Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

“Familiarity breeds contempt. How accurate that is. The reason we hold truth in such respect is because we have so little opportunity to get familiar with it.” ~Mark Twain.

Why is it that the people closest to us presume to know us the best—or know us at all? I’ve always encountered people assuming my character and what I was all about. If you ask my girlfriend or any of my ex’s, they will all tell you that I have kept them on their toes a lot of the time. This is true. The reason I have chosen this route, is because in my life people always thought ‘they knew me’. Presumptuous people drive me nuts.

Madelene and I always tell one another how much we still have yet to learn about one another. Yes, we’ve been together for twelve years, but to me, I still don’t feel I know her. I think I know her only about 25%---and that’s a lot. It may seem like a very little amount, but the other 75% is all about her mind, her thoughts, her deepest secrets and her past, as well as her thoughts on the future. Who knows for sure what someone else is truly thinking or feeling? We can ‘claim’ we know, but do we? Do we truly know our partners/spouses/family members and our friends? Can we ever say, “Oh I know him/her, she would never do that…?”

You can even say that my reasoning for ‘keeping people on their toes’, or ‘in suspense’ of who I really am, is really an issue of an invasion of my privacy. I open up to the people closest to me, however, I choose to share only things I am comfortable with. It’s my right…it’s your right too. If you have read my archives in this blog, you’ve seen how I have revealed many things about myself as well as my family on here. (Of course with their permission.) There are major things I want to share with others, because it just may help someone in some way. Sharing my lifestyle and what I went through while coming out of the closet is another way I “think” may help someone struggling with their own identity.

“What are you thinking?” Couples will ask this a lot of the time. I ask it occasionally when someone’s eyebrows are crinkled up, or if someone is obviously lost in thought. It’s truly none of my business. It’s none of anybody’s business what anyone is thinking. People are trying desperately to get into each other’s thoughts; to get into each other’s minds. Why? One word: Insecurity. We have become so insecure with who we are, with who we are with, and with thoughts we can’t control…other people’s thoughts. I’m guilty of it. I get insecure a lot of the times, finding myself asking someone close to me, “What’s on your mind?” As if I am doing this in a caring ‘can I help you’ type of manner. To be honest, I’m afraid it may be negative thoughts concerning me.

Some people have called me an enigma or a mystery. Fine. I’m okay with that. Just don’t claim ‘you know me’. Those words bug the hell out of me for some reason. It makes me want to give them shocking news of some sort.

“Hey! I’m really a man! I had a sex change!” That’ll be a blow to someone’s mind—who all along knew me as “Deb” the lesbian.

Yes, that actually happened. In fact, it happened last night. Someone close to me had claimed ‘they knew me’, and that I was so honest. Maybe my life is one big lie? Maybe my thoughts, feelings, actions and words are a huge tale from Deb’s neurotic mind. How would you know? I was flattered that someone said they thought I was very honest---that’s a compliment for sure…but never say that you know me 100%. I’m not upset, or angry—I’m just baffled by those type of statements.

Complex and fickle as I am, no one can ever claim they know me. I can say I love one thing one day, and the next day I will totally hate it. I’m complicated, confusing and sometimes I can be considered a walking contradiction. (As if a Christian lesbian isn’t one in some people’s eyes…) My mind changes fast sometimes—it’s a woman’s right, isn’t it? Or is that our excuse? Maybe too much estrogen has taken over this pathological mind of mine, but it’s still my birth given right to plead the 5th.

What about cases where two people meet each other online? Say even two people meet from a blog? Okay, okay, I’ll stop beating around the bush already… So I met someone that has been reading my blog for months before I even knew them. A lot of the times, they’ll say to me, “Oh I already knew that,” or “Oh, I don’t think you would do that.” They’ve read my book as well.

Does a blog or book someone wrote create their full character in real life? I’m talking “character and persona”—not in the aspect of lying, but judging someone by merely reading their ‘text’. Sometimes people will conjur up a whole different person in their minds, due to what the other person has written in their blog or in their book. I’m not ‘holier than thou’, and yes, whatever I write in this blog is 100% truth about my life—however, this doesn’t mean they should quit learning about me since they know the whole scoop on my life through reading about me. This is just my opinion.

My blog and my book is only a fraction of who I really am. They are life events that have taken place in the past, and current issues that are important to me. Sometimes I’m joking around, sometimes I’m serious, and sometimes I’m just way too confusing and complex to even read. This is when you find yourself “X”ing out of my blog and into someone else’s who can entertain you better.

