Masking the Truth

Sep 8th, 2009 3:43:00pm

It has recently occurred to me that I have been described as “cold” rather frequently this past year. I am sincerely hoping, as I had not the heart to ask, that they meant it in the context of me being very calm on the surface, and not referring to the less flattering description of being unemotional and robotic. I find it amusing they call me that at all, for in truth I “freak out” quite easily.

This brings to light how often we hide our true selves, our real emotions and reactions to the things around us. Why? Why do we wrap the cloak of a whole other personality over the one we have now? Smiling when all we want is to cry, keeping a stoic face when all we want is to punch something, laughing when inside you just want to curl up and die… Everyone has their own personal reasons, but did I not say in a previous column that everything we do has no true reason at all? One could say they put on a mask because they are afraid of others seeing them for who they are. What if who they are is more amazing than what they pretend to be? The argument would be, “What if they’re not and are just hiding a horrible, evil self?” Well, we won’t be able to figure that out until the disguise has fallen apart. We won’t be able to help the person, if help is possible, unless we see what needs that help.

The desire to keep things bottled up is present in many, many people. Sadly, probably more than there are people who are not afraid to be themselves. We feel other’s emotions are more important than our own; our emotions are invalid, unjustified, and stupid. We quell them, keep them at bay, suppress them and push them down into the farthest recesses of our hearts. First, it’s hard, having to hide what makes you you. However, as time passes, it gets easier, until it has become second nature. At this point even if you wanted to you wouldn’t be able to bring those emotions to surface, so deep have you buried them. It starts to build, after a while. All you have kept inside for so long, never letting go, begins to demand release, pounding harder against the container you imprisoned them in, and you have to explode, let it out somehow. Sort of reminiscent of a volcano, no?

Sometimes even our talents can never be displayed, because we are afraid of being teased for them. Also because we are scared they are not as significant as we thought they were, that they’re not special, and that if we show them to someone else those suspicions and doubts may be confirmed. We might even be ashamed of them, as they may not coincide with the expectations and desires of others.

It all boils down to fear, doesn’t it? Fear of being ourselves, because of fear of ridicule and mockery; fear of us not being good enough; fear we’ll never be good enough; fear of not being as “perfect” as we think people want us to be. So we build walls, we wear masks and hide behind them. We act. And what a draining performance it is.

Maybe one day, no one will ever feel the need to act anymore. Maybe one day we can all unashamedly, unabashedly and completely be ourselves, without dwelling a single thought on what people might think or do or say. Maybe one day, we won’t put on a whole new face for the world, but display our own with pride. One day, we might be able to remove our veils completely, instead of just bit by bit, or not at all. Maybe one day we won’t be so afraid.

Perfectionism: The Downfall of Many

Sep 6th, 2009 4:56:00pm

Perfectionism -noun: a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.

That definition is open for discussion, in my opinion. For one thing, everyone’s idea of “perfection” is different; it depends upon a person’s taste and sense of what is right and what isn’t. For another, even then, “perfection” is an impossible goal. There is no such thing. It is a word that should not exist in any language, because all it does is drive us towards, and sometimes over, the edge. Anything, and I do mean anything,can be improved upon. No matter how many times I revise this column, for example, there will always be a better way to write it.  If it is not found by me, it will be by someone else.

As we progress in life, people are going to discover new ways to make things better. To improve. Everything has room for improvement, after all. Nothing is truly perfect, for as I said, there is no such thing. It isn’t about being perfect, supreme or superior, it is about whether that object or person is perfect to you. Flaws will always be there. The question is, are you willing to accept them, let them go, and focus more on the good points instead?

We have been forced to believe that perfection is attainable. That if you buy this, or do that, or just change this bit here and that bit there, you can reach that incredibly high standard of “perfect”. I do not only mean your body image, I mean everything. Everyone wants themselves and their work to be perfect. There is nothing wrong with that, because it means you will work hard to better yourself, which is always a good thing. No, my point here is you have to know when enough is enough. “…rejects anything less” says the definition up there. You can’t do that. You shouldn’t do that. Otherwise, you’re going to be rejecting pretty much all that comes your way, all that you do will never be good enough, all that anyone does will never be good enough.

When you strive hard to make each little thing perfect, you’re missing out. You will never be truly satisfied with anything. You’re just stressing yourself out, and in your pursuit of that ever-elusive “perfection”, you’re losing sight of what you really should be doing: just performing the best you can and leaving it at that. I admit, even I have fallen victim to the quest. All I have met with is frustration, anger, and then apathy until all I want is to get it done, no longer caring how good I’d wanted it be, nor how bad it may become. Realise now, people, that struggling for something that doesn’t exist is a waste of your time and energy. Get off that treadmill, because no matter how much you run, you won’t be going anywhere.

