Whispering Malcontents

Your attitude is as bad as mine, no matter how you may think you come off. Your voice may be lower but your hushed tones don’t change the content of what you’ve been uttering. The timbre, the pitch, the speed or word choice don’t actually matter that much. Your sentiment dripping with judgment is as obvious as any of my outbursts.

Yeah, you could say to me “but you’re so loud about it!” yet the funniest part is you’re just as loud. The arched eyebrow, haughty exhale, change of posture or sibilant S, tell no less of your true feelings than everything I’ve ever shouted from the rooftops. Glancing around first, lowering your gaze or the volume, doesn’t affect the intensity or clarity of the message. I can tell how you feel because you still indicate it, and sure, you make it between friends, but that doesn’t make you better.

In bold fact, it makes you worse that you feel the same way, but instead of announcing it you keep your judgment like a pet. You stroke it, feed it, and shelter it; you keep it strong with scraps of discontent. You are the one who holds on to this beast like a monster under your bed. You are the one who chooses not to address problems you have with everything else.

Your derisive, condescending, indignant self righteousness has become nothing more than amusing. You feel like you’re right to bottle everything up and keep it all hidden from the world. If you did a better job of hiding or burying things, maybe I wouldn’t find them like oysters ready for harvest. You can tell yourself all kinds of soothing comforting reinforcement, but at the end of the day you’re decidedly no better than I am.

At least no one can accuse me of acting on my assumptions before gaining confirmation. At least no one can accuse me of two-timing or two-facedness to anyone. At least I know I’ve given others the fair chance to face their accuser and make recompense if needed. And sometimes in those moments I learn when I was wrong, so I stand up tall and shout – I’m sorry, and I’ve learned from this.

No one is perfect, least of all moi, but that is the glory of our humanity. We get the chance all the time to correct what comes before us, or just let it go unchecked. I’d rather take a good, hard look at the relationship I have with others than ever pride myself on keeping things from them, or resenting them without seeking resolution.

A true friend may put up with aspects we don’t prefer in another, but no good friend hates something and suffers in silence, it’s almost demeaning. It means they believe that one of the parties can’t manage to engage in respectful conflict, to work out their differences. It shows us that they don’t know how or don’t want to try to conduct a relationship that respects both parties as they are. It means they expect the balance to be uneven, or that someone must change who they are to keep the connection.

Even with strangers it’s not a great way to conduct ourselves, especially because it’s presumptive. To base our feelings and actions on our preconceived notions is patently ridiculous. I may be loud, up front and out there, but I directly ask someone what they meant first. I get that saying specific things out loud with words can be really frightening. But I’m not the worst person in the room for opening up and clarifying what’s already been put out there.

I’m not saying I don’t judge others or act irrationally, we all know better. But I do everything I can to bring things up rather than bitch and judge while claiming to be sweet when it’s obviously false demeanor. Snide comments and backhanded compliments are obvious and offensive. They’re truly no different than any of my expostulations.


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