I wasn’t offended.
First of all, I really appreciate it when people are forward with me. If they are clear and honest with their word, I’m a happy person. Even if they are painfully honest, I’m cool with it. Better painfully honest than constantly tiptoeing around subjects. Which leads to my next point.
I already knew.
I have a strong, assertive personality that I got from my mom. My siblings all inherited her personality as well. I explained that my rudeness stemmed from the environment I grew up in.
All the strong personalities under a single roof did not create the most ideal circumstances. When strong personalities meet, they clash, hard. My siblings and I all grew thick skins and explosive tempers. We learned that we needed to fight in order to make it through each and every day. Before we all moved out, a week wasn’t complete without some screaming showdowns.
Not long after I explained my circumstances to my friend I stopped and thought about how my personality affected my life before UPS and after arriving.
I never really learned to “turn off” that strong personality whenever I left home. It had become so integrated into my identity that if I did manage to turn it off, I wouldn’t be me. So, this personality that had been forged from a necessity to survive became a necessity to my identity. How I think this affected my life is interesting and shameful, which just a touch of hilarity. I mean, why else would I be writing this?
Last summer, I had a job at a summer camp. I really enjoyed it. My coworkers were great, which in turn made my work environment just as great. I grew to love waking up at 6 every morning to catch the train to work (this was just a day camp held at Stanford University). Every day made me smile. So it was bittersweet when I had a week off in the middle of the summer. I would get a break from nightmarish campers and parents, but I wouldn’t get to crack stupid jokes with my coworkers or geek out about computer stuff (this was a technology camp).
Every Friday, we’d host an open house so our campers would be able to show off their projects to their parents. Every classroom had at least one staff member assigned to it while everyone else was spread out into support roles. My role every week was to stand at the entrance and direct parents to their kid’s classroom.
After I returned from my week off, one of my coworkers told me that he had to take my place that last Friday. My boss told him, “Be like Kevin, but less aggressive.” Wow boss, I don’t know whether to be flattered or offended. Flaffended? Ottered? Whatever, you get the idea.
Thing is, my boss and all of his bosses loved me. They loved my personality and thought it was hilarious how no matter how much I yelled and shouted at the kids, quite a few would name me as their favorite staff member when we did end of the week surveys. Kids are weird.
Too bad I had to learn that shouting only works on kids the hard way.
The second night after the freshmen moved in, a bunch of my floormates gathered in our lounge to get to know each other and start to bond as a floor. Things went pretty well, then I introduced Psychiatrist.
Psychiatrist is a party game I learned last summer from my coworkers. I won’t go into details, but I found that it’s a really fun game because it’s a great way to get to know funny things about people.
Being an excited college freshmen, my floormates didn’t listen to me. I really didn’t, and still don’t, blame them. We all just moved in and were still settling in and getting to know everyone. However, I reacted in a less than ideal way.
I told them all to be quiet, in a much less polite and much more vulgar way. What a great way to start off my relationship with my floor. Spent a lot of nights laying in bed thinking about that.
It’s easy to point fingers and blame people for my behavior. My mom gave me my personality. My family encouraged it to grow into what it is today.
But the only one to blame is me. I’m aware of this issue and don’t put very much effort into correcting it. I do try to filter my language and reel in my temper. And I’m becoming more successful with that. But, it’s just too easy to slip back into old habits sometimes.
But maybe part of me knows that it’s good to slip back into those old habits. I’d be staying true to myself rather than trying to be someone I’m not.