In the end, I reiterate what I previously said, “It isn’t about being perfect, supreme, or superior, it is about whether that object or person is perfect to you.” You should have standards, yes, but accept the fact that flaws are a part of everything that comes along. They’re always going to be there. Be the best you can be, do the best you can do, and that’s perfect enough.

Curious, very curious

Sep 6th, 2009 12:05:00am

Now that I have returned, after such a long absence, to this blog,* I itch to write. It is surprising I have not started twitching yet, I desire to so badly. Makes me wonder whether this is how true passion feels like. Passion for an occupation, I mean. Does it take you over, that urge? Control you, overwhelm your senses until it is all you can think about, all you want to think about until it is done?

That is how I feel now. Inspiration is flowing through my veins, and, to quote that rather cliche idiom, “I’m on fire”. It’s curious that this happens now, after only recently considering Media as a major. It’s also curious that I now see ads for the course almost everywhere I go. It’s curious that right now, at this moment, I can think of nothing else I’d rather learn to become than a writer of some sort.

It is curious that, even though I know it is no more than a dream, I can see myself so clearly behind a laptop, writing for some magazine or newspaper. I wonder at the ability of us humans to dream, to visualise so clearly. As far-fetched and unrealistic as those dreams can be, it does not stop us from having them anyway. People could say that we have our heads in the clouds, and that we should come back down to earth. Well that may be so, in my case at least, but those who pay the nay-sayers no heed; those who stay up among those clouds and build their castle in the sky; they prove them wrong everyday.

It is curious how, when we believe in something strong enough, we can achieve those dreams, despite the circumstances. It is curious how determined us humans are, when it is our dreams are on the line.

It is curious how some people give up on their dreams, believing the ones who say it can’t be done. Sometimes, it is even themselves who say it can’t be done. I, admittedly, am of the latter group. It does not stop me from admiring people who have pursued their ambitions honorably, and who have succeeded, and that’s curious too, for should I not be envying them, instead of applauding them?
However, most curious of all, is that those who say you can’t do it? The people who claim it’s stupid and wrong to go after what you want? They only say it because they didn’t get what they wanted. They didn’t make it; they gave up, and they are all the more bitter because of it.

*”This blog” being the blog this was originally posted to all those years ago.

Without Rhyme or Reason

Sep 5th, 2009 10:44:00pm

A good friend of mine once asked, “Why do we do the things we do?” My answer to her was that our emotions, our experiences and their effect on us, our reason and logic, that’s what governed our actions. However, it occurred to me that this was not as valid an answer as I thought at the time.

Thinking about it, I realised that it goes far deeper than that, to a place where our minds cannot comprehend. Because when you break it down, you still have the questions, Why do we feel the way we feel? Why does our experiences affect us to the extent that we base our actions on them? Why do we think in the way we do, and reason things in the way we do? Basically, the question here is “Why?”
Do any of us really, truly have that answer? It’s different for everyone, after all. Perhaps why we do what we do has no reason whatsoever. Or perhaps the reason, though seeming a good one at the time, is not really valid as you thought during that moment. Be honest. How many of you have looked back at a situation and asked yourself, “WHY did I do that!? What cause could there possibly have been to make me act like that!? If only I’d thought clearer, and done this instead.”

With every action you regret, there is a reason you performed them in the first place. It gets blurry to your future self, fades away, and all that is left is that feeling of remorse. Sometimes, even with things you don’t regret, it still fades away. So perhaps, in essence, we have no reason at all for what we do. If we did, would it not remain in our memory? Instead, what remains after time has passed is the action itself, its consequences and repercussions, and almost never the cause.

Perhaps we are governed by something beyond ourselves. Perhaps our free will is only an illusion, and we are slaves to our emotions, even if we don’t know why we feel the way we feel. Perhaps, in truth, the reasons don’t even matter, only your actions. If you’ve done something bad, it stays that way. No one really considers why you did it, only the fact that you did it. If you’ve done something good, it’s just the same.

“Without rhyme or reason.” That describes everything we’ve ever done or ever will do. Because everything is without rhyme or reason. Your justifications and arguments don’t matter. No one is going to remember them, not even you. The only thing they’ll remember, the only thing you’ll remember, is your actions.

And if I do say so myself, that is a very scary thought.