I think one of the most important qualities a person can have is self awareness. I don’t mean they need to be constantly checking their teeth for signs of lipstick or worried about laughing too loud in a library. I mean they should know who they are. They should know their strengths as well as their weaknesses and they shouldn’t make excuses for either. Own it. If you’re bad at something then do what you can to become good-enough-to-get-by or if you really want to be better than that, put in the work. For instance I’m disorganized. That’s not because I’m an artist or because the stars are messed up this month, it’s because I’m a disorganized person. It would be nice to have everything in its proper place but I don’t really care enough about that to make a serious effort thus I have resigned myself to being organized enough to be a good parent to my son (in other words I feed him regularly and I even teach him a thing or two) and to get my bills paid on time (although I think I’m going to have to file and extension for my taxes). I also think that it’s okay to be proud of your strengths and accomplishments. I’m not a big fan of modesty, I’m more into realism. Brittney Spears is a great performer; she has the right to say that. She is not a great actress and she needs to own up to that before taking on another movie role.
So who am I (other than disorganized)? I think I’ve told you what I’m not good at in past blogs: I have issues when it comes to relationships (but I must say, I rock at being an ex-wife, seriously, I’m the woman you want to divorce), I don’t always manage my time well, I sometimes worry too much about things that I have little or no control over and so on. But I am very good at getting along with people from all walks of life. I’ve always been that way. I was one of the few people in my high school that could honestly say that I had friends within every click without ever belonging to one myself. I was friends with the homecoming queens as well as the drop-outs. I think there are two reasons that explain why I’ve always been able to pull this off:
1) I’m interested in people and I accept them for who they are with little-to-no judgment
2) I am a bit of a politician
The first part of this is fairly simple, if someone has a dramatically different approach to life than I do, I find that interesting. I have a friend who is passionately interested in astrology and she has a different hair color every month, none of them could pass as natural. When she went to see Phantom Of The Opera at the local movie theater she wore a ball gown. She loves her boyfriend despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that he periodically likes to dress up in women’s clothing. I would never go to the movies in a ball gown and I would never date a cross-dresser but I just love that she does these things. Not only does it work for her, it also makes her more interesting and entertaining to hangout with.
I have another friend who has made high fashion her life. Her apartment has two bedrooms, one of which she’s converted into a closet…and it’s not big enough. She goes to all the best parties, schmoozes with all the who’s who of San Francisco, is frequently pictured in the society pages and never leaves the house looking anything less than spectacular (not a difficult feat considering she’s drop-dead-gorgeous). I couldn’t handle her lifestyle. The cheek kissing and designer labels are a bit much for me to take on a day to day basis, but I love attending the occasional fashion show or party with her and getting a glimpse into her world. I have other friends who are strict Catholics who don’t believe in birth control and always vote Republican (or whoever the pro-life candidate is), another who’s a scientist who is working to develop a drug to treat Alzheimer’s, loves the great outdoors and doesn’t shave her legs because it’s “a stupid waste of time.”
I love them all…they don’t all love each other but that’s where the politician thing comes in. When I’m in a group of people and I can tell that two or more of them are about to get into it I quickly assess…is this going to be a two minute blow-up or is this going to fuck up our night? If it’s the latter than I listen very carefully to what is being said and just before someone is about to lose it I rephrase whatever it is that has offended them in a way that makes them want to listen. “She wasn’t calling you a slut. She was just saying that the two of you have different comfort levels when it comes to casual sex.” Usually the offended party will calm down and the offending party will feel like I’m standing up for their point of view (even if that may not be the case) and feeling vindicated will allow the whole thing to be dropped.
It is AMAZING how much these skills have helped me. They have helped my social life, they have helped me in my family life and they have helped me immeasurably when it comes to my career. I’ve heard from several people in my publishing house that they really love working with me and I know some of the people there go further out of their way for me than they need to simply because they like me and I can honestly say the feeling is mutual.
I know a lot of people feel more comfortable hanging out with friends who are just like them and I know it’s easier for those people to put together successful social gatherings. But I really enjoy having a diverse group of friends. Now if I could just do something about my house…
Sex, Murder And A Double Latte IN STORES NOW!!!
Preorder Passion,Betrayal And Killer Highlights In Stores May 2006!
For The Love Of A Dog--A fun online read