I sit here, in my home office, having just returned from an evening meeting after work, thinking about an outing with a girlfriend from work the other night. It was a gorgeous summer like evening so we decided to head downtown to one of my favourite haunts for dinner. I am thinking about several things she said during our 3 hour dinner and chat. First, some context, or maybe more accurately, background?

I have known her for about 15 years. She actually did some work for me on a temporary basis and saved my butt when I was in Slovenia for extended negotiations for a chunk of time, and she was back at the office keeping things moving. So we have some history, so to speak. One of many of her qualities I truly appreciate, is her ability and willingness to be brutally honest. She doesn’t mess around. If she has a question, she blurts it out. If something is on her mind, she states it. No cutesy or time wasting stupid games. Up front and honest. And she makes no apologies for it. It’s who she is, like it or lump it. I like it.

People like her are invaluable in my life. I can always count on her to not sugar coat things and just tell me. The raw truth. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard to take at first, to figure out that this is just the way she is. She doesn’t mean any harm, but doesn’t see the point in beating around the bush. So, she’s somewhat refreshing, as dealing with cutesy carp is exhausting.

The same goes for questions. If she doesn’t know or understand the “how and/or the why” of something, she’ll just come out and ask. And trust me, there was a lot she didn’t know or understand about being trans. Although she has been super great with me right out of the gate, she wants to learn. Which is awesome….I’m always up for that! I know I can always count on her to tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear. And she will do it quickly and to the point. As a result, we have wonderful discussions.

Everyone needs to have at least one person like that in their lives. A true supporter. Not just a cheerleader. I try to be that, but I admit, I find it difficult at times. When someone needs to get a whack over the head, I have a tendency to wrap that two by four in so much bubble wrap, that my message is lost. Some call that compassion. And maybe that’s what and who I am. But there are times when that may not be want the person truly needs. I’ve never been good with “tough love”.

So I learned something. Maybe I have to work on this a bit more. In the grand scheme of things, what I tell people is really just my opinion, usually based upon my experiences, lessons learned, research etc. At the end of the day, they can take it or leave it. Their choice. But people at least deserve the opportunity to hear that information to add to their knowledge bank, in whatever form that may take, or not at all if they don’t want to. Maybe I’m doing them a disservice? Maybe I’m not effective or truly helpful?

More to think about….but that’s a good thing.

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2 thoughts on “Supporters…

  1. Just my opinion….

    Hmmmm….maybe, “one”? I was her. I was the person who was always there to tell you what others wouldn’t. I was always willing to do you the favor by being the person that would give you the unvarnished truth. In retrospect, and I have looked at it that way, I’ve come to find that often times, I was merely leaving those friends hurt and depressed.
    So at this point in a life where I’ve finally embraced my feminine essence, I see that at least for me, that’s not my job as a friend and confidante. If I’m to hit you with that two by four, it will be wrapped in the bubble wrap. And I will do it gently, if at all. I much prefer to talk about your attributes and triumphs. I do think people know what their issues are. After all, they live with themselves. If they’re not addressing them it doesn’t mean they don’t know they exist. As Jackson Browne so eloquently stated , ” “please don’t confront me with my failures, I have not forgotten them.”
    However, if I think your steering your world in a bad direction, I’m going to lead you to calmer waters and away from the shoals where I hope you’ll finder smoother seas and not be inclined to scuttle your life. So it’s actually all for me of course, because I love my people and want them to be successful and happy. I’m like a mother hen these days. I never drop brutality is anyone’s lap anymore. I discovered it was so antithetical and at cross purposes with my intent. My bombast and “know it all” mansplaing did no one any good.
    So I’m not sure I agree with Erin that we need that “bitch slapping” that some of our friends feel is such a favor to us. Our delusions are often a good thing. They help us to travail a harsh and often uncaring world. I only comment here because, I was that woman, as a man, which I’m not now. I mean the man, not the reality checker……..??????? Wait……L.O.L.
    Anyways everyone, be well and love each other and above all…….. be kind to one another. It can never be the wrong decision.
    And as always, thank you Erin, for allowing all of us to post our opinions in your fine Journal. It’s awfully kind of you! J

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    1. Thanks Jess as always for providing such valuable perspectives! I do agree with not always being the person to always hit someone over the head. For me, though, I need someone to tell me that I may want to rethink something, as you said, to ensure I don’t drive off a cliff, that for some reason, I don’t see coming. I guess it’s more about the smaller things. As example, I am not a fashionista by any means, and still struggle to find “my look”. So I need that friend that will tell me what works and what doesn’t, provided of course they know what they are talking about, which in this case, they do.

      What I don’t need is more people that no matter what I do, or what I wear etc, etc, that everything about me is awesome. Maybe it’s because my self confidence with regards to my appearance, voice etc, is not really strong. It’s getting there, but I know it needs work. I can’t grow if I don’t learn, and I can’t learn without having some people around me to be kind enough to teach me.

      As for the two by four reference, ya, that might have been a bit harsh. I guess that I have tried on occasion to get the message across in a very gently manner, which, like you, is my natural, go to, space. But if they don’t hear it, the choice is to either give up or hit a bit harder. Depends on the issue and the person. I pick my battles. How important is it in the grad scheme of things? I have never lost anyone over my comments. Being the tough friend when needed is not my strong suit. I just know how much I value having someone like that in my life. I guess I’m not sure if I am that person for others. Am I doing them a disservice? Maybe it’s not my job? That’s not my role?

      What you have made me think about is that if it is not natural and I have to forcefully go there, then that’s not who I am. And I have invested a lot in getting to be who I am to not be me, ya know? Maybe it’s a job for someone else

      Your thoughtful comments really resonate with me, and I learn and will continue to digest them, so thanks for that, as always. We are nothing if we can’t be honest with those that matter in our lives…it makes “us” stronger.

      Like

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