What would you do?

“You are different.  You are not like us.  We know what you’re capabilities are, and what they’re not.  If you exhibit this kind of thought, you’re that kind of person.  If you show this type of action, you’re this other type of person.  Therefore, you cannot think this way and act that way and be the same person.  What is wrong with you?”

Throughout my life, this has been what I’ve been told.  “If you’re Christian, you forgive everyone, you accept everyone.  If you draw a line in the sand, you’re a hypocrite.” I cannot forgive a person’s heinous crimes because he harms society and does evil.  I may forgive the person, but not his actions.  My judgment against someone would be to remove him from my community.  It is God’s judgement he should fear, because if he doesn’t repent, his sentence is eternal.  My opinion of this person’s actions don’t carry as much weight in the last days.

“There is no ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ because the Supreme Being made us all perfect.”  As to the theory that there is no right or wrong–that is just foolishness.  People’s own conscience will tell them that some things are right and some are wrong.  They may call it a social code or the 10 commandments or the 13 suggestions for all I care, but there IS a right and a wrong.  Though in the beginning we were made perfect, the line between good and evil is blurred in our souls from earliest history.  We aren’t perfect any more than anything else is perfect.

“If you’re a Christian, the only justice you should seek is your own punishment because as a Christian you are a gay basher, a hypocrite, a red neck, an intolerant bigot…the list goes on.”  But I’m not any of those things.  I think homosexual behavior is a deviance from the way people were created to be.  I am especially critical of transgender children.  Heck!  They don’t even know what gender really means!  I was a “tomboy.”  I hated dolls.  I didn’t do the make-up and dressing up games.  I would rather climb trees and play baseball.  But I didn’t want to change my outward appearance to conform to the actions I exhibited.  And transgender has nothing to do with sexuality.  It doesn’t make them gay.  They think it just makes them mislabeled.  I love my gay friends.  They’re interesting and fun and intelligent people.  What they do in the privacy of their homes is none of my business, nor is it any of their business what I do in the privacy of my home.  I don’t paint myself to be a perfect person that goes to church on Sundays who then lies and cheats and does evil things during the rest of the week.  I am an imperfect person that needs to be recharged, forgiven, and made more aware of who I am and whose I am.  I do make an effort not to do evil things during the rest of the week.  A hypocrite is someone that says one thing and does another.  I am the tax collector in the church confessing all his shortcomings.  I am the Christian collecting taxes during the week, not over charging, not taking bribes, just collecting what is owed.  (No, in actuality, I am not a tax collector and do not work for the IRS.  This is an illustration.)  If I have a red neck, it’s because I sometimes forget the sunscreen on my neck when I go outside.  I don’t believe I am a bigot.  I do not categorize everyone I know based on skin color, country of origin, accent, religion or idiomatic speech.  If I do categorize, it’s music or non music.  It’s money-savvy or not money-savvy.  It’s good speaker or needs some work.  I am prejudiced against stupid people though.  “Stupid” crosses the lines of color, country of origin, accent, religion, and idiomatic speech, so I have to actually interact with them before I can label them stupid.

The question returns–if you are not like everyone else, if your capabilities are much beyond what people think they should be, if your thoughts and your actions show lots of diversity, how do you let people know you don’t fit into the box they’ve built for you?  It is not easy.  I have learned that people must put you in a box because they cannot process what you say and do without context.  So I get this, “She’s smart for a musician!”  or “She’s such a great speaker, I didn’t know she could play an instrument.”  I play multiple instruments.  “Really?  which ones?”  All of them.  “Flute?”  All of them.  “Trombone?”  All of them.  In fact I play some instruments you’ve never heard of, and I sing and play piano and percussion as well (they don’t consider percussion or piano an instrument.)  “So you’re a stock broker.  I suppose you golf for fun?”  No, I am in toastmasters for fun.  “You give speeches?  Do you provide pillows for the ones that fall asleep?”  Why would they fall asleep? “You know, money stuff?  Who can stay awake for a speech on the Dow?”  I compete in tall tales, humorous, table topics, evaluation and international/inspirational speeches, and I win.  “No competition huh?”

There are times I wanna go find a large drum beater and pound on these people.  But as you can see, people that know me as a musician have problems adjusting to me as a financial analyst.  People that know me as a financial analyst are surprised to find I am also a musician.  I can’t surprise the toastmasters anymore, they have heard many of my stories as an analyst and a musician.  The musicians and analysts are surprised all the time by my public speaking and leadership workshops.  They’re astounded to find I am a published author.  I don’t fit into the boxes.  People have to get to know me better to understand all the things I do.  We have to be the same way to the people we meet.  We cannot just put them in the box and assume that they will conform to our vision of them.

When I’m confronted by someone who immediately makes assumptions about me, if they are people of good humor, I do the same to them.  A good friend of mine was a saxophone player in the college band.  He really played well!  He was 6’10” tall.  So when the band toured, he’d walk up to the tallest guys in the high school, and say, “Hey, I bet you guys play saxophone!”  Are all English teachers Twitter and text grammar Nazis?  Can all math people do complex arithmetic in their heads?  Are all football players big and clumsy?  Of course not.

I revel in my differentness.  I wallow in unconventionality.  I enjoy being one of those people that doesn’t fit into a box.  It’s much more fun.


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