Over the weekend (or was it last week? I don't remember) I had a discussion about human frailty. And for whatever reason, it crossed my mind again this morning while I was on my way to work. This is usually when I come up with stuff to blog about, by the way. While I'm on my way to work. So when I post something at nearly 3pm (like today) it means that I have had it on my mind all day and been bursting to write it down but haven't had time.
Anyways I was discussing with someone about what happens when people don't show their frailties to one another. As a matter of fact this is something that pops into my mind quite often. Mainly because there are SO many different types of people in this world. And it always fascinates me to see people who hold up a strong front to the rest of us. I, for one, am not one of those people. I sincerely feel that the "me" I present to the world is one of such a thin layer of protection that it would take very little to poke a hole for the world to see who I am. I am very, very flawed. For one, I am NOTORIOUS for not thinking before I speak and it gets me in a lot of trouble. I think because there is not much I would be willing to tell only a select few and hide from the rest. And since I have nothing to hide, I simply choose not to censor myself.
But there are lots of people who hold back. People who refuse to let the world see that they are fragile. They care about things, they have ideas, they feel strongly about their world and people around them- and yet they hold it all in. They hold it so tightly that we can almost see it on their faces... what are you hiding?? And I guess there must be a certain respectability to that type of self-control. I wouldn't know how difficult it must be to keep it up. But it also runs a great risk that no one will ever know you. And maybe that is the goal, but I can't imagine a life of not being known. I am one of those people who, if I feel a certain way about something, I announce it. Because I would hate to have a piano drop on my head tomorrow and people not know who I was and what I stood for. And honestly, I think a certain level of respect ought to come along with admission of frailty. Because it takes a lot of trust to tell someone, "I care greatly about this. This is my weak spot. This is what can break me," and then trust them not to betray it.
Take for example the frailty of crying. I hate crying. I don't like people who cry often and for no reason. And I have prided myself on not being a person like that. Until maybe the past year or so. And suddenly I am a person who watches sad movies and cries. Oh, and of course I hide my face and I pretend I'm wiping sleep out of my eyes... but I'm not fooling anybody. I'm still working on embarrassment level control here, but all in all I'm not ashamed of it. It's perfectly okay to be someone who shows emotion, and sometimes I have to remind even myself of this.
The funny thing to me is that when you logically look at this type of behavior it seems a bit silly. Why do you now want people to know you're upset or hurting about something? What, because they will know you have feelings? Because you think they will hurt them further?? Guess what, I doubt anybody would be shocked to discover that when something sad happens- you cry. Big shocker of the year: you have emotions! I think so long as they are relatively rational (see: not crying over a spilled glass of Cafe au Lait), you're pretty much in the clear. I don't think you're going down in any one's history books as The Crier, you're in the clear.
But I also think that withholding frailty can actually hurt your relations with people. I believe that a bond is made where people take risks. A bond between friends where one says to the other, "If you do this, it will hurt me. I'm handing you my Kryptonite." And when that goes unused, the friendship takes a turn into the territory of, "And now I KNOW that I can trust you." And from there, bonds ensue. I have a number of people in my life who I know, but I don't really KNOW. And that is because I have never held on to their Kryptonite for safe keeping. I've never been given the opportunity to prove who I can be as their friend. And you know, I get that. I get people being afraid. I'm sure I am afraid of stuff all the time. I still take risks on people and perhaps that is some unyielding faith I have in the goodness of humanity or something equally cheesy sounding. But that's the type of person that I am. And let me tell you, I've been hurt. I've been ground right down into the concrete when I've taken risks. But I will also say that I have reaped some of the greatest rewards of friendship I could have imagined. So that's my take on the whole thing. Only those who take great risks can really appreciate great rewards.