Archive for the ‘Conflict and Criticism’ Category

The Truth and Tyra Banks

Truth.  Truth is such a virtuous word, isn’t it?  After all, everyone wants to hear the truth.  Or, do they?

Sometimes I do.  If there was a piece of Charmin stuck to my shoe, I’d want someone to tell me the truth.  Or, if there was parsley in my teeth.  Or, if I accidentally dropped a few Benjamins out of my wallet. 

Other times, I’d rather that people kept the truth (or their perception of the truth) to themselves…unless I ask…or unless it’s totally positive…or unless it’s given as constructive criticism with a tactful and respectful delivery. 

A lot of times people tell me to stop talking and listen…to be more contemplative…and less direct with my choice of words.  I know they’re right… it’s the truth…and I’m working on being a better listener.

Listen Up MuleThat’s called ear to ear communication.  Oops!  Maybe I should be more serious in my efforts to improve.

With the wrong delivery, or inappropriate timing, or the lack of discretion when speaking the almighty truth, the words free-flowing out of your mouth can be ugly.  Sometimes the truth can hurt.  Sometimes it can scar.  Sometimes it does not need to be said out loud.

By now, you’re probably wondering how former supermodel Tyra Banks fits into this topic.  I’m sure that Tyra never gets tired of people speaking the truth about her beauty and success.  But, she probably didn’t like reading all of the media reports last year about her weight gain…even though it was the truth.

Take it from Tyra

This reminds me of something that Tyra  said about THE TRUTH on the spring 2011 cycle of her reality TV show, America’s Next Top Model. I’ve never forgotten her words.

Two of the contestants were arguing.  Girl #1 said that Girl #2 was shallow and undeserving of winning a spot to model in a PSA campaign.  It was true…the girl seemed shallow.  But, was announcing it to the world on national TV in full attack mode the right thing to do?  I’m not so sure, and Tyra agreed.  Said with confidence and poise, Tyra made an excellent point about how telling the truth can be outright rude.  She said,

A lot of young girls think that the opposite of fake is rudeness. And just as ugly as fake is, so is saying whatever is on your mind just because it’s the truth.

– Tyra Banks, 2011

I agree with Tyra.

Do you think the truth should always be told?

Doing the Y.M.C.A. of Life

Step 1 – Go to any wedding in America.

Step 2 – Wait for the DJ to spin The Village People.

It’s fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A. It’s fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A. You can get yourself clean, you can have a good meal. You can do whatever you feeeeel.

Village People YMCA

I’m certain that you don’t need any further instructions.  In fact, you probably have your arms raised into the letter Y  position above your head already.  I do.

Too bad life can’t be filled with such unabashed, embarrassing fun every day of the week! 

Most of the time when we’re doing the Y.M.C.A. OF LIFE, it’s a little more serious than the song. It also doesn’t involve wearing plastic construction-worker hats while dancing with an intoxicated bride and groom.

Let’s break it down…

Your life is going along just fine until…it’s not.  A relationship ends.  A family member dies.  Your car catches fire at the gas station.  Your wallet is stolen and a stranger spends your life’s savings at Radio Shack. Get the picture?

When these things happen, they are easier to process when you realize that the Y.M.C.A. is about to play.

Stage 1 – WHY

You question what happened.  You are mad….upset….emotional…can’t understand WHY.

Stage 2 – EMMM

You step back and think about it…seek to find answers and gain understanding.  Emotions are calmed as you release an audible breath…EMMM.

Stage 3 – SEE

You begin to SEE the situation differently…realize that some good has come from it…or that you’ve grown stronger as a person…or that  it is beyond your comprehension and in God’s hands.

Stage 4 – AYE


Sometimes the Y.M.C. A. OF LIFE can start and finish in a day.  Other times it takes years, with a person being stuck in the EMMM position for a very long time until they finally point both arms in the same direction and realize that…

Young man, young man, there’s no need to feel down.  Young man,  young man, pick yourself off the ground and….

Have you done this dance in  your life?  Do you ever get stuck at the EMMM?

When Things Go South

On Saturday night I headed to East Carson Street in the South Side of Pittsburgh to a bachelorette party.  The South Side is Pittsburgh’s party section of town, dating back about 125 years when there was a bar on every corner.  Pittsburgh was a “working mans” city and the steel workers were known to crowd the corner pubs and restaurants after every shift…morning, noon, and night.  The steel mills lined the rivers and the bars were just a short walk away. 

Although the mills aren’t around any more, many of the bars remain.  Some are converted into trendy places and others look like they have 100 years of beer spilled on the floor.

Ordering a few of these in the company of twenty-something-year-olds preparing for wedded bliss wasn’t the brightest idea I’ve ever had. 


…but, after the worst Friday on recent record, I needed to get out.  The place was packed with humans who still legitimately get carded…and a few creatures on two feet who I seriously questioned might not be human.  Nonetheless, the band was playing some good tunes. 

Just a small town girl…… livin’ in a lonely world.
She took the midnight train……goin’ anyyyyyywhere.

The twenty-somethings call this an oldie.  Heh. 

So, on the South Side, I temporarily forgot about my life  taking a slight southerly turn on Friday.  If you didn’t read that post, I fell into a mini-panic after having a bad day and getting an e-mail at 4:55 PM from a client saying that my work wasn’t up to par. 

Being that a big part of my job is writing, I felt personally attacked.  When someone doesn’t like 100+ pages that you poured your heart and soul into, and asks for a re-write, then it’s hard to not take it personal.

I’m not sure if this is a strength or weakness in my BACKBONE, but when someone tells me I’m not good enough or can’t do something, I set out on a mission to prove them wrong.   So, after reading the e-mail over about 25 times and letting the message sink in, I started the re-write and have been at it ever since (except for the time-out for drinking with humans and non-humans in the South Side).

By the way, I was also once told that I would never start a blog.  I did.  Exactly one year ago today.  Proved THEM wrong, didn’t I!

Gotta get back to the re-write….I’m only on page 12.

How do YOU handle criticism?  Ignore it? Drink your problems away?  Turn the other cheek?  Get confrontational?