Friday, January 26, 2007

which bird do you fancy?

My former boss used to tell me I was 'swan-like'. Sadly not due to grace or beauty. But because I always appeared calm and in control, regardless of how much my legs were flapping wildly underwater.

I can appear unruffled in most situations, regardless of how I feel. I can hide annoyance and distress when diplomacy so requires.

But is this a good thing?

Something that makes me really angry is when people act as if another person is inferior to them. Because they're young; female; not ordained; unattractive (in appearance or personality); too attractive (ditto); vulnerable; quiet; loud; of differing views to the majority; etc. Usually, this (very common) behaviour manifests itself in subtle ways. I think I usually spot it. And it really irritates me. (The only thing that gets me more angry is seeing someone being bullied.) But I tend to keep my irritation to myself.

Something that makes me really distressed is when relationships get hijacked simply because people insist on putting one another into categories. They say to themselves (something like): "I have put you into this 'box', I have defined you, and now, regardless of what you say and do, I will interpret it all according to my definition. So there's no way we can actually relate properly to one another."

This seems to be what's going on in so many of the church's rows at the moment. People don't actually interact, they just judge one another and let that judgement guide everything they do, and so things get sourer and sourer. And it happens all the time on the 'micro' level as well. In our friendships and workplaces.

Question I sometimes ask myself is, is it better to be a swan? Or to flap around like an ostrich in protest? Has anyone ever taken an ostrich seriously?

1 comment:

Joe said...

Ha ha

Swans are graceful and well-liked, but nobody really notices them or pays much attention to what they want. Ostriches, on the other hand, are loud, aggressive and, as you say, get into a big flap about things, but you can't help but notice them and they tend to get what they want.

I wouldn't really want to be an ostrich, but then being a swan has its drawbacks. Best to be the kind of swan that my friend Ollie encountered when out on his rowing boat. He unwittingly disturbed a mother with her babies, and she went wild - dive-bombing him and squawking like mad. So basically, you can be popular and graceful, but make sure people know they can't mess with your babies!