“I’m star-struck when I’m around you.” A flattering comment; but never a comment that should be made to anyone…not even Charlize Theron! I know people mean well, but they also have to keep in mind that the other person may feel awkward hearing this type of thing.

It also amazes me how people think they know certain celebrities. They talk about them as if they were part of their circle of friends. They put on their pants the same way you and I do… (Well sometimes I do a little dance before throwing on a good pair of jeans, but that’s just me.)

So in your most honest response, who do you know 100%? Who do you think you know even 75%? And what do you base your answers on?


~Dawn said...

I don't even know myself 75-100% -
That's just life, you don't know what you are going to do or say in EVERY given situation.

Sometimes the things you say or do seem to contradict each other as well. But you did what you thought was best for that situation.

I wouldn't never claim to know my spouse either. I learn something new from her everyday. She grew up in a whole world different from mine, so that just adds to the wonderful mystery.

Miss 1999 said...

Deb- that was an awesome post. You hit the nail on the head again. No one really knows what goes on in our thoughts but God- and to be honest, I think he's the only one who can handle what is seen there.

People are so quick to assume they "know" someone so well- or "savoir" them. Well, this is one case in which the French are correct- you can never really know someone- you can only be "familiar" with them.

I have several close people in my life that I love, and know quite a bit about- but each day I learn something new about them. I've been reading several blogs over the past year, and have gotten to "know" several people through the blogging network, but just like my friends in "rt" I learn something new all the time, and I really enjoy it :0) *hugs*

Mike said...

And here I thought I knew you so well...I mean seriously after the union of our blogs, the fun in the double-wide, the swanson dinners, the beer is the 6th food group buffets we shared.


TrappedInColorado said...

I never assumed I knew you. I want to meet you in person because that is the type of person I am. I do not want to meet you for anything other than friendship. I've been exposed to enough about you to know we'd have a nice time together. Let's see... why I would like to meet Deb (and dare I even think..Madelene?!) - You are honest, you have a good sense of humor, you drink martinis (oft times to excess), you are fun to look at (eye candy factor..ok..sue me.. I'm a guy and it don't matter your lifestyle..so there),you would 'get" my easy going attitude and be relaxed, you drink martinis (I know I said that already but it weighs heavy in my analysis). Note, I said "I have been exposed to enough about you.." and not "I know enough about you..". So, you and Mad up for a weekend trip to Colorado? Airfare, hotel (very nice hotel) included? Think about it. It's gorgeous out here.

This post was made by the "I'm tired ot typing to get to know people who are obviously very cool." personality and does not reflect the views of his other personalities.


Zibi said...

"I open up to the people closest to me, however, I choose to share only things I am comfortable with. It’s my right…it’s your right too." ... I can relate to this quote of yours.. Great post !

Romeo Jensen said...

Now you see... I knew this about you!

Okay first off... I almost back clicked my little Danish butt on out of here when I saw the word 'Breeds' in big bold letters!

Think: Showing a cross to a Vampire

Also... you and MaddyBaby have been together for 12 years???

Good Lord!
Do you realize how many different girls I've been with in that time???

Okay... don't answer that... it was a retorical question... just to add further to the thought though...

12 years ago... I was 12 (well almost)

~Deb said...

Dawn: That’s the whole thing. I don’t even know myself 100% either. So how can I assume to know someone else 100%--or even 75%?

Miss 1999: Learning something new about someone makes the whole journey of the friendship and relationship that much better!

Mike: Well after all the moonshine you fed me, how can you really know the “sober Deb”? No one knows the sober Deb really…hmmm.

Trapped: Now, I have to admit, that was very nice of you to say. We’re really a couple of wenches who are mean and nasty! Still want us to come by for a martini or five? I must say, that you and I share the same taste in women… but I will warn you---Charlize is mine buddy! Hands off!

Zibi: Thanks Zibi. Sometimes remaining silent about certain things is “okay”. We don’t have to share every single thing with one another.

Romey: I’m glad your lil’ Danish butt is back here. Yeah, 12 years going on 30…. And how many women have you been with during that time? Hmmm……and YES I AM ALWAYS reminded by you, that you are much, MUCH younger. Lil’ fugger.

├ůsa said...

