Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Thoughts on Perfection

I made a new friend recently, and at the risk of sounding pathetic, I'm announcing so here on the blog. I always feel grateful to be frequently surrounded by lots of fun acquaintances, but friends have always been a bit hard for me to come by.

I'm pretty certain its my own fault.  At the risk of publicly embarrassing my sisters, I'll start with their accidental defenses against friendship.  Lisa has a bubble.  Basically an impenetrable physical line that had Kirk looking forward to her wedding day because she had promised him he'd be allowed to give her a hug when she got married.  Michelle needs no physical line; she keeps a careful distance using her natural expression of indifference.  Many people are unwilling to find out that she's actually really funny and very friendly - if you dare to come close enough.

My wall of choice is a carefully crafted facade.  People come close, but I have a really hard time letting them see anything beyond the smiles and sunshine.  To be fair, a lot of my life really is smiles and sunshine.  The happy, smiley Andrea is no fake.  But nobody can smile all the time; I certainly don't.  I just do my best to do the vast majority of my frowning in the privacy of my own home.

I once had a discussion with a friend about the expression "the other side" of someone's personality.  He claimed it was impossible for people to have "sides" to their personality.  He described the personality more as ever-present traits that come and go in their intensity.  According to him, it would be impossible to see a "new" side of someone, because that trait had been there all along.

But I disagree.  I think of the personality as a polyhedron.  While looking directly at one face of a simple six-sided dice, you can truly only see that face; the other five remain obscured.  But I don't think the personality is so precise as that.  Picture instead a thirty-sided dice.  While seeing "30" most directly, it is still possible to observe 17, 19-21, 24-29.  Not only that, but you can almost make out 18, 22 and 23.  You know they are there, even if they are not in plain sight.

But what of 1 through 16?  A change in perspective one way or the another and you'll surely reveal several more readily accessibly numbers.   But I would argue that certain personality traits are diametrically opposed.  While prominently presenting "30," it becomes entirely impossible to see "1."

This theory becomes even more complex when considering the sheer number of traits one could wish to show or hide.  Consider, instead, a zocchihedron (found it on Wikipedia, people - this is not just a word I know).  Look at all the faces/traits you can see simultaneously.  Look at that huge band of almost plain traits along the center band.  Consider the long row ready to be exposed with the slightest disruption of balance.

And then consider a dice with movable faces.  What if 30 didn't have to oppose 1.  What if 1 could stay hidden at all times regardless of the other numbers displayed.

Well, that is my facade.  I don't speak when I feel at risk of sounding stupid (notice that I never join discussions about politics?).  I tell my share of self-depreciating stories, but only when I know the offenses are easily forgivable and likely to get a laugh.   I don't often share my failures unless I know I can quickly follow up with a success.

I think friendship happens when you stop controlling the roll.  When you hand someone the whole dice and let the numbers fall where they may.  Or maybe when you put away the dice altogether and operate on more of the continuum theory.

At a recent party, a neighbor I have long respected asked how we had never before discussed that we'd been at Utah State together.  I found myself explaining that my time at Utah State just really isn't the number I choose to lead with.

If you've seen me cry, I've handed you the dice.

If you can list a major mistake I've made in my life, I've handed you the dice.

If you have heard me yell, seen me scared, or heard an impromptu testimony, I've handed you the dice.

If you have heard me complain about Kirk, I've handed you the dice.

I was just blog hopping and ended up at a site called Controlling My Chaos.  In a blog post, the author described a particularly perfectly put together mother as Malibu Barbie.  She cited specific evidence including her appearance at an early morning school event.  I was thrilled to see the actual "Malibu Barbie" mom had add to the comments section:

Okay--it is time for "Malibu Barbie" (and I use that term loosely) to set the record straight. First, the only way I could be called Barbie (I have never even owned a Barbie in my life until now)is to reverse the dimensions. Not nearly as attractive that way. And I have never been a blonde! I have a few lighter streaks now in an unsuccessful attempt to cover the gray. As for the early morning flags. I didn't shower when I got up and I was too tired to take my makeup off from the night before. My 50% off JC Penney "ensemble" was covering my dirty tshirt that I wore to bed. (Isn't my husband lucky?) In our school you "get" to be PTO pres. because you weren't smart enough to get out of it. (I guess that is kind of "Barbieish.) Cleaning is my hobby--but who doesn't need a little instant gratification? Ask my kids. They would like me to come up with a better way of channeling my psychotic hyperactivity. And just for the record. I don't scrapbook, blog, fix daily nutritious meals for my family, create recipes and crafts for the whole blogging community,keep my finances and the PTO's finances in perfectly graphed order, make more money through Box Tops than ever in the history of Box Tops,take my kids to the library...WOw! I think I need to make a Barbie for you, Chaos Lady--Jill. Instead--due to my hyperdrive, I fall into window wells, slip on the ice and dump pans full of hot vegetable soup all over me and my white coat, back into my brother's parked vehicle, back into the mail car...oh the truth hurts sooooo! So now you all know the real truth. 

This is not to say that I think the visible half of my zocchihedron resembles perfection.  Rather, I share this only to illustrate that the visible half only tells half of the story.  If I want to continue to make friends, I may need to be a little more willing to share the other half.

And sadly, as much as I would like to consider writing "vulnerable" posts a means to this end, blogging still allows me to carefully spin the dice.

Here's to taking a few more risks and maybe making a few more friends along the way.