Post no. 95

My self-imposed mission was to write every day for a hundred days, which, until day ninety-four, was going really well! I am now shy by around a week’s worth of posts, which would have put me over my goal, but now my days of chaos are over, I can resume. This is really important to me, for so many reasons.

I have many reasons for wanting to write this blog. The first is this is what I love doing. I love to write. I get to be my authentic self in my blogs, no pretence, it is like having a truly non-judgemental friend who I can talk to. Sometimes writing is a catharsis, a quiet place to explore, analyse and ponder. Feeling connected to others, even if through the medium of the screen, tells me that my world is bigger.

The advent of master’s degree is approaching and writing every day was something of a test for me. I needed to know writing many words consistently was something that I could achieve. This has given me a strength, a determination that I wasn’t sure I had. It feels like a milestone in my life to realise that I am much more than I think.

So to the things that have kept me away. My volunteer work with my daughter’s school became crazy busy, and at the same time, everything else did too. My daytimes were spent in activity, and my night times were spent longing for my bed. I had no energy to create, no energy to simply be. I think this is important for me to reflect on. My energy reserves were being directed to an area that subtracted from every other. I was spent.

So now, I am back writing. I am relaxing back into the familiar. I feel energised by putting pen to paper. I am home.

Map Point. Why do I allow certain things to drain my energy?

 

Mirrors and Things

I like the concept of a mirror, looking at something that reflects you utterly perfectly in physicality, but at the same time is utterly subjective based on your perception. You choose what you see, what you select when presented with the whole. What you see can represent your current modes of thinking. If you see an amazing figure and a friendly smile, then this suggests something quite different to the person who sees fat legs and terrible hair. Maybe.

Extend this to the people around you. Who are your mirrors? Think of the people that you spend the most time with, the environments that they are contained in. Think about what you think of them. And then apply this directly to yourself. It is easy to make a passing judgement on others, but turning that back on yourself is much harder. We judge ourselves hard, but generally within the soft parameters that we give ourselves. Maybe we are anxious because we had a childhood full of fear, we have the justification, but when faced with another, even someone close, in the same situation of feeling that way, we come up with solutions, with practicalities and advice. Why then is it so difficult to apply this to ourselves? Why do we come up with such good advice for others? Is it because we are naturally gifted at giving counsel? Or is it because we immediately latch on to the faults we perceive in others as extensions of the faults we perceive within ourselves? We are already the experts in how to fix us, so it is the simple, but not easy, issue of transferring this positive intention to improve others, to ourselves.

Map Point. What do I see when I look in the mirror?

 

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?

 

My world of unlikely accidents

I nearly just crushed my number four toe on my left foot, however, I had to look to see and see which foot it was, because it could well have been the number two toe on the right foot. It was definitely the left, it had impacted with a somewhat unyielding box under my desk. There was big pain. Despite considering myself to be in good health with a happy diet and exercise, I accept that injury will also be present, both through questionable spatial awareness and outright stupidity.

Now many of my daily injuries I no longer notice. Door frames neatly marry with shoulder blades, radiator pipes are the twins of my little toes, really heavy objects are obviously asking my feet to ‘bring it’ and they do, with both force and precision. I find random bruises and cuts, but this is all good as if I haven’t noticed doing it, then clearly it didn’t hurt!

Occasionally though, my acts of injury are somewhat more spectacular. Domestic endeavour is truly not for the faint of heart. I was once winding up a vacuum cord and got slightly too much momentum, cracking myself squarely in the head with the plug, which knocked me to the ground. After washing up once, I bent down to pick up an errant spatula from the floor (it had tumbled down from my ‘how high can I stack my washing up’ personal challenge) and I stood up too quickly, thumping my head into the handle of a particularly heavy saucepan. Also ended up sat on the floor, somewhat bemused with my new immediate surroundings. I have been knocked over a fair few times by other people shutting the boot of the car on my head, as I have dived back in to retrieve something and it is probably best never to share the details of the swollen knee I ‘won’ ┬áby walking off the pavement into a parked van when playing the eyes closed challenge. It wasn’t a good game.

I guess that there are parts of ourselves that will always vex, always try us a little bit. Things that we keep doing without really understanding why. Most of my injuries come from lack of patience or forethought (and some do come from idiocy) so perhaps this is where I need to focus my efforts, taking my time a little more, and attempting to be a bit more gentle with my body.

Learning to look after ourselves better can be a really hard task, we simply get used to certain things and accept them as perfectly okay, they have become familiar. Looking at these things and working out how to make improvements is the easier bit, learning how to put those into practice is where we can genuinely make improvements to our lives, and that bit is harder.

Map Point. How can I stop hurting myself?

 

Authenticity for the win

Thinking about writing this blog has been an interesting process. It gives me the discipline to write every day, and I know what I want to write about, but thinking about my level of honesty has been interesting.

If I write everything from the point of view of friends that I have known, or people that I have worked with then although I may be saying exactly what I want, it is not me. I understand that these are good masks people use to tell their own stories, but they lack immediacy, they lack authenticity.

There are many things that I have experienced that I have learnt a good deal from. And although I think there is likely a benefit that other people could gain from reading this; there is also the counter weight of how much of myself I want to put into a public domain.

Social media gives us the opportunity to share our lives in terms of immediate thoughts, the music we like, the workouts we have done and the photos that we have taken. This gives us the most amazing ways to communicate with our friends, our peers. However, in terms of authenticity and the honesty of our intentions, the situation becomes somewhat darker. Does the photo of our food in a restaurant really indicate that we need some attention, do ‘likes’ equal endorsement? Do the congratulations on our five-mile run give us the validation to keep going? I don’t know if there was a definitive point whereby our actions needed social endorsement. Maybe this has always been the case, we like approval for our actions, but does this ease of validation from others become a replacement for us doing this for ourselves?

Self-validation, boosting our own self-esteem can be difficult sometimes, but it is a necessary skill to acquire. It gives us possibility. But how does this increased self-esteem link to authenticity? Essentially, the more I am me, the less I want to be anyone else! When I felt low, I mirrored others, I was avoidant, I did many things to avoid being me. But then things changed, or rather I enacted change, and now I don’t want to talk through the words of others. Authenticity is important.

This blog will be harsh and bold. I will be harsh and bold. And there are somethings which will be hard to talk about and that is okay, but I promise myself this, I have worked hard to get to where I am, and I am not going to sell myself short in my words.

Map Point. How can I increase my authenticity?