Raised by Christian Conservatives drilled into me the most was that my reputation is my most valuable asset. Both of my parents focused on our character. I grew up hearing the following pronouncements over and over and…
Character is everything.”
“Without your good name, you have nothing.”
“You can replace a limb, but you can’t replace a tarnished reputation.
In our house, appearances mattered. Unpleasant stories and moments were kept private. My parents had the respect of the community and they zealously guarded it’s safe keeping.
I’ve often wondered over the last year what my parents would have thought of the candor in my blogs. Would they appall them or would they be proud? I think that my mother would have appreciated my willingness to be vulnerable, even if she secretly would prefer that I keep my personal life separate from my professional veneer. My father, on the other hand, would have no doubt written one of his beautifully crafted letters written in crisp calligraphy gently admonishing what he would view as my reckless disregard for propriety and self-preservation.
So, dear reader: This leaves me wondering have I said too much? And how much more should I say about those awful three months spent sleeping on the back seat of The Silver Chariot?? But I’ve promised to share the lessons I learned during that crucial time, and so I shall.
The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a tellar but for want of an understanding ear.
These are the lessons I wish I could have learned more gently:
- Ultimately, you can only rely on yourself.
- When in new company, it is better to listen than to speak.
- Just because someone is wrong, doesn’t mean they don’t have a point worth listening to.
- Trust takes time and is best earned.
- There are people who no matter how well-intentioned you are, they cannot see this because of their own limitations.
- Sometimes people who you least know, become your best friends.
- Friends come with their own baggage. You can’t carry it for them, but you can lighten the load by understanding that it’s there.
- Friendship, like American Express, has its limits.
- Just because someone says they care about you, doesn’t mean they do.
- Body language is more important than what a person is saying.
- Time doesn’t heal all wounds, some need to stay raw for protection.
- if your intuition tells you something is off, LISTEN!
- Look out for hidden agendas.
- Passive-aggressive types almost always have short fuses, and when they do give into overt anger, WATCH OUT! “Danger Will Robertson!”
- If you are attractive, it’s better to be perceived as unfriendly or standoffish (my word), than as an easy target from innocent banter or a careless smile.
- Don’t underestimate evil. Unfortunately, it does exist.
Enough said. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
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