Dueling Convictions

Note: For the purpose of explanation, the names appearing in quotes are fake. The story told is not fake.

Yesterday, I visited my doctor to make sure that I wasn’t contributing to my own premature death. I asked“Emilio”asked  to come with me. I am always nervous about going to the doctor. I can  accompany people to the doctor, as long as I am not the patient. If I happen to be the patient , I get weird.

When “Emilio” is not testing my patience with his penchant for logic and honesty, he is reminding my subconscious I need support. During the visit, I learned that I gained 5 pounds since my least checkup. I was scared and  “Emilio” responded with his own version of “Man, please!, That’s nothing! ”

Naturally, I felt like a traitor to my convictions.   I  think of myself as someone who actually prevents hypertension and heart disease. These conditions  are common to brown people like myself.  I feel driven to make reasonable efforts to stay healthy, because I am a brown person with Cerebral Palsy.

A conviction is an disciplined belief about a person, place or thing. A conviction can either make us hard-hearted, or soft-hearted.  Life experience and knowledge sets where the balance lies. The conviction that all African-Americans are ghetto isn’t a fact, but if one’s own life experience exposes them to an endless barrage of ignorant, low-class black people, one could easily be convinced that “all ” black people are GHETTO.

That’s no fun! That viewpoint actually marks whomever believes it with a very isolated future.

But I digress… The conviction to take care of myself was so strong that I asked “Emilio” to go walking with me after we left the doctor. As we did light cardio in the mall, I rattled off my latest collection of realizations, fears, disappointments, and memories. He did too. It was difficult for us because we’re complicated people, but with time we both felt better. It was excellent to process.


When we finished walking, my pedometer read over 10,000 steps. My heart was glad. We decided to leave because “Emilio” was starting to the feel the burn a little too much. We  found the car and began to talk about where we might get dinner.   Before “Emilio” started the car, I heard a soothing piano melody. It was his phone. Suzy was calling. As he answered the call, I struggled with being silent. I had been laughing with him about something funny. The laughter was not easily stifled. Somehow, I managed to control myself.  When he finished the call, he was nervous and I was about to find out why.

Suzy invited us to Trader Joe’s. Suzy always made Emilio nervous because Suzy has a lot of emotional issues. I normally have fun with Emilio and my conviction to share time with him outweighed my apprehension about Suzy. I had never been to Trader Joe’s and it seemed like a good idea at the time.

When we arrived there, I noticed a LGBT-welcoming sign on one of the businesses next to Trader Joe’s, we both were amazed because those signs are virtually non-existent in our part of town. I ran to the restroom, while Emilio went to find Suzy. When I returned, I greeted Suzy with:

“Hey, Girl! You’re looking good! I see you’ve got your nails done. That’s a pretty shirt! ”

Suzy never acknowledged my compliments. However, she did point to Emilio. That confused me.It looked as if she was reprimanding him because he bought her the shirt I liked. I repeated my compliment and moved on to another topic. I had the conviction to try really hard and enjoy my first visit to Trader Joe’s. I noticed that there were samples for a new chicken roll. I eagerly tried it. I offered Emilio one.I had forgotten that Emilio is a vegetarian. 

Surprisingly, he happened to try the sample. We thought the roll tasted great.

I turned to Suzy and asked her if she’d like one. She said: No. As Emilio and I were discussing how great the product is, Suzy was distracting herself by aimlessly looking at items on the shelf.  I asked her what she was looking at. She never said. I tried to make her feel comfortable. I asked her what she liked to buy at the store.She led me to some candy. I trusted her judgment and decided to buy what she recommended.

As the outing progressed, Emilio even asked Suzy why she had been so distant. After all, It was Suzy’s idea to invite us to this place. Suzy claimed that she was just letting me get my own feel for the store.

Something was off about the visit. Emilio and I became worried. Eventually, Suzy asked me what I liked. I said: I like coffee and tea. Suzy led me to an area that lets shoppers bag and weigh their own coffee grounds. She did not know how the process worked. She failed to ask  a store employee to show me how to do anything.  That was also odd. She couldn’t acknowledge that she was uncomfortable about something. Her discomfort was obvious. I found myself asking my own questions, because I had to ignore that Suzy seemed a bit disinterested in participating in my discovery.

Emilio, Suzy, and I raved about the store’s wall art. We noticed the music playing on the store’s sound system. Trader Joe’s was great. Emilio showed me that they sold Tea Tree shampoo. I appreciated that because the shampoo was only five bucks. When we arrived near the snacks,I joked about the colorful language on a bag of “Pickle Popcorn”. Suzy asked: “Does it really say that?” 

I replied: Yes, it does! As I motioned to show her the bag,  she appeared to think I was making it up, or it seemed as if she didn’t care enough. The response I received was really odd. I tried once again to ignore the awkwardness.

As we prepared to leave the store, Emilio began explaining to me that the cashier’s experience at Trader Joe’s was really fun. I was excited. As we all waited in line, I commented on products with interesting names. When it was my turn, I made a humorous fuss over the one item I purchased. The cashier laughed. I loved the cashier’s humor, and told him I was a new customer. He was very courteous, and rewarded me with a new Trader Joe’s reusable shopping bag. He said that he hoped I return.

I was blown away by the great service and worthy professionalism. Suzy was envious about me getting that new bag, and complained that she had been to the store twice already and never received such a gift. I told Suzy, she should ask her cashier for a bag.

Emilio was next to check out.   When Emilio’s turn came, there was a problem with his card.

Suzy noticed the problem quickly. She responded so fast,  I was puzzled.The conversation she was having with me seemed pointless. She even offered to pay for Emilio’s groceries. I was stumped, how could she so swiftly notice that?

Several times during our visit, she struggled to notice my questions to her. Was I losing my mind? 

There were two types of convictions converging on one other during our visit. The first conviction was guilt. Suzy was guilty. Suzy did not want to admit her guilt, so she made several attempts to hide it throughout our visit. She was only motivated to get through the visit, and avoid acknowledgement of any irregularity.

Emilio and I were also convicted. We were convicted with honesty. We both were really determined to have an honest visit with Suzy, even if that meant downplaying the enormous deceit that was so obvious before us.

My proof of the deceit was confirmed as I watched Suzy  rant in the distance about how callous Emilio was when he did not visit Suzy’s sister. She brought up a vacation that Emilio and I had been on.  Suzy never said that Emilio explained his reasons.Suzy tried to shame Emilio unfairly.

I was there when Emilio communicated to Suzy, and I was angry that she was lying. 

When I reflected over my prolonged exposure to Suzy’s dishonesty, I had compassion for Emilio.I was overwhelmed with shame for how callously he was treated. When people are overwhelmed with guilt, they shame others into submission.

We should respect ourselves enough to admit when we behave like an asshole. In Suzy’s case, if her actions are stripped of their consequences, she never learns responsibility.

A conviction of guilt is often used to deceive honest people. Suzy was wrong. Suzy distorted the truth.

If people have well-developed consciousness, they are able to see the full illustration of their actions.

It’s important to find the line between TRUTH and DECEIT, for if a life of deceit persists… a motivation of honesty is downright impossible.

















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