The Sort Of Person Who
I have made my peace with the fact that I have a defined type in men. Which means I have had the following conversation a couple of times in my life:
“I would love to see you spar.”
“It’s not a part of me I’m proud of, I’d rather you didn’t see it.”
That’s usually the end of that. Not that I never bring it up again, just that bringing it up again has so far yielded the same results. They’d rather not show me ‘that side’.
Hidden sides to a person is something I’ve been thinking about recently. I know I am just as guilty of this as anyone else, but it’s always easier to pinpoint these sort of things in other people. And I’m bringing up this specific example because it has always left me wondering.
For personal reasons (covered here, among things), the side they are trying to hide is desirable to me. I’ve always tried to communicate that. And it’s not like I’m not aware it’s there. Actually, I’d go as far to say had it not been there, I would have shown a lot less interest in them. So this ‘hidden’ side is something that works for them, not against them, when it comes to my opinion of these men.
But still there’s a sense that if they were to show me, my opinion of them would forever be altered. I don’t think it would — but that’s irrelevant. Because this isn’t really about my opinion. It’s about their perception of my opinion.
Likewise, the things I am hiding from people is not about what those people think of me. It’s about what I think those people think of me. And directly linked to my perception of their opinion is how comfortable and confident I would act around those people.
Chances are the people I care about already know (or at least suspect) the things I am trying to keep hidden. It’s still hard to be open with those things, because I feel like they are hidden and that feeling is comfortable. I want to be the best possible me for them, so I try to downplay the things I do not like about myself. They are probably not fooled, but I am. I want to be thought of as the sort of person who <fill in the blank>. As long as I feel perceived as the sort of person who <blank>, then I can act, then I can be, the sort of person who <blank>. I can be the best me.
If others I care about intrude on the parts of me I do not wish to be, I will be thrown off my script. I’ll be nervous and uncomfortable, unsure of how to handle myself. I’ll no longer be the sort of person who <blank>, I’ll be the sort of person who <only sometimes blank>.
For example: I want to be a rock for my kids, so I try not to show it when things get to me. If one of them walks in on me crying it’s awkward, not because they will think less of mom, but because mom doesn’t feel like a rock. To resume the role of rock would feel less authentic after that. Even though I know it wouldn’t be.
Those awkward moments are inevitable, but as long as they happen by accident, I can pretend it’s a one-off incident which doesn’t affect my loved one’s perception of me. That’s probably why I avoid situations where the things I wish to hide are on display for my loved ones. Even as I feel like I’m doing the hiding for them, it’s all for my benefit.
Here is where it gets tricky. When you are struggling with something, something you really should be talking over with someone, but it’s something you don’t want to be struggling with, where do you go?
Not to the people you care for and respect. Because you want those people to respect you. They will, regardless (that’s probably why you respect them in the first place) but that won’t really matter. You will still be dealing with the filter you use for those people. You still want to be the sort of person who <blank> and you wouldn’t act against that. Real honest personal conversations ironically are had with people you don’t care about and who don’t care about you.
The one thing that is most likely to change you loved one’s perception of you? Learning you felt like you couldn’t be completely honest and personal with them.
Aren’t we humans beautiful creatures?