There are fish in the sea… and octopuses

No one sees the same world. I recently read something about how everyone perceives each person differently, creating their own image. And even you see yourself in different ways, trying to reach an authentic sense of self. And sometimes wondering if such a feat is possible.

After my ASD diagnosis last year, I read a good deal about autism. One of the key things that stuck in my mind was the rate of diagnosis between men and women (around a four to one ratio). So as such I signed up with universities that were conducting ASD research, as clearly more is needed! This week I got to wear a funky little cap whilst watching my brain waves appear on a screen. (I recommend this in its entirety.. I got to watch what my brain does when I blink!), but what struck me more through this process was how I regard others, and then conversely, how others regard me.

In this instance, I was person number 130 and the other person was a person completing her PhD. She regards me as a conduit to continuing her work, and I regard her as providing me with an excellent morning’s entertainment, complete with a hair washing interlude, EEG’s are messy!

But then we started talking, she was very concerned about a possible cancer scare and we started talking about waiting times and healthcare. Then I spoke about the delights of the place I live, as it is also her favourite place in the area. It is too easy to see people in fixed roles. That person in my doctor, that person is my mechanic.. It goes on. It seems too easy, however, to only see them as this singularly dimensional being, and if I want people to see me as complete and multifaceted, then perhaps it is time for me to extend that same courtesy to others as well.

We are never just one thing.

Map Point. Do I fear authenticity?

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The ideas of others

I was chatting with Maggie about her artwork. It occurs to me that I have many friends who are artists, and I guess as a photographer, I count myself among them. We were talking about how when you create a piece of work, it is utterly yours, but if someone else helps you, is the end result truly your own?

This for me raised a massive question, how are any of us authentic? I heard recently that we are exposed to as much new information in a day as a person living a couple of hundred years ago did in a lifetime. I don’t know how true this actually is, but it feels as if it could be. I also thought about a quote from Frankenstein, stating that a person is happiest when they believe their back garden to be their world. I think there is truth in this too.

But back to the artwork, or indeed any creative expression. W are influenced by so many things that it would be almost impossible to trace back an idea to its origins. We read books, follow traditions, watch television (or not..), see advertising everywhere, look at social media streams, and countless other ways of absorbing new information. And then we interact with others who have done exactly the same. So any one idea or thought, passion or belief is almost untraceable. We are information sponges, and it gives us possibility.

And back to the artwork (again..). I think if you help someone personally, giving your time to them, there is a sense of gratitude from them that accompanies that. In many circumstances, this is straight forward, appreciation is most happy making to receive! But if you feel gratitude for someone helping you to create something then I see how that could feel like diminished ownership, but it really isn’t.

Any work I produce I know has come from all my experiences, whether that was a direct idea of another or from a connection that I have made from the assembly of information in my head. Both are equally as valid. Art should be celebrated, knowing that it is derived from a culture of collective understanding, and as such it shines.

Map Point. How do I express my authentic self?

 

My favourite sort of friendships

What we share with others is massive. It denotes our beliefs, our ideals, our grievances. With different people we share different things, subduing and changing parts of our personality to fit in with differing social situations.

When I am at work, I don’t really share anything other than my most immediate plans; if I am going out somewhere that evening or had a particularly interesting day. And in new situations, I generally prefer to assess first before becoming my more usual self.

It occurred to me that in talking about how introvert or extrovert I am is situation dependent, but that is entirely misleading. Confidence levels are related to people, and that is what denotes the person who we are, and what we feel comfortable to share.

When I meet new people, despite finding chitchat hard work, I can talk with enough generality to create flow. It is then you can start to form opinions and decide whether this new person is someone who you think you can trust. Someone that you want to actively spend time with.

Some people that I have in my life, I felt an instant connection with, a sense that a particular person would be important in some way. These people I found it easy to open up with, as the level of sharing became mutual. With Robert, despite our very noticeable differences, we have remarkably similar life experiences, and it is an easy friendship to have. Am not saying that friendships don’t require effort, but for some friendships, it is easy to put the work in, as you know that the other person feels the same.

Robert started out primarily as an online friend, despite having met him in reality first. Our conversations became deep fast. I found in him, someone who loves to analyse and dissect as much as I do, and as such conversation exploded in so many subjects. It was and still is, incredible. I have a level of honesty with him, that based on my life so far, is rare. And then I started to wonder why, and that came back to trust.

When I have a friend that I have to continually edit my words with, eventually it feels like I am committing less of me to that friendship, thus my involvement in it wanes. It isn’t when people let you down or inadvertently push you into a dance podium that leaves you scarred for months that causes issues, its knowing that the person only likes you for what they want to hear from you, for what you can provide.

Being authentic is hard, and takes a high level of self worth to fully be so. And to the people who allow me to be truly myself? They are the angels, they make me shine.

Map Point. Where do I feel most me?