Wednesday, August 17, 2011
I want to talk about personas right now. There are many I wear, some more realistic than others. Some are just in my head, let's face it: the one where I hacked the FBI database to prove Leonard Peltier's innocence (novella forthcoming - since that's as close to reality as I'm going to get on that one); or the one where I was born into some sort of Yugoslavian royal mafia that I'm trying to escape; or where I'm an aerialist for Cirque du Soleil and I have a twin sister named Mona - for some reason I'm Japanese in that persona? Anyway.
These are all just escapes from the reality that is me, and I think we all do this, unless maybe you're one of those people born with self-esteem or chutzpah or arrogance or an overly abundant sense of righteousness that our American culture just adores and pushes us to have that makes you look at yourself in the mirror and say, "Hot Damn! I'm awesome!" I might squeak this, to myself, in my head, a few times a year only because my therapist ordered me to. And then spend the rest of the day feeling like an arrogant bastard.
I've been told I'm nice. Nice. Who wants that? People say it like that's a bad thing. Maybe it is. I could attempt to be an asshole, but I just don't really care enough. I have a quiet voice. People don't want quiet - they want LOUD, FERFUCKSAKE! That's what America's built on - LOUD! Death to quiet people, right? I might not be able to scream as loud as you at the bar - and if I yell your name down the street you'll keep walking because you didn't hear me - it takes awhile to get to know me because I don't wear a suit made of survey questions I answered - that's the way it is. And here's the thing about us quiet people. We heard everything you said... think about that.
Personas: Truth is we're never happy with who we are (at least I'm not), hence the use of personas. Not like J. Edgar Hoover or anything, but there is a vision we hold of ourselves. We can't actually see ourselves, so we hold onto some sort of image. I want to be liked. We all want to be liked. The trouble is when it feels like you're pulling out a different persona to try and impress this person, then that person, etc. I do it too because I can't really believe that so-and-so would find me interesting or desirable or whatever, so I tend to try and create that image of myself that is frankly, unrealistic. It's not really me anyway. I have a day job (that I'm not really proud of, I feel like a sell out - but it's a good job nonetheless), so there's that; I'm not very tall, apparently I'm supposed to be tall, it makes your legs thinner, your hair straighter, and your skin tanner (according to this incredibly sane logic); there are things about my face that if I could only tweak them just a tad, even by like 1 degree, would make the whole package that much prettier; I've never been in trouble with the law, I'm a do-gooder, I'm not a rebel (Everyone loves a rebel!) - I think I stole a Dum-Dum out of a candy bin when I was little; not loud (already said that); repeats oneself (1 demerit!); self-deprecating (You're not supposed to be doing this! 2 Demerits!!!)... Well, you get the idea.
How does one deal with this crap?
It's true. Positive thinking does wonders. It's the little steps. I keep a little diary (like an asshole) documenting my little accomplishments. I'm returning to a sport. I document little things I do that contribute toward my skill set there. I document what I do every day with my writing, what I worked on, where I got to. And, yeah, I've finally given in on keeping track of 'feelings.' Mostly to help keep me from careening into the big black sinkhole that I can often take myself to.
Oh christ.... and I've also started meditating. That shit helps!!! There I said it. I meditate.
Maybe one day I'll stop cursing in my writing, but let's hope that day never comes. Fuck!