Confessions of a Candy-Coater
candyologies – (n.) ideologies that are sweet to the taste, but over time will create mental cavities In a recent blog post "Really Bad Dating Advice", I told you all about this little word I made up called candyologies, and how candyologies are formed when the truth is sugar-coated or when someone bends the truth to keep the peace. I neglected to mention that I am a REPEAT OFFENDER!
It's not that I want to be a sugarcoater...I mean, who does?! It's not that I appreciate when other people sugarcoat their words to me. In fact, when I list my ideals as a friend and a writer, they include: creativeness, rawness, realness, confidence, having a genuine spirit, authenticity, originality, boldness, transparency, fully and freely living. Then why do I find myself candy-coating my real opinion?
Well, those ideals sound like a cute Pinterest quote board, but the underlying theme is that all of these ideals require a level of vulnerability with myself and with other people. Predictably, the thing that is required to get where I want to be - vulnerability - is one of my weaknesses. Go figure! If I really want to be creative, real, genuine, authentic, original, and bold, I HAVE TO let down the walls that motivate the half-truths. I have to know that my value is not found in the number of friends I claim. I have to know that if God is placing a message in my heart, He is leading my mouth to speak it. If He wanted a lighter version of a message, He would have given me the Diet Message.
In the past, my defense against vulnerability and transparency is to use too many qualifying statements and even disclaimers such as "that's just my opinion". And that takes away the bite of the words. Which makes me inoffensive. Which protects me. It protects me from hurting people's feelings. It protects me from having to defend my message. It protects me from potentially losing friendships over something I've said. But like Rapunzel's tower, protection can often be preventative to fully living. Ponder that reference for a moment ;)
But as a writer, I NEED TO go beyond the normal boundaries in relationships. Typically any normal person wouldn't open up her thoughts so raw until the other person has proven himself trustworthy, which is why you wouldn't talk about your feelings to your colleagues the way you do to your family. But as a writer, I am challenged with speaking my unabashed ideas to the whole wide Interwebs and hoping it doesn't receive insane backlash. I have crazy wild fears that my writing will come across as unloving, bigoted, narrow-minded, etc. and as a result, people's perception of me will be the same. And these fears are only propagated by the infectiousness of ridiculous memes that pull a few wacky words from an otherwise good speech, and we all get to laugh and howl at how stupid some celeb or politician is to have said something like that. For example, one celebrity is known for having asked, "Is Chicken of the Sea really chicken or is it fish? Because it says chicken." And from that one statement, everyone who heard it formed their opinion of her. As bizarre as it sounds, our societal love of sarcasm and persecuting people for one sentence or phrase goes a long way to enhance my fear of being perceived as offensive.
But the thing is, if I am truly being vulnerable, someone can attack my ideas as dumb or narrow-minded, but I am still all the better. I am better off being vulnerable and having a few solid, real friendships than I am being fake and knowing a lot of disloyal acquaintances. Being vulnerable makes me the victor, not the victim. Being vulnerable is empowering. Being vulnerable allows me to grow emotionally.
Unfortunately this is all theoretical talk. I can claim all this head knowledge, but why do I still sugarcoat the truth?!
I need to be really honest with y'all. When I write, I get insecure about whether my thoughts are interesting or whether my writing is good enough. And I often remove a layer or two of valid statements because I think the world isn't ready to hear it. But my writing should not be about the world's readiness, it should be what God is telling me to write. It shouldn't be watered-down PC non-sense. It should be REAL.
And sometimes my excuse of "the world isn't ready to hear it" is an excuse for my own lack of readiness to being open and honest about my feelings or beliefs. So then you get diluted rubbish. And that sucks.
So I apologize for being discreet in anything I've said in the past. I apologize for wasting your time with anything less than honesty. From here on out, I will make every effort to being genuine and honest and courageous. You're going to see a change in my writing that is more raw and more real. I want people to look at me and not wonder if I'm holding back my feelings. I want to be more open...at least to the people that are important to me.
In a concerted effort of openness, the rest of this blog post is an open series of thoughts. If you've made it this far, you've gotten the beef. The rest is my own personal form of therapy. Everyone might not be ready, but I am too ready to be honest to wait on the infamous they...
- Confession: my last blog post was very diluted. I was overly concerned with semantics and proving my faith that it became a scientific lecture. I heard the voices saying, "What makes you qualified to speak?" and "What if you misrepresent Christians as a whole?" I gave in to it a bit...maybe more. I'm working on it, okay? This starts Day 1 of recovery from sugarcoating my thoughts.
- A lot of people who complain about drama really secretly like drama. They do things to fester it. They pour gas in the fire and then play victim and say they are getting burned. No duh - fire burns you. So does drama.
- I see a lot of hateful FB statuses & tweets that end in: "If you believe ___, you need to move to another country." If someone is full of hate, you should probably remove that person from your network and let them know why. But don't just keep re-reading hate-filled garbage so you can have a reason to hate people/society and spread more hatred.
