Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Talking About Myself

One of the most difficult things I do here at Frequently Interrupted is talk about myself. Yes, I realize that’s a little odd since talking about myself is, in some respects, the central purpose of this blog, but I’ve never exactly been hesitant about being odd. No, being odd is definitely not a challenge for me. That’s one of the skills I mastered early, and I have done pretty much nothing but get better at it over the years. If there is a normal option and an odd option, the odds are heavily stacked against my even seeing the normal option.

In case you didn’t notice, that was deflection already, right there in the first paragraph. That’s usually how it goes. I start out with the intention of opening up and getting all revealing, and end up heading straight for bad jokes instead. As you might imagine, it keeps things interesting around here. Which side will win when I sit down at the keyboard?

There are several issues at play here, but the simplest one is something I actually do comment on fairly often: My mother taught me better. We learned manners and courtesy at a young age and, while I have always been something of a rebel, that’s one that really stuck. I will usually go to great lengths to avoid being rude, and I’ve always believed that spending too much time talking about yourself can easily slip into being rude. Polite people do not talk about themselves. Polite people have to be reminded, though, that sometimes it is right and proper to do so. Sometimes it can even be necessary.

If we don’t talk about issues, we can’t really resolve issues. If I don’t tell you about my issues, it will be tricky to explain how I have dealt with those issues. It is more difficult to demonstrate that I have reason to believe what I am saying if I do not let you see that reason. I’m not fond of people saying, “Take my word for it,” so I try to avoid doing that. I want you to at least see where I’m coming from, so that you can more readily see if you’re interested in where I’m going.

Another similar reservation is that I have a rather strong allergic reaction to drama. It makes me break out in the gottagetaways every time, and I don’t think there is any cure. I’m not sure I would want any cure there might be. Outside of good fiction, even the appearance of drama sets my feet to tapping, so I tend to avoid it, even in myself. There are times when people have very good reasons for advertising their problems, but it is just a case of Look At Me far too often, and that’s not who I am. I don’t mind people looking at me for positive or even entertaining reasons (I have often gone out of my way to get people to look at me for positive or entertaining reasons, but that is a story for another time), but I don’t really want them looking at me for … less enjoyable reasons.

Of course, that potentially leads to its own issues. I don’t want to be viewed in a negative manner, so I don’t let people see when I need help. That’s a bad thing, no two ways about it. If someone needs help, hiding that fact will only make things worse. So I have to split the difference and walk that tightrope between causing drama and doing what I need to do. Knowing me, I will tend to lean away from causing drama, but I will try to not lean so far that I fall over. Sometimes trying is the best we can do, as long as we are honestly trying.

The biggest thing that gets in my way here is that I don’t want people to believe that my issues are bigger than they are, or to believe that I think my issues are bigger than they are. Neither is true. I have a laundry list of issues, there is no doubt about that, but I also have a good life that I am very happy to be living. I honestly believe that I have one of the best families on the planet, especially that part of the family that is closest to me. I don’t have very many friends, but the ones that I do have are pretty spectacular. I’m not where I want to be, but I’ve been in far worse places. I have that aforementioned laundry list of issues, but I live a normal life without medication and on my own terms. All in all, I sincerely do not believe that I have anything to complain about.

Because of this, it is difficult for me to feel like I am giving the impression of complaining. I’m not. I’ll tell you now, and hopefully you’ll remember going forward, I’m not really complaining. I’m explaining things that are bad, or at least not quite so good, so that I can explain how I turn them around, how I make them better. Come to think of it, hopefully I’ll remember this going forward too. There are far more good things in my life than bad, but sometimes I forget that. This is part of how I remind myself. If it sometimes seems like I spend more time here focusing on the negative, that’s only because the positive doesn’t need my help. The negative is what we are here to address and turn into positive.

There is one other thing that gets in my way but which I can’t really fix: memory. My short term memory is almost photographic. With a little effort, I can quote back entire conversations verbatim, and in all the years I spent in the performing arts - both music and theater - I never had to put any actual work into memorizing my parts. That type of memory just comes naturally to me. Long term memory, though, is often something that happens to other people. My long term memory is like a swamp covered in dense fog. Sometimes, when the wind is just right, the fog parts and I can see land, but even then it’s rarely all that solid.

There are some things I can do about that, and this happens to be one of them. By exploring my own head, I can sometimes find things that have been hidden by disuse. Part of it, though, is directly related to the very issues we are here to discuss. That fog I mentioned has a name, and it’s name is Depression. There are parts of my life I can’t really remember because I wasn’t really there. Some of that we can work through, but some is just gone. All we really have is today anyway, right? Sometimes that is even more true than others.

At any rate, you have no doubt already noticed that I will frequently break up the periods of talking about myself by interspersing discussions of assorted other subjects that are also pertinent to what we do here. If you’re paying attention, you’ll see that I’m really talking about myself then too. I just doing it from around the corner. Sometimes you have to sneak up on the things you want or need to talk about.

Thank you for coming along with me, and thank you for your patience along the way. We have plenty of exploring to do, and some of it is safer to explore in groups. Don’t worry, I’ll do most of the talking. I just might change the subject occasionally. I hope you understand.

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