There are different reasons why a person might admire another person even to the point of wanting to emulate that admired character trait or facet of personality. And though I know there must be different reasons, I can only think of one and that is the one that applies to me.
It has to do with filters and how some people seem to have few, if any. And it’s not just that they don’t have much in the way of a filter, they also have the ability to not hold grudges and not hold on to the past. You can have a huge argument with one of these types and five minutes later with them all’s forgotten and back to normal or at the very least not worth thinking about because it was five minutes ago, and you (meaning me, too) are still stewing over the first words of the argument.
Whenever I encounter one of these unfiltered types and witness them in all their unfiltered glory, I immediately think, “Wow! What must it be like to say exactly what you feel without a worry of what others might think?” and then before the last word has even been thought, I cringe just a little bit. It’s the cringe that throws me. I can understand cringing, and I can even understand cringing before thinking anything, but to have such a liberating thought and then cringe can only mean one thing.
I want to be one of those unfiltered types I so admire. I know some of you may be thinking, “But you blog, you can be one of those types.” And you would be right. But it isn’t about you being right. AND it isn’t about blogging and the potential, nay the given, that many online personalities are mirages. Anyone can blog anonymously or post anonymous comments just about anywhere online and be completely unfiltered. We see this everywhere. But that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about being unfiltered and able to let go of the past in person, to everyone you encounter. Some of you might think you tell it like it is with everyone, but I’d be willing to bet, though not much because I have no visible means of support and shouldn’t be gambling, that you bite your tongue on some things with your loved ones or your boss. I’d also be willing to bet, but not as much as my previous bet because I’m still waiting to see if that pays off, that many of you can’t easily let go of the past. You (meaning me, too) accumulate books, photographs, recipes, blogs, and other stuff and find it hard to get rid of anything or to stop reading blogs you subscribed to months ago when they seemed edgy, funny or super creative and now they are just more of the same. The bloom is off, the thrill is gone and still you hold on.
Of course, I’m not talking about your blog because your blog rocks! It is edgy, funny, brilliant and has the best stories/poems/photos/recipes/DYI info of any blog written to date. Yours is the first one I read when I open my email box after letting it sit and receive the detritus of the internet. Okay the previous sentence sounds a bit pretentious, but how often do I get to use the word detritus in a sentence? Not very. And I will confess that I read the blogs I subscribe to in the order in which they appear in my inbox. I’m taking baby steps towards becoming unfiltered.
What amazes me about these specific unfiltered types is they are not intentionally cruel or even hateful in what they say, but they also don’t seem to care if what they say hurts another’s feelings. And that’s the difference. We, filtered types, don’t want to hurt our friend/spouse/co-worker’s feelings so we edit our words. That’s what I tell myself. I just soften my words or even worse, bite my tongue and not say anything to spare someone’s feelings. But is it really that? Do we really care more for someone else’s feelings than our own or is there another reason we do the filtering thing?
I think that on some level it’s not so much that we are concerned with another’s feelings as we are concerned with what we think they may think of us. Or we might be concerned with another’s feelings and with what we think they may think of us, but it’s slightly the latter. If I tell someone exactly what I think, he might think, “God, what a __________!” Feel free to insert your favorite “B’ word in the blank. I’ve heard them all – beast, brute, bicuspid.
And that’s what keeps the filters in place for most of us. Not bicuspids, because the filters aren’t tangible, but the fear that someone might think less of us. The amount of filtering can vary depending on how well we know someone. Encounters with strangers tend to have a better chance of being unfiltered because you know you will probably not encounter them again while exchanges with people we care about or respect or fear tend to be more prone to filtering.
The weird thing is we spend so much time worrying about what other people might think of us that we don’t realize that other people aren’t even thinking about us. They are too busy wondering what everyone thinks of them to think of us. To varying degrees, we are all just self-absorbed creatures longing to fit in. How else do you explain all the tattooed, pierced people roaming about? They think they are making some sort of individual statement, and that was probably true of the first few people who did it, but now the newly tattooed, pierced wonderkinds are just another less attractive (I’m assuming a facial pierce or facial tattoo, except the tattooed eyeliner some women get) face in the crowd. If you are picking a tattoo out of a book, then just how original are you? And when your reasons for adding such permanent decorations to your body include because everyone has one even if you don’t want to admit that because you are more filtered than your bodily decorations might lead others to think, then you are more sheep than border collie.
This isn’t a dog blog, so I don’t know how we got into canine topics when we were talking about filters of the intangible type. Okay, we weren’t talking. I was just writing and assuming that you were thinking what I thought you might be thinking as you read this. But you might not be thinking what I think you should be thinking, instead you might be wondering what to have for dinner or should you eat dessert. I can’t help you with that. I can’t really help with the filtering thing either because this is all just off the top of my head. And now you’re salivating over thoughts of a brownie hot fudge sundae. It was that easy to plant a thought in your brain. It would have been even easier if I had used a picture of a brownie hot fudge sundae instead of the weird one I used in this post.
So since I don’t have anything else to add, I’ll just ask for your unfiltered thoughts on my filter thoughts, but remember unfiltered doesn’t mean cruel, hateful or mean or I will use my unfiltered administrative power to apply a filter to your unfilteredness.
Oh and a quick apology. I tagged this post as humor, though I don’t find it particularly funny, but a humor tag seems to attract an interesting mix of readers so if you are one of those interesting types who stumbled here in search of humor, my apologies for misleading you. However, one (meaning me) wonders why you would still be reading if you were looking for humor and if in fact, you stopped reading a paragraph or more back, why I am apologizing to online strangers who aren’t even reading the apology? I definitely need a filter intervention.