Those of you who have gleaned insight into my personality from reading here or perhaps from a real life confrontation encounter know that I am nothing if not honest. The rants you know and love, the well-honed skills of observation that get right to the heart of the matter, are 99.44% pure me. I do hold back from time to time. Yes, I do. I want there to be no cause for apology for what I write. So far, I can say, “Yeah, I wrote that” and it doesn’t hurt one bit. Holding back when I speak, like writing with my left hand, is not something I do very well. It’s not in my nature and this creates problems for me. (From time to time.)
I suspect others don’t struggle with the overwhelming compulsion to interject into discussions in a group setting like I do. This is why I am asking for your help. You see, I find myself these days in need of some sort of governor. Not so restrictive as to completely muzzle me, but at least enough of a preventative measure that I don’t just blurt out exactly what is on my mind. Something short of an electric shock each time I try to speak in class would work. (I think.)
I wouldn’t bother you except, well, my enthusiasm seems to be off-putting to some people. I know, hard to believe, but it’s true. Actually, I’ve had this failing all of my life. There have been times when a manager has recommended I stop trying to make everyone else look bad. I don’t try. People have a way of doing it all on their own. (Without any effort on my part.) If this sounds arrogant to you, stop reading now.
Good, now it’s just the two of us. It has come to my attention that my confidence can come across as arrogance. Oddly enough, the only people who have ever had a problem with my level of confidence are men. (I’m just sayin’.) I suppose I need to be more sensitive to this particular brand of manhood.
This request for help stifling it correcting my behavior is tongue in cheek, of course, but the fact remains, I am flawed. Being self-aware makes ones flaws crystal clear. One thing I’ve always been able to rely on is being genuine. For better or worse, it’s who I am. Lately, I have taken to writing notes to myself in the margin of the course syllabus during class. Notes that remind me to PRACTICE SHUTTING UP – DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT – THE TEACHER
HATES MY GUTS HOPES I DROP THE CLASS BEFORE MIDTERM.
Today I ended up marking through the notes while pretending not to hear the key words that send me into contributory mode without even raising my hand. I drew circles over the words and colored them in with my pen, creating a legion of crazed one-armed robots. As you can tell, this behavior, left unchecked, could potentially deplete my bank of class participation points. For the record, I do not deliberately try to be confrontational.
Any tips you have to help me will be greatly appreciated.