Archive for March, 2012

Unmasking

03/22/2012

So as many of my posts have indicated, I’m doing some soul-searching at the moment. I was reminded of several conversations recently because of another one. I had a conversation with somebody recently with whom I’m developing a really good friendship. During this conversation, the person said something to the effect of, “I’m really glad I’m getting to know the deeper side of you. There was always something about you in groups that was fake.” The person went on to say that between interacting with me in groups and reading my blog, s/he wished s/he could get to know the person that wrote this blog, despite knowing the person who I am in public. I must admit that being called fake hurt (ow…my pride), but I knew what the person meant, and s/he wasn’t wrong.

I’ve often thought and possibly even spoken to some of you about the fact that I wear a series of masks depending on what situation I’m in and what is expected of me. I’m a people pleaser, and I like to be what people need me to be, so I’ll often swallow myself and let myself become what I need to. I do this for more reasons than this, though. I do it to protect myself. It’s easier to be a bit of a caricature of ones self than to be your true self. Being your true self is to be vulnerable and, quite frankly, a bit terrifying. If someone rejects the caricature, you can always say to yourself, “Eh, no big loss.” If someone rejects your true self, you’re pretty much screwed. Another friend of mine once told me I build walls for protection, but that ultimately, they just leave me feeling lonely, and s/he was right, too.

Further, the mask protects the other person. An ex of mine once likened me to the lion in Madagascar. No, not because I’m as annoying as Ben Stiller, but rather because of a scene once they’ve been stranded on whatever island it’s supposed to have been and the meat supply has dried up, so the lion starts to look at all the other animals and see steaks. As a result, he leaves and builds an enclosure much like the one he lived in in NY, complete with spikes facing inward to prevent him from jumping the walls and hurting anyone. My ex said that I often do that – shut down and leave just to protect people. I guess she was right. I had never thought of that, but I suppose it’s a furtherance of the whole protecting other people from the potential monstrosity that is me.

No, I don’t mean that I’m actually a monstrosity, but I do acknowledge that there are some flaws in me that can become dangerous to other people, including my ability and sometimes over-willingness to cut with words. I’ve learned to control that for the most part, but I still tend to extricate myself with little to no warning if I feel like I’m going to say or do something that will harm someone else.

I guess writing these posts is a bit of a way that I try to take those masks off from time to time. I have a couple friends, not many, that know me without the masks. It’s something I should be more often, but I find it hard to be comfortable in my own skin. Deflection through different personalities is how I deal with that. So, if you catch me doing it (if you can tell), call me on it. I’ll try to be better about it, but it’s an ingrained behavior.

Hope you’re well, dear reader.

Writing

03/18/2012

So, lately, per the Art of Manliness‘ suggestion, I’ve been trying to write a manifesto.  No, not a crazy ranting about how the government is stealing my thoughts which is why I wear my tinfoil hat (though they totally are and I totally do), but this kind of manifesto.  I don’t know that it will actually be a public declaration, but it will be a declaration that I’ll read and think about (putting pen to paper always makes something more real to me, which is why I prefer to write stuff out first and then post it to the Intertubes, even on this site).

It’s more difficult than I thought it would be, mostly because I want to start with a value or ideal that I hold for which I would be willing to die.  “A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.  While I think that’s true, I’m not sure I have a conviction that I hold that deeply.  I used to.  That’s disturbing.

Itinerant Intolerance and I were discussing this conundrum (and ideology in general) and have been for some time.  One of the points of discussion is that perhaps part of the world’s problems right now is that there are too many ideologies clamoring for attention, support, and action.  While this may be true (I’m not wholly convinced of the validity of this argument for a number of reasons), it does not imply that there aren’t ideologies or values that aren’t worth having, it’s just that they’re difficult to identify among so many voices.

Also, I’m not saying that I’m living in direct opposition to King’s quote.  I have a list of things i would gladly lay my life down for, but they’re not abstracts.  They’re people.  That’s not a bad thing, but it’s not exactly a guiding principle, either.  I extrapolated that arguably, I could be willing to die for “love of others,” but I’m not sure if that’s true.  If I were, then I’d be dead by now from going and doing something ridiculous heroic.

I guess a part of it is just that the things I used to hold as true and admirable aren’t necessarily things that I think can be applied at all times.  I’m for basically all of the individual rights as laid out in the U.S. Bill of Rights, but there are limits to them (Justice Holmes springs to mind, as do rudimentary gun control laws).  I could make an argument that logic and rationality will be what I want to be my guiding principles, but I’m not a Vulcan or a computer, and emotion isn’t inherently something bad or to be shunned.  So…yeah…it’s a lot harder than I thought (at least the first, arguably most important one.  I’ve got several other things that I’m including, but they’re not ideologies).

Feel free to list your guiding principles or a guiding principle or something you think would be a good one or whatever if you wanna.

Mixed Bag

03/09/2012

So, as I’m sure Itinerant Intolerance would be more than pleased to tell you, I’ve been a little angsty lately (y’know, in case you missed some of my recent posts).  I’m trying to keep a positive spin on life, but it’s difficult, especially for someone who has a bit of a pessimistic streak.  I got all worked up about politics and the direction of the country (don’t get me wrong, at this point, I think we’re pretty much sunk regardless of which ideologues get control specifically because of the divisiveness and unwillingness to compromise or reach sane ends on both sides…which only causes me to become more frustrated for a multitude of reasons which I’m trying desperately to pass on writing about here…though I may find myself unable to pass on the opportunity to rant, as this parenthetical is already roughly half of what I’ve written.  Damn), and he kind of laughed at me for a while and talked me in off the proverbial ledge.  I just get so sick of it, but I’ve been conditioned to follow it between my parents’ encouragement to do so and growing up primarily around the DC Beltway (sure, I wasn’t here the whole time, but it’s rubbed off a fair bit).

So, instead of focusing on things, I figured I’d post about some of the other things going on in my life.

Based on the swelling, I’m pretty positive I broke/cracked the third knuckle (furthest from the hand) of my middle finger on my left hand about three weeks ago.  It hurts, kinda, but not too badly.  It’s mostly just annoying when I try to flex or straighten it all the way.  The injury was done having fun, though, so I can’t complain too much.

I’ve started drawing again (thankfully I’m primarily right-handed).  Right now I’m working on a logo for something and have the font narrowed down to two choices – a traditional calligraphy that reminds me of medieval texts and a more Celtic calligraphy style that has a better “A” than the alternative (by better, here, I of course mean more pleasing to me, though I must admit the rest of the script is bland-ish and kind of underwhelming).  By the way, doing calligraphy with a pencil is a huge pain, but sadly my pens aren’t here in the apartment, so if I want it, it’s what I’ve got to work with.

I’m working on some other projects that again are just for me and have little to no artistic value whatsoever, but they make me smile, so that’s a thing.

So, dear reader, keep fighting the good fight.  I’ll try to do my part.