Thursday, November 6, 2008

On Passive-Agression and Other Things

Yesterday morning, I put up a facebook status that was vaguely politicalish. Yesterday evening, upon returning from work, I discovered 11 comments on it (they read like arguments between blunt, conservative Catholics and our liberal secular peers). I addressed comments individually that bore answer (by wall post), but when I was indirectly accused of being a one-issue voter, I couldn't handle it and gave a simple but clear explanation of the points in question, swearing to leave it at that.

Why do I bring this up? Because I was being passive-agressive in my take on politics and facebook. I used to hate passive agression (back in high school). I saw it as unnecessarily cowardly, and the inevitable explosion of that pent-up emotion seemed hardly worth it. But rooming with Liz last year showed me that one could be passive-agressive and still be a good, likable person who's in control of herself as much as is anyone else. And so I think I became a little more passive, a little more laid-back.

And these sorts of things cause me to realize: So much about the person I've become has subtly changed from the person I was in high school. So many of the things I prided myself on are no longer really even a part of me. I'm still stubbornly solid in my opinions, but I'm no longer confrontational. I'm still well aware of my unique gifts and strengths, but I no longer have the "I am woman; I am awesome!" attitude I once enjoyed. I'm still certain the rest of the world would be better off if they subscribed to my ideas, but now I'm just not interested in explaining why (it would take far too much work to bring a stranger around to the hermeneutic through which I look at life/the world).

I know I'm better off for most of these changes that God has made as He's led me to Himself. But I miss some of the old ways - especially that fun, obnoxiously endearing attitude, and (in a different sense) the ability to wear my opinions on my sleeve and not worry about who cares about what.

I think that's what's been the strangest for me. Because I'm so conscious of scandal and detraction, I am nearly always guarded (save with my closest friends, of course). And that's weird. I loved just being free and unconcerned with the expression of my feelings, but now I have always to be concerned about spreading negativity or being uncharitable or giving a bad impression... I just feel like I'm fake much of the time, like I've finally understand the phenomenon I've been reading about for years about putting up walls or putting on a mask. Not that I'm keeping myself and everyone out of the inner regions of my heart, just that I'm keeping the outside world at bay.

But how am I to show others the attractiveness of Christ if I keep Him hidden behind a wall?

I haven't figured that out yet. Any thoughts?

As more and more of me has become interiorized, I have to consider whether to share or hide my fasts even from my believing friends.

1 comment:

  1. You may have been around for th times Freshman year when everyone (meaning mainly Aaron) was flipping out because they acted differently around different people. In fact, there is a personality trait called "self-monitoring". It's the measure of how aware you are of your affect on other people and how able you are to control it. I, for example, am a very high self monitor. It's not a bad thing to monitor yourself and it makes you easier to get along with. People who are not self-monitors at all tend to piss people off. You have to pick your battles and tact is definitely a debate strategy rather than cowardice.

    Also: passive-agression only becomes a problem when it prevents clear communication. It is sometimes a good alternative to outright agression, but it is probably better to address the issue in either case.



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