Don’t (please) look at me

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Not only am I an enigma to some, floating away as fast as I arrived, I am also a complete contradiction. To put it rather bluntly, I am simply an introvert who is trying to be an extrovert…or wait? Am I an extrovert who is dying to be an introvert?

No wonder people are generally left confused by my presence. I am obviously giving off some mixed signals here…

Trust me, even I can’t figure it out and I happen to be an overly self-aware individual. I find myself screaming at the top of my lungs to be heard, yet covering my ears like a small child, shaking their head, begging for silence. I crave the chaos and excitement of intense crowds yet I find utter peace and comfort in the solitary cocoon that represents my home.

Yet, even when I achieve that sweet yet savoury moment, I despise the silence.

This week has allowed me the opportunity to explore these contradictions in my personality through the eyes of the media. I have been faced with such extreme examples that it has been simply impossible for me to ignore their magnitude. And through all my shrewd yet dull observations, I am left pondering:

Why do I keep trying to be something that I am not?

My daily mantra

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There is nothing I hate more than excuses. Maybe it’s because of my age or my life experiences but my tolerance and acceptance for them is little to none. Now if you REALLY want to test this theory and get my blood boiling, give me a really lame excuse with a straight face. I dare you. I do enjoy the challenge of calling out said “lame excuse giver” using no words at all and simply using my stare as a means of communicating my displeasure over the whole situation. But my natural non-verbal communication ultimately never allows for this scenario to occur as most people will read this intolerance in me and not even dare try.

Don’t get me wrong here, I am not a tyrant – I am a fairly easy going and reasonable person. I can understand that sometimes life gets in the way of doing certain things. I get it…for I am currently living this exact same scenario right now, preventing me from moving forward in the way that I want to. It happens with every project to a certain extent and when it does, the path naturally stops, shifts and morphs, clearing the way for new ideas and opportunities to be observed which were not previously seen. But to me, these “excuses” represent all those inevitable little bumps in the road and do not prevent the overall goals and expectations from somehow being achieved – it just changes their patterns slightly…

Wait – did I just MAKE UP AN EXCUSE?! OK fine. Clearly I’m far from perfect myself – but I think you understand what I mean… At some point, you simply have to deliver on what you promised. And I happen to place very high standards on myself and those who surround me. And since we shook hands, I am now expecting results. I can be a little old-school in that respect.

Why is this so hard for others to understand?

My little secret in the interview process…

I generally do not prepare in advance when conducting interviews – I seem to have a good instinct when we shake hands as to the type of person they might be. Years of observing people and their behaviours have given me rich data to work with. And interviews are probably the only scenario where it is expected that one fill silence with prepared speeches and ridiculous exaggerations of one’s talents and skills. It’s like you have gotten stuck at the party with the really annoying person, in a very tiny space, and you are desperately trying to leave but simply cannot get away. And they happen to be in this rather cramped space with their mother – to extol all their god-like virtues and grand achievements at the various church social clubs, hospitals and charity work for the poor. For this reason, I like to side step the mother completely and get right to the point. I have found over the years that it is best not to ask the traditional “so, tell me a little about yourself” question. I much prefer to use the urban myth interview question of “if you could be any animal in the kingdom, which would you be?” Way better results.

People will always fall into one of two categories. The first is the wide-eyed, “I can’t believe you just asked me that”, colour-draining-from-the-face type of response that clearly was not anticipated nor prepared for. Stammering generally occurs. I am often curious at this point “Hmmm, how will they get out of that one…I wonder….”. Unfortunately for me, this category of reaction generally ends the interview in a rather painful and anti-climatic manner.

The second category is the knee-jerk reaction truth. And that is really the answer that I am looking for in an interview. Dog = happy and loyal sometimes to a fault. Cat = lazy and obsessively clean, perhaps snobby. Ostrich = humourous and does not take things too seriously – potential lawsuit. By using this method, I have just cut months of wistful waiting and expensive training costs to figure out this person outside the traditional manner. Who needs the safety of a probationary period now? Shake hands and move on. Did I mention I can be cold and highly efficient?

Perhaps I generalize with this method. Perhaps I make decisions based on false assumptions. But let’s face it, one needs to communicate and make an impression of their personality, work ethic and ability to complete tasks to a complete stranger almost instantly. Sigh… here comes that two-minute elevator pitch again. Really, I do not swoon that easily. Thanks internet for making me jaded.

Oh, and by the way, here is another little secret…I am always a horse 🙂

Watch what you say – someone is listening!

IMG_1018I am cursed with having a really good sense of hearing.  Not that I am a nosy person, I just happen to hear everything that goes on around me.  It has proven to be a very valuable skill in times when I am meant to be caught off guard by my attacker, only to have their plan foiled when I already have a response prepared and subsequently delivered without any hesitation.  I can see the look in their eyes after this exchange – a combination of defeat and competition and envy all rolled into one.

Seriously, if you are going to try to knock me down, you’d better bring it.  Just saying.

But it also means that I hear all the little whispers that circulate around me – comments meant not to be heard but desperate to be voiced and validated.  You know the passive-aggressive type – always sly in nature because actually voicing the true meaning out loud for all to hear would mean that they would have to stand firm when faced with opposition or retaliation.  I have come to understand that there are few people who are willing to put themselves in this position and as a result, will try to circumvent the issue through quietly veiled comments.  Sarcastic remarks replace the truth.  Because unfortunately, the truth can sometimes sting.

I often sit back and secretly enjoy these whispers because they always reveal a vulnerability.  The “look what she’s wearing” tone really tells me that they are not happy with their body and wish they had the courage to take a fashion risk.  The “must be nice to have all that free time” tone tells me that they wish they were better organized in their daily tasks so that they no longer feel overwhelmed.

I doubt if they ever really listen to what they are saying.  I also doubt that they know how much I am truly listening and analyzing their hidden meanings.  And I doubt that I will ever have the opportunity to really clear through the fog with them to get at the true message of their words.  I simply file it away as another piece of information whose usage remains unknown.  But I have the knowledge in knowing that it will be useful to me someday, ready to be pulled out in an unknown offensive strategy designed to thwart another attacker.  They will be green with envy.

And I have to.  They just keep coming at me.