Thursday, January 24, 2013

Intentions and results

This blog has caused me quite a few problems in the past. I write an entry that I perceive as being candid, honest, often complimentary to and about others. Among my entries, I never aim to insult or put down anyone. My end goal is to fashion a personal - subjective yet hopefully thoughtful - look inwardly and outwardly.

Whether or not that happens, though, is a completely different story.

I've been lucky that in the past few weeks of writing I haven't stirred up any controversy. It's strange to think that by writing a blog I've managed to alienate some of the people who mean the most to me. In time I've managed to heal those wounds, attempting to explain that though my words might have been perceived as loaded with bad intentions, they were actually aimed at expressing something inherently positive.

Because I'm not a vindictive person.

One of my most vivid memories dates back to middle school. I was 13 years old, or perhaps 12 going on 13. The setting was a typical day in choir class. I was sitting amongst the sopranos. My friend Kristin (who is still one of my closest companions to this day) was in the front row, but I was in the second row of my section with girls who were not my friends.

Another soprano in the second row started talking about hurting people's feelings. She spoke about some recent incident where one of her peers had complained that she'd insulted them to some effect. As a rebuttal to the accusation, she said that she simply "had no conscience."

It was a passing comment - albeit supported by some of her actions which I perceived while taking a choir class with her - but it had an effect on me.

The reason it struck me so strongly was because it was the first moment in my life where I'd been informed that not all people have good intentions. And better than any other testimony to that effect, it was in no way hearsay. It was in fact straight from the horse's mouth. It couldn't be refuted, even if I wanted to believe that people didn't have inherently hurtful agendas.

I never became friends with that girl. Now, several years later, I can't even remember what her name was. Though many of the people in my middle school choir are still fresh in my memory, the thought of her has blurred over the years. Maybe it was because she'd scarred me with her perception of herself and, as a result, my perception of life.

For my reality television class tomorrow, I read an article about the television show An American Family. The show was an archetype of the modern family reality show (akin to Jon & Kate Plus 8, 19 Kids and Counting, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, etc.), wherein the producers and camera crew filmed an "ordinary" family for seven months of their lives. The article consists of the show's creator talking about the intention of the program as he first conceived of it. He debunks rumors about manipulation of the show's content, of its stars, etc. Essentially, he wants to prove that the purpose behind An American Family was not to create a spectacle of an American family, but a truthful insight into the lives that many people live through today in the US, but fail to tell each other of. He wanted to unearth some of the problems facing all families in the country by depicting the life of a single family.

In a way, while reading the article, I began to see myself in the blatant deflections of blame that the writer/creator set forth to counter the many critics of his television show. A few times I've felt that even when I've had the most honorable intentions with my writing, I've found that the response is anything but aware of those initial intentions. In fact, they seem to expect the worst of me.

It goes back to the issue of my impressionable middle school self and how she differed from what I presume is most of humanity. You see, she didn't think that it was possible that anyone could "not have a conscience," or not feel remorse for their actions. She thought that everyone goes through life trying to maximize success for the many.

But that's not an accurate portrayal of life as we know it. It would be nice if it was, it's only a pipe dream. People will always expect that my intentions are dishonorable because that is not an unheard of expectation.

While I like to think that my choices emphasize a greater good, the vindictive minds that exist in this world will forever taint the positive intentions that I hope to convey.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I'm glad to know that no one - at least recently and outspokenly - has taken offense to anything I've written. Because if there's anything I can say about this blog with utter certainty, it's that it has never been designed to hurt or insult anyone.

I've written about this in the past, but reading this article put it into an even clearer perspective for me. I hope that anyone who has ever read my blog will have a chance to see these words because of any message I've ever posted, it's probably the most important one from which to go on and judge the rest.

That is all I have to say for now.

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