November 16, 2010

don't you dare "we" me

I kind of hate the collective "we."

It starts simply enough; you're telling a story, writing a blog, giving a testimony or teaching a lesson... and then you cross the "we" line. One minute you're telling a story about yourself, and the next you're offering general commentary on the human experience. "When I was a little girl, Susie told me on the playground that unicorns weren't real. I never talked to Susie again because I was so upset. I think we have this tendency, all of us, as people, to believe in unicorns and hate any and all naysayers." and suddenly, I'm being lectured on the nonexistence of unicorns. I don't even care about unicorns.* Nor did I have any childhood friends named Susie. What just happened?! How did I get inside this story?

Here's what I think happens. You're talking, and you're fine, but then suddenly there's this moment of panic: "what if no one knows what I'm talking about? what if they don't realize that I'm making an attempt to relate to each of them individually with my personal anecdote? quick... how can I let them know??" And then you've done it. You've crossed into "we" territory. No no, I can't let people decide for themselves if they identify with my story. I must put them in there with me myself.

When people we me (yep, its a verb now), I usually have one of two reactions. Either a) I'm angry and outraged because for goodness' sake, you've just lumped me with you in the crazy without my permission! Everyone here now assumes I am crazy too (because everyone is always thinking about me) and I must prepare my defense. Now I'm not even listening to you because I'm too busy arguing with you in my head.

Or b) I'm just mad because you're right and I don't want to hear it. (9/10 times this is probably the case.)

I am just as guilty. I bet if we went back in time on the old blog, we could find one trillion examples of the collective "we." I we you all the time, and I'm sorry about it. It's just that I want you all to be here with me in crazytown. Nevermind that you didn't agree to come here - I have brought you here against your will. I don't want to be alone, goodness no, I feel too conspicuous! So I've brought you in with me.

Now it's not just me, it's we. 
I hope that's alright with you.
Personally, I feel great about it.

* False. I love unicorns.

1 comment:

Mark B. said...

I feel like "you" should go back in time on the old blog and "you" could find one trillion examples.

How dare you take me on that journey without my permission!!