I want to believe that I am a straight shooter. I want to be one of those people whom you never question where you stand. When I am not around, I want people to say “Wilson certainly wasn’t afraid to tell you how the cow ate the cabbage”. I want people to feel that Truth will trump etiquette 100% of the time. However, none of those things would be entirely true. I can be, at times, very assertive, and during those times I can be willing to set aside one’s feelings in an effort to convey my message, but more so than not, I would rather everyone be happy and comfortable and just bottle up what I would really like to say. I believe that there is a fine line between cowardice and correctness. We have all heard the saying, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” I think that is correct on just about every level, but I believe that “nice” has been placed closer to the category of “delicate” and “handle with care”. I am as much a part of this as anyone else. I like to be paid only the nicest of compliments, and when I am critiqued I often feel threatened or attacked. It is a character flaw of mine that stems from my own insecurities and lack of self-esteem. I will often tell you that I want the truth, but in reality, I really just want to hear the good parts, not the parts that involve my not being great and wonderful. I want you to tell me how I look, so long as I look handsome, slim, fit, and intelligent, but the second you tell me something less than flattering, well I am offended. This is the case for a lot of us. I don’t know if it’s human nature or our society, but I see it a lot. I see people who are not only offended by truth, but go looking for things to be offended by, even when truth is not involved. They need and want to find that insult within every comment, so they can be angry and insulted. I am guilty of going down this path depending on my mood.
This is the part where I go into the life lesson that I learn with just about every sign language class that I attend while Sheila is teaching. Monday evening we were going through the standard lesson, where we learn a little vocabulary and practice with the class. One of the student’s phone rang. As she was already flustered with the exercise at hand, she jumped up and said, “oh sh*t”. Everyone got a laugh, and one of the students signed to Sheila what was said. Sheila just laughed and went straight into the sign for “sh*t” and a couple of other words. She did this very matter-of-factly, as this was not something which made her uncomfortable, not in the least. As chance would have it, one of the vocabulary words we were reviewing was also the sign for “bold”. Sheila explained to us that the deaf community knows of no other way than to be bold. She signed a conversation that she had with a friend, which she had not seen in years. The old friend said, “hey, it’s good to see you. wow, you sure have gotten big and put on weight.” Sheila just flashed the prettiest, shiniest grin and shook her hand to sign, “yes, I know.” It was not an insult, and it wasn’t meant to be hurtful. It was simply an observation. Sheila and another, more advanced, student explained that the deaf community doesn’t get their feelings hurt over comments like this. It seems as if they have never been taught that it could be taken the wrong way. No one has tried to explain the almost impossibly gray area between observation and offensive. In so many ways, I thought that this was fu*king great! I thought about how much of the bullsh*t gossip which the deaf are spared. I thought about all of the made-up “rules” that we try to place on what is politically correct and what is offensive. I thought about how nice it must be than to simply not know any other way than to call ’em like you see ’em. That is where you find Truth. Not only is the deaf community they blunt because they are blunt, but they are blunt because it is all that they know how to be. It is much like the saying, “out of the mouths of babes comes the truth”, the only difference is that these are fully functional, mature, rational adults who have no problems stating the facts. We all laughed as Sheila explained that Donald Trump has nothing on the deaf community when it comes to speaking his mind. She was not in any way saying that she supported Donald Trump or any of his ideas, but she was pointing out that she believes that there is much to learn about the honesty in his delivery. I’m certainly not going to engage in a political discussion, but I did enjoy the knowledge that came from understanding the viewpoint of a deaf person when discussing the topic of being blunt and truthful. I think that there is a freedom that could be had from only conveying what you see through your signs, while being unaware of all the societal rules that have been made up in regards to other people’s feelings and what you can and cannot say. Rock on Sheila, you kick much ass.
Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,
#Goalgetter Challenge Day 1 Video