Deb! What a nice post. And how can we expect to know others when at least I haven’t figured out myself yet. Although I do think I know my near and dears ones though. But I get proven wrong time after time. To get someone a nice gift you have to have some idea of what they are like I think. That doesn’t mean you know everything about them. One thing I have difficulty accepting is that people change. They change their mind, their views, their taste, and their looks. It’s confusing for a security-o-holic like my self, but the wiser I become, the more I accept this. Isn’t it a maturity issue you think? You know how when you where a teenager you thought you knew everything, and the older you get the more you realize how little you actually know. Being single I imagine that finding things out about your partner - getting to know his/her inner thoughts - would be part of the fun and ever lasting deal. Star-struck people annoy me too, although I don’t know how “normal” I would act if Vince Vaughn came up to me…

Bossy♥'s YOU said...

I dont think anyone is them true selves on a blog..you couldnt be..people who have known me 20 years still dont really know me.

that kind fo thing ticks me off too..

but deb, i really think i know you:)


LisaBinDaCity said...

I think we only know people in part - what they choose to show us, and what we THINK we know about them as well.

The rest is a mystery.

Tense Teacher said...

The mysterious part of people is what makes us want to get to know them better, and maybe, if they let us get close to them, we can help them get to know themselves better too.

My husband has helped me to discover aspects of my own personality that I didn't even know existed, and I hope I've done the same for him.

TrappedInColorado said...

Do I still want you wenches to come out?! Bahring it! You guys are lightweights! It will take you a day or 2 but you will eventually be able to keep up.

~Deb said...

Asa: I totally believe that it comes with maturity. When I first dated Madelene, I was insecure about every single thing. I was jealous over the slightest little thing. With time and getting to become more secure with myself, I found that I didn’t have anything to worry about. I would never wanna go back into my twenties again. Such an insecure time for me. (Although I get insecure on some levels of course…)

Bossy: Yeah, you know me alright…and you know the “shirts” I like. (eh-hem!!!) But yeah, how many times have you heard on the news, “Oh I knew him so well, would never think he would do such a thing!” Or crimes of passion---where the husband or wife kill one another? I mean, these random things you would never expect someone to figure out! If someone gets murdered, who’s the suspect? The spouse! Go figure.

LisaB: I think everybody puts their ‘best foot forward’, which is a huge problem when you finally get to know someone. Always be honest and put the cards out on the table---if you feel comfortable enough with that person. Good point!

Tense: That’s terrific that your husband helped you to discover aspects of your inner self. I believe that two people should have their separate identities, yet come together and continue to grow and learn about one another.

Trapped: You couldn’t handle us. Bring it!

Pittchick said...

I think I know my husband pretty well to a certain extent, but there are still a lot of things about him I don't know. I don't need to know everything about him anyway. Everyone has secrets.

I do have an ex-boyfriend who knew me pretty well. It was scary. Used to bug the crap out of me, too. I'm not a very good communicator and he seemed to always have a way of getting into my head and figuring things out.

TrappedInColorado said...

Chicken! Can you hear me cuckling to imitate you?


This comment was made by the "push their buttons in the hopes of getting them out here" personality of Trapped and does not reflect the views of his other personalities.

~Deb said...

DNA: It's scary when someone seems to know you too well. I know it scares me just a tad. I knew someone who totally knew me in and out. Not saying who or when. Ba!

Trapped: What, you're gonna bring that cheap vodka made out of old potato skins? Hmmm.... *cluck cluck*

Christina_the_wench said...

Excellent post. Learning the other 25, 50, 75% of someone is what makes life fun.

Colorado is cool. I'd go. But bring Mace. ;)

SherBears said...

I left my last relationship because he didn't know me. Actually, he didn't make the effort. He took this preconceived notion of what I "should" be, put me on a freaking pedestal and stood there looking surprised when I fell off and shattered into a million pieces.

The relationship I'm in now...completely different. Does he know me 100%? No. Does he make the effort to know me? Oh Yes. Is he okay with who I am - even when I take him by surprise? Oh Yes. And that is the important thing, not how much we know but how we handle what we didn't know.

~Deb said...

Christina: It's so much fun learning about the other person--even if it is years later...

Shers: And that's the other side of the spectrum---when they don't feel the need to know you better. That's almost like a dead end road right there. Effort is the key word! :)

mal said...

so, so true! I have lived with OH for almost 25 years and I am still surprised

You would think that after knowing my Dad all my life, I would KNOW him? Not hardly! The last few weeks he has surprised with some of what I have learned about him.

We all make assumptions and we all know what is said about assumptions

Maddie said...

As we have discussed consistantly, I feel very blessed to share my life with you. The one thing I "know", is that we have expierienced a great many adventures, life events, and I wouldn't do anything different! I "know" that I have shared so much with you and am looking forward to the journey of life with you. The fun part is learning more about each other. A human being is a very complicated and wondrous creature, wow, what a ride!

