On being myself…. Who am I?
By juck, Nov 15 2017 11:05PM
This evening I am enjoying some quiet reflection time; I have had quite a nice day and am enjoying my enforced week off sick (Surgeon’s orders). I met a friend for brunch which was nice as I don’t see her very often. Afterwards I went to another friends’ house to help her with a little de-cluttering. To be perfectly honest I didn’t want to go however attended as a way of “paying it forward” – I have needed help with such things before and a couple of my friends assisted me in my time of need.
Although I hate housework and de-cluttering in some ways I felt it was a duty to the universe for me to go and try to help in a small way. I didn’t mean that in a pretentious way but my grasp of the concept of “paying it forward” (and I could be wrong) is that it is all about doing kind things for others and helping them out in a time of need either through passing on useful material items or helping in terms of moral support.
I really feel for this friend but at the same time also despair a little. I have known her a while and all through that time she has expressed a deep sense of unhappiness within her marriage. I am no expert as have never married, nor for that fact ever been in a relationship that has lasted more than two and a half years at absolute tops. The reality of it is that the only advice I can lend is theoretical and based around the judgement of my own small experiences and my own perception.
I keep trying to encourage her to enter in to a very honest conversation with her other half; I am trying to prepare her for the idea that he perhaps is just as unhappy as her. I have also warned her that as she has criticisms of him within the relationship, he may also have criticisms of her which she will be expected to consider at the time of discussion.
For some reason this exchange of feelings and ideas seems fine when one is single; however having had similar problems of unhappiness within previous relationships, open discussion between any couple can be extremely problematic. In several of my past relationships I have tried to open similar discussion for it to end up in a massive row, in some ways it is almost easier to just split up rather than have to go through this harrowing experience however in any long term relationship neither party is going to be happy all the time, this awkward exchange of negative feelings is a necessary evil. This is one of my main fears about entering into a relationship.
This evening my kettle has broken and I am feeling a little upset as I practically live on hot drinks. As a last resort I am using the microwave to heat up mugs of milk however I am honestly gagging for a cup of tea at the moment; I could always pop a pan of water on the stove however waiting for it to boil always seems to take forever, of course I would be watching it and this would automatically make it take longer still.
I have been watching a Ted Talk on “Being Yourself” and have at best only half watched it. I have also made a start reading one of my Philosophy books and feel like I have only half read the first few pages. By half watching/reading I mean that my mind is not concentrating 100% on exactly what I am doing at any one time, it conducts itself like a poorly trained Springer Spaniel and I very often find myself entertaining multiple trains of thought all at once. For example at the moment I am listening to some classical piano music accompanied by ocean waves (it’s designed to improve concentration), I am also listening to the filters on my fish tanks, I am thinking about making a cup of tea, thinking about replying to my friend on Facebook and trying to write creatively and edit as I go all at the same time.
I remember my time studying A Levels; I was taking Sociology as one of my subjects and was really enjoying it. One of the big studying problems I have is that when reading something very academic part of my brain tends to shut down; I feel it saying to the rest of my brain “this is really boring” and before I know it I have skim read over a couple of pages at lightning speed, taking nothing in what so ever. I also have a huge problem remembering case studies, the researcher’s names and the year of the study. I am actually a little surprised that on one of my exams I managed to get an A grade; for this paper I was studying a lot and not taking anything in – in the end I made a cassette tape of all of my notes and played it on a continual loop overnight as I slept. The next morning as I looked at my paper I instantly felt I knew nothing and decided to just write anything down, I still to this day have no idea how I managed to get an A or how any of this information stayed in my mind.
It is only over the last couple of years that I feel I am really starting to come in to my own and really starting to learn about who I am. It does sadden me to say that I have a huge inferiority complex and that I struggle to see the many things about me that are really positive; my previous private therapist was always trying to encourage me to see these qualities in myself. If I don’t stop and actively try to think of/evoke them my mind naturally reaches for all of the negatives – my little Negative man has a field day most of the time; he provokes Lonely and Worrier quite often and the three of them have a great time making me feel miserable.
