Wednesday, May 6, 2009

At what age should you be honest?

Do you know why people love Simon Cowell but demonize him? To me, he exemplifies something about the British people that American lost - maybe it didn't happen right after the Revolution was won at Yorktown, but it began to happen as different groups with differing standards immigrated to the country. In addition to the melting pot of America, terrible things occurred like the Holocaust and minority repression around the world that made us so much more sensitive to others' feelings & needs. So, we began to keep things inside and judge ourselves.


We have lost the ability to be honest with each other. Do you constantly pretend to like people? Do you listen to their annoying stories and stay quiet when they make terrible decisions? Do you stay quiet because you are afraid of offending someone? Because you are scared of losing your job? Of losing a friendship? Of making waves? Do you make sure to have a smile on your face all the time?

As I've gotten older, I have gotten less patient with this social nicety. I seek out few friendships, because I am not a good friend as I dislike dishonesty. I cannot be all things to all people and I don't want to be. A couple people have called this "moodiness" - it is not moodiness. I am being unfriendly because I probably don't like you. I am brash, outspoken, ridiculously sarcastic and ...

oddly sensitive.

I take everything personally. But that is MY issue, not the world's. I need to look within myself to see whether something is true or talk to my husband or my best friends for their realistic understanding of who I am.

When I have discussions about American inhibitions with my British friends, they scoff. I've heard jokes about the British loving their dogs more than their human children. But I understand this. When my cats want to go away & sleep, they do so. When they want love, they come around. A smack on the nose when they jump on the counter, they yowl at you and come back 15 minutes later. (Anybody who knows me knows my cats don't get smacked on the nose when they get on the counter, but we clean the counter constantly, ok??) Barring outright abusive behavior (which is unacceptable), they don't take it personally...

But in America today, this is not the case. I will freely admit that I've felt like someone was angry at me and it bothered me. But it should NOT & that is something I need to overcome. In Cowell's case, he has often commented that he's being honest for the person's own sake. And I agree - more of us should do that. Do not lie to your child if they sing horribly - cancel the singing lessons and look into the piano. I've told my 5 year old daughter that her voice is not great - it hurt her. But you know what? It hurts a lot more when the entire country laughs at you at age 19. I did tell her that she's a good dancer and I'm not. So I sing (and dance OK), she dances (and sings OK) and we both feel successful at those talents and not disappointed in our shortcomings. Honesty does not have to be a four letter word.

And yes, I will cultivate more cat friendships than human ones...if my hubby lets me get more kitties!

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