Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I've had a reputation throughout my life for being a loudmouth. That doesn't mean I've always been talkative, because I know in high school I went through several periods of moody, quiet reservation. It's just that when I did talk, it was often in a rather loud and inappropriate fashion. For that matter, it still is.

There isn't much of a filter when it comes to the things I say. If I think it, I say it, and tempering my words can be a bit of a hassle to me. Obviously, no one here would really know this, because the blogging format of communication allows me to edit everything I say to make it sound tasteful and as un-offensive as possible. In life, though, my loose lips have gotten me into trouble. Like I've written before, I was quite the vindictive gossip in high school. A lot of that was because I had a very un-Christian dislike for certain people and I wore that on my sleeve. As Kurt theorized in a comment to that post, that was very likely due to the fact that I was deeply closeted and created countless mini-dramas to avoid real conflict in my life.

But now I'm out of the closet completely, and though I wouldn't say I'm a gossip anymore, I'm still a chatterbox who needs to learn to shut up every now and then. Since my way of talking is so closely tied with my way of thinking, it's been an interesting way to keep tabs of how my thoughts have evolved over time. I don't say things that are intentionally rude to people... I just have a habit of saying very naive things that people take offensively. If that makes sense.

Usually, this is okay. It becomes a joke to my friends and family. "There goes Jay, thinking out loud again." The last job I worked at had a quote board, where the staff could write down funny conversations or one-liners that had happened during the day. By the end of the job, I had a very disproportionate amount of quotes on the quote board... not because I intentionally try to be funny, but because my mouth just creates a lot of awkward situations that are best handled humorously.

There are some benefits to being a loudmouth. I value transparency and honesty among believers, and unfortunately that's hard to come by. Not with me, it isn't! I mean, not to say that I'm the most transparent person out there, but I certainly do wear my heart on my sleeve and I'm not afraid to tell people my views. That's part of the reason I "came out" a lot earlier than most Christian guys do. I first told a close friend at 17, and by 19 I was out to friends and family alike. That's helped me, I think. Although I think people should be aware of their surroundings and mindful of others, I also think that at some point one has to not care what others will think and just speak their mind. Someone who struggles with homosexuality has no hope for contentment if he or she doesn't feel free to share their experiences with other believers. It's awkward, yes, but by now I'm so used to awkwardness that it just rolls off my back.

So there's the balance I'm going for. I want to be transparent and open about my views, struggles, joys, needs, wants, etc. But I don't want to be such a chatterbox that I neglect to listen to others, or I accidentally offend them needlessly. I want to drive out speech that could bring others down, but while still keeping my hyperactive talking habit. It's not that I talk too much, it's that I need to talk about the right things. If as a loudmouth I boldly proclaim Christ, my love for Him, and my love for others (friend, family, or foe), then yay to being a loudmouth!

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