Monday, April 15, 2013

Day 12: Am I Misunderstood?

Day Twelve of my pre-made list of blog topics is here...and not really sure I wanted to start the week off with a topic like this one.  I like to start the week off somewhat upbeat... but I'm gonna play the cards as they were dealt.

The topic for today is:  What do you think people misunderstand about you the most?

This one would make for a great list, but I'm not going to go there...there are plenty of lists left on my blog topic list that I don't need to make lists out of those that aren't.  I truly feel that there are several things people misunderstand about me... but I'm going with the one that has had the most effect on me during my life.

I've touched on this topic, somewhat, before.  And that is I have trouble making friends.  Sure, I get along alright with people... but to say that people are my actual friends?  I define a close friend as a person I talk to or spend time with outside of work or school or whatever the situation is that I get to know someone.

I made lots of "friends" in college... but I can really only call two of those people friends.  Two out of don't know how many text me to see how I'm doing, call me to go out for lunch or dinner or a night on the town.  We share big news with each other, personally, and not just by finding out over Facebook.  That's my definition of friendship.  I know that those two ladies would be there for me no matter what...and I for them.

So, where does the misunderstood part come in?

Well, those two woman are two woman that took the time to get to know me.  They didn't take me for face value and misunderstand the person I am.

What I've found out is that I come off as a bit of a know-it-all.  A bulldog, if you will.  In fact, that was the exact thing I was called by an old boss.  She said I came off too pushy....too sure of myself.  What I was thinking was confidence and a passion to show that I can do a good job and share ideas was misunderstood as I thought my ideas were better... I was too confident...and rather than anyone telling me so, they just smiled at my face and spoke ill of me behind my back.

Which has been the story of my life.

I am a confident, independent person.  That I won't deny.  After some of the things I've been through in my life, I needed to become that person.  I needed to convince myself that I could do what I set my mind to doing, I could take care of myself, and especially in the field of teaching:  that I was born to do it.

While trying to convince two prospective principals that I was the person they were looking for, I ended up making them think that I was..well... a bulldog.  I wouldn't play nice with others, I'd end up causing confrontation, and that I wouldn't respect the opinions and ideas of those I worked with.  I was also described as unapproachable and not a fan of criticism.


All the time I was trying to make them believe I was passionate and willing to do just about anything it took to be a teacher for them... I was being taken for the total opposite.

And it's not their fault.  When I think back to some of my past interviews, I can totally see where they were coming from.  However, to hear that kind of criticism from my past boss was hard to take.  I had spent a whole school year thinking I was really fitting in and that the people I was working with liked me as much as I like them.  I was, apparently, very wrong.  It wasn't until I had been knocked down so many times and started to actually believe that I'd never find a teaching job that turned everything around.

The difference between my getting the job I did and the past tries was my attitude.  I walked in to my last interview as just me.  Just plain ol', this is what I am, kinda given up self.  I was honest.  I spoke about things I enjoyed doing, how I dreamed of helping kids reach their full potential, and deep down all I was looking for was a school family that I could become a part of, share ideas with, get ideas from...and just fit in.

Because that's all I ever wanted... I just didn't think anyone really wanted to know that.  I figured they would think I was weak or not ready or just looking to ride the coat tails of more experienced teachers.  How wrong I was.

It's a very hard truth to swallow to hear that people you thought were your friends have said pretty nasty things about you behind your back.  Especially when those same people were the ones to encourage me, ask for my ideas and opinions, and were supposedly speaking in my favor to get a job working along side them.  When, in reality, none of that was true.  They were nice to me because they had to be.  They asked for my ideas and opinions only because they felt like they had to.  And they reported to my potential employer that I would NOT be the kind of person they'd be able to get along with.

All of those things are probably the reasons I don't speak to any of my old school friends.  Other than the two awesome friends I made in college, and P-Momma, I don't have any other friends.  Well, I would consider my two 4th grade partners my friends... they have gone above and beyond for me and I don't feel one bit of resentment or betrayal from either of them.  Oh, and one very sweet awesome gal I work with... she's texted me to see about making plans outside of work, we've shared things about our lives, and I like her.  I really like her....and she's a little misunderstood herself, I think.  I believe that's a new, blooming friendship in the making.

So, what it really comes down to.... am I a confident person?  Yes.  I am.  Do I like to share ideas and give my opinion?  Yes, if it's asked of me.  But, I do NOT like confrontation.  I like compromise.  I will do what is asked of me and then some.  I will do whatever I can to help someone that asks for it.  I don't take criticism personally... I might get a little sting, but I know that as long as the criticism isn't personal, I'm being guided and helped.  I ask for help if I need it.

And... I long to be accepted.  I want to be part of a team... a working family.  I like to have fun, make jokes, laugh.  I may be a bulldog... but a loyal, defender, best friend bulldog.  I really don't think I have a mean or nasty bone in my body.  If people actually took the time to get to know me... they may like what's under the hard outer coating.

I just wish more people would actually take the time to get to know me before I was judged at face value.  I'm really a nice person.... honestly.... and that's the thing that people most misunderstand about me.



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