Look at a person. Draw an imaginary cartoon picture in your head of the outline of a person. Who actually is that person? What do you know of them? Is what you know about them all there is to know about them? Nope.
Every person has a proportion of them which is public and a proportion which is private.
The public/private distinction within a person shifts according to who we are with and what we are comfortable allowing them to see. Some people who we are close to and we trust will see a large proportion of what make us, ‘us’. Strangers, or people we don’t know as well are left to make assumptions on wo we really are from very scant knowledge. Maybe they will know only five or ten percent of us, or maybe that’s over-generous.
This is because as human beings we like to keep ourselves psychologically safe. We are social animals who live in fear of being pushed out of the herd, so therefore we look at others for cues about how to behave and conform to what we think others want of us accordingly. We reason if we do this we will fit in, we will be liked, we will belong, and we will not face the ultimate human defeat (worse than any other)-social rejection.
Who can forget the pain of being a little child in the playground who is set apart from the crowd? seeing your classmates playing and laughing and ‘belonging’ together, while you’re left holding the hand of the dinner lady for comfort, bottom lip trembling, eyes downcast, trying your hardest not to cry.
So we learn as adults to conform to the crowd, to blend in, to not make a scene, to get along with people, to hide the bits we don’t want people to see-the vulnerable bits, the emotional bits, the sore bits, the unshiney bits, the bits that are very much part of us, but parts we would rather deny were there.
We are masters of the fake smile. We excel at feigning interest in people we are not in truth interested in. We put on a show of our best bits and keep the lesser good bits firmly behind closed doors.
In my previous blogs I explicitly wrote about the bits you don’t see. The embarrassing bits. The vulnerable bits. The nervous bits. The shameful bits. The sad bits. In other words, the bits that are real.
I write to publicly give out the message that it is perfectly okay to be unacceptable. It is okay to not fit in with the crowd. It is okay to be authentically you, even if the authentic you is falling apart, which is pretty much exactly what happened to me.
But then I joined Facebook, and learned people do not write about the unseen bits on there. People write about the socially acceptable bits, the nice bits, the cute videos posted of pets, the trophies, the life highlights. I am not excluding myself from this by the way. If I’m on Facebook, I’ll act like I’m on Facebook. I’ll do ‘the whole Facebook thing’. I’ll post the filtered and perfect selfies (the ones which I bothered to put makeup on for). I’ll try and be acceptable in what I write.
But you know what, that’s not really me. Which is why I began this blog.
I like being different.
I also love the idea of starting to shine in my own right, but I haven’t figured out how to do it yet because my mindset has for a long time been centred on the unseen bits, the rubbish bits, the socially unacceptable bits. I’ve been lost in the clutches of depression for a really long time, so walking in the light is blinding and disorientating to me.
I don’t know quite what to do with it and how to be this way. I don’t know how to write about happy things as well as I can write about sad things, but I know I have much happiness here in me. I just don’t know quite how to access it, but I will learn.
Everytime I face a moment in life, my mind can go in one of two ways-it can either take the sad route (faster & more automatic,) or the happy route (forced- I have to really concentrate to take this path). So I am going to try and force myself down the happy path at every moment.
We all have choices. Life can sometimes be great, like cloud nine was designed just for us, and other times it can be plain un-dressed up shit, but we can tame the mind to go down happier pathways. That is what I will be experimenting with here :)
SummerSHINES, learning to shine X