Its funny how two seemingly simple conversations with two completely different people on two different occasions can put your personal evolution into perspective. Allow me to explain…
The first conversation revealed to me my friend’s appreciation of my evolution. We were discussing Black women and weave, of all things. He shared with me that he favors my decision not to wear any (unless my hair is braided). Fast forward a bit, and we began to dive into our theories about why Black women, in particular, choose to wear weave over their own beautiful hair. I then commented about how crazy it is, unless a woman suffers from some medical condition which causes her to lose her own hair.
Then he hit me with it: the word ‘crazy‘. He went into a mini-rant about how loosely our society uses the word. And while I do acknowledge his point, the tangent seemed to come out of nowhere! Then he told me that I am intelligent enough to use more appropriate words, not having to rely on a “pop culture” dialect to hold a conversation. “You’re better than that,” he said.
I conceded, although I still thought the conversation was all too random. He was right. I didn’t consciously consider that my ability to hold a somewhat intelligent conversation is one of things he likes about me. We’ve discussed that before. I guess, perhaps, we keep each other on our toes, challenging one another with things like not conforming to the average, demanding of each other the need to keep abreast on current events, in-depth documentaries, economic and political changes that may affect us directly, as so on.
The very next day, I spent hours talking with another friend… and I do mean HOURS. I’ll spare you my thoughts on the conversation in its entirety but let’s just say it was quite revealing. At one point during our exchange, I used the word “summation”. I can’t recall what we were discussing exactly but, like my friend from the day before, he too had a trigger word. Summation. Only his mini-rant went in the completely opposite direction…
He began berating me about how although he knows that I’m educated, all those “fancy” words weren’t necessary. When I responded that I didn’t think the word “summation” was fancy, he retorted by saying I didn’t “talk like this” five years ago, when we met. He also suggested that people (like myself, apparently) need to understand that some people will have issues or difficulties holding a conversation when unfamiliar words are used; that it may make them feel inferior, although he himself didn’t have any issues keeping up with me in conversation. 0_O.
As transparent as he was, I continued the conversation because I had now had a point to prove. Yes, I’m in college. Yes, I’ve written essays and have read books. But most importantly, I’ve evolved. My evolution is often expressed in my dialogue. I should not be the same as I was five years ago. My life and outlook have changed. Therefore, I REFUSE to dial back or dumb down so that others can feel more comfortable. I will not fall out of practice with using “fancy” words just so others can keep up. I find it rather insulting to presume that people will not be able to understand what words like “summation” mean!! And for the record, I do not consider any word “fancy”. I do however, like to search for and use words less commonly used. It helps with writing and kick-ass Scrabble games.
The differences between these two conversations are remarkable, worthy of a blog post. This analysis reminded me a of very important life lesson: some people in your life will enhance you, remind you of your potential and of the growth you’ve already experienced. While other people in your life will be troubled by it. Whether its more education, a career, reaching a goal, trying something new, starting a family, traveling the world, winning a Nobel Peace Prize or something as simple as incorporating more words into your conversations, these people will exist on both sides. The objective then becomes how to recognize it and to consider whether or not it’s going to affect you negatively or positively.
Be grateful for people who cheerlead your growth, who acknowledge it and can even be influenced by it. But be just as grateful for those who are intimidated by it; it not only serves as another form of acknowledgment but also an opportunity to examine just how your evolution effects your relationships. Understand that you are FOREVER a student and place yourself in a position to continuously learn. And don’t apologize for growing, especially if it’s in the right direction. Just understand that not everyone in your circle will be able to come along for the ride.
By the way: did you notice that I could recall precisely what the ‘crazy’ guy and I were discussing during our phone call from the day before, while I could not with the ‘summation’ guy?? MeaningFUL versus MeaningLESS. You tend to invest more into those who invest in you.
Oh, me and the ‘summation’ guy are still cool… I will continue to use my “fancy” words and he will just have to deal.