At first glance
It's rather easy to be misunderstood. All of us
make snap decisions about another on a daily
basis. Hence given limited time and exposure
we immediately jump to conclusions. The big
challenge is that often such snap decisions can
be based on the most inconsequential of facts
such as attire or demeanor. When in truth the
real person lies far beneath said surface. Over
the years I've learned to take some time to get
to know the other side prior to lauding and/or
condemning it. Yet I'm often not as self aware
as I should be. Hence once in awhile it's best
to look at oneself from another's perspective.
Deep in my heart I know that I'm a nice
guy with more than positive intentions.
However it often takes those I meet a bit
of time to figure that out. On the outside
I can be somewhat flashy and possibly
over bearing. Thus there is little doubt
that I exude an air of confidence that
could be construed as arrogance. All
of said bravado is just a shield against
being hurt. An attempt to mask my fear
and angst about being rejected. In many
cases said stake in the ground insures
success. Yet occasionally it's an issue.
Like me, whomever I encounter has an equal
set of personal baggage. Hence they filter my
reality via their perception. Understanding that
prior biases immediately tarnish one's sterling
reputation is a bitter pill to swallow. There is
no doubt that some of us take an instant dislike
to others. Our challenge is to accept that such
a fact may be unfair, but is a natural response
that rarely has anything to do with ourselves.
Rather it's all about them. Thus the question is
whether one should alter their approach for the
audience at hand. In other words - adapt one's
schtick to insure a successful initial encounter.
Politicians and such power brokers obviously
are quite skilled at adapting their image. Said
theoretical men and women of the people are
often hybrids out of their element. Thus I've
oft questioned photos of political candidates
schmoozing in coffee shops. While they may
appear to enjoy slinging the hash, in reality
they don't belong there and know it. However
they know that unless they are viewed as one
of them - their chances of winning are limited.
Thus their outer limits evolve as the situation
dictates. Is that subterfuge? Or proof that one
can fool most of the people most of the time.
Some may find the role of chameleon as rather
disingenuous given a leopard never changes it's
spots. However it's important to note that most
opinions are formed within seconds of meeting
another. Therefore how one dresses absolutely
drives first impressions. Dressing for a first date
can be challenging. Success is doubtful if one
shows up in the wrong ensemble. i.e. a tuxedo
versus shorts and a tee. That suit may get you
the job but why dress as someone you're not?!
Thus one should willing project an image that
they are comfortable maintaining long term.
Otherwise the joke inevitably will be on YOU.
Appearances aside, we are who we are.
Thus it's to our benefit to take the time to
get to know each other. Chances are we'll
all benefit from a bit of cross pollination.
What worries me is that many Americans
seem unwilling to see the other's side. Nor
consider the from another's perspective.
Hence where one worships, how one votes,
or the color of one's skin is immediately
deemed an asset or a liability. One must
pity those who employ such a categorical
approach to engagement. That's because
they've no idea of what they're missing.
Room with a view
For a queer like me, it's fairly easy to "pass".
And for the first half of my life that's exactly
what I did. Yet ultimately the truth found me
literally out. However it's impossible to alter
the color of one's skin nor easily rise out of
poverty. And yet often the most oppressed
have even more to offer. It's up to each and
every one of us to see the other for who they
really are. By understanding each of our
individual realities, together we can build an
even better world. While seeing is believing,
the key to our is waiting to be discovered. It
is to our advantage to stop, look, and learn.