Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tag - You're It!

After being on Facebook for a couple of years now, I have certainly been well indoctrinated in all the many different types of quizzes found there. Anything from Who Were You In A Past Life? to What's Your Most Dominant Personality Trait? to What Your Favorite Color Says About You.

Yes, I've taken them all. And you know what? Right or wrong, I'm more or less pleased with the outcome.

Yes, I'm an introvert.

Yes, I can be creative.

Yes, I'm a homebody.

Yes, I can be very outgoing, given the right setting.

Yes, I love music and having a good time.

Yes, I can be boring.

Pretty much whatever these silly little quizzes come up with for answers, I can justify that it is the right answer for me.

Whatever. They're just silly little quizzes after all. Created most likely by bored junior high or high school students. Innocent good fun, that's all.

But the thing is, I honestly do think of myself firstly in terms of how people see my personality. I think that people - my friends, my family, strangers on the street, co-workers, random acquaintances - all classify me first by how they interpret my personality.

"Oh, she's the quiet one."

"Oh, she's hard to get to know. Doesn't talk much."

"Amy's fun and smart and a good listener. We have a great time together!"

"Yeah, she's quiet at first, but once you get to know her she really opens up and knows how to have fun."

"Amy's a determined, strong person who doesn't let anything stand in her way. She's awesome!"

"Yeah, I know her. She's okay. Kinda boring, I think. Watches a lot of T.V. Just not my type of person."

You get my drift... Whatever you may think of me, you think of my personality first, right? Of course you do!

But how would you describe me to someone else?

"You know who I'm talking about, right? Amy's that really pretty woman who's kind of quiet but super sweet."

Hmmm... Would be nice. But probably not. Even if I was your best friend, or your relative. Even if I was very special to you and your life. To get another person to quickly recall who I am, let's be honest. You're not going to talk about my personality or even how physically gorgeous I am (ha!).

You're going to say something like. "You remember Amy, right? She's the one with the walking cane and limp."

Yah, yah. You might throw in there that I'm petite. Or add that I'm the "really sweet woman who..." You may even use Sweetie as a definer. Even try that as the sole definer of who I am! But if that doesn't work, you're also going to very quickly get to my most unique characteristic. My disability.

We all do it. When talking about anyone! Our bestest BFF, our spouse, our coworker, or even our worst enemy. We don't intend for it to be harming. We don't mean to be mean. But when something so "out there" is so unique about a person, we use it. And, like I said, depending on how close someone is to you, you may very well try to use more personality-specific means of defining them. But if those don't work, it probably won't be long before you get to the nitty gritty.

"Oh, you remember my friend, Bob? He's the super fun, always smiling one. You know - the really, really big guy?"

"Sally! You know her! She's my really super smart friend. Married to Danny.... she has the really bad teeth."

"You don't remember Amy? She's my really tiny friend. Sweetie's mom. She's quiet and really nice... and she wears leg braces and uses a walking stick to get around."

Now before I go on, I want to say that I am NOT talking about any specific person here and how they may or may not refer to me. In fact, I've simply been thinking about this in general lately. How would someone try to get someone else to remember who I was? Hmmm... they'd probably go right to my disability! Just like anyone would do to talk about anyone else. You use their most unique quality/characteristic/trait.

(And heck, I may be completely and utterly wrong here. What do I know?! It just seems to me that, for ease of recognition, one would tend to go straight to the disability card when describing me to others.)

It's not necessarily wrong. And it certainly may not be meant to hurt. It's just plain and simple human nature. Tagging and classifying people is what we people do best.

I'm just sayin'... it sure would be nice to be noticed and remembered for my stunning good looks, :) , or my brilliance or complete sweetness. For people to notice and remember me for my determination and strength, not my disability and weakened legs.

It's true for all of us, I think. The frustration of people not seeing us how we see ourselves. Yes, in some cases others can see us in a much better light than we see ourselves. We can be raised up and encouraged by our friends and family is this great way.

But other times... you just want to be seen for you being you. For how you define yourself from the inside. Not what you wear, or how you move, or how you're strangely different on the outside.

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