working thru the backlog i've created for myself... the October project for If...:
If you were to identify that which makes you you, what characteristic would you describe? What uniqueness would people who know you say distinguishes you from others?
This World is Not my Home
ambience courtesy of HNIA...
this is a hard question for me to tackle. reconnecting with my self is a constant piece of work for me, and a theme in much of my writing. but the fact that i'm constantly working on it doesn't mean i've gained all that much insight. can i answer the question? no, not really, not if i had to narrow it down to one discrete item that sets me apart.
there are plenty of WASP New England girls with good educations, ex-husbands, and unsatisfying jobs. there are lots of people out there with second jobs, a few close friends, two cats and an interest in the arts. being opinionated, geeky, cynical and depressed doesn't make me unique.
in many ways, it's easier to focus on the commonalities. i like hanging out with my best friend because she and i see the world in much the same way. i get along with my mom because we see each other as friends and worry about many of the same things. one friend is also a writer manqué; he and i commiserate over the travails of wordsmithing. my boss and i share a deeply cynical ethos, which makes him a joy to talk with.
and in some ways, we're raised to focus on what we have in common with others. we're encouraged to fit in, to follow along, not to rock the boat.
i was always encouraged to do well, as i was growing up. in a manner of speaking, that made me want to fit in more than ever. there's nothing like being the most, the only, the best of anything as a teenager that wreaks havoc with your sense of social structure.
so learning to zero in on what makes me me? what makes me special, different, valuable? it's taken a long time. it's taking a long time.
okay, okay. i really have no qualms about announcing that i'm a brilliant, funny, subversive person. i'm competitive enough to want to be the best at everything, and that means being funnier than the next guy. but really, i'll never be able to tell a joke the way fran does. so i can say all that stuff, but i'm not sure i believe it.
but in a general sense, i am the only person who has lived my life, and that's what makes me unique. all the things i've lived thru? no single part is unique. but the collection of events and how i've responded, the choices i've made and lived with or regretted, the manner in which i've chosen to live my life - that's what makes me me.
at least, that's how i see it. how would others characterize me? good question. cynical as hell. frighteningly logical. funny, on a good day. entertaining story teller. mood swings that would decaptitate a lesser person (except on the days where i have the whole playground). egotistical. loyal, to a fault. a temper to match my red hair. insanely high standards for myself, that any human would realize are self defeating. those are all words i've heard applied to me.
pick any one of those. (pick a card, any card...) perhaps that's enough to set me apart from other people you know. i'd prefer to think that the collection of traits and habits are what define me as a unique individual.