More on Insecurity

I think about my writing a lot after I write, even a seemingly insignificant comment on another person’s blog. This is an example. Somewhat unfairly, I edited it heavily (from the origninal published Oct. 12, 2011), but it felt right to edit it. Sometimes I can be too angry, and afraid and as a result, not explain enough, which I corrected:

I am still impressed with a comment I made on another person’s blog (*see below). I’m not sure if anyone has expressed the value of rebellion so well. I criticized another writer, which was not so nice, but sometimes it’s entertaining when people speak freely enough to offend in America’s overly cautious and insecure climate.

All people have insulting thoughts; perhaps it’s useful to let a few loose once in a while. In the past I have insulted people in my head, finding things that made them seem as imperfect as I felt, maybe a flat butt or wide waist on a woman who was skinnier than me. If I were to express more of those insults, they would likely show that much is missing in American interaction; so much about our imperfect, lovable human selves is held back that our perceptions of each other lack love, and inevitably foster jealousy and competition.

I once told a former coworker that I insult others in my head. She was treating me to lunch and was looking down at her purse to find her wallet. Sitting across from her at our table, I could see the “searching” look on her face relax and her actions pause for a moment as I made the confession. Until I noticed her body language, I thought my confession was no big deal, just an example I was giving; I was used to talking openly with this person but she was unusually guarded on this day.

I must have surprised her with my confession. In confessing I had picked away at the man-made rules about what was okay to discuss, and my former coworker felt the breeze of freedom. She had been more uptight than I was used to during our lunch, smiling a lot, talking contantly and asking questions without a break.

It was unpleasant, to say the least. I had been looking forward to the lunch all day and afterward I was wishing I’d worked out or stayed home instead.  That one moment of confessing was life-, or rather, lunch-saving–but only now, in retrospect.

I didn’t mean to start telling that story in detail, but it’s a perfect example of how speaking freely and being secure enough to handle imperfect situations (or words) can influence people, speak to them through the walls we learn to put up, as my favorite former coworker had put up that day.

One is balanced when he makes use of his security and insecurity equally. Security is knowing it’s natural to be imperfect, and insecurity is awareness of an imperfection or a difference that has been judged harshly by the outside world, not nature or God, if you believe in God as I do.

Americans seem easily offended by politicians’ (like Anthony Wiener’s) exposed sex lives and people’s impassioned remarks, like those of Hank Williams Jr. about President Obama. But they may not be so far from being more secure, present, and clear-headed in dealing with behaviors deemed offensive (such as me insulting others in my head).

One big step is neccessary. People have to admit an imperfection to transcend it. For example, America would have to acknowledge that it’s overly dramatic in handling “offensive” comments and behavior before it could handle them better. And facing mistakes is highly unusual in America where we learn to hide almost every mistake or imperfect thing about ourselves. We’re often too ashamed to even tell someone he has a crumb in his beard.

We seem unaware that it’s okay to make mistakes, like fart in others’ presence, or vart (as I do in yoga). That it’s okay to have a crumb. Getting home from a gathering and seeing it, however, reminds us of how lonely we are in “the crowd” of perfect people. But it’s just how people are in America, my birth place, my home, my responsibility to make better.

*Here’s the comment I made on the blog post, “How to Dress – A Guide for Nitwit Young People,” which I read because it was “Freshly Pressed,” and I thought it was good, but kind of unoriginal (a hypothetical old guy complaining about young people’s fashion):

“I’m sorry, but you sound really uptight. I think “Farticus” is great for a t-shirt. We all fart. So what? Rebelling is all about embracing what we learn to throw away, leaving a spineless ghost of a human being, who only appears perfect. Not so true with those who rebel. We might just hold onto enough of who we are to say we’re actually “here” while we’re still here.”


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