Neither Fish Nor Fowl

Liz Sumner Commitment, Fear Leave a Comment

I don’t think of myself as a person who doesn’t have opinions. I can generally sense my preference– this yes, that no. I can determine what to order from a gigantic menu. But recently I’ve become aware of my tendency to hang out in a wishy washy middle area, wanting to agree with every point of view.

The other night I saw a school production that I thought was kind of a mess. My friends thought it was a delight, a triumph, a praiseworthy evening. Theirs was the majority opinion.

I can understand why they were more forgiving than I– they’re teachers and brought different expectations of the students to their experience. I had no such filter.

I was extremely uncomfortable to be in disagreement about it, as though my opinion was wrong somehow. I even tried to mollify my feelings about the event by focusing on the bits I thought were okay. I have great fondness for the people who produced it, but even then I couldn’t say I liked it. I felt terrible watching the kudos mount up in the Facebook comments and not adding my own– as though they’d notice my absence.

Now I’m realizing that there’s a big difference between having opinions and stating them (thereby having to possibly defend them). I do not like confrontation, and I dare anyone to tell me why I should!

I’m coming to the realization that fuzzy, ambiguous thinking doesn’t serve me or others. Trying not to offend by never presenting a clear assertion is weak and irresponsible (I wanted to modify that statement with “sort of” or “somewhat” but held myself back. It was hard).

On the other hand I always see another hand. My brain works in such a way that I constantly see alternative points of view. I don’t necessarily agree with them but I can see how someone might think that way.

So I guess the mushy beige feeling comes from attempting to please everyone by not disagreeing, instead of clearly understanding what it is that I think, and why.

I will never be someone who debates for fun, but I’d like to be someone who knows what she believes and stands up for it.

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