Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sometimes I wonder what people say behind my back.

Sometimes I know.

I know they say good things, sometimes they tell me what those are. But they're bound to say bad things too - judgmental things - truthful things - narrow perspective things.

I mean, that's what we do to them, right?

You've been there. You've criticized, generalized, rolled your eyes. And you've been there when they've said things about someone who you love and their comments hit a little to close to home. A couple of friends make fun of one of your bf's and you sort of smile at their generalization, but it stings a little - even if it is a little true. Two types of behind the back, and they both hurt. The only variable is the who.

So don't you wonder what they say about you?

"What a drama queen." Eye roll.
"Well, she blows everything out of proportion." Head shake.
"She's an idealist. She can't have it all." Arms thrown up in the air.
"She couldn't keep a man to save her soul." Coffee sipped with a very knowing look.

Is that what they say behind my back? Those who obviously don't appreciate my drama or love me more for the fact that I make a great queen.

Don't you kind of wonder? Cause I know what they say about you.

And sometimes I want to tell you. Sometimes I want to scream: "Don't you know what they're saying about you? Is that how you want to be known?" I mean really, how can we know unless someone tells us?

But I don't really want to be told, because what they say is usually only half the story.

Sometimes not. Sometimes men really are only all about sex, and they really are that shallow. Sometimes women really do over-react to everything and they really are always paranoid. Sometimes people really are that self-consumed, or that manipulative, or that obsessed, or that narrow-minded, or that fill-in-the-blank.

But sometimes those assessments are only half the story.

I've been criticized at least twice in my life for writing about "drama" on my blog and making it seem like my world is awful just to draw attention to myself. These criticisms make me sad, but they also remind me that people don't know the whole story. I love making people laugh or think and often when I write about men falling through my ceiling or accidentally buying a stolen car or my cat trying to eat my poor fish, I want to communicate not only what is going through my life, but also in a comedic, story-telling way. And sometimes I write about when I am sad and I do that to counteract the false-hood that Christians are always happy-go-lucky people who constantly count their blessings and never grieve. And sometimes I write about ex-boyfriends (always very inconspicuously) because you know everyone can relate to that. :)

So if someone were to say the aforementioned to me, I would know they only know half the story about this story-teller and although the misunderstanding would make me a little sad, I wouldn't stop blogging because of it.

But today as I watched two people criticize someone else with the typical eye roll and head shake, (and even though I agreed with them), I wondered what they say about me behind my back. And I wonder about telling the person they said those things about. How would that person respond?

This is no great commentary on life nor is it a narrative on the depravity of the human existence. I'm just honestly wondering what people say about me behind my back and if they say it in love with a smile (and that's why they love me) or if they count it as a defect in my character. And I wonder what would happen if we all told other people what other people say about them and if it would create total chaos, war and enmity or if it would cause us to pause, do some self-reflection and change.

Because surely some of it is bullshit and easy to write off. But surely some of it is truth too.

Someone at church commented the other day how hard it must be for a minister (me) to point out when people are doing bad or stupid things. I just kept quiet cause unless I've been asked to be the finger-pointer, I don't tend to tell parishioners when I think they're sinning. Geez, I mean, who am I to judge? Hypocritical me. Grace covers them (and me) right? They don't need me to finger-point or even just point out the obvious - right? That's not my job. My job is when they acknowledge their own shortcomings and seek repentance - my job is to remind them that grace has already set them free - to go and sin no more. And I count on my "pastors" to offer me the same reminder of the Truth of Jesus Christ. That's my job right?

Well, I don't know when this blog turned into a job therapy session, and i'll probably delete it tomorrow when I wake up, but these are just some things that popped into my head today when I watched people behind-the-back criticize their friend.

Something we all do every day...


Alexis said...

sometimes i wonder if it matters, what other people say... anyway, i love you in front of your back and behind, and i think it was a thoughtful post.

Michelle said...

Damn right we do it everyday, even if we don't say it aloud. I, for one, was trying to not talk about people behind their back...but it still slips out. It's common ground, it's something to talk about, it's taking away attention from our defaults to someone else's. We all know this.

But, you are right, sometimes I too want to go to people and tell them what I and others have been speculating about their life.

I don't know where I am going with this comment, I keep rambling, deleting and editing.

All to say that I love you, and I talk about everyone behind their back(even my husband), I would probably even talk about myself behind my back if I could.

Poop. This comment hasn't gone anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Hey Michelle,

I don't need to talk about myself BEHIND my back when I regularly look myself in the mirror and say, "You idiot!" know, just for general purposes! HA...but I like that....I think I'll start talking behind my own back...I just hope no one hears me!


Anonymous said...

hey ann-

i think you are so great and funny. and personally i like your drama. i somehow feel like you're my older sister and i can joke and be funny with you.

i think it's amazing that you're able to have a blog and share your life with other people as we can all grow and learn from others' experiences.

i've found that it's hard to have a personal blog that your friends know about when really you go to a blog to talk about those people in your life and seek help with issues from random people while retaining some anonyminity. i do not have a personal blog because i'm afraid of letting people actually hear what i think about everyday!so i just keep everything bottled up. also unhealthy, i know. :)

regardless. johnson is probably the wisest person in the world. and whenever i try to get him to gossip with me (impossible, by the way) he aways answers with "i don't know, so-and-so isn't here to ask" it's such a simple act to choose not to talk about someone if they aren't present to defend themselves. i am trying to practice this more.....

aaron, my wealth of knowledge of a husband, says "WHAT PEOPLE SAY BEHIND MY BACK IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS." although it does kind of suck to not know what people say about you, i think it is SO freeing NOT to know. ultimately it's just their opinion or speculation and really YOU are the one who knows what you think, feel, like, etc. YOU know why you said or did something and the way someone else reads into it isn't necessarily what you meant. it's simply their perspective on the situation which is influenced by the experiences in their own lives, none of which you have control over.

if you just live your life in a way that you feel is right and truly makes you happy then everything will fall into place. being alive and healthy is such a blessing. and God is so amazing. really there's no point in wondering what others are saying about you. i don't feel like it makes me a better person to the mean things people say about me. and ultimately, you'll know who your true friends are because they DON'T say hurtful things about you back. no matter how dramatic you might feel like you are.

sorry this is so long.
i wish we could hang out more.....