I have a tendency to be an excessively blunt individual, and if you met a majority of my friends, you would understand that this bluntness is a necessity and common trait among us. We are generally flat out mean to each other and this can, at times, become my default, something of which I am not always aware.
The group you see here has been my lifeline this semester. Generally speaking, I have developed two groups of very close relationships since my time at school- these three and the two that I mentioned earlier. The latter are no longer here this semester and as a result of various circumstances, I have admittedly not been taking it all that well, and these girls have played a huge part in keeping my sanity, despite these issues. The two girls on the right, Meghan and Ashley, and I developed a very close knit friendship last semester, and the girl next to me, Amber, is Ashley's sister and got here last month as an incoming freshman and fit right into our group right away. The fact that this group is what it is strikes me as a tad miraculous at times. Ashley and I are very strong-willed and tend to butt heads on a regular basis (and yes, this usually includes yelling). Meghan and I are best friends despite our polar opposite mannerisms (She's reserved and quiet. My talking involves yelling.) and views on just about everything (She's extremely conservative. I'm pretty dang liberal.) There are three races (Hispanic, Filipino, and Irish) represented, and between us, we speak or are in the process of learning about ten languages. We have very different talents, abilities, and even despite the fact that three of us are Missions majors, we have very different callings, both in location and capacity. Amber and Ashley are very artistic. Meghan and Ashley sing. I am the only tone deaf member of the group. Amber, Ashley, and I write. Meghan would rather someone hit her with a semi than have to write a paragraph.
The gist of that excessively long paragraph basically means this: all four of us, though very close, are very, very different from one another. We have things that bind us together and make us who we are, but at the same time, there are things present in each of us that have the ability to tear us apart.
Last night, I had a long conversation with Meghan which came about, to make a long story short, by my being a jerk. I had said something obnoxious in an obnoxious way and it had caused some hard feelings that didn't come up until a similar situation happened last night and I noticed the death glare.
I rarely fight with Meghan simply because she is more reserved. Usually the fighting is reserved for Ashley, and in that scenario, we will generally say harsh things, give each other the cold shoulder for a brief period of time, sometimes an apology will follow, sometimes not, but either way, within about 24 hours, both of us have forgotten it. Because I rarely encounter conflicts that I actually care about outside of this, I assume that this is the way it's supposed to go and that my actions are always going to be totally okay and acceptable. This, I learned, was not the case, something I hadn't known because nobody had told me. The discussion was difficult and I didn't exactly like being told that I was being obnoxious, but it was because of things like that that make the above picture possible.
I have noticed, particularly since I've been at college, that people put a premium on being "real", and I think that's because it's something that's very hard to find in today's world. In spite of, perhaps even because of, things like the emergence of reality television (ironically the least real thing on the face of the planet), people seem to think that they need to fit a mold in order to survive. And yet, this mold is sold under the label of individuality. "I'm an individual, just like all of them." I grew up with several people in many different settings that oozed fakeness from their very being, and it annoyed me so much that I decided I was never going to be like that. I decided I was going to be who I was, no matter what anyone else thought of me, and to be honest, most of the time that works out great. Some of the coolest people I have ever met in my entire life I am now privileged to call my friends and confidants. The problem, however, comes when my individuality and "being myself" ultimately hurts people and causes me to be un-Christlike in the process.
In case you haven't noticed in your casual reading, Jesus was a pretty blunt guy. He called the religious people vipers and his best friend Satan. But, this being said, there was a time and place for these actions, and it was only done when necessary. Overall, Christ didn't come to bring a spirit of harsh, blunt, egotism. His default and intent wasn't destruction. It was love of others and this concept continues on throughout the New Testament.