A Middle Finger to the False Self



It’s weird. Probably not uncommon, but still weird.
This being compelled towards a certain way of expression and feeling so utterly self conscious about said expression. Part of me thinks that real artists don’t question their artistry, at least in as far as the doing. Most of us measure the product and its worth, of course. Wonder about, assess, measure. Maybe it’s naive to think that no one else thinks this much about the process. The just “doin’ the thing” part. But I just can’t help but think that if I could just settle into the thing that my battles with self expression (with self?) would be largely (or just more) over. The weirdness that I not only wrangle with, but frankly am totally sick of, is weird. I feel compelled to write a certain way while being totally and completely uncertain about it.
When (and how? How, I ask you?) does a person Just Do It. (If only there was a t-shirt to remind me.) By what miracle of changed thinking and upside down modus operandi (how? How, I ask you?) does someone suddenly just stop all the years of shame and doubt and ridiculous indoctrination and start living fully into his/her self? And THEN create something authentic and real and of value?
New Year review and reflection stipulated honesty as my “word of the year.” Sounds good. Good like all those other words that find their way colorfully and persistently into the margins of journals and legal pads in various pen colors in order to (hopefully) then find their way into my psyche and then (hopefully) eke into my living. And I’ll stay open to that notion. Honesty sounds right, if even ever so slightly loaded and terribly tenuous (for me anyway. See elephants in the room, “social graces,” and skeletons in the closet [wow. Even the references don’t tell you anything.] and you have a terrible battle with what being true to yourself means. True to myself? Heck. I’d just love to wake up with any sense of self. A true sense unfettered and/or unmarred by loads of proverbial baggage.).
Which brings me to my point. (Maybe.)
After being figuratively smacked into an uncomfortable oblivion yesterday, I had to take another uncomfortable but much needed look at my difficulty with transparency and vulnerability. I’m tempted to delve in here about the bummer-of-a-disagreement my husband and I had because of my seeming inability to be emotionally intimate due to years and years of self destructive behavior but I worry that I’ll lose you. I’m assuming you’ll understand without being privy to details. Wait for the book. Because, you know, a book about addiction, promiscuity, victimization and the like would be so read-worthy. It would, you say? Only if it didn’t stop there but continued on to the happy ending of redemption and healing and rescue, which is where my story ends, er, will end once I get to the bottom of this vulnerability thing.

Vulnerability thing? Oh, right. That’s where I was going with this. I was going to talk about how to get to a place where I stop second guessing every. Single. Thing. I. Do. Say. Write. Think. The place where all this being gets to just be without all the maddening ing-ing. Thinking wondering, second-guessing. That little suffix has added too much extraneous ing-ing on my ability to just be.
Just be, Amy. Just be, you who’s reading. You who’s out there wondering about your inherent value and all its attachments and/or inevitabilities. Not in a mystical touchy feely way, but in a true way. That we might get down to the business of living: comfortable enough in our own skins and comfortable enough with whatever our contribution to the world is ours to give and stop all this ridiculous posturing in order to add what’s ours to add.
Maybe I’m just getting old and tired. Maybe that’s really what wisdom is: getting worn out enough that you stop expending energy (because you no longer have any extra to expend) on posturing and instead concentrate on just be-ing. That ing-ing being the only sort you can muster up enough energy for. No frills, no pretense. Just you and just me with all our wondrous and remarkable magic. ‘Cause it’s in there. And it’s fabulous.
It’s terrifying, but I’m pretty excited to toast to transparency (or maybe I’m just excited to toast. Here’s at least to an enthusiastic and celebratory beginning.). Pretty excited to find out what all this before-now-elusive “be true to yourself” business is all about. Excited to move forward with my eyes wide open instead of frantically darting around trying to read cues about what skin I ought put on to satisfy any onlookers. How are chameleons not completely exhausted? I’ve not learned to adapt so well to this way of being. Or at least not thrive. I’ve maybe learned too well how to adapt. Regardless, I find it leaves me significantly less colorful than more…
So here’s to richer color sourced from an inward treasure instead of environmentally imposed ones. To more transparency and honesty. And though I don’t wish the fiery abyss part on anyone, I do like the spirit of; “ta Hell with all ya’s. I got my own beat and I’m dancin’ to it.” (I don’t usually talk like that, but this finding my voice thing may take some practice…)

How about you? Do you struggle with “being yourself”? Desire truth in your inmost parts? Or if this isn’t a struggle for you, what has helped you to be a person of integrity/honesty/transparency?



