Honestly Looking for Candor

My grandparents are (part) Macedonian so I grew up calling them Baba (Grandma) and Dedo (Grandpa). Sundays were big family dinners where the entire family gathered, ate, and drank. Holidays- especially Christmas- were always full of loud family and lots of presents (which sometimes came from my neon pink lipstick wearing, white hair teasing, always sweating and cussing great aunt who only shopped at garage sales).

One Christmas stands out. It was the first year that Brandon had entered the scene with the family and he sat quietly observing. I opened a box with a sweater (designed for someone decades older than I) neatly folded inside of white tissue paper, held the sweater up, and said something to the effect of: It's okay, but it's not my style. Baba, who had purchased the gift, said, Okay, I'll get you the receipt then you can find something else. Conversation over. No hard feelings.

As Brandon and I recapped the night, he asked about that exchange. He couldn't believe what I had said to my grandmother. I couldn't believe he thought my words were too honest. And that's when I realized that most families don't operate under the premise of that kind of candor.

In our family, my brother and I have always been encouraged to speak directly and honestly. There was not a lot of room for false fluff and if you wanted to really get in trouble with my parents, all you had to do was lie.

Now that I'm an adult and functioning in the real world, I've come to the conclusion that the honesty-candor-directness that was common in my childhood home, is something that not everyone is used to (or comfortable with for that matter). I'm not interested in changing the value of 'saying what you mean' but, over the years I've had to learn how to use softer language and 'cushion' my words.

Actually, I think that a lot of relationships could use a shot of directness to sharpen each other. The relationships I'm looking for are with honest people who speak truth to me, even when the truth puts a spotlight on unsightly personality warts. Growth happens when we're challenged in new ways and I hope that each of us has a few 'challenging' friends along the way. Here's to growing yourself so you can change the world someday.


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