Last night I attended a performance of Hero: The Musical. It’s showing at the Marriott Theater. Some years back, this rather obnoxious kid came through town to do a few character sketches for this play that he was trying to do. It will seem bad from the caricature, but I was the inspiration for Susan. That was me ten years ago. I know it because I discussed the character with him. He came up with it after talking with his friends. People who had met me one day prior, and apparently had me pegged in ways that were severely unbecoming. Last night that had me crying. Someone who met me for less than two days emphasized my biggest faults and added things that didn’t and don’t exist, like becoming a boozing floozy. The rest of the show was superbly well-done, and I’ll admit that I laughed at Susan like everyone else after my initial horror. The one thing that I am glad about is that all of these years later, I’m not Jane and I’m not Susan. I’m me. By the end, I was Hero, no comic book required.
Considering this in the morning day light, I thought “Why was I so unhappy with the portrayal of Susan?” Yeah, for one thing, her character was a caricature, and while accurate in idiosyncrasies, false in the realities. Something that got to me further was, “Why do others make fun of people trying to do well?” Between a conversation with a friend this morning and thinking about a roommate’s reactions to me in the past, there’s a lot of judgement going on. I’m not doing bad things. I’m not exactly or even close to how or what society wants me to be, but society is pretty screwed up anyway.
The current trend is to be some sort of liberal. I’m conservative in my dress, speech, behavior, and values, and get a lot of criticism for doing so. It’s not me judging other people. If they feel judged, that’s NEVER been my intention. From my perceptions, people judge themselves. No one in that play knew that I was there (outside of being an audience member) and definitely no one had ANY idea of my history concerning the playwright. And more power to him for creating a character that I recognized and for the rest of it, he also indirectly helped inspire this blog post.
Every time I turn around, I feel like there’s someone disapproving of me or of what I do. I’m a conservative religious female historian. I like the 1950’s ideals of family life, (not the witch hunts) and I’m sick of people telling me that something that I’m doing is wrong when it’s not. I believe in God. Most people in grad school don’t. That’s not my concern. I just ask that people let me worship how I want so long as I’m not trying to hurt or harm them. And no, I’m not trying to do either. My competitiveness deals with grades and my career options, and neither are worth harming anyone over.
Since I started my undergrad major, Family History-Genealogy, people asked me what I wanted to do with it. Now I want to look all of the them in the eye, and say with a smile, “Keep your family from going to hell,” and mean it. Within my cultural group, I get ridiculed from everyone but the leaders. What I do tends to make people feel guilty, and the topic (NOT the guilt) is something that I’m good at, something that I love, and something that only people who do or try it even remotely understand. Most people (myself included) aren’t always perfect at keeping every commandment and this is one that is essentially socially acceptable not to be good at.
People aren’t supposed to be good at genealogy unless they’re a bit crazy or something. Well, guess what? No one else pays my tithing, and I’m the only one in charge of my salvation besides the grace of Christ, so… may as well GET good at it. At least understand it.
I’m a little sick of people who make it their lot in life to complain about people who try to be good at Church and think that there is something else going on. Shut up, and let them live their lives and live yours! No one asked for your opinion, typically. My guess is that people in such thought processes are more nervous about something wrong in their own lives and want to push their negative thought processes on others. In any case, a lack of complaining helps.
Yes, I’m complaining about someone doing a caricature of me. Verbal complaints are one thing, and hopefully they take up as much air as they’re worth. Written down is something else. It’s why people get sued for libel, and it’s something that I don’t ever want to be a part of: either in suit form or otherwise. Makes things a little harder to mention bad things, but people who know English well enough know how to talk about sadness and anger without throwing mud pies at each other. At least, I hope not.
I wanted this post to be about people who choose to be conservative and being strong in value systems and how that’s just fine and is in fact a form of rebellion unto itself against an oppressively liberal society. We don’t have to be like everyone else, and that being firm in committed values is a good thing.
Now, this post is becoming reflections on how what a person writes effects people. I want to write my story for mass-consumption. Why I haven’t is that I have concern for my family. I don’t want to ring anyone through mud, and maybe have some sort of family left when it’s all done. It’s not a horrible story, but it won’t make us look perfect, either. Seeing how I reacted to the caricature makes me think how others react. Some people say to do things no matter what or without thinking about repercussions. I can’t live that way, and in modern society, no one can. Not sure where the line is between doing what one feels one should, and showing people, warts and all, in a public manner where it’s not just to a few people but anyone has access. Wide open spaces are scary places.
Where is the balance? I want to be open, to show the endurance of a life lived well when (especially when) the rest of the world wants to trounce you and only brings to light your faults. Not to say that those faults are not a part of you, but they’re keenly felt. Finally, over-coming the otherwise problematic structures of modern society that bring a person down and away when rising above it and truly being oneself means leaving behind some friends. It’s a return to being good, or to doing one’s best when everyone around you says, “What?” and then acts like you’re weird because they don’t get it.
I’m probably as conservative as they come, and I’m not a wench. I like to love people and to be what the gospel says that people should try to be. Yeah, it’s difficult, but so it Calculus, and people get through that class. I don’t believe that anything is impossible. Maybe improbable, but not impossible. Let people judge themselves. It’s not my job and I don’t want it!