weren't people who were necessarily important to my real life, though in some cases they were old friends I hadn't seen in years but had renewed correspondence with. Others were people I didn't really know well personally (though I'd met them, at least) but whom I'd grown fond of online. Then, one day I make one of my trademark blunt-as-a-dull razor statements (which they should have grown accustomed to by that point---indeed, many people actually become friends with me in the first place because they like this personal trait of mine) and poof! Gone.

I got all hot and bothered and anxious by that over the weekend, since in one case in particular the people in question really went after me personally (one thing I always try to make a point not to do whenever/wherever possible, even when I'm at my bluntest). But after the edge wore off, I decided that I just can't continue to let that sort of thing bother me. Here's some reasons why.

1) I am not going to censor myself just to please you. While this doesn't mean I'm going to go around spewing obscenities like a Tourette's victim, don't expect me to "shut up and behave like a lady," as one person choicely put it to me last week. I've always been more comfortable talking with men than women because I don't do the whole passive-aggressive/overly emotional thing very well. This is who I am. Get used to it.

2) And pursuant to No. 1, people who spew overemotional hot air with no rhetorical substance (usually women, though I've seen men do it too) do not tend to get along with me, so be forewarned.

3) I am hard-wired this way. I have been an upfront, straightforward, straight-talking broad since I was at least 2 years old, or so my parents tell me. I don't have the "off" switch in my brain that most people do. Some might say that's a psychological defect of some kind, but even if it is, I've managed to make a pretty lucrative profession out it. If I think something needs to be said, sooner or later it is going to fall out of my mouth (or my pen). So telling me that I need to learn tact is not usually a good piece of advice for me to follow. You might as well tell a blind person to get glasses.

4) I always think honesty is the best policy. Again, I'm hard-wired this way. Lies make me physically ill, unless I'm writing fiction. I think the whole reason I became a writer was because it was the only way my brain could process the natural human tendency for lying. (This is probably because I was always severely punished for "making up stories" as a young child, as young children are often wont to do.) So if you want to know if that dress makes you look fat, but you are really just looking for an ego boost, you should probably ask someone else.

5) I have more self-awareness than a lot of people, and that's not necessarily a good thing. If I censor myself (or even show restraint), my conscience often makes me feel guilty for being dishonest. Not only that, I spend a lot of time evaluating my faults and looking for ways to improve upon them, though I don't always succeed. (In other words, I beat myself up a lot, I set very high standards for myself, and I'm never satisfied.) As if that weren't hard enough, I also expect other people to adhere to my high standards, and of course they usually don't, so I'm frequently disappointed, and I frequently say so. Loudly.

6) Aren't you glad you aren't me? The neurotic writer who lives alone in a garrett is a cliche. But the scary part is, it's also true. I'm a neurotic writer who spends 10-12 hours a day working in an attic and not talking to anyone. You'd be a little "off" in the head if you were me, too.


1 comment:

  1. I am overly self-aware too. It kind of makes you think a bit too much from time to time. All the time.

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