Monday, April 06, 2009

More boxes

I guess I'm not finished with my introspective study yet. After writing the "Little Boxes" blog yesterday, I set it aside, assuming that outside influences caused me to set that in motion.

However, it garnered some comments which made me realize that a lot of people feel pressured by society to design and manipulate the boxes that define them.

Of course, that caused me to spend time in thought today and while I'm fairly certain that the pathology of human interaction will remain the same, I'm still going to push against the definitions that others have of me so that I can establish my own sense of being.

I remember sitting at the dining room table with most of my family. Jim was away at college, so poor Dad was stuck with three women. We were chattering away as quickly as we could and he sat there in stunned silence, completely unable to speak over our words. Then, the giggling began.

You see, Carol had asked Dad a question and before the poor man had even recognized his name in the query, mom or I had responded for him. We felt that we knew him well enough to know what his response would be to the question.

Now while that was hilarious at the time, I find that I absolutely despise it when people assume to know what my response to a given situation will be.

When meeting with my friend from high school last week, I heard more tales of a community's assumptions about me. Boys wouldn't ask me to go out with them because they were afraid of my father's response. I wasn't asked to be at most of the fun parties in town (read: keggars) because my father would find out. Consequently, I didn't know half of the fun things that were happening, because kids assumed that I told my dad everything.

Reality? I told him NOTHING! In my world, what Dad didn't know - wouldn't hurt me. Being the preacher's kid in a small town was tough ... because of assumptions that were made about my reaction to a given situation. I would have liked the option to make my own decisions, but the box that wrapped itself around me eliminated that possibility.

As an old lady (less than 50 years old, thank you very much), I look back and realize that I stayed out of a lot of trouble because of what happened, but as an old lady who knows what she could have handled at that age, I'm annoyed that my options were stripped away from me and that I was never given the choice to participate or walk away.

I still can not bear it when I discover that people make decisions based on what they think they know about me. They won't discuss things with me because they assume I have a certain opinion and lump me in a box. There are behind-door conversations regarding what I might or might not do or say in a conversation or situation, but I don't find out about those until after decisions have been made and again ... options are stripped away.

So, what is that you think you know about me? Whether it is right or wrong, good or bad ... set it aside. I want you to always be questing to know me better, to let me redefine myself to you constantly. I don't want to fit into your definition of Diane Greenwood Muir. And I promise to do my best to give you the same consideration.


Rebecca said...

Okay I am going to set aside my assumption that you never misspell a word... and I am going to set aside my assumption that you might be one of the wittiest people I know... and I will set aside my assumption that I could quite contentedly sit next to you at a desk all day and write and talk.... and I will try to discover deeper things... like boxer or brief? hehehehe by the way I you surprise me way to much to ever think I really know you! hehehe

Diane Muir said...

You are so good for me, can I keep you?

Knit boxers on my men, thank you very much. And if you are talking about dogs, I don't like boxers as much I like briefs ... if you can call a dachshund brief.