The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Hannah Van Ree

Van Ree Report


For me the best part about this job has been meeting all of the different, amazing people that call Sidney home.

I have found that everyone is uniquely different and bring their own special expertise in certain fields to the community table.

Like I’ve said in previous columns, even those who think that they aren’t special and who think that they don’t have a story worth being written about them are wrong.

Another aspect of meeting people that intrigued me was what some people would previously tell me about someone I was set to interview with.

It’s interesting that people that I was warned would never open up to me, let alone give me any respect, were some of the nicest, coolest members of society I have ever had the opportunity to meet.

This job has taught me a lot about personality, and once again not to judge someone before you get to know them.

I think my favorite accomplishment of this job is that I don’t really remember one interview that didn’t end with the interviewee and myself laughing or smiling at least once. I think that is just as important as the writing obligation that comes along with this job title.

The late musical artist Jim Morrison once said, “The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” 

I think no matter how anyone tries to portray themself, their true personality will always come out eventually.

In my job I have had a chance to talk to and understand a lot of people in this town on a level that a lot of other citizens don’t get to experience.

For the people I have talked to, y’all can just pat yourselves on the back because you guys are beautiful inside and out.

And I’m not talking about perfect people, or people that show no flaws and only positive emotions.

I’ve listen to multiple accidental cuss words that slipped out and hilarious “off-the-record” personal and embarrassing stories.

I’ve listened to people vent about society and their fellow citizens, as well as people praising one another.

Trying to pinpoint what to believe was complicated at times, but luckily with my job, I was usually able to personally meet someone and prove falsity or truth in what others had told me.

So many people misjudge others - whether it’s off first opinion or otherwise.

Like I said in one of my first columns, two strangers could pass each other on a highway or interstate and most likely those two will never know the other’s story - where they’ve been or what they’ve been through.

It’s also like that to a degree in cities and towns.

You may think you know someone’s story, but surely you probably don’t even know half of what they have been through or go through on any given day.

I think a lot of us, myself included, have an ideology of how we must behave and act around others.

We must seclude the amount of our personality that others may find loud or unattractive.

Upon meeting me, anyone will find out that at first I am an extremely quiet individual.

I think that is because I grew up with the idea that it was better to prove what kind of person I was through my actions, rather than words that could be misinterpreted and taken the wrong way.

I suppose that is where the fine line between personality and character stand.

Sometimes actions speak louder than words, but I am also learning how important words are as well.

The point I’m trying to make is that every now and then I think it’s okay to let your guard down when it comes to your personality.

I am the biggest violator I know when it comes to being a wallflower, but I’m trying to make myself better at being approachable.

“At the heart of personality is the need to feel a sense of being lovable without having to qualify for that acceptance,” said author Paul Tournier once.

Olympic athlete Usain Bolt said, “When people see your personality come out, they feel so good, like they actually know who you are.”

I’ve listened and seen people bring their guards down and tell me how they really feel about topics – whether they felt “politically incorrect” or were upset.

I’ve also seen the quirky side to a lot of people too, and it’s a lot of fun to carry on conversations with them.

I’ve taken away from this that it is imperative to not judge anyone before you know their story, and that sometimes showing the world who you are isn’t as wrong as you think it is.

I’m not saying to go cause a ruckus or try and let your personality outshine others, and I also agree that sometimes people give to much of themselves to others.

I’m explaining that one can lift up their guard enough to let others understand how they are, some of the things they’ve been through and what their aspirations are.

I mean what I said earlier. Everyone I’ve met here has a story, and they are important enough to be shared.

My only regret is that I couldn’t share all of them.

Hannah Van Ree can be contacted at [email protected]


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