Grant said...

I knew you would blog about this today. You're so predictable.

I don't know anybody well at all, so I don't even think the 25% thing would apply for the few I do know.

Now, feck off. You've been around too much and I'm beginning to dislike you. :p

Rev. Smokin Steve said...

I'm pretty sure that I don't know anyone 100%. Not even my own family. Which is OK.

I'm having a bout with insecurity lately myself. It's not as bad as the ones I used to have. But I know how it can suck.

anna said...

Great post! Made me think hard!! I think that the only 3 I really know would be my children.

I think I know my husband PRETTY well, but not entirely.

NeverEnough said...

Very, very good post. Well articulated and what I think so often when people tell me they think they know who I am. You can never know who I am...

Madelene Rose said...

Well, I don't know anyone one or claim to know anyone. I'm so clueless that I borderline on socially retarded and mentally brilliant. *drools*

Maybe someone knows 'HUGH' not YOU!! Deb! LOL

Maybe they think they know you from a deconstructionist criticism point. This is where they focus on the text only and disregard author (author is dead), history, economics, social norms and whatnot. They also start to look as what is not there, as opposed to what is there. "Why is the barrel red and not green?"

Does not apply, really.

I do not know anyone... Sometimes I wish I could read minds! Since I've been described as you have been. Which annoys me to extremes! How can you judge my person if you are exposed to one mask? Yes, I wear masks. (There is a whole theory about ppl wear certain masks for certain situations and ppl, depending on the comfort level)

I know people in large amounts because I am an observer. I am interested in people so sue me. I do not know them percentage wise numbers but in amounts and plenty. My arrogance is poignant?

The Stevo in H-Town said...

I've read enuff of yer blog to be able to say, I know just enuff aboutya ta know that I'd go drinkin' withya and guaranteeya 100% that we'd have a blast...I don't give a shit 'bout the other 99% ofya I know nuthin' 'bout...

ell said...

who do i know 100%?

i'm not sure i know anyone 100%, because i have recently come to find out, i do not know myself. i thought i did, but it's become clear to me, that i really don't. and if i don't know myself completely, how can i know anyone else?

life is full of surprises.

luckysevn said...

Hmmm... great question. I know my husband as well as I NEED to know him - ie, the important things. I know his morals, values, ethics, where he likes to have his back scratched, etc, etc... We're constantly learning (less significant) things about each other that we didn't know - that's what keeps it interesting!!! ;-)

Casually Me said...

If I know more than 50% of another, it's too much. I like the mystery, or at least the idea or mystery. If I know too much about another, that's when I walk. Hell, I don't even know myself.

~Deb said...

Wow, I find it fascinating that no one claims to know their mates 100%! That's great.

And I totally have to say, I agree with Casually----sometimes when I know someone more than 50%, it's way too much. The other person becomes 'predictable'. No one likes that word.

Oh, and of course people know me well enough to know I'll go out and have a martini or five with them... but Stevo, tell Trapped that he needs to supply the good vodka. He seems to like the bottom shelf lately. (mua ha ha)

Thanks for the interesting feedback!

jali said...

Great post!

I've only been with "A" for a few months (we live together already) and I learn something great about him almost every day. - For the relationship to continue this learning thing has to continue.

I hope no one thinks they really know me based on the portion of my life I share with them when I'm in a particular "mode": work, play, bar, skating, open mic poetry, mom...whatever - I know I'm a little different in each situation and I'm still being 100% me - for THAT situation.

You really make me think - I'll probably do a piece on this someday. Thanks for the inspiration.

kathi said...

I honestly think I'm an open book. I don't hide anything. However, it's true people change from day to day, depending on the circumstance. Do I think I know anyone else 100%? Does my pup, Porter, count? I've got him pegged, other than that...not a one.

samuru999 said...

Wonderful post!
I do know myself 100%
and my husband about 99%.
But, he probably only knows
me about 65%.
I wish he knew me better at
times... but, for the most
part... it does not bother me,
as I am a very independent person
and do not really care if people
(including my hubby)
know we as well as I know myself.
I do believe me make great connections with those people that
know who we really are.
I have some friends that I know
like "the back of my owm hand"
and we can say anything to each
I guess those friends at times
complete me... and
I also complete them.
Real friendship is such a
beautiful thing!
We are lucky if we can have
that with our mates.
Take care!