Cardboard People

I want to first apologize for being overly chatty. My annual bout with laryngitis has begun and already I’m feeling the sting of not being able to communicate freely. Not being able to talk is a fate worse than death, as far as I’m concerned. I can’t speak. I can’t laugh. I can’t sing. It all sucks. I jokingly say that getting laryngitis is God’s way of telling me to shut up and listen. And so I will….later. But this is my forum and dammit! I’ll use it to send smoke signals to the rest of the world, since I can’t talk. šŸ™‚

Today’s random thought is about the behavior of people, and the masks we wear. Now, I get the whole “time and place” thing. We can’t (and shouldn’t) just say what ever is on our mind when ever we think it. I’m talking about something deeper. Something that defines our character. I’m talking about who we are, on the inside.

We all know that one person. That person who talks a big game but, in reality, is totally different. When they’re in groups they behave one way, and in private they are totally different. These people tend to be “boogie men” that walk around in the daylight.
(I say boogie men, but clearly I’m not only referring to men. Don’t leave me hater comments about how women are boogies, too. Trust me, I’m very well aware. It just sounds silly to say “boogie people” and I don’t care all that much about being PC.)
These are the people who you hear others talk about and think, “Really? He seemed so nice…” and you’re left with a distorted image of him because you’re not sure what to believe.

I see right through those facades, normally. I suppose it isn’t that I see it, with my eyes. I feel it. Something about that person just rubs me the wrong way. And I’ll try to work through it, but ultimately I find that they are just not nice people.

They’re shape shifters. They take on the appearance of their personality to suit the people near them. When someone else joins in, they change again. They are the personality equivalent of cardboard – shallow.

And when people are like this, it’s the very worst. They play games with other people. They pretend to be kind and nice and as soon as

Cardboard

If you have the depth of cardboard, you're useless

the doors are closed, they are horrible and rotten. Their dysfunction leads to other dysfunction. People who love them might make the excuse, “It’s not like that all the time” or “He just had a really bad day” or “She didn’t mean it. She was just upset.” Yeah… I don’t buy it.

Listen, I get that we all behave somewhat differently within the constraints of social situations. Obviously, when I’m at my daughter’s school, I’m not going to swear like a sailor. Conversely, when I’m at the bar with friends, I’m not going to be demure. I am, however, totally, 100% the same person, no matter what. The person whose thoughts you’re reading now would be the same person you’d hear in real life.

The really messed up part about cardboard people is that because they absorb whatever is around them, they never assume the blame. It’s always someone else’s fault. They deflect and avoid responsibility because they never fully see that their behavior is a choice. And the people who love them are left carrying the blame….not understanding what they did wrong. It’s upsetting.

No single person is perfect. No one. But I value imperfection. I value growth. I value independence and individuality. I don’t want to keep up with “the Jones'”…hell – I don’t even know any damn Jones’. But overall, I value my ability to think and choose for myself, without being a bitch, and without making other people responsible for my choices. I am who I am because I am willing to make mistakes, learn from them, grow, change, cry, laugh, feel, adapt, think, love…..I am willing to live out loud.

And this… this is the quote of the day from my favorite musical of all time: Evita (secretly, I long to play Eva Peron on stage someday)

“Better to win by admitting my sin than to lose with a halo.” ~Eva Peron

In other words… I’d rather people hate me for who I really am than to love me for someone I’m not. I feel sorry for anyone who feels differently.

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2 thoughts on “Cardboard People

  1. Chat away!

    Your post made me think about a few things:
    The visual image for boogie men is totally different from boogie people. One is Stephen King-ish, the other is 70s disco.
    Both equally scary, but for very different reasons

    Also, I think there’s 2 parts to your definition – one is the Social Chameleon, who can change demeanor to suit the room (which I’ve always found kind of useful), the other (talk behind your back) is one of the worst kinds of useless.

    My girl gets sick once a year too – full on stuffed head, grumpy, supersick. Hope you get over yours soon.
    Glad you can still blog though…

    • Boogie men/people are equally scary. I’ve seen them both at dance clubs in the area on the same night. šŸ˜‰ Depending on how much said boogie-being has to drink, s/he could be both in the course of an evening!

      You’re right – social chameleon is being agreeable and polite. A very widely used sales tactic that I use regularly. Mirroring and using energy to influence the energy in a room. That’s different. I’m thinking of the other one. And yes…totally useless.

      I don’t know that I get grumpy (although the hubs might disagree). At some point I get kind of childish. Like.. kind of stomping my feet and being frustrated that I can’t talk. But yeah..once a year I have to deal with it. Hopefully it passes quickly. I have a Christmas party this weekend and I have a bad-ass dress and I don’t want to be the sad face chick who can’t talk.

      I’ll be blogging extra if this doesn’t get better. šŸ˜‰ So stay tuned.

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