Saturday, November 20, 2010

Social Conditioning

So I was up late on The Facebooks and the posts refreshed.  A friend of mine had just posted about how a stranger just called her fat.

I was all like: "Nah, you're beautiful."

And then she was all like: "Yeah, I know, which is why it was so weird that they said it."*

And I became shocked into enlightenment, like some zen koan.  I had completely missed the point.  She wasn't saying it because the comment had begun to jab into her confidence and she needed affirmation.  She was saying it because she thought it was strange for a stranger to say such a thing unprovoked.

I've spent so much time around people with low self-esteem that I've been conditioned to have a knee-jerk response to counter any negative comment.  Like some Pavlovian Complement Dog.  I say things just because I think it's the expected response, like:


"You remind me of a babe."
     "What babe?"

"And the void would be calling."
     "Oh Riff Raff!"

"They think I'm fat."
     "Nah, you're beautiful."

It doesn't matter that it's true;  I don't like to speak without thinking.  It's a contributor to mob mentality.

Well no more!  From now on I maintain conscious awareness of every word.  No more auto-pilot.  No more call and response method of conversation.  I vow to say what I mean, and mean what I say.

This will last right up until I absentmindedly walk by a coworker and they say "S'up?" and I respond "Good."

*That's not quite how it went down, I was just paraphrasing and over-simplifying... parasimplifying?... yeah, I was parasimplifying for the sake of expediency.  Which has now been negated by the over-phrasing.

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