Friday, June 5, 2009

Are you living in "the monkey house"?

I have been waiting, patiently, to use Tim Gunn's monkey house analogy on some clueless body and last week someone used it on me. And I must now reluctantly admit that they were right.

In Season IV of Project Runway, Tim Gunn said to Chris March (about his hairy collection):

“I have this refrain about the monkey house at the zoo. When you first enter into the monkey house at the zoo, you think, ‘Oh my G-d this place stinks!’ And then after you’re there for 20 minutes you think, ‘it’s not so bad’ and after you’re there for an hour it doesn’t smell at all. And anyone entering the monkey house freshly thinks, ‘this stinks!’ you've been living in the monkey house.(quote found on the blog of Bottles of Joules)

Folks, for the past three years I have been living in the monkey house. But here's the trouble with living in the monkey house, those closest to you don't want to tell you that it stinks. I have a good friend who says she never asks her husband how she looks when she gets dressed to go out. Instead, she asks her young son. He has no bias: "Mom, you look ridiculous."

This was my experience last week. Sharing a story with a complete stranger, who responded (figuratively): "this stinks!"

It was a hard pill to swallow, but boy do I feel better now. So how do you avoid living in the monkey house? here's my tip: talk to a stranger. Spill it. Without abandon. Tell them about your plans, your life, your work. They don't know you. And then listen. Are they telling you that your "house" stinks? Take it from me. The less time you spend living in the monkey house, the easier it is for you to make changes.

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