Friday, July 30, 2010

Walking in the Path of Others

I often feel that I walk outside the main stream. Realistically, I should say that I've always felt that way, and my feelings are reinforced generally at least once a day...

My actions were influenced (often most severely) by what I perceived as consequences of other people's actions. Part of this is rooted in being the youngest child in a set of five and an "observer" personality type. I watched my older siblings get into a lot of things--or heard about them as the punishments were doled out. I probably learned more from their mistakes than actually by my own--at least in my early years.

When I went off to college, I really was on my own to make a bucketful of mistakes, or in the vernacular of the marketing spin-doctoring, "learning experiences". Of course, some of the responsibility for these errors in judgment can be shared with others, but some were clearly my own lapses or naivetes.

I've been told that if I'm living my life "right", then I should be able to do so without regrets. Since I have regrets, some may say that the converse is true: I'm living my life "wrong". I believe instead that my sequence of life-changing events has played out according to someone else's script. The character in that script was slated to be far more resilient, confident, and thicker-skinned than I.

Rather than resilience, I have determination to pick myself up by the bootstraps. I can envision myself attempting this type of maneuver: falling first flat onto my face and then back on my keister in a farcical, repetitive sequence. I also can see the Acme logo on the side of the bootstraps and hear the roadrunner mockingly beep-beeping.

Confidence, or self-esteem, is an interesting concept to my internal observer. It has absolutely nothing to do with talent or ability. It often has no grounding in reality. It is clearly a state of believing "I can". I used to believe that I could do or be anything. I no longer believe this, but also do not perceive this as a bad thing.

Functionally, I might be able to learn and retain enough information to be a FILL-IN-THE-BLANK-HERE. I'm intelligent enough to put the pieces together and curious enough to learn on my own or from a mentor. But, realistically, there are some things that "I can't" do. There are other things that I won't do. There are things that I've not been able to do; and I'm not ashamed to own up to them. Perhaps that, too, is something heinous to admit...it often seems to me that many need to tell themselves that they can to help them feel better.

I have no problem saying that I've never done something before; fortunately that doesn't prevent me from trying it, succeeding, failing, liking, or disliking it. Self-esteem seems to present itself in me as an accomplishment reward rather than a precursor to an activity.

My freckled skin seems to shed light on the permeability or thickness factor. I have tons of teeny tiny freckles, maybe constituting 5% of the surface area, separated by large patches of unpigmented areas. If I'm prepared and slather on SPF100 lotion every quarter hour or so, I can handle a limited amount of damage. On the other hand, if I'm caught unprotected, I'm going to burn quickly and severely across the huge majority. I take all of my creative endeavors personally--and that includes both my art and work. I'm more passionate about my art, but I'm still fully vested in my work!

My wise and powerful introversion gene down-regulated my expression today, which is why my fingers need to take care of releasing bits tonight.
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