I am facing a monumental change in my life, after making possibly one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make. Putting that decision to action is going to be tougher still, and is something that will affect me and those close around me for the rest of our lives. In all the confusion and conflicts of opinion recently I have been absorbed in the mediocrity and hypocrisy that those around me have been feeling, and making those feelings my own. Passing judgement on myself based on what I realise others think of themselves.
With great change comes discomfort as you learn to readjust. No birth or rebirth is ever painless, and change is inevitable, right?
Meeting up with immediate family recently has reminded me that I have always felt disapproved of, no matter what it is I’ve done. My latest decision being yet another nail in my already splintered coffin.
My family least of all has ever been able to recognise anything exceptional about me, except possibly that I am an exceptional flake. But the odds have been unfairly stacked against me in so many ways owing to innumerable factors. I am an extrovert, always have been, though I have learned to live the life of an introvert due to trying to placate the introverts around me, until it’s become habit. Something that became resoundingly clear to me just two nights ago. But it can’t be done anymore, I just haven’t got it in me to keep doing that. Four decades is quite enough. Time to transform my ugly duckling butt to the dragon it’s always been, swans are overrated by the way. Seriously. Others can opine in whatever way they see fit.
I realise that what has always irked my family and other people about me is that I am the epitome of all that is culturally irritating. The criticisms I often face are the product of, let’s be honest, a ‘rehearsed’, and ‘accepted’ inadequacy that apparently I make others feel. Although, this is no more than a culturally ingrained knee-jerk. A knee-jerk that tends to kick at highly skilled, extroverted, female polymaths, heck, anyone with any notable skill or talent, who is not afraid to take risks and try new things in the pursuit of creativity and happiness. I’ve already broken every socially accepted rule about a person of my stereotypical demographic stature in one sentence alone.
Thing is, I wasn’t born just yesterday, so the things I am good at have taken years of dedicated practise already. Whether it was acceptable for me to do so or not. I am a product of their stilted judgements as I am of my own making. If you were to spend the years doing some of the things that I’ve been doing, you’d be damned good at them too, and it has nothing to do with demographic stereotypes.
I am a natural optimist, a factor that also seems to get up people’s noses. Why? Because unfortunately, people like wallowing in pain. It’s my family all over. I understand that, and I have been no different at times. We all like our comfortable niches of self-imposed terror, because they are familiar and warm. And comfort, albeit false, will always override discomfort, even if it leads to better things, because it’s often a matter of self-preservation than preference. It doesn’t mean however, that it should be perpetuated, or imposed upon those around you that you claim to love and care about.
All of this is tantamount to social treason of course, despite the obvious logic of my premises, because not conforming to certain rules, and trying instead to rattle cages loose with my big ol’ dragon wings is just not the done thing. Pure and simple.
I have discovered however, that it is hard not to be an optimist when you realise that the power of your own beliefs dictates the version of events you wish to accept as real, so why bother wallowing in negativity when it serves little purpose other than to perpetuate more pain? Optimism then, or, a desire to seek solutions becomes the only way forward in my mind.
Conforming has never really been my strong point, and that is the crux of most of my ills if I think about it, the one thing that is underlying my feelings of discomfort right now. I’ll play your game, but on my terms, because despite all of my tendencies to comply with others, I have always had a very strong sense of integrity. Naturally this creates friction. I find that once a certain line is crossed with me, I’m done, and there is no return. It’s taken me a lot to reach this particular line that I’m teetering on presently, but here I am ready to draw this particular chapter of my life to a close, despite the damage it may seemingly cause, and the disapproval it will raise.
I have learned to keep my cards very close to my chest over the years, while others make their defamatory remarks, pass their mis-judgements about me, and abuse my confidence. The truth is, very few have ever been able to read me accurately, nor have I wanted them to. I have become the master of subterfuge, to the point that from time to time I have forgotten who I was supposed to be. Perhaps we all do that to an extent.
You see, the disapproval I experience has nothing to do with anything, other than people don’t like to be caught with their pants down. They don’t like their guilty, hypocritical pleasures being exposed for all to see, dressing their excuses up as: “I don’t want you to repeat similar mistakes”. Bullshit! Exercising the acceptable right to self-flagellate is something that we have all indulged in. It is a social pastime. Kowtow to this rule, so that we benefit in such and such way. It’s socially accepted blackmail that only comes from an abuse of power, and as we all live within hierarchical structures, it’s clearly inevitable. A family is a hierarchical structure, so the same rules apply. The unspoken excuse is more akin to: “I don’t want your actions to make me feel even worse about mine”.
Too bad, because I can no longer pretend to be responsible for anyone else, not when it has been at the expense of my own happiness, and when I am now paying heavily for my martyrdom with my health. I can only truly be responsible for myself. My responsibility to my children for example is a legal requisite, but as a mother, I know damned well that I cannot control what they think and do ultimately, as I am not them, my job is to ensure their safety and well-being as best as I am able, not to be their puppet-master.
Being exposed as the social monkeys that we are expected to be makes us feel fraudulent, despite our willingness to comply. Being exposed as a bad parent, or sibling is equally caustic. Rightly so, because an abuse of position and power is a despicable behaviour, that often causes irreparable damage, not only to those around us, but to ourselves. The trouble is, few people recognise or are willing to accept this about themselves. Falling victim to faulty beliefs, and thus victimising others with that as their yard stick.
We all have our own paths to tread and explore, and sometimes things just need to change, even if only one person seems to be leading the charge. I would be a hypocrite to discount everything that I have learned from my own explorations of personal reality, in favour of the cultural practise of pointing fingers. Change happens because everybody involved makes it happen, even if unaware. We are all accountable for our role in the unfolding events of life. Yet change is rarely a voiced consensus, as for the most part it is a subconscious imperative. That anyone steps up to the plate and voices that consent is an act of bravery I think, as they are representing all involved. It’s a heck of a burden, and it can weigh heavily indeed, as I’ve discovered.
So am I brave or just foolish?
The thing is, I won’t know until I do it, until I take that leap. Nor will anyone else involved know how they feel until they silently concede that the time is right. Personally I will always err on the side of positivity, as stated. Doubt is a necessary temporary measure, because without it the need to change and improve can’t be realised.
None of us has any idea what it’s like to be someone else. We all pass judgements on others based on what we personally feel. There is no right or wrong conduct because no matter what decisions you make, there will always be someone for whom it is a disadvantage. We all have our challenges to overcome. I am so used to making sure that everybody else around me is happy first, that I forget that I’m there at all sometimes. That’s all that’s changing.