These are my musings and observations on my daily life, loves and the laughter that are all a part of my experience of living now in the shires of England.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Individuality


We know that we’re all different, but the joy of knowing that doesn’t make us want to be too different from the rest of the crowd so that we never fit in ... anywhere. Our uniqueness is important to our identity. It doesn’t matter that we buy the same clothes, listen to the same records, or eat the same food as anyone else. Because when we do it, when I do it, it’s still a different experience for me, as it is for you: an individual experience.



Being individual is a wonderful thing. As is being part of a group, part of a community. We can do both together – they are not mutually exclusive. Our chosen community is also part of our identity.

Willie Nelson said there was a time when he was trying to look and sound like a predefined idea of a type of country musician and he realised that it was a problem, because he was trying to be somebody else. So, instead of doing that he decided to look and sound like himself – and it felt right to him.

So it’s hard enough figuring out who you are – why mess that up trying to be someone else? Who you are is both unique and new, and it may be just what the world needs right now.” Willie Nelson.

‘Be yourself, and find a way.’ Those are probably the most important lessons I’ve learned in my life.” Missy Elliot.

Whilst reflecting on her early life, Missy Elliot recalls seeing how her mother started a whole new life for them and Missy Elliot said, “You can’t sit around making excuses for why you can’t do this or that, you have to dig deep into yourself and find a way – or create one!” She says that you have to remember to find out what works for you, not what other people are doing or what works for them.

More advice: do your own thing – as long as it’s legal! J

Being different gets you attention. It’s not always easy but when you don’t compromise yourself to achieve your dream: there are always many ways to get something done, all you have to do is to find your way – and do it.

The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” Elbert Hubbard, One Thousand and One Epigrams, 1911

It is often the failure who is the pioneer in new lands, new undertakings, and new forms of expression.” Eric Hoffer

The great majority of men are not original, for they are not primary, have not assumed their own vows, but are secondaries – grow up and grow old in seeming and following: and when they die they occupy themselves to the last with what others will think, and whether Mr. A and Mr. B will go to their funeral.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1841

There come a moment when we all have to face ourselves, when the value of who we are is invested in who we are not. How we are not. Not like the other. The courage of this moment may be tiny. It may come at the supermarket when you realise you just don’t need that thing anymore. It may be gentle and bold when you stand up for another and say, ‘No.’ I love myself, my dignity, and theirs, and you may not take another step against either. Or it may be brewing inside you that the world has come to a moment when we must all join, not as one but as individuals who know in their hearts that now is the end of unkindness, and your voice, your special, unique voice was always learning for today.” Sharon Stone

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Re-inventing yourself


How often do we re-invent ourselves? On a daily basis perhaps.

If the re-invention process is successful I wonder what I should do with the old ‘self’, the old Marjorie. Then I realised that it’s not really possible – for me, at least – to separate myself into ‘old’ and ‘new’ versions of me. My life is a tad more complicated than that. I think that I manage multiple parts of my personality at the same time. Let me explain. With different relationships I have a different part of me to share with each person: that’s almost like wearing a different mask, or showing a different face. It’s all me, but different. Like the sun, it’s all sun but it looks different at different times of the day and from various locations of the earth.

I remember when a cousin first travelled to the UK from Jamaica, I saw him standing at the window on his first morning in the shires, he was just looking at the sky. Then he spoke, slowly, and a touch sadly, “The sun is a lie.” I was puzzled, but he continued, his head turned slightly to one side with the heavy disappointment of losing a familiar friend, “It looks like the sun, but it doesn’t feel like the sun.” His conclusion made sense. His relationship to the sun had altered with the miles of travel, but the sun was still the same, just showing a different side of itself in a different situation. Here it was necessarily lightly masked by clouds and driven by wind.

What works in one place doesn’t necessarily work in another. The same can be said for relationships and the parts of our personality that we share.

In a way we can be like the sun and become so good at masking the various parts of our character that we build up a hard exterior and hide under layers of self-deception.  The main concern that I have is that one day it may become too hard to take off any of the masks. The more I think about it, the chief problem that I see with having this interchangeable mask-like life is that one mask may be so effective that it becomes the only one we wear, and then we lose the other, valuable, parts of ourselves.

If we re-invent to prevent others from seeing us, then we have to tread cautiously in case – in the process – we change a single temporary mask into a permanent suit of full-body armour.

The last thing we should do is to be a lie.

I know it’s not comfortable to continue life as an invention, a fiction, a life behind a mask.


Saturday, 11 May 2013

Time and distance


I’ve been thinking about how time and distance are twinned with each other. They both seem to have the same relationship with feelings.

When I am feeling ‘positive’ both of them seem to pass really quickly; it’s as if they are both flying. However, I have noticed that when I am not quite so upbeat they both seem to get heavy feet and drag their way, like spoilt children, through wet sand. This is when their presence is so evident, and at times tiring.

The reason I’ve been thinking about this is multi-faceted: a series of abstract thoughts have been battling against a real situation.

The distance in this scenario has remained the same, the time it takes to travel that distance hasn’t altered. It’s just that my feelings regarding the journey have. This same time and distance - that a month ago would have seemed like way too much to contemplate - is now a joy to think about.

How is that possible?

Feelings alter the perception of both time and distance. I wonder why that is? Maybe it's got something to do with the speed and direction of my thoughts. I also wonder if principles can override feelings. I doubt it. I had hoped they could.

But I don’t feel it’s possible.



Thursday, 2 May 2013

I was a magician


Have you ever considered what skill sets you have?

Do you think about your talent as a magician?

Don’t shake your head and dismiss that idea until you reflect on the number of times you have made your feelings disappear.

Now do you see what I mean?

There are an abundance of courses about how to be authentic but, if the foundation course in self-deception was taken early in life, these may have to be repeated, frequently.

I wonder why being authentic is frowned upon so much in society. Why are we taught, at an early age it seems, to button up, close down, or hem ourselves in? Isn’t it more challenging and more draining to be somebody you’re not rather than who you are?

I know my answer to that question. It’s ‘yes’.

I’m trying not to be a ‘feelings magician’ anymore. I won’t make them disappear because I am trying to fit in ... to anything.

I’m going to continue being me.

And ... as a bonus to living authentically you get to feel free and you gradually drop the anxiety, anger, confusion and helplessness that were part of the magician’s spell.

Living authentically is not the easiest thing I have ever done, but it’s one of the best: my gift of love to myself.

I deserve it.
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