- Confession: I had a couple of relationships end in the last year that affected me deeply. I have just recently gotten to a place of understanding, but it still really hurt. One of them was due to the former friend's character issues. The other was due to a lack of compromise. In both situations, I didn't gossip about it, so my defriending was portrayed negatively. I was the bad guy, because I did the honest thing of cutting off relationships that weren't good for me. I didn't yap about it to mutual friends, and it cost me some other faint-hearted friendships. It hurt, but good riddens, ya know?!
- Being more concerned about the way you look in light of your actions more than you're concerned about how it affects other people...well, that sucks.
- In the ever-present debate of who is a better Christian, let me be clear. It is through Jesus alone that you are saved. Not memorizing Scripture, not water baptism, not speaking in tongues. All of that is extra. It is not the main point. And any confusion as to what is the main point is a distraction. Don't be distracted by religion and forget that God desires to truly know you, however you practice. As a preacher's kid, I grew up memorizing tons of Scripture. But now in my adult years, I memorize less and practice obedience more. It's not what you can recite, it's how you live.
- Practice without improvement is pointless. What does it look like? Showing up physically but not mentally. Not being open-minded to a better way, to criticism and the person trying to communicate with you. Attending ball practice doesn't make you better; learning what you did right and wrong causes growth.
- What if the thing you are holding onto the most is actually causing you to miss realizing who you truly are? Perfectionism/Type-A personality is not your identity. It is a distraction and will keep you from being totally and wholly secure in Jesus. It will cause you to lean on your own merits instead of God's amazing grace.
- Not being present in your children's lives sucks. Getting divorced is sucky for your children. Don't try to avoid the emotions by ignoring the conversation. That makes it seem like either (a) you don't understand the affect of your actions, or (b) that you don't care just because it was better for you. I have never ever met a child who would say that growing up in a divided home affected him positively. As an adult, he can choose to spin it positively, but the direct affect is always negative. The kids are always left with choosing between parents, playing referee when they should have been playing Barbies, and coping with their anger while not talking about it because they don't want their parents to feel guilty. It's sucky. It doesn't mean you suck, but it's still a sucky thing to do.
- When you ignore the responsibility of self-management, you become weighty for society, your family, your colleagues, etc. Whether that is your emotional management, job/financial management, or health, you become a permanent burden in a way that could have been avoided. Your short-term mismanagement becomes a long-term weight on someone else. If you are lazy or non-committal or unable to stay disciplined, your children will either learn that from you or bear the burden of the work you would not do. While I fully agree with bearing each other's burdens, I do not excuse blatant laziness. I'm happy to help you carry your burdens, but I still want better for everyone. If you have been lazily feeding the lie that you can't change your life, you will have to deal with the consequences sooner or later. And that's going to be really tough. I really hope you realize it before it's too late.
- Confession: It's difficult to be a woman in a vastly male-dominated workplace. Especially since society as a whole evaluates the primary value of women being based on their level of attractiveness. It's difficult, but I never wanted to admit this because I thought it would be perceived as weak and it would open the door for being victimized. No, I will not be the victim. But I also will not ignore the gas can turned over and fuel spilling out. The thing is: I don't blame men. We, as a society, ALL contribute to this. We value women by their looks, and we need to fix it. We need to look at people as souls: not bodies, not personalities, not clothes and hair. PEOPLE ARE SOULS!!
- Further, I wish I could help women to KNOW this truth: You are enough as a person. Your soul is enough. You don't need to degrade yourself by trying to be the hottest. That only feeds the lie. You are enough.
- Some people spend so much time trying to be perceived as clever. Tweeters, you know what I mean. It makes me wonder if their real relationships are getting enough energy. And further, whether they want any kind of dialogue or if they just want to throw out sarcastic, witty, or clever tweets. If that is you, I hope you learn the value of dialogue.
- Some well-meaning people have recently told me that they've been praying for a "lottery win" so-to-speak. And I can't help but think that they don't need to win the lottery, because that's even more reason to continue their bad habits. A lot of us don't need to win the lottery; we need to have a change of heart and then change our habits. As an analogy: if an obese, glutinous person prays for more food, is the "more food" an answer to prayer or a curse in disguise? Instead of praying for more money and more stuff and more friends and more, more more... we need to pray for God to align our wishes to His will rather than to align His will to our wishes.
- Confession: I sometimes seek knowledge as a defensive weapon rather then seeking knowledge for understanding the other person's point-of-view. While that leaves me thinking I'm right, it also leaves me more isolated.
That's all the confessions I have for today. I'm not sure if this was the most random set of musings or maybe a little golden nugget hidden somewhere in all of this, but I needed to get real! I hope it's appreciated, but if not, you probably won't enjoy my future blog posts! :P Haha! Thanks for reading, everyone. Thanks for the support. Thanks for helping me recover from my candy-coating ways.
With love, PriskaTabitha