Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nosce Te Ipsum- Know Thyself

Been thinking about be an adult for a minute and, mostly, how I'm not one. I mean physically I'm very much an old guy. My actions and current status though say the opposite. I beat myself over it and try to find escape routes out of it but it grows harder. I see my friends moving forward and that both makes me smile and gives me a heart punch. But it's getting better. I'm starting to realize that like everything in life this is all a matter of perception.
I ran into an old classmate at one of my friend's film screenings. He sit down and talks to me and my friend's mother about his path. He is an actor and doing some big and life-fulfilling things now. He says that it's what he loves and that it came about through a journey of self-discovery. Then he says "You remember I was a bit of clown in high school, right Sean?" I just laugh and give a gentle nod.
Because I really don't.
What I remember was a fellow kid that fit in well and I didn't really have much interaction with him except for the rare moments we were in a class or on a sports team together. He had his friends and I had mine with limited overlap. If I had to describe him back then it would be a kinda corny jock who happened to date a girl I liked a lot. Hell, if you asked me to describe him a few years ago, it would have been the black guy that this white girl from high school got me confused with, which is strange because we look NADA alike and I am taller than him and she talked to him but not me back then.
But I just nodded because I am happy that he has found his joy, high school was a LONG time ago and, hey, maybe he was the joker in his crew. That's how he perceived himself and perception is how we control our own personal universes. Besides just motivating us, this gives us our power.
This is just my belief but I think that perception can change your existence and willpower and belief in your vision can alter your course. I'm not talking about an in The Secret way and just wishing for something to happen but just working isn't enough if their isn't a faith or belief in something backing your quest.
Back to this high school acquaintance/friend/dude I know. His saying that made me flash back to a conversation I had with my father. (Oh, yeah, trying to communicate with him more; another topic for another post) He was describing an incident where a teacher put his hands on me in elementary school. He was relating to me how when he got the call that he thought it might have been my younger brother ("Rock might have said some wild shit") or my older sister ("Relle probably fought him because he did something to her and she didn't play"). The thought of it being me never crossed his mind and he was shocked because "Sean gives me no problems" and is "the good one." The teacher did put his hands on me without cause and he was correct that I gave "no problems" but that perception of me kinda bugged me.
I mean I WAS a good kid. A VERY good kid. And I was always the one who was the smart, rational, calm one. This is not to say my siblings weren't geniuses or rational themselves. They were/are. It's just that THAT was what I was known for. The kid that read the encyclopedia. The son not cussing out my teachers (Rock). The kid not potentially laying the smackdown on someone for linestepping (Relle). And that felt good when I was like 8. But as I grew up I sort of hated that.
The perception we get placed on us can pigeonhole us into a role. It can pressure you and drive you crazy depending on how others see you. This only leaves 3 options-
1) Be mature, accept what people think of you and do what you want regardless
2) Accept that is who you are and become that person
3) Rebel and be the total antithesis of what people believe about you

I did a combo of 2 and 3. I would coast through school because the shit was easy to me and the only time I failed was because I didn't care and behaved accordingly. (Or maybe it was never diagnosed ADHD....) This was childish. The rebellion was costing me my future which I didn't realize until late.
On the other hand, I didn't care that I was fucking up because I just really HATED being "safe, good Sean." It helps to be calm but eating your anger for a lot of years can just create a maelstrom of rage and rashness that's ready to explode at any moment. I used to be shocked at the kids just going crazy in the schoolyard and my little brother just saying whatever to whomever but I understand now that that behavior is sometimes healthy, even if you might get slapped for it. You have released your fireball of anger and can move on instead of being in your late twenties/early thirties with the heat of a thousand suns right under the surface.
I'm finally dealing with balancing my emotions and not living up to anyone's image of me, although it still creeps up from time to time. I have come to realize others' perception has a limited control on my life. My family views me as one way. My friends see me as one way. Women see me as one way. But even with the way I'm perceived by others, MY OWN perception is going to dictate my future and how successful I am going to be in any and every thing I do.
Okay. Ramble done. Get back to steer your ship in your own universe and visit mine when you get the chance. Just know that that kid that I was is still there but he has more facets to his personality now.

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