Unless you suck.
Nothing frustrates more than hearing someone go on and on about how they ‘just want to be themselves’ or hope to find someone at the organic food market or on e-Harmony who will let them ‘be themselves.’
When does one’s ‘self’ become etched in stone and invulnerable to change? When does the world have to resign itself forever to your lack of motivation?
All kinds of social structures and systems push for an early and final definition of personal characteristics. Religion, governments, country music and NASCAR are just a few of the stereotyping opportunists out there. They want to know precisely who you are and what marketing opportunities you represent as soon as possible. Hopefully you will drop out of the womb already a clone of Mom and Dad with all their bigotry and blindness intact and unalterable.
The process of becoming confined to a narrow demographic begins early and with family. Stay between the lines in your colouring book, and someone will see a blooming artist. Build a Popsicle-stick house and you’re 20 years away from a TED talk on architecture. If you have a parent who sees anything you do well or with a degree of originality as encouragement to move on and try something new, you’re real lucky.
Blessed is the child who circumstance saves from a house in a good neighbourhood with a playground out front and a graveyard behind to ensure a seamless passage from the cradle to the grave.
Army Brats rule!
Most of us who have been around awhile come to accept that the self we’ve become is flawed and could use some work. At times like these, the Lobby Against Personal Growth will encourage you to sit in the back pew and appreciate that God accepts you as the hopeless piece of shit you are and will forever remain.
Better to defy definition and surprise yourself when things start to become too familiar. View being able to walk through life with your eyes closed as a wake-up call and an invitation to trash your personality template and try something new to the total dismay of all those who have you nicely pigeon-holed.
As soon as you have your ‘self’ clearly worked out, walk out. In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, ‘do something that scares you every day.’ Or at least once in your life.
There are at least two ‘deliberate’ ways to escape your personal template and radically evolve your ‘self.’
One, in the words of Dean Jagger’s character in ‘Vanishing Point’ to ‘root right in.’ Take the experience, skill and attitude ‘tools’ you’ve acquired and set to make something of them to some new purpose. In the process you’ll change not only yourself, but the stinking marsh you’re rotting in and everything and everyone around it.
The other option to clinging to your predictable self is to ‘get right out.’ Leave anything that isn’t logged in your brain or captured in muscle memory behind and go to some place and pursuit as far detached from the familiar as you can imagine. Become totally removed from the things that have defined you and trapped you between angst and a familiar if unrewarding refuge.
Sometimes, when we’re lucky, we’re simply forced out of ourselves and into clamouring for a new self, functioning on a different level. At the extreme end of the scale, we all know people who turned the worst thing that ever happened to them into the launching pad for a flight to stellar heights.
You’ll finally be yourself when you emerge as a cosmic chameleon, slipping under the radar at will to disrupt and re-direct.
Defying definition, you’ll have become a catalyst for real change on a grand scale.