Home > Uncategorized > Social propriety and why it sucks.

Social propriety and why it sucks.

“But You never said it would be easy, You only said I’d never walk alone.” Ginny Owens “If You Want Me To”

It’s no secret that life is tough, yea? We all have experienced one or another of the many colorful ways that life can screw us up.  No one really gets to escape that. No one. I think we all have the tendency to try to hide what life has done to us… and some are so very good at it. It’s truly amazing. But the truth is, we all… in one way or another… get fucked by life. (sorry, but screwed just doesn’t represent the truth harshly enough.)

For whatever reason, biological or environmental, I have never had that filter. You know? The one that helps keep us in check? The one that keeps certain stuff locked away, so that only socially appropriate emotions and behaviors are seen by others. THAT filter. The propriety filter. Yea… I don’t have that. As a young child, I was constantly saying things that were inappropriate and embarassing to my mom. I was the girl who would mention in casual conversation that my Dad had been sleeping on the couch for the past few days, or that late one night I heard my parents “wrestling” in their room. you know? THAT kid. My mother would hear me and intervene. She’d laugh and try to correct my “mistake” and dispell the awkwardness that had flooded the room. Then she’d take me out and tell me for the 13th hundred time that “there are things that other people just do not need to know, Britt.” I so never got that. I always felt bad, and would cry and tell her that I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for… but lordy, I’d do it all over again.

I’d like to say that as an adult, this has been completely ratified and that I am the very model of social propriety, but lying is bad. And anyone who knew me even slightly would know the truth. That truth being that I still don’t get it. But, I’m not so sure that I need to be ashamed about this. Let’s think through it:

 Socially speaking, there are rules to govern behavior. I’m not sure that everyone really is completely aware of just how many rules there are, except for my fellow muck-ups who are constantly breaking them. But there are a lot of rules that form what the collective “us” view as appropriate behavior. Think back to jr. and sr. high. Remember how cruel others acted towards people who were clueless about stuff like social order or acceptable behaviors? Or do you remember how fun it was to laugh at people who just seemed so awkward and weird. Why were they so weird? Who decided that the way they were behaving was wrong, and that the way you were behaving was right? Where did all those expectations for proper behavior come from? Did you ever gather with a bunch of your peers and sit down to discuss and vote on what is acceptable and what is inappropriate behavior? I think not. We all just know. Are at least most of us do. And those who do rule and judge over those who don’t, leaving them feel as though they are stupid and backward.

Why? Why are there rules? Can how we feel really be contained due to rules? SHOULD it be? Should victims of abuse feel the pressure so strongly to be “normal” and to make sure no one knows or could ever guess that something awful has happened to them? Should we all have to shove down how we truly feel just so that we don’t tar the image of how perfect our families or friendships are?  After years of being teased, made fun of, and socially isolated due to my inability to lie to myself or others about what I was going through… I’ve come to the conclussion that it is not healthy to hide and shove and completely cover up the pain, and hurt, and joy, and love we are feeling just so we can fit into this nice little emotionally stable but mostly dull mold that society wants to press us into.  I’m sorry, but it’s not right. Now, do I think we all should be controlled by our emotions? No way… that’s not healthy either. But I also feel like we give power to the bad when we foster a society that is silent about and unable to handle issues like abuse, depression, addiction, and disease. We trap the victims, giving power to the abusers. We allow the hurt to continue and become bigger… and then we dare to pity and look down on those who cave in or crash under the weight and pressure we have put onto their broken shoulders.

This is not right. I refuse to be a part of this. I may be a loser and a social retard… but I’m not going to allow society to crush the people around me. So come on, air it out. Come tell me about your hurts, your pain. I promise you, I will not jude you. I will not care about propriety. I will listen, I may cry, but most of all I’ll be able to handle it. Together, we both can handle it. Screw society and their rules. I will not define others by their ability to be confined into the role prescribed for them. I will not judge or condemn. I won’t sit in awkward silence trying to deal with what you just told me. Because life sucks sometimes, and real strength is the ability to acknowledge that… to feel that pain… and to truly process and deal with it. That’s true humanity. That’s life. So let’s throw out the little pussy that is society and it’s dumb expectations… and lets build a community of people who see life for all it’s beauty and pain, and can embrace and handle both.

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