Expressionist

What am I? I’ve been writing this blog in an ongoing effort to figure that out.

Actually, I’ve been blogging not to find out that I am a writer, an actor, or any other type of person. I’ve been trying to find that “true self,” the person who lies even further beneath a descriptive life’s work-related label.

I came up with “I am an expressionist.” I must express the inner workings, thoughts, ideas, gifts within me, and I must express my unique take on the world around me. (That does not obligate anyone else to receive my expression.)

(Damn it.)

Okay. It’s a start but still not what I am looking for.

I am starting or perhaps re-starting a practice of prayer and meditation this morning. I lit a candle (someone else’s practice) and read from my daily reader of choice. The reading today challenges me to “face the person I fear the most”. It states that this person is my “true self”. The person I fear the most is my true self. From there the reading goes on to explain that my true self is “the person God intended me to be.”

I fear the person that God intended me to be.

That really sucks.

I grew up in an environment of extreme invalidation. Got that from the DSM-IV.  And it’s true. But why am I trapped in mouse-wheel where others may process through to find validation? Oh, yeah, that other trait I share with my fellows – self-centeredness in the extreme. Seals the cage.

Okay, I know the problem. The power of God and the willingness to ask Him for his Will, Guidance, and Grace is the solution.

And, yet, here’s another obstacle – who the heck is my true self? Or rather, what is at the core of me that scares my life out and away from me? Because that is what my fear of true self has done, frozen me in a state whereby I avoid my life.

This is frustrating as hell!

Okay. I sense that I may be complicating a simple idea. For one, the idea of “self,” looking the word up, checking the thesaurus, ah, true nature, character, identity, and person.

(It’s what writers tend to do…“look up” words. I guess that is what an Expressionist does too – try to find the right word or understand the meaning of the word. Or, hell, it’s what anyone with a dictionary/thesaurus nearby does.)

See, now, I take away the use of “self” and I replace it with “nature” and suddenly my mind can wrap around this idea. True nature. What is my true nature that I should fear it so much?

(Not that “self” is the wrong word it just makes it all so, what, Freudian? Which makes it scary and mysterious, mystically un-understandable. Sorry – it’s a habit – making up a story or drama out of a personal conundrum.)

(Ah! Part of my true nature – drama queen?)

I am grateful and blessed to have a friend named Leah in my life. She is awesome in all ways and she is married to a man I love and respect, which is saying a lot. They are both very spiritual and seek within themselves to find answers on a daily basis. I used to wish I could be just like them. To some degree I am, but to the degree that I’m not, it’s okay with me right now.

Anyway, Leah will tell you that her true nature is that she is a perfect child of God. That she was born that way. Then all that junk that gets piled onto us depending on who birthed us, and the people we lived with until we can live without them creates this illusion of who we are. And, we grow up believing in that illusion. Until, if we are lucky enough, we learn how to dig our way back to our true nature.

Or maybe the best we can do is shove it away for a while, or each time we realize we are under it again and need to push.  Because what you get from birth to age (about) 5 really sticks in that part of your brain that is so unforgiving and unfortunately not located in the part that could be lobotomized.

In other words, you’re stuck with that illusion.

That really sucks.

Is there a conclusion here? Not today I am afraid. So, I have to look within at this true nature and discover why I fear it so much that I bend and warp myself to avoid it. I’m going to have to explore that beyond this particular expression of my thoughts.

This puzzle of fearing my true self (or my preferred choice of words – true nature) makes me wonder if Shakespeare knew all of this long before Freud or me or anyone else who could write down their thoughts did.

To thine own self be true.

He also said it beautifully and in fewer words.

(When I’m tired and need to respond to a friend’s email, I write a few words and end with “more later” before hitting send – so they know I got their message but I can’t fully respond yet.)

More later.

PS: I have to post a longer version of the above quote (because I love it):

This above all: to thine own self be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Hamlet Act 1, scene 3, 78–82