True, most of us thought good character was desirable, but obviously good character was something one needed to get on with the business of being self-satisfied. With a proper display of honesty and morality, we’d stand a better chance of getting what we really wanted.
I don’t know if this means anything about anything, but I thought I should get it out there in the interest of being thorough and honest. My view of myself and the way I want to be in the world has been largely a view of smallness, unobtrusiveness, meekness, gentleness, etc.
I know my family will disagree! There of course I am loud and opinionated, controlling and domineering. Sometimes.
It’s been a fascinating experience for me to walk Xandra (for lots of reasons I’ll get into, but only one reason for this purpose). She’s big, 60 pounds, and next to me she probably looks bigger. As I approach people they sometimes look visibly frightened, and at times they may cross the street to avoid us. Never before in my life have people reacted this way to me. It amazes me. I try to feel for a minute what it must be like to be greeted like this all the time, but of course I can’t. My persona and my understanding of the world and my place in it is that I am a small white woman, and before that I was a small white girl. Most people over the age of 8 could physically get the best of me, and they know it.
So I paused to reflect after writing those two sentences because I think it’s important that I try to better understand the way I’ve tried to be, and the image I’ve tried to project. I truly value the qualities of gentleness and meekness and of being non threatening, but really, did I have a choice? Acting otherwise would probably have been comical on a person like me. I’ve always been small, though now I’m just short. I’ve always been fairly weak, not good at anything physical, and I’ve even had some physical limitations like bad knees and childhood asthma. For much of my life, I’ve projected an image that is younger than my actual age. At five feet or less, I’ve weighed between 85 and 140 pounds since I’ve stopped growing.
So, what I really wanted was, what? To be liked, certainly. To get what I want by meek and mild means, at least with people outside of my family. Although it’s important for me to understand that I really didn’t have a chance to be any other way. There has always been at least a small part of me that valued good character for the sake of good character, I’m sure. And I guess it is a bit of an admirable thing to want to please people rather than be ambivalent or hostile.
Working this program asks me to value good character on a whole new, much deeper and more difficult level.