Being Open

Last night a friend of mine and I had a pretty interesting conversation.

I think that everyone has one or two events or situations in their lives that if, as an outsider, you can fully understand, then you can come very close to understanding that individual. For me, it was my last relationship. And as I spoke with this friend, about a third friend (who doesn't know anything about my last relationship) it became clear to me that a lot of what this friend thinks to be true about me would change if she understood what I went through in that last relationship.

We also talked about our relationships with our mother as it relates to sex. That is, neither one of us is comfortable talking to our mothers about sex. This is the norm for many people, I think, but for me, it goes past just sex. My mother doesn't know a whole lot about my personal life. We are both very defensive with each other. She's afraid to ask, and I'm afraid to tell because I don't like being judged and my decisions critiqued without being asked (there are FEW people who can critique stuff I do, specifically and especially as it related to my personal life, that I can accept). In turn, as I just alluded to, I don't open up very well to people. This was an ironic conclusion I came to, not too long ago. I'd always felt that I was the type of person to tell you anything. I don't volunteer information, I thought, but if you ask, I'll answer.

Yeah -- I answer -- but I don't always answer concisely or completely. Why? Cause I don't want to be judged or critiqued. When parents are open with their kids, they provide a safe space. My mother, not wanting me to fall into the same potholes she did, always pointed out everything I did wrong in a situation. Some people take well to that, I did not. In turn, anything I could hide from her I did. I also never became comfortable with criticism. Critcism is unavoidable so I break my back to avoid it. We have yearly performance reviews coming up and I'm dreading them.We can always work on ourselves -- there are always things we can and should do better, and knowing that has helped me to grasp that it's important for me to take well-intended criticism as well as I can.

Don't get me wrong, it's not that I care what people think about me. I don't care anymore than the average person does, but I do care what those around me think of me and I have a problem with personal decisions being criticized and critiqued. I don't blame my mother but I do think that our relationship and lack of communication has contributed heavily to why I am that way.


Anonymous said...

Well I'm a pretty open person. When I'm asked questions I'm very honest except when it comes to my mother and certain family members. I feel just like you do. I don't want to be judged.

A. Red said...

I have a rather stranger relationship with my mom. I grew up in the church so everything I couldn't do had a religious reason why I shouldn't be doing it. So imagine having to a verbal spiritual and mommmy-fied lashing for everything you did. And some stuff I couldn't talk to her about because I felt she wouldn't understand. That caused me to become very sneaky and I kept SO much to myself. I'm still like that to this day. I do a lot of stuff that people don't know I do. Like yourself, I don't give a damn what they think. I just don't feel comfortable...or know how to deal with someone's criticism because I never got it constructively. Hell I didn't get it at all in the things that really mattered.

A.Smith said...

Glennisha, I'm trying to work on not seeing it as judgment, but hell... I think it is. :)

A.Red, I do a WHOLE lot of stuff people don't know about and if my friends knew just a portion of it, they'd probably wonder if they really know me. It's always easier for me to just keep it to myself. I know in the long run that's not going to be good, but right now, it works.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm a man so I'm pretty close to my mother but I like to keep my real thoughts away from most people too. I have people who think I'm secretive but truthfully I don't see how it's really any of their business.

A.Smith said...

Freeman... I think that's how I feel on some level... it's none of their business why I do what I do and I don't trust people to just let me tell them what I'm thinking without questioning the shit out of me and that just pisses me off more.

Ms. Behaving said...

I completely understand your reasoning...

As a matter of fact, I started my blog simply because I knew I'd be able to say whatever I wanted to say however I wanted to say it and not be judged for it.

Ironically, I am more open here in the blogosphere than I am in person.

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