I have recently realised that I have spent most of my life emotionally running away; like any other human being I have inner demons and psychological scars from an array of early experiences. It is only in the last couple of years that I have found myself in a stable enough place to begin facing these issues and trying to work them out and solve them. Although I am roughly three years into my personal improvement project I have come to a stage where the more I discover and fix, the more needs fixing.
As a person I have always been somewhat philosophical; my basis has been things I have observed about people, the things I observe and feel within myself and the insights I gain through looking at art and listening to a vast array of music. This understanding is obviously somewhat skewed by the prism of my own perception and experiences. My approach is from an emotional and observational place rather than a scientific place. I have recently started reading and researching Philosophy; I am still at the beginning of this educational journey and once again I am left with the feeling that the more I research the less I know.
I chose to study Fine Art at Degree and Postgraduate level which hasn’t really done a lot for me career wise; I was lucky in that I went to very good schools and I worked hard enough to earn good grades. As a child I taught myself how to draw as soon as I could hold a pencil, the interest came naturally and both of my parents actively encouraged me. During my early years I enjoyed a very middle class upbringing; my family lived in a large house on the south coast on England; the New Forest was basically on my doorstep and we used to go on sailing holidays every summer as we were lucky enough to own a boat.
Just before I became a teenager my mother sadly passed away after a very long battle with breast cancer; the whole family was deeply upset and as a young woman I found this series of events almost impossible to process in a healthy way. When I was 16 my father developed cancer, he also passed away when I was 18.
For the sake of trying to keep this piece of writing as short as I can I won’t go into my entire emotional journey during that time; it was very tough and I suppose in a lot of ways these events shaped me on some very deep levels. I decided to stick with my art as I was so damaged by the course of events that I needed the therapy; I was also not ready to verbalise how I felt and found the process of grieving along with the processes of discovering who I am and becoming a young woman very problematic.
As for my two relationships with abusive men; all I can say is that they saw me coming and took advantage of my insecurities. I have found through my more recent thinking time and observations of others that peoples individual insecurities can be fairly easy to spot. I am by no means a body language expert of any sorts however as an ENFP personality type (if Meyers-Briggs can be given credibility) I have an ability to pick up a feel about people.
In terms of employment skills I am a real jack of all trades; the creative jobs that I really yearn for are usually quite poorly paid for their location, in a lot of ways the skill set I have doesn’t quite match up to what they want, I find myself endlessly looking, getting down and not applying, or applying and never hearing anything back. Instead I have found a very good fall back option of working in non clinical roles within the health service; over the years I have begun to fall in love with the industry, in fact at this moment in time I couldn’t see myself working full time in any other industry.
Some of my family keep trying to tell me that I am already successful; I own a house with no mortgage, I have very minimal student loan debts, I work full time, all my bills get paid and I am paying for my own driving lessons. I am also fairly well travelled and rent my beloved local studio space. In roughly six years I will be going to New Zealand for the second time in my life, I have been saving towards this for the best part of this year.
The thing is that without wanting to sound greedy and entitled, I really want to make a big success story of my life. From age 7 until recently I have seen and lived through some really challenging times, a lot of these have been as damaging as they were humbling, they have also been very character forming. I don’t want to sound really over the top but I have always felt that I need to keep plugging away and embracing new challenges; I have a very keen awareness of how short and unpredictable life can be, at the moment I am on the up and I want to keep that going for as long as I possibly can.
I suppose I have been a lot of people during my short time on earth; I know this sounds a little strange but I have dressed, acted, thought and behaved very differently in different stages of my life. I find this learning process very beautiful and am really keen to carry on growing into the person I am supposed to be. I am interested in personal development and also have an awareness of my weak points and try my best to work on these where possible through ways which I find manageable.
When my time to die comes I don’t want regrets, I realise this is a lot easier said than done. As a human being I would like to say that I have experienced my version of life to the full; I would like to have reached my full potential as a human being by that stage and am hoping that I am lucky enough to get to an acceptable age.
There is something within me that continually drives me forward on good days and bad days; I regularly get criticised for taking on too much at once and for looking to the future too much instead of looking at what is going on in the here and now. I am still currently reading “Happy” by Derren Brown which is somehow making me question this mindset; I am yet to make up my mind on if this is a healthy way of being or if it would be better for me to try and mentally slow down a little and be more mindful of where I am and what I am doing in the moment at hand.
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