When I was very small, the worst word I knew was “hate.” I could get smacked for using it too freely or inappropriately. Later, I was taught the typical truism “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything.” Once I’d processed that by being required to sit in a chair and think about manners a few times, I then became confused about the difference between a comment and a compliment. I understood perfectly well what a compliment was, but a comment was a conundrum. Apparently a comment didn’t have to be complimentary. So to my tiny binary mind, this certainly meant that comments were not something that was good.
It’s toddler logic, like the time I asked Mom to name everything that began with the letter m. Hey, Mom begins with m doesn’t it? She must know everything else that begins with m then.
One of the guys in my section Freshman year sent me this email the other day.
I know that I don’t talk to you much any more, and we didn’t really talk much once I moved out of 4B, but I figured that I needed to send you this email.
The other day, I realized how cool you really were. You were never afraid to do things because of what other people would think. I’ve always lived with the great fear that you (that’s the all inclusive you, not just you personally, no offense.) would not like me if I let you know that I did things that aren’t socially popular.
For instance, I love Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars, but I would never talk about it. I was always afraid to be open about that stuff. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, ya know. Those are just examples that you might relate to the most.
Now that I’m sober, I’m doing things that I want to do and saying things that I want to say. I’m not caged by self-centered, selfish fear as I was. Though you’ve been pretty weird at times (I mean that in a good way!), but you are also an inspiration for me.
I hope that your semester goes well, and I hope that you can forgive me for all of the trouble that I caused in Keough Freshman year.
Talk to you later,
That’s one of the best compliments I’ve ever had.