Monday, 8 December 2008

Reservations

I always loved how in my personal life, I could be completely candid. I always contrasted it with my professional life. At the office, I had to have reservations, consider some opinions inappropriate for office discussion, be considerate of wording, etc... I'm sure it was because of how reserved I was about my opinions in the office that I held so dearly onto my personal life where I could be honest about my thoughts. In general, I thought that office-mates shouldn't discuss religion, or politics. Fortunately, now I've already made it clear (I think) to my latest office-mates exactly what I am ... because I can't help it. So no surprises come up. Phew.

I recall working at a previous workplace, and never speaking of religion. I thought this was a good policy. Then one day, I mentioned how I went to visit a shrine, and suddenly all of the Christians at the office started talking to me and inviting me to join each of their congregations. I got invitations to the weekly prayer groups; handed a Bible at the office. They had just assumed that it was the case that I was a Christian. It's poor reasoning. An atheist could go to a Christian shrine simply to admire its beauty. I didn't know how to handle it. It was the worst! It drained every little bit of energy out of me to not say "Shut up, you hatemongering imbeciles!" Listening to mass was one thing, but being trapped in a circle of gay-bashing, pre-marital sex abhorring women, I couldn't believe (1) that it was happening, and (2) that they thought I agreed with them. What kills me is knowing that if either I'd said that I was an atheist at the outset, or if I'd been consistent and not spoken of the shrine, then all would have been well. I lucked out in my new office: I had a chance to say something before any abhorrent hatred was potentially confided in me.

Anyway, the real reason why I consider the distinction between personal and professional life as drawn by our reservations is because it's blurred for me. Not only do I have less reservations at the office, I have more in my personal life. At the office, I feel more liberated now than ever before. As for my personal life, I still have the liberty to have my opinions, but I've discovered that there are just some things I can't say out loud. As much as I want to, since I know that nothing good can come of it, I shouldn't and thus won't. It's a level of discretion I've never known. Here's hoping I can do it.
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