Not always what you think

When I was a kid, I often found myself writing somewhat gory endings to my short stories that were assigned in school. Even the pumpkins in the pumpkin patch faced an ugly death if they acted ugly and prideful.

Society would tell you that I suffered some kind of abuse as a child and I was acting out my emotions in my stories. While I understand that is a common issue among abused children, it was far from being the case with me.

The truth is, my birth defect required me to have a lot of medical stuff done to me throughout my young life. I had like 13-14 surgeries in that many years. I was buddies with all my doctors. I see now that my tendency to be very matter-of-fact about guts and injuries was my way of dealing with the own issues with my body that always seemed to be “in the shop for repairs.”

Let’s look at another example. Anyone who reads my blog (or is on my Facebook) knows I share recipes or talk about our cooking adventures a lot. It would be easy to assume that I am either a good cook or consider myself a good cook. Not even close, folks. You know how kids come home with really ugly drawings and their parents proudly put it on their refrigerator? That’s kinda what I’m doing when I post my recipes. Sure, I want to share what I think people might find useful, but my tips and recipes are my way of saying “NEAT! Look at what I did. I made something tasted OK going down and didn’t kill anyone later.”

Same thing with my love of my cats. People think I’m this crazy cat lady. Actually, I grew up hating cats. Me talking about my purrbabies so much is really about me being amazed at these creatures that I so misunderstood my whole life. It’s also about me, nearly four years later, still looking at these beasts and being amazed that I have cats and like them.

Don’t get me wrong. I fully understand that we as people have to make value judgments based on the information we are presented. I think it’s silly when, say, someone dresses like an angry, scary person then gets upset when people treats them like they might be …. angry and scary. Why would anyone want to get to know someone beyond their exterior if the exterior says “stay away or I might hurt you?”

But I think that in our society, in our lives, it’s too easy to assume we have all the answers. Too easy to assume we understand people’s motives based on their actions. I really see this happening against political figures. People assume they are trying to act against them, when in fact they are voting to accomplish a completely different goal and the negative effects for that one person or group are just a byproduct.

I wish I had the answers to this, perhaps by bringing it up it can at least be discussed. It’s a tough balance between being allowed to use our heads to make obvious value judgments and not assuming we know the full story behind every thought, action or statement.


4 comments / Add your comment below

  1. It hurts me to see people refuse to vote because they think it’s part of a corrupt system. The way to change the system is to be an active part on it.

    And no, the government isn’t acting against us and no, they’re not socialists. They’re sent by us to represent US.

    And the thing about it is, all those elected officials in Washington may talk trash to each other on the 24 hour news cycle or on one of the floors, but when the day’s over they all go to the same bar and hang out or even live as roommates who live together and are somehow able to make it work.

  2. I believe that many times, our perceptions of and assumptions about others are reflections of ourselves much more than true representations of others. Our assumptions are a way of making sense out of our worlds, not those of the people we make value judgments on. If we keep these things in mind, we can honestly say we perceive a situation in a certain way, but without broadcasting to others exactly what we think might be going on. We can say “My past experiences make me leery of this situation, and though I give this situation the benefit of the doubt to a degree, I prefer not to involve myself.”

    Politics is a bit different, a bit trickier. Vote. By all means, vote. Vote your conscience. Vote according to the facts you have. But even if your knowledge of history and the media’s presentation show one thing, there are so many facets and so many people involved that there may not be one right answer, or any right answer. And even history and the media may not have presented a fair and accurate picture in the political realm.

    With all things, we should-in our minds-pick the situation or concept up, examine it in all it’s varied facets, and inspect it closely. We don’t live in a two-dimensional world. There are many facets, many grey areas, in our lives. If we can learn to appreciate those nuances, we will be better people for it.

  3. Good blog Jamie. I agree with Mary about our perceptions and assumptions are more so reflections of ourselves. I think it’s human nature to assume things about others but one would be wise to remember the old saying, assuming makes an ass out of u and me. Also, as a Christian it is wise for me to remember all the help that God gives me in making good and healthy judgments. Your blog made me think about a story about Chris. Chris grew up in a very poor part of Little Rock and he and his two brothers were literally the only white kids in the entire neighborhood which caused him to be a target for bullies and racial violence. In junior high it got so bad that he started dressing in the “goth” style by wearing all black, painting his finger nails black, wearing black eyeliner….the whole thing. He did this because it scared off the neighborhood thugs and kept him alive and safe. He says everyone he knew assumed he was on drugs or was being abused at home or was a devil worshipper or was just a mean, weird, scary kid and it was hard for him to fit in anywhere (understandibly so). There are many reasons why people do and say things, we should be careful about our assuptions and judgments indeed, but it’s not always easy and sometimes we all just get it wrong.

  4. Mary and Melody,
    That’s more what the focus of the blog was about, not politics. I think it’s an interesting struggle because I know I get so sick of hearing people say “don’t judge, you don’t know the whole situation” when in fact they mean “I want to get away with something and don’t want anyone to remind me it’s wrong or stupid.” But then how to balance that with the GOOD idea that things aren’t always as they seem? I definitely agree that we tend to see things as we see them from our own training, our own perspective. That’s a definitely downfall of being human I suppose 🙂

    On a side note, is commenting on this blog hard? I can’t read what I’m typing.

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