Tuesday, June 9, 2009

If You Can't Say Something Nice...

Wouldn't life be a lot easier if we could keep the frankness and honesty of our youth? The old saying, "out of the mouths of babes" comes to mind, and as a mother of a four year old, I've had the (dis)pleasure of seeing just how honest kids can be. Only recently has my little one discovered that there is an alternative to telling the truth. But that's another post altogether...

I have to admit that sometimes it can be funny. Like when JR asked me why I had a big tummy and why the girls on the cover of my workout video didn't. Or the time when she asked my mom if she had drawn on her legs (referring to my mom's varicose veins). Other times can be a little more frustrating: like when she exclaims at the top of her lungs that the food she's eating tastes DISGUSTING and the person who prepared it is (unfortunately) well within ear-shot.

But just imagine the freedom that telling the truth or saying exactly how you feel could bring... if only the person bearing the brunt of it would give you the same consideration that we give children when they do it. No more "political correctness." No more tip-toeing around delicate egos. No fear of what the consequences will be to any question you might be asked. No more racking you brain on how to let someone down "easy." Calling things as you see it. A true "it is what it is" mentality, so to speak. Doesn't that sound refreshing?

I think it would reiterate the fact that none of us are perfect. So why are we trying so hard to be? I think fat people know they're fat. Awkward people know they're awkward and despite what American Idol has taught us, people who can't sing have GOT to know that they can't. Stupid people, on the other hand, need to be reminded that they're stupid. Come on, they're STUPID! If this paragraph is making you angry, or at the very least uncomfortable, then maybe this kind of freedom is not for you. Let me clarify... I think there is a difference in telling the truth and just being mean. Wait, I might not be on board after all. I don't know about you, but I can't sleep at night if I know I've hurt someone. And then there's that "do unto others" commandment. Maybe I don't like the truth. Jack Nicholson said we couldn't handle it. Maybe he was right.

There are times when I think people are just asking for it. The truth, that is. Maybe you've been there too. Allow me to set the scene: It's dinner time and all of us (including the in-laws) proceed to a favorite sit-down restaurant to eat a bite. Our hostess approaches us and to say she was a little "goth" would be an understatement. Pretty girl, mind you. Just some conformity issues, I'm assuming. Anyway, I look at Jamie Ruth and she is staring like an animal caught in the headlights of an oncoming Mack truck... mouth gaping and all. I'm hoping... no, more like PRAYING that she doesn't state the obvious. I must have found favor with the Almighty that day because much to my surprise, my little one remained as quiet as a mouse. When we got to our table she whispered to me, "Did you see that lady?" To which I replied, "Yes, I did." Nothing else being said, I figure she just wanted some confirmation that we had not stepped into a Halloween party by mistake.

It made me think... what would be the harm if she did state the obvious in front of this slightly rebellious, yet obviously hardworking young lady? Seriously, if someone is purposely going to that much trouble to be so "different" from the status quo, aren't they in fact wanting you to take notice? Verbal acknowledgement might just be icing on the proverbial cake. Heck, I may have diverted a compliment towards her without even realizing it! My apologies, Miss I-want-to-be-Marilyn-Manson's-girlfriend. Wherever you are.

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