This is been a strange week. For the first time in forever I didn’t write at all for two different days. Both times life was overwhelming and it just didn’t work. For someone who is retired it seems strange that I have had very little time to do anything. Things are slacking off now and I hope to see a more normal pace. Is there any such thing as normal?
Have you ever noticed how some people seem to have one trauma after another and others seem to drift through life unscathed? I just want to shake my fist at God and say unfair! unfair! It just doesn’t seem right. To make it worse sometimes the ones who have just floated through are also the worst people.
Looking at these things from the outside is probably not logical. Who can really know what is going on underneath. It’s like the saying about the swan. Serene on the surface but paddling madly underneath.
Maybe the people who have been through the fire have been formed into beautiful vessels. Most of the ones I know have so much more compassion and ability to care than others. With all their trials they can still support and care for those around them. You can actually feel the vibrancy of their empathy. It radiates from within.
No one knows what form us. Some can be broken by events and some make finer. When that happens it is a beautiful thing to see.
I have know some people who have the ability to make everyone laugh. They are just naturally funny. Many comedians have this natural ability. A great many of them use events in their own lives to laugh at. These things and usually commonplace and occur in most of our lives and that is why they are so funny.
However, the things they make so funny often contain a great deal of pain. Joking about something becomes a way to deflect the pain that is underneath. Sometimes making a joke covers up depression and anxiety. A number of comedians suffer on the inside. Also, the joking hides insecurities. When I say this I think about Joan Rivers who seemed to see herself as unattractive. A lot of her comedy routines focused on looks.
We all do wear masks and don’t let the world see the struggles that are going on inside. Some people never take the masks off. I knew someone who was funny until the day he died and it was only afterward that I discovered he suffered with depression. It would have been so nice to nurture the person behind the mask.
On Word Press is it possible to discard the mask and let the true person out. It is all right to share the thoughts that plague us. In my many years I have learned to share the person inside more and more. If I am not accepted as I am then I don’t need those people. Life is too important to spend it using energy to hide yourself behind a mask. There are those who will accept the real you and they are worth knowing.
Last night while we were out to dinner I noticed a number of teens at another table. Every one of them had on something that touted a designer. Labels. Every shirt had a label on the outside. It was important for people to know that they could afford designer clothes.
Discreet is no longer a word. (In so many ways.) Now everyone wants you to know that they have something special. It is not just teens. Think about all the expensive purses that some women long for. Even some shoes have initials on the outside letting the public know that you can afford them. People sell knock-offs and they are bought by those longing to be able to afford them. It is lusting after prestige.
We didn’t end up that way of our own accord. When I was young you would never be caught wearing something with the label on the outside. It was considered gauche. Gradually more logos appeared on things, crocodiles and polo players. From there it was an easy jump to selling things that announced how expensive they were. Advertising helped to lure us into the idea.
Now almost everything has a label you can see. We want everyone to know the value. We do the same thing to people. We give them labels. Some are simple and based on appearance…thin, fat, old, young. These labels know nothing about the person. If asked to describe someone we would use them.
Other labels are not so easy…stupid, crazy, not right. These have to come from some further knowledge of a person. And yet, the person is not really known. It is a label used to put someone in their place. It is a label to make “us” feel better about ourselves. It is a label to create “us and them.” It is a wrong and biased label.
Labels can be used for many reasons. Some carry little weight and others can be devastating. We really don’t know what is on the inside. That shirt with the designer label can be poorly made when you look at the inside. The plain shirt may be perfectly put together if you choose to look at more than the outside.
Be careful of labels. They do not show the whole story. Be willing to look past the label to what is inside.
We spend a lot of time comparing ourselves to others. And yet, I am not someone else….I am me. I can’t expect to be exactly like another. I can’t expect another to be like me. We are each unique. It is important for us to realize this and not make comparisons. Comparisons can make me feel less than. That is not a good feeling. We each have to learn to accept ourselves and only work on becoming the best ME I can be.
This poem about comparisons was written a while ago.
We so often talk about knowing ourselves. We want to see ourselves and know our innermost thoughts and feelings. Most of the time I don’t think that we are ready to see ourselves fully. The truth would be too painful.
I often think about this as standing in a bright light looking in a mirror. In the mirror we see our face unadorned. All the blemishes and flaws are totally revealed. If we see this most women are quick to add make up to cover what we see and make it acceptable to us. We hope that others will not see what we saw. The face we present to the world is different than the one in the mirror.
The same thing is true of us. We don’t really want to see all the flaws that would be revealed if we could really see what is inside. Our minds have doors that we don’t open. We say we want to see but we look without opening those doors.
I wonder if this is part of the reason that contemplation/meditation is so difficult. Not only is it not part of our culture but it can be revealing. Sitting in silence and letting the unconscious be in charge can be scary. We may learn things we didn’t really want to know.
The other side of the coin is that opening those doors and cleaning out those closets can bring us a peace that we can only imagine. We just have to be strong enough to accept what we find and let the ugliness drift away and hold on to the beauty. We will find beauty there as well and it can bring peace and help us to love ourselves.
That quote from Joan Rivers seems to go a long way to explaining why she spent her life altering her appearance. For so many of us our view of ourselves is set by others. We see ourselves as others see us and not as we are. We can spend our whole lives wishing that we were different.
I doubt that any of believe we are perfect but in today’s society it would be easy to believe that you are ugly. The norm set for beautiful by fashion models is unreachable except by 13-16 yo’s. There are so many ads on media telling us what to do to be beautiful…use this face cream, wash with this soap, go to this plastic surgeon.
The truth is that the criteria set by society is not reality. None of us can live up to it and we can make ourselves miserable trying to change. Even the “beautiful people” have a history of being unhappy. It seems that no matter how you look there can be shadows underneath. Remember how many rich and famous people have committed suicide.
In my lifetime I have never thought myself beautiful. I was an awkward teen and as most girls I wished I was prettier. It took some time before I began to see the things that were good about me and they weren’t all physical. By the time I married and had children I was reasonably happy with myself. I felt able to “fit in.” Even though this felt good I think this is part of the problem. We want to fit in.
The thing is we don’t always need to fit in. We need to be ourselves. We have to learn to be the best at who we are. This requires accepting ourselves. This is not always easy. Many of us have things that set us apart from the norm. It could be appearance (being in a wheelchair, having a deformity, etc.) or it could be mental illness.
You are unique. There is nothing wrong with being who you are. Learn to be yourself! This is one of the most valuable lessons that you can attain. Accept who you are with all your warts and scars. Those things are what make you YOU. Don’t let others tell you anything different.