I Don’t Want to Be Right

Cynthia - Watertown, Connecticut
Entered on February 4, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

There is an old song titled “If Loving You Is Wrong, I Don’t Want to Be Right.” It could be my theme song. At some point in my life — after divorce, single parenthood and a tiny bit of ostracism from my community — being right just didn’t matter anymore. I found I believed more in being wrong.

For example, I was in a meeting recently with my boss and two others to discuss a knotty personnel situation affecting the morale in our department. My boss said something like, “Why don’t you start since you’re so good at sticking your foot in your mouth anyway.” Although she said it with sincerity, there was a time when a statement like that might have humiliated me. This was a specific situation to which she was referring: another meeting a year earlier whose purpose was to share with our team the successes in our work. I had heard of some mention of what sounded like an interesting in-house program focusing on innovative technology offerings. So naturally, when it was my turn to share, I said, “What’s all this about a new program,” and the room went silent — and people took a sudden interest in their notepads. Apparently it wasn’t time to bring up the new program and we hurriedly moved on. My cheeks flushed and I felt the old familiar heat crawling up my face. My foot was in my mouth — again.

Apparently, it was wrong to have mentioned this new initiative in the setting of our team meeting. But I didn’t know that. I just blundered right in, as I usually do, and asked what I wanted to know. And despite the heat surging upward from my neck to my forehead, it is something I do time and time again. In a world of people striving, yearning to be right, I am usually wrong. And at this time in my life, I find that it is a position I prefer.

If I can be wrong, then I can ask question after question and not worry about if it’s the right thing to do. If I am okay with being wrong, then there will probably be times when I am also right. When one is ostracized from her community for having left a marriage and dragging her two kids along with her into God knows what kind of life, being wrong is an easy role to slip into.

And, believing in being wrong is very liberating. It opens up the possibilities to 100 percent rather than just 50 percent.

Turns out, after that face-flushing meeting, several of my colleagues came up to me and said, “I’m glad you asked about that, I was wondering about that, too.” With hindsight, I can also say that the life I dragged my kids into turned them into two thoughtful, kind and conscientious adults. If being wrong is wrong, I don’t want to be right.