"An Enigma of Contradictions"

Enigma.jpgI recently wrote about how life is messy, and one thing I’ve noticed lately is that it’s especially true of people.  All people.  You, me, your kids, my grandparents, famous people, poor people, pretty people, weird people, and the entire human race. We all have this in common: that we are all incredibly complicated, infuriatingly inconsistent, and often downright hypocritical.

What really got me thinking about this was that a couple of years ago I was trying to explain Preemie’s personality to her first grade teacher but I couldn’t.  I started off with, “Well, she’s very obedient and eager to please, she’ll always try to do exactly what you say.” But then I thought of all the ways my compliant little angel had a stubborn streak and I started backpedaling, “well, usually…except for when she really does not want to at all…OK, that’s actually not necessarily true…but it’s not NOT true either…it just depends…nevermind.”  Luckily the teacher had gotten to know her well and knew exactly hat I was talking about.  She said, “Oh, I know how she is. So incredibly sweet, but if the work is difficult, she’ll stop and just peer at you over those glasses.”Exactly. I was so relieved  thinking, thank goodness she gets her!

The inability to easily pin-down my kids or myself (or any people for that matter) shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did. I grew up taking those magazine quizzes that take 3 minutes to definitively tell you what kind of friend you are, what your perfect style is, and whether you are a loser or not. I am very tempted to try to stick my personality and everyone else around me in a clearly-defined box because it’s so much easier! (I’m a good person. She is nice. He’s a jerk. They are fun.) But again, it’s just not that simple. A friend of mine recently said, “I’m such an enigma of contradictions!” and I so relate to that statement. For example, I like knowing what I should do, but I hate being told what I have to do. I’m also naturally lazy. But I love to be busy. But not too busy. But not bored. But not stressed.

To make matters more complicated, sometimes my strengths and my weaknesses are the same thing. On the one hand, I care about people and what they think so I’m a friendly person. On the other hand, I care about people and what they think so I’m insecure. And actually there’s a third hand, that I care about people and what they think so I’m angry and offended when other people don’t care about me. And then on another appendage, a foot maybe, I’m trying not to care as much so I don’t get offended and angry because I can’t expect people to look out for me if I won’t look out for myself.

I’ve tried taking personality tests where you pinpoint whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert but I can’t seem to define myself either way. Sometimes I feel fulfilled by being social and sometimes I feel depleted.  Maybe it depends on who I’m with, or my mood or my needs at the time. It might be that I’m usually the one, but my mental illness makes me the other. Who knows?

I’m sure the take-away from all of this is that we need to have balance. The hard part is being aware enough to know what we need when we need it. It’s hard to be that self-aware, especially when we’re so close to the situation and so dang complicated.

Another thing I take from this is that I need to not judge other people for being as flawed and inconsistent as I am. I haaaaaaate it when people are super judgy.  It’s THE worst. We all make mistakes, we’re all flawed, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ can cleanse us of all our sins; so why, oh why pretend we’re perfect when we’re not? I get really angry when people act perfect and get all self-righteous. I start thinking (sometimes out loud), who gave THEM permission to judge?  Plus, you just know it’s the seemingly perfect ones who are hiding the darkest secrets. What hypocrites. And then I realize that I’m judging them too. Oh the hypocrisy! I mean, who has the greater sin?  The judgy one?  Or the one who judges the judgy ones for being too judgy?

I guess we all just need to embrace the contradictory nature of ourselves and others. So as a show of good faith, I will post a shameful photo of what I ate for lunch yesterday: brownie mix in a bowl that I totally ate all by myself. The hypocritical part is that even though I try really hard to be open and honest, I was still tempted to set up a nice-looking photo and clear away the dirty dishes and wipe up the strawberry oatmeal flakes so that if I was confessing gluttony, I’d at least look like my house was clean. But I refrained. Because being honest about my mediocrity is what I strive for.

brownie-mix

Dude, my grout is dirty. #ofcourse #gross #openandhonest #nofilter #keepingitreal #exceptyoucantseethedirtyflooranddishesinthesink #boundaries #iknowhashtagsarepointlessinablogpostbuttheyarehilarious

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