Monday, June 01, 2009

Flaky Like the Chocolate

I dated this guy once who actually told me what he thought of me upon first meeting. Apparently it was something along the lines of "I don't think she's dumb, but she kind of acts that way." Or something like that - I've paraphrased poorly there.

It may have been because within an hour of meeting me, I was telling him stories about Princess Me, and how the village children sing songs of my glory. What made me fall in love with him was when he asked in complete seriousness "what did they sing?" Awesome.

Anyhow, I get that a lot. People think I am in fact flaky. Now I don't mind it so much when people don't "get" me. That way I can just say that they don't understand me and move on with my life. But I've come to the realization lately that there are some people in my life, very close to me who think that I either genuinely am kind of dumb, or am a flake.

And that? Is unacceptable.

My own self-schema can't even reconcile the idea that people would actually think of me that way. I am the smart responsible friend/child/employee. And as much as I might aspire to be the cute, fun friend/child/employee - it's simply not the case.

I realize though, that what people think of me - has to do with how I present myself. If people think I'm a flake, I have no one to blame but myself for this.

I suspect it has to do with my lack of confidence. I can feel the respect I lose from people when I fail to stand up for myself or let things slide or sit quietly. Or even when I say something funny and not take things too seriously.

A couple of posts ago I went on and on about how I get things. I do. I really do understand most things around me. I mean if you want to talk about Physics or hedge funds, I'm clueless - but people situations? I get. How to do well in a job? I get.

But sometimes? The fact that I get that a situation just doesn't need to be taken too seriously causes people to think I'm dumb. Sometimes when I try to diffuse situations by saying something off the wall creates confusion. And sometimes, when I am blindly obedient or quiet because I don't think it's worth it to argue- causes people to think I don't know any better.

The job that I left? I realized once I was gone that both my bosses thought I was kind of dumb. Competent yes. But in a nice, sweet girl kind of way.

They didn't realize that I could tell when they were lying to me. They didn't realize that I often strongly disagreed with them. They didn't realize that I had to bite my tongue so many times when they were wrong. And they were. Often. Quite often making themselves sound like morons without even realizing it.

But I don't have the same kind of power hungry ego that alpha executives have. I am not bursting with ambition and drive and resolve to run the world. I am content to be an obedient little soldier. Cause you know what? I get for the most part what my bosses are trying to accomplish.

I get that my friends feel very strongly about this or that. I get that some of my family members feel smarter and somewhat superior to me. Even if they're not.

What I don't get is how to not look like a bitch when I do finally get annoyed with people talking down to me and putting them in their place. That? Is a bigger challenge. Cause for all the TV shows that have a final scene showing the timid little girl getting angry and putting everyone in their place, and people are in awe of them? And finally show them the respect they deserve? Yeah it never works that way in the real world.

I'm not dumb. I just respect your ego and don't wish to argue. I know when things aren't that big a deal. People? Quit making assumptions about others -cause that's what's dumb.


Becky said...

I've never had the pleasure of meeting you in real life. But just from our texts, and reading your blog, and your comments on mine, I KNOW that you are not dumb or flakey!

I'm very similar to you. I can let a lot of things slide. I don't feel the need to get all worked up about every last detail. And I am the one who tends to sit quietly in the room, just silently observing. I only call "bullshit" when I know it truly is. I back away from conflict. I have no use for it.

Anonymous said...

I used to be the kind of person that corrected your grammar and told you when you said something wrong. I was obnoxious so I cut it out.

Recently someone seemed stunned to learn of my education and all of the languages I speak/things I know.

Just because it's silent, doesn't mean it's not powerful!

Chief Rock Chef said...

I have never thought of you as dumb. If I did I wouldn't read your blog!

You are right about putting people in their place - it usually goes wrong :-(

But I DO like chocolate Flakes. Mmm, now I want one!

Faiqa said...

It's hard to imagine that anyone would think you're dumb.

I don't necessarily agree with your statement that what other people think of you is your "fault". I've found that the majority of people want to stratify... like, I'm up here, she's down there, that guy's smarter, so he's in an even higher strata... It seems to me like you get it, though.

That maybe you realize that that way of thinking is problematic and totally out of touch with the way life really is. What I'm trying to say is you're not the dumb one, and it doesn't make sense for you to blame yourself for other's lack of insight.

Did that make any sense? It is really late and I'm dozing off, so it would be pretty amazing if it did.

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