Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Little Lesson on Inappropriate

My Life Lesson on Being Inappropriate

I’ve been receiving remarks, let’s call it ‘commentary’, on my inappropriate nature.  At first I wondered if people just weren’t paying attention.  I mean, I practically wear a warning sign when I leave the house!  Granted the sign doesn’t say anything about ‘inappropriate’, it looks more like this:

Or this:

I get that words mean different things to different people, even though we have these things called Dictionaries to avoid confusion.  Nonetheless, words carry different meaning for different folks.

I just wanted to take a brief moment out of your day, and mine, to blog about being inappropriate and my recent life lesson on inappropriateness.  After explaining (and confessing) publicly, I hope I’ll not have to do so again and if I do, I can always direct folks (or myself, if appropriate) back to this blog entry.

First item on the agenda:  Inappropriate.  Easy definition is:  not appropriate.   

LOL  I joke... because I can.   

Merriam & Webster (my favorite source for definitions) says this: 

Inappropriate - not appropriate : unsuitable

Hmmm, so I wasn’t so far off the mark!

We can actually get a bit more by looking at synonyms for inappropriate.

Here they are:

Seriously though, the word itself is fairly easy to understand, I believe.  It’s the CONTEXT that muddles things up.  Something (or someone) can be inappropriate due to words spoken, actions committed, or bad placement.  I hit the Trifecta of inappropriateness.  I am inappropriate due to my words, actions, and placement.  I fully recognize that I have control over the first two, while having little to no control over the last.

In looking over the synonyms for inappropriate I find that there are a couple on the list that I really am not comfortable being labeled.  Graceless, ouch!  Inapposite, inapt and inept (which all mean about the same) is just well, insulting!  Who wants to be thought of as foolish, without sense or reason, absurd, or incompetent??  And how in the world is ‘unhappy’ a synonym for ‘inappropriate’?  I looked around and discovered it was used in this context: 
He made an unhappy choice.  He made an inappropriate choice. 


Now the rest on the list, I’m fine with because I am all those other things and I LOVE IT!

So, where’s my recent life lesson, you may be wondering right about now?  Here it is.  I speak more than my mind.  I speak my emotions.  That, my friend, is very dangerous territory; for both me and others.  I’m finally starting to realize just how important a difference it is.  A lot of folks speak their mind and while I’m sure there are those that are offended by that, it’s not as unacceptable, inappropriate, rude, or HURTFUL as it can be to speak your emotions.  Speaking your emotions is another thing entirely. And it’s not always with words that I speak my emotions.  My facial expressions and body language are ‘larger than life’ ( like the rest of me) most of the time and can pack just as much of a wallop as my words!

Emotions are fickle.  Even strong emotions can be fickle.  One doesn’t have to be diagnosed with a mental illness to experience mood swings.  It happens regularly for most of us – perhaps more for women then men, but I don’t want to make those types of generalizations.  Something that has me hot under the collar today may not even be a blip on my radar by tomorrow.  It’s not just that I need to remember that.  I need to remember that my words and actions should reflect the person I *truly* am, not the emotion I am having in a given moment. 

I’m reminded of the line from one of my favorite movies of all time, ‘When Harry Met Sally’, where Sally tells Harry that he has to figure out a way to not express every feeling he has every moment he has them.

Oh how true, how true – so pay attention Harry, err, Mari!

And now I realize that is where I truly run into problems.  Big ones!  Sigh.  It isn’t a problem when people refer to me as a bitch or don’t like me because I’m not afraid to state my opinion, speak my mind, stand up for what I believe, laugh at things others think are inappropriate, or be a little wild and crazy.  That, my friend, is ON THEM – not me.  But it is a problem when what I say or do is being fueled by blind emotions.  When I react first, off the cuff, without thinking or taking people’s feelings into consideration, I’m hurting others and in the end hurting myself because that isn’t who I am, not in my heart.  That certainly isn’t the person I want to be.

I’m a work in progress is all I can think to say; well that and at least I’ve finally recognized the problem because you know you can’t solve a problem until you admit you have one! 

Lest you think me an idiot, it’s not like I didn’t realize before this that I spoke my emotions.  Of course I did.  I just didn’t grasp to what extent I did - how inappropriate it really could be, and worse – how hurtful to others it was.  No matter how often something stares us in the face, it’s not until we have our own personal ‘Aha’ moment that we truly begin to understand.

Yep, I’ve done some damage - in the past and the present.  Real damage.  Realizing that makes me realize how much damage I must have done throughout my 45 years.  Ouch. 

I fear that in some ways I’m like Hurricane Katrina --- years have passed but the effects are still being felt.  And no, not because I think I’m so powerful that I was able to devastate anyone who had the misfortune to cross my path.  Rather, I’m reminded of the line from the movie ‘Remember Me’ – “Our fingerprints don’t fade from the lives we touch.”  I believed that before I heard it and I still do.  What I said or did to every someone I’ve said or done something to is still there, somewhere.  It’s a part (if only the tiniest particle) of their life and who they are.

The same is true for me.  For all the folks who left finger prints on my life, those prints helped shape me for good or bad, positive or negative.  There’s no point in wondering why people who cause us pain come into our life, not really.  They are necessary.  Yes, they are responsible for what they said or did to us – just as I am responsible for all the things I have said and done; but they were necessary to our individual story.  We are the ultimate authors of our lives.  We write the story from the material available to us and we have the power to write it the way we want it to be.  I think I’m digressing though, so back to topic.

Life Lesson #9, 947:

  There is an inappropriate way of being inappropriate or, better still...
 there is an appropriate way of being inappropriate.

Other people's actions are their Karma, how I react is mine.

~Mari B.

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