With all of this doomsday talk about the Mayan calendar – and Friday supposedly being D-day – I’m getting a bit freaked out. Up to now I’ve totally discounted all of this as bunk. I mean, wasn’t there some preacher last year who insisted that the world was ending in October or something? Didn’t happen. But for some reason all this media hype has got me thinking.
If there really are only two days left, do I want to keep my filter on?
See, I’ve lived my entire life with a very strong filter in place. What I think and what comes out of my mouth are very rarely the same. Part of me blames my parents for this. Smile and nod, keep your head down, blend in. Family mottoes. Kept me out of trouble – most of the time – in school, that’s for sure. And I worked retail all through college. Selling women’s shoes. And then I was a teacher. So you can imagine how strong and thick that filter has become over the years.
I’m thinking it’s time to take it off. I mean, on the few rare occasions when I have said exactly what was on my mind – to the exact person I wanted to say it to – I’ve usually ended up apologizing. Even if I just pointed out a fact or stood up for myself. And that’s wrong, right? (I’m not counting the times I’ve spoken my mind to other people who weren’t involved. I’m good at that. But it doesn’t count.)
Today I’ve got a ripping headache, courtesy of H-town weather and pollution. Strike one. I’ve been the better person more times than I can count, and that’s really hard in a big city. Isn’t there a maximum quota for that or something? Strike two. And finally –
Imma hurt someone if I don’t let loose with this filter garbage. STRIKE THREE! If the world really does end Friday, I don’t want to go down with stuff left unsaid.
I live in a big city, and for the most part I love it. But that puts me in contact with a huge number of diverse people on any given day. More material. Filter’s off and deactivated. Let’s go.
To the wannabe swag with the sag: Dude, pull up your pants. It’s so not swag when you have to walk down the street holding them up with one hand while you talk on the phone with the other.
To the hipster with the shaved head, skater boy cap and head-to-toe black: Girlfriend, you look like a man. Averil Lavigne can pull it off. You can’t. Quit trying so hard to prove that you’re enlightened and above societal norms and just look female. For once. Really, it’s ok.
To the guy who called work the other day when I was answering the phones: if you ask for a specific person, I’m going to transfer you. Don’t call back, treat me like I’m stupid, and remind me that you were asking if someone was in – not requesting to be transferred. I know this. I’m just following policy. You’re being a douchebag.
To the people who haven’t answered my emails – personal or professional: You’re busy. I get it. I am too. But I sent you an email with a question, an issue, some info or just a short conversation. It’s totally ok to shoot back with ‘Really busy – got your email. Will answer ASAP.’ Really. Acknowledgement is all I ask. Ignoring is just rude.
To the parent(s) of students I’ve taught (this one is a generic filter-less comment from a specific incident, but you’ll get the point): I’m sure little Felicity has never lied to you. But I saw her writing this nasty note, folding it and putting it on another kid’s desk. I watched it happen. With my two opthalmically-corrected eyes. So please don’t sit there and yell at me, insisting that this note is not written in your kid’s handwriting.
To a friend: I’m really sorry that our conversation brought up some memories that were painful to you. I won’t talk about it again. But don’t tell me that everything’s ok and then ignore me. Tell me the truth.
Imma stop there, y’all. I could go on all day. And I’m realizing that most of this filter-less stuff is negative. I’m sorry – see, there I go apologizing again. Need to smack myself in the head. But not everything I think (and don’t say) is negative. Really. I wrote a really nice letter the other day that I’m not going to mail. Why? The Filter. It kicked in and made me chicken. I can’t count the times I’ve kept really nice stuff to myself just because I was too chicken to throw it out there. The Filter turns on and makes me overthink everything. And that’s bad. I wish, just for once, that I could say everything I mean in the way that I mean it.
Who knows? If fiery asteroids start falling Friday morning I just might send those letters – assuming that the recipients would be in the mood to check their email.
What do you think? Is 12/21/12 it? Are you turning off your filter today??