The other day I read an article about the efforts of a nudist colony to attract newer and younger members to complement their existing and perhaps sagging aging community. The article quoted some recently joined ‘members’ who squealed excitement at the feeling of being ‘truly free’ as they danced around a maypole of some sorts. ‘Freedom’, as I believe one member expressed in delight, was defined as being able to reveal ones true nature to others. Yes, I imagine that for some, there is a certain amount of bliss, if not pride, that can be derived from the ability to openly and honestly advertise ‘what you see is what you get’. For others no doubt, such freedom, alas, falls … short.
Anyway, ‘the point’ is that this all got me thinking about honesty and openness, and to what extent we think others see us as we really are, assuming we really know who we are. It’s easy to question this latter point, but I think it’s more interesting to fathom just how well people really know us, especially in terms of understanding whether we are transmitting false signals about our personae or whether others are just plain reading us wrongly. As usual, it ultimately leads to exploring the great divide between ‘us’ and ‘them’.
Speaking of ‘great divides’, let’s not forget that some people are sadists and enjoy being assholes. At least, in a twisted way, you can’t really accuse them of being fake with you. They have no problem brandishing a sign that reads ‘caveat emptor’, let the buyer beware, and then bashing you over the head with it. You’d either be a fool to pollyannishly think otherwise, or a masochist. Either way, you’re going to get sucked into one hell of an emotional black hole.
OK, so assholes, notwithstanding, there are people who, by their own definition, are open books. I’ll discuss these types in a moment. However, in contrast, there are those who put on airs or adorn themselves with all manners of masks and game faces as they promenade through life’s social gaieties pretending to be what they are not… and perhaps desperately hoping that people will not see through their veils and just accept them as they want to be seen. With these types, ‘the masks’, it’s kind of hard to see on whom the bigger mind game is played. Regardless, eventually disappointment rains down on all involved, leaving a partly clouded hue of resentment on both ends of the relationship. After the damage is done, they’re famous for their parting words “who do you think I am?”
What of the ‘open book’ types? Well, you can take them or leave them without psyche splitting repercussions, be they sinners or saints, bleeding hearts or empaths, clown or intellectuals, wallflowers or slackers. You can deal with them on your own terms and not feel the mental stress of needing to keep score. In the best of them are found truly beautiful people who exhibit openness and honesty, and a genuine lightness of being. They may leave you with a smile, or a feeling of warmth. In the worst of them are found a ‘laissez-faire’ attitude; the ‘devil may care’, but you most certainly will not because all contracts are not binding.
As for me, I like to believe I’m an open book, even though I think too much. I hate mind games because I’ve played them on myself for so long and I’ve learned that life is hard enough without the added mental stress. I don’t feign airs, but I can see through most foggy mists. Still, I’m mostly harmless; I don’t usually have ulterior motives, and if I do, you generally should be flattered, rather than nervous. I espouse ‘unconditional love’ and strive to live and let live. Nevertheless, I must confess, I seem to unintentionally unnerve the unnerved, and enervate the zealots and proselytizers who seek to remake me in their image.
Yes, it’s unfortunate that many people, especially the masks, want me to be something other than who I am. And, I’m happy with who I am, even if that means being misunderstood or disappointing others who are more interested in all things other than my happiness. Does that make sense? If not, let me explain it this way: I’m not a nudist. I’m happy if I’ve made you smile. I’m equally happy if I’ve pissed you off.
PS. Thanks for reading. Are you concerned by how you appear to others, or is that just how you really look? Let me know. By the way, if you are thoughtful enough to wonder how people take you, you obviously are OK in my book.