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.