6 thoughts on “A Middle Finger to the False Self

  1. Its a journey isn’t it, towards getting free, or being self realised or whatever! I think that journey goes on forever, even the most successful people are probably still kicking themselves! Perhaps the secret is to keep that (kicking oneself) a secret! Well I found that I have journeyed down, then had to sometimes go back to where I was to find the common sense required to get to where I need to be. Thats not to say that its a nonsense, the approach to doing a thing is everything and nothing, it can be learned over decades or seconds, if you recognise you aren’t actually going to arrive tis the day you finally die, which will be epic, perhaps?

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  2. Yes, I do believe it will be epic! (Finally, proper use of that term! Seems to be way overused and not well these days. Thanks for well-placing it.) I just can’t help but think that if I could get out of my own way, then my way could be more epic while I’m here. (Oops. Maybe I just misused it now?)

    Do you think we ought keep the “kicking oneself” a secret? Maybe if it causes us to remain morbid. But if confession of ugliness cleans out and quickens towards accountability and better doing, then maybe there’s a place for it after all. And if I hadn’t publicly kicked myself here, I wouldn’t have gotten to hear so poignantly from you. So there’s something. And maybe the kicking myself openly is my (albeit sad) effort towards transparency on my way to a healthier way of being? Let’s hope so.

    Or maybe I’m just trying to justify the above as something other than self indulgent rambling. πŸ™‚

    I do appreciate your reminder about the “approach to doing a thing is everything and nothing.” It’s a healthy and timely reminder to me about the balance between regarding myself with sober judgment and taking myself too seriously. I just really want to do – be – better and more consistently, Y’know? from your response, I think you probably do. Thanks for being willing to engage in the conversation. I really appreciate your time and wisdom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, its all easier said than done, but then once its done, its easier done than said! Ha, I’m rambling now, but then perhaps rambling is a solution in itself? Aha,ha, yes, I love proverbs, there’s one for everything, and probably opposing proverbs, and yet it seems there are no anti-proverbs, which is why I love them so much!

      I once heard a proverb that went along the lines of “There is no accounting for success” But it was actually much better worded than that, I google for it fro time to time, but never found it, it just meant there are so many ways, but more even than that, because if there is a way, there’s another, something like that! Proverbs rule, cos the evolve over centuries a become so profound!

      I wish you well, I enjoyed this today πŸ™‚

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  3. I come at it from the opposite side, having had my vulnerability and emotional intimacy shot down by so many that I would have befriended. I didn’t stop forcing my “real” self upon others, but I learned that, like they were charms on a charm bracelet, I just had to collect the few people who really responded to how open and raw I am all the time. I wish I were better, so often, at dissembling, at crafting a persona to tuck my true self into so I didn’t make others so uncomfortable with my constant honesty. Alas, the grass is always greener…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your way seems truer, more authentic and therefore enviable. At the same time, it seemed to me as I read your response that we’re talking about the very same thing. And I love what you said about “collect[ing] the few people who really responded to how open and raw I am all the time.” That’s wisdom and a heretofore heeded (I hope) admonition to me about a same approach. It sounds like self-care and it seems right. May we each be less afraid of our own voice. You – less afraid of “making people uncomfortable” and me – same thing with less persona. I hope that makes sense. I’m grateful for your being here and reading. ‘Specially since I continue to be wildly self-conscious that I hit “publish” with this one. (And every other one!) And for the life of me, I cannot imagine such a precious, thoughtful, beautiful soul eliciting discomfort! Constant honesty sounds perfect! A persona free person sounds to be exactly the thing we ought all be after. Me for one. I look forward to learning more from you in this way. πŸ™‚ (I don’t like emojis. But I seem unable to refrain using them at certain moments. I want to reach through with something more than words! How a smiley face will do that, I don’t know, but until there’s an alternative…)Again, thanks for being here.

      Liked by 1 person

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