Off The Cuff Friday:I’m A Pretty Bird With A Big Mouth

Here’s what is on my mind today:

This morning I was walking up to the door of my work, when I saw a woman approaching. I was just about to open the door for her, when she grabbed the door instead and said, “Beauty before age.” I smiled, and then held the next door for her, and then walked into the building, high off receiving such a lovely compliment so early in the day. As someone who has had a somewhat tumultuous relationship with her looks, I was both flattered and humbled.

Growing up, I was a skinny, awkward, bookworm. I did not think of myself as an attractive person, so my looks have not been important to me. If a person had asked me back then how I saw myself, I would have said, “I’m okay, but [fill in the blank] is way prettier than I am”. I actively participated in the evil game of comparing myself to other people, and somehow, I always ended up losing.

I always thought my nose was too big. My lips were too small. I had thick eyebrows. My eyes were too narrow. I had annoying freckles. My dimples were too big. I had buck teeth. And the list goes on. It wasn’t until I got older that I really began to appreciate how I look. I spent most of my childhood thinking I was ugly, and I would become discouraged because someone else always looked better than me. (Or so I thought)

I have since made peace with how I look. Whether I like it or not, this is the face I was born with. It doesn’t matter if someone else’s face is more beautiful than mine because I’m happy with the one I have.  (Thank the Lord for my gorgeous parents.)

Now You Know Why I’m Quiet: I’ve been a Christian for 18 years. During most of those years,  I have been trying to live a good, wholesome life (whatever that means). As a teenager growing up in church, I warned about the dangers of sleeping around, (pregnancy! STDs! low self esteem!)  doing drugs (addiction and death), drinking heavily (ditto), and smoking (cancer). No one ever told me about harmful effects of judging other people (arrogance), legalism (self-righteousness), gossiping (suspicion, broken friendships), and intolerance (bitterness). What I’ve learned as a mature Christian is this: humans rank sins. God does not. To God, a gossip is just as guilty as a murderer, but somehow, we have lost the message amid bigger offenses. I only say this because my mouth is probably my worst offender.

At least once a day, I say something that, if I had time to think about it, I would not have said. (On a good day, more than once.)

I grew up in a family that appreciates a clever put-down. (Or a not so clever put-down. As long as it’s a put-down) The jabs are not meant to be malicious. They are a sign of affection. If we tease you, we like you. (And that’s a good thing.) I assume that everyone accepts snide remarks the way I do: by brushing them off as unimportant. However, not everyone has benefited from being teased for most of their life. I’d built up a tolerance to being picked on because it happened so often when I was a kid. That doesn’t mean that I’ll stand there idle and let a person insult me. I’m not yet at the point where I can “turn the other cheek”. (A warning; If you are in any way, shape, or form, a sensitive person. Engaging me in a battle of wits is not a good idea.)

On the other hand, I will not jab anyone who A) hasn’t jabbed me first, and B) Is too emotionally frail to handle my sharp sense of humour. I’m better at keeping my snide attempts at humour at bay, but it’s enough of a problem for me to have to keep some of my snark to myself.

I’m Still Not Nice:  Last week, I wrote about niceness versus kindness. I am not nice, but kind (mostly). But, I have always been good at reading people, and I’m not as likely to be friendly toward someone who is misrepresenting whom they are. Many times in my life, I have wished that I could turn off this weird gift of mine–especially when I like someone. However, it has saved me from trying to forge relationships with people who are just, not that into me. Making friends with people who are trying to figuratively stab me in the back, and having someone ask me pointed questions about a mutual acquaintance, and then taking my end of the conversation back to the person as though I was the one who initiated it. Needless to say, I thank God I have it now. I may not be nice, but at least you know exactly where I stand.

Mc Mafia: It’s a great book, but it is really doing my head in. Reading about the connections between organized crime, corruption, politics, free trade, and social ills like human trafficking, arms dealing, and the sex trade, is depressing. It just goes to show, no matter how bad you think your life is, there are millions of people who have it much worse. Sobering.

That’s all for now.

Peace,

Erie

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