“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~George Eliot
Based on reactions to my earlier writings, it seems I’m not the only one here who has tried to be perfect. In some ways, “perfect” is not difficult to imitate. In fact, it’s usually easy to imagine the requirements of “perfect” in whatever particular niche your local self is in, and put that on for the world to see. Many of us started doing that about the same time we started elementary school.
“But nothing important, or meaningful, or beautiful, or interesting, or great, ever came out of imitations. The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” ~ Anna Quindlen
Becoming yourself IS so much more difficult. There are no blueprints, plans, YouTubes or infographics...
It requires you to set aside what your friends, family, co-workers, expect; along with the messages our culture sends about who you should be and how you should behave.
It requires you to look at the choices you make every day, continuously and ask yourself why you are making them. This is not an easy task. It’s disorienting and uncomfortable. It suggests that what you think, and how you’ve shaped the life you are living, isn’t the stable foundation you’ve always assumed is securely beneath your persona. In fact, it’s not something you can depend upon at all.
But your true unvarnished, unmasked self is still present, innocent, beneath the layers…hiding because you thought you weren’t enough just as you are. Those layers are covering up a quirky, inquisitive and adventuresome self, because those are traits we learned our culture didn’t approve of, and weren’t normal. I learned from Jean Houston that a ‘normal’ person is someone you don’t know very well.
“We are all marvelous eccentrics.” ~Jane Roberts
Think about that. Scratch the surface of the mask we present to the world at large, and you might notice how none of us look all that normal. That’s because we’re supposed to be individuals in our own right, not a copy of anyone else. And by the way, much of who we were at age five or six sometimes turns out to be what we wish we could be many decades later.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” ~Steve Jobs
I'm learning more about my art, and from my art, every day. It's not so much a matter of skill or practice... mostly it's a shift in perspective, a way of shaping how I look at and exist in the world.
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