*This post can also be found by hovering over the ‘About Me’ button and clicking on the ‘Journal’ drop down menu.
Sometimes I feel confined within my own mind. The older I get, the more I understand what it means to be myself, but it’s a daunting prospect. For one thing, I’ve got all these walls that shoot up involuntarily under various circumstances.
When I talk to my dad, I’m affected by half remembered memories of what I perceived to be an unfair and unjust situation through the eyes of a troubled, weird, kid with a wandering mind and no shortage of misunderstood emotion. Essentially, there is a part of me that repels my father, purely on instinct. Once I learned to overcome that, I began to be able to be myself, for the most part.
When I’m in public, with and around people, my entire personality changes. I look around at all these…humans, and I recall the horrible, depraved things that many, many, many, normal looking people have done. In public, my default setting is a sort of danger scan, which does allow me to detect possible threats quickly, but I really have to work to relax in public.
It’s not that I’m especially frightened by these situations, rather that the result of many years of acting and reacting to my surroundings with the aid of my particular brain has produced a complicated, albeit small, aspect of my personality, although I’d be lying if I said they never caused any anxiety.
Another wonderful aspect of being me is that almost every piece of information that is processed by my brain, whether an advertisement message or my own thought, is immediately refuted. Doubt is at the core of who I am, or maybe it isn’t. It is coincidental and worth noting, that my middle name is Thomas, of doubting fame.
Part of the reason for this, I believe, is that I want to get to the heart of whatever I’m dealing with at any given the moment. I’m concerned with knowing and understanding truth, and I feel that if first I doubt, then the process of uncovering at least a semblance of that truth becomes much more plausible.
My doubting is also the result of an endless, internal teetering between feelings of inferiority and superiority. If I have an idea, I immediately think it’s probably a bad idea, but I’ll generally think it through a little further to determine it’s true value. If another person has an idea, I immediately think it was a bad idea, in part because I didn’t come up with it, which is followed by giving the idea a fair chance and reminding myself that I’m often wrong about my first impressions.
The point is, these are types of things that happen to me automatically. I have the ability to be aware of that fact, but that alone won’t change the natural tendencies that seem to have come from nowhere.
I feel shackled by these automatic responses. I’ve often wondered if the concept of ‘being myself’ meant being the person I chose to be or submitting to the set of traits assigned to me at birth. Of course, there are things I can do and try to do in order to alter my behavior, but these internal pillars of personality are always, I feel, going to be there.
Knowing that these involuntary feelings will most likely persist forever, I’ve learned to accept it. If you’ve got to have a roommate, you might as well get along. Still, it is a fascinating concept to wonder about consciousness and why we are in the bodies we’re in, living the lives we’re all separately, yet collectively, living.
Why, how, and by what was the complete consciousness that makes up the essence of me transferred into my physical brain? How much of my personality truly comes from my brain itself, or are there other factors? Why was ‘I’ not born into the body of my brother or my third grade teacher or Barack Obama? I know that there are psychological, scientific, and philosophical interpretations on this topic, but the fact is, for all our collective scientific research, not much is known about the nature of consciousness, a thought that chills me.
Despite all that, I know I have behaviors and traits that I implanted myself, and I’m proud of many of them. Still, the process of being myself often feels like being in the center of concert crowd and being constantly bumped into, all the while knowing that I’ll never get out.
In the end, I suppose I just have to allow myself to be human, and it’s how I respond to failure that is the true testament to the person I’ve actually chosen to be. If I make a mistake, I should apologize. If I fail, I should try again. If I fall, I’ll get back up, after a bit of groaning.