Monday, February 28, 2011

Mislabeled

I think writers, by nature, tend to be observers. Well, okay, I can’t really speak for the rest of the writing community, but it seems a common trait among my friends. And it’s definitely true for me. I pay attention and often catch things most other people miss.

Like nuances of speech, the way strangers (or acquaintances) react to things people thoughtlessly spout (be they positive or negative in nature), and the possible differences in a sports team when they come out of the locker room after halftime. Maybe they’re pumped up again, or maybe they’re down and out. It all depends on the coaches’ mood, the words they used, and how those words were delivered.

I notice, for instance, the way people look away from one another when they’re telling a lie, or how they plead with their eyes when they’re telling a painful truth. And while I believe what other people think of me is none of my business, it’s sometimes hard to miss an emotion or thought when it travels across their faces and into their body language.

Once someone forms an opinion of another, it’s not an easy thing to change. Out of those formed opinions come misconceptions that turn into rumors, and rumors turn into stories, and stories into actions that may, or may not, be warranted.

This is the stuff of interest we read about in novels, be they fiction or nonfiction. In many instances, it’s the beginning of conflict. The catalyst, if you will.

Luckily, fiction and real life are two totally different things. The question is where will we allow our misconceptions, our preconceived judgments, or our unnoticed observations to lead us? Will we be the spreaders of rumors? The instigators of unwarranted arguments? The pot-stirrers in the mix?

Or will we find it in us to take a step back and observe the truth for what it is? People for who they truly are rather than what we (or others) have made them out to be? What will be the ending to our personal stories, and who will ultimately decide?

Do we become the person other people think they see, or do we try to correct their misconception? Or do we continue on with our own lives, ignoring the untruths and allowing those people to live as they choose?

For once, my above questions are rhetorical. I don’t know that anyone truly has all the answers. But I am curious. Have you ever felt labeled for reasons you couldn’t name?

6 comments:

Christine Fonseca said...

We label because that is the funciton of our brains - to make order ot of apparent chaos. And I have definitely been mislabeled by others. But as I have learned how I am perceived by others, it has becoe easier to avoid that milabeling trap - on both ens of the equation. Great, thoughtful post this am

Chantele Sedgwick said...

I'm sure I've been labeled, and I know I've labeled people. I've made a conscious effort to still get to know the person a little though, and most of the time I figure out they've been labeled wrong. I'm sure people label me as stuck up at times, but I'm painfully shy, so I don't tend to reach out and make new friends. I really am a nice person, but you have to get to know me and crack me out of my shell! LOL I am getting better though. I've found a lot of authors are really shy, so I know I'm not alone. :)

Elizabeth Mueller said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth Mueller said...

Hi, Nichole! GREAT post! Oh, yes, I've been labeled as sarcastic because the intensity of my honesty comes across as such. I guess its hard for some to fathom that people can be very honest. I've also been misjudged as cruel because of my choices--choices that will not enable my widowed sister.

Okay, so I didn't exactly answer your question because these are named reasons. I could only guess at the labels where I'm left clueless. I wouldn't know, because most people (mostly ward members) avoid me altogether and it HURTS. I don't know why they do, but they do. I could only guess, but it seems egotistical to do so.

Thanks for the post!

Oh, btw, I hope you aren't referring to yourself. You are a one hot momma, and SWEET on top of that. You are a real treasure. If someone is judging you for that, tough for them because the don't know what they're missing. More friend for me! ;)

I hope my blatant honesty doesn't make you feel weird.

*hugs*

♥.•*¨ Elizabeth ¨*•.♥

Carolyn V said...

Oh yeah. I've been labeled. I used to work with a girl that seemed to hate me. I never found out why and I never knew why she would have any reason to hate me. We didn't sit by each other and we were both on separate units. It made no sense.

L.T. Elliot said...

I'm terrible at eye-contact. Always have been. And it's worse for me when it's something emotional. I don't know. Maybe it's the fear that people will see just what I am feeling. Weird.

As for labels, I've had my share and some of them from the people who are supposed to love you the most. I try not to label others but I'm guilty now and then. I'm trying to just see people now, not labels. Because in the end, isn't that what we all are? Just people trying to make it through?