Sunday, 7 July 2013

Mixed-up metaphors.

It’s human nature to beat around the bush, avoid the obvious, tip-toe around the subject matter at all costs. But why is it, we can never say what we actually mean? We throw about one-too-many sneaky metaphors lately, and I’m beginning to think it’s a bad habit. There seems to be something about speaking your mind or saying exactly what you think that’s risky. Do you brand yourself the “arrogant” one, the “bitch” or the “tosser” because you’re “blunt” and speak up? Or do you become a shrinking violet, shy away into yourself and hover around the truth like a moth dallying around a flame, scarcely aware of the danger which lies ahead? Sometimes, using all of these back-handed, mixed-up, complicated metaphors is the lesser of two evils. At least, if you’re not 100% honest, you don’t risk hurting someone’s feelings or making a name for yourself as the bitchiest girl around.

We live in a world where the clichéd “it’s not you, it’s me” and “we’ll maybe we’re better off as friends” are the norm. They echo between the school corridors and rattle around the walls of workplaces. Yet, it’s funny, we all know what the underlying meaning really is. “It’s not you, it’s me” does mean it’s you but we’re all too polite to come right out with it. Being Friend-zoned, everyone knows, just is another back-handed term for telling someone you used to associate with, that you actually don’t want to establish a “relationship” and that time you kissed after seventeen Tequila slammers really was just the drink talking, not you confessing your undying love for a colleague, friend or associate.

Everywhere we go, we seem to be surrounded by our inability to tell the truth, point out the obvious and embrace honesty as really “the best policy.” When did we start needing life to be not only sugar-coated, but deep-fried in chocolate and wrapped in a dozen layers of cotton wool? When did the truth really get so ugly? Hide haphazardly behind your rose-tinted RayBans all you like, we can never, ever, fully escape the truth. Even if it is buried deep under our skin, it’s always waiting to break out like a caged gremlin on a vengeful promise.

Maybe we should be more honest with each other. Maybe lying does really breed contempt. Is it more damaging to hide behind your mixed messages and metaphors or to speak the truth and dare to get chastised for it? This time, I really don’t know. I think it depends on context. If your friend is trying a dress on that really doesn't suit her, and she asks your opinion, you politely suggest another dress to try on instead, rather than tell her out-right that you abhor her choice of outfit, hurt her feelings and risk damaging your friendship. However, if someone asks you straight-up for the truth, they catch you off-guard. You stammer. You become cagey. Your become unable to process your own thoughts. They become trapped in a limbo unlike any other, between your brain and your tongue, the words just linger.

Does this person really want to hear the God Honest truth, or are they testing to see whether you’ll follow your brain or your conscience? I think that’s a judgement call. Sometimes it is better to speak your mind, but other times., keep shtum unless its absolutely necessary. Some things aren't meant to be repeated, no matter how much you want to share it.

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