[Taps mic]. Is this thing on? Ahem. Okay, so. This is the blog. The blog I’ve been meaning to write. The blog I’ve been saying I would write. The blog I’ve put off for years. I’m finally doing it. Hence, the title: Finally, a Blog.
What’s the blog about? Well, me. I imagine it will be one part diary, one part political commentary, one part cultural critique, and one part cool artsy stuff. The magpie of blogs, in keeping with my logo, designed by my amazing sister-in-law! (Go follow her). Eclectic is the name of the game around these parts. There will be essays, and lots of them. The art of 140 characters or less eludes me, but if you really want to follow me on Twitter (or Facebook, or Instagram), go for it. The links are at the top of the page.
My perspective will remain constant throughout this blog, though. I’ve thought deeply about how I wish to approach the issues I will cover here, and with what mindset. That mindset is balance. The catalyst for all this deep thinking was a Radiolab episode called Lu vs. Soo.
During a bike trip across the country, two friends Lu and Soo discovered a fundamental difference in their personalities that caused both a clash and, ultimately, a kind of mutual respect. When they arrived at the intersection between the TransAmerica trail and the Appalachian trail, they stayed overnight in a free hostel for hikers and bikers, where they encountered two other hikers. One of the hikers engaged the two friends in conversation, which quickly took a turn for the bizarre. He both claimed to have prophesied the Virginia Tech shooting and to have almost killed a black woman at knife point, believing himself to be possessed. Lu, who had indulged the man’s oddness up until that point, now stayed silent out of fear. Soo, however, sprung into action, aggressively challenging the man to take personal responsibility for the violence he nearly inflicted on an innocent woman, and urged him to seek professional help. Refusing to back down, Soo eventually persuaded the man to admit he might need help after all.
In that moment, Lu had an epiphany. Once furious at Soo for accusing her of “deceiving” people with her niceness, she looked at her friend’s confrontational personality as full of bravery and profound hopefulness, seeing it ultimately as a force for change.
Soo was less generous about her fiery nature, seeing it as more of a flaw responsible for ending friendships and “alienating” her from other people. In fact, though Lu disparagingly referred to her niceness as something that enables stasis, Soo remarked that stasis is what is needed for lasting relationships. Stasis is stability.
I have always been a Soo– an aggressive pursuer of truth at any cost, damn the consequences. I am known for my blunt Real Talk™. I am perhaps a bit too comfortable with the more negative emotions and their many expressions. But luckily, I have two friends who are Lus who I admire very much, and they’ve given me cause for much self-reflection on this matter. One is probably my best friend. The other is a new friend.
Now, neither of these friends are bland or merely “nice.” They’re both extremely talented and successful, cool people with enviable networks of friends and colleagues (probably because they err on the side of Lu). They’re both professional writers and experts in their respective specialized fields. I would be remiss if I didn’t also add that they can be completely candid when necessary, but my point is they are tactful. They value harmony with those around them, as Lu did in the Radiolab episode. The unwavering diplomacy they show those around them is nothing short of amazing to me, as the people they have had to deal with have acted in ways that would have me absolutely foaming at the mouth. Honestly, I was foaming at the mouth for them. Second-hand.
Anyway, both of these friends recently pointed out to me, rather gently I might add, that advertising the unvarnished truth about myself– or anything, really– all the time creates the kind of backlash Soo experienced constantly. People projected anger and cruelty onto her whether or not it was actually really there. This constant drive to excavate the truth at all costs does feel a bit like an exhausting, destructive force at times. And, as the Radiolab episode explains, it can drive wedges between people by dredging up grudges that don’t even need to exist in the first place.
It is my intention to view all my subjects with nuance. I’ll be tackling some really difficult subjects, and surely my Real Talk™ voice will out. I intend to honor it. But I also intend to strike a balance so that I create a dialogue and hopefully, a relationship with my readers. That is what I want.
So, I turn it over to you, whoever is reading: are you more of a Lu or a Soo?
New posts coming soon, and pardon my dust while I get this thing up and running.
One thought on “The Balance”
Fascinating to read your perspective start to be expressed in more detail and complexity than social media can possibly allow. I’m more of a Lu. I like to get as global a view as I can before acting, and I always try to act with kindness, but the result is sometimes that my view is so dominated by others that it’s hard to act for myself.