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May 23, 2012

Something Short and Sweet on Wholesomeness

Filed under: Uncategorized — thirdxlucky @ 1:20 am

I just had successive sandwich dates with two of the most wholesome people in my life. Wholesomeness is one of the qualities I value most in humans. It’s right up there with integrity and grace. I think my understanding of wholesomeness differs from the traditional definition, though, which seems to have something to do with “innocence” or a lack of life-experience — particularly a lack of supposedly corrupting life-experiences involving things like drugs and sex. In my experience, wholesomeness is actually a sort of incorruptibility; the most wholesome people I know seem to approach sex, drugs and politics with the same unassuming openheartedness that they turn toward everything and everyone else in their life.

Most stunning to me, though, is that anything related to social status seems to roll right off of them. They might be admired and desired by many, and often are, but they don’t seem to understand that this is a form of power or have any inclination to use it as such. Somehow, they manage to interact with each person they meet as an individual, judging based on their own perceptions and experiences rather than on what influence (positive or negative) a relationship with that person, organization, cause, idea, etc might have on the way they are seen in others’ eyes. Wholesomeness might not always be nice, but it is sort of fundamentally…kind.

This blows me away because I struggle constantly and consciously against my social-status-oriented desire to be seen as one of The Cool Kids — a jealous craving that, I think, has lead to both some of the most self-destructive and some of the most un-compassionate behavior in my life. The feelings of inadequacy and shame that are triggered in me by Cool Kid culture are so deep, and the knee-jerk ways I compensate for them are not often ones I’m proud of. Part of me wants to play the game. Worse yet, part of me is good at the game. A large part of my recent lashing out against Scenes and their pernicious social hierarchies is rooted in a self-protective desire to burn bridges between myself and that temptation.

So, maybe the people I consider “wholesome” are those who seem to naturally lack my greatest vice: The desire to be seen as special at the expense of doing what I believe in. I feel so appreciative of these people in my life, not just because they’re unselfconsciously lovely but because they’re good influences who keep me grounded. They model the way I want to engage with my communities. And it’s always good to have friends to share sandwiches with. 🙂

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