Tuesday, February 21, 2006
My absence from my blog of late...
I haven't been blogging a lot in recent weeks. The gap between my last posts and the ones before is almost a month, I think. I've told myself it's because I'm busy...I'm always on the go. And, while that's true, it's not the full reason.
The truth is that I've become shy of the "audience factor" that comes with a blog. Not shy of the anonymous people that may read this or that on my blog, or even the people who find my blog and read the whole thing. I don't know them. I won't know them. The whole reason I like blogging so much is because I've always written in journals as if I'm speaking to someone...and a blog just makes that "someone" real.
No, I've become shy of my known audience. That is, either the people I know who read my blog on a regular basis (friends, family, etc.) or the people I perceive as possible readers.
But getting back to the main subject: this shyness has gradually made me think twice before posting something, in case I say something that someone I know might read in the future and judge me for. Ridiculous? That's what I said to myself as I came to realize that I've been doing this. And it's been a gradual thing over the past couple of months. Stepping carefully around subjects that are important to me but more neutral and less personal.
But, really, I started this blog because I wanted a place to write myself into. If I wanted a political commentary or a discussion forum, this blog would be named something else or I would have used a different medium to put forth my ideas. No, this blog is for me. Regardless of who reads it. Because, in the end, if they don't like what they read, then we probably won't get along all that well. This is me.
So, why the "Part 1" piece of this post? And now what's the subject of Part 2? Read on, my friend, and all will become clear...
Why is it that girls define their worth based on what guys think of them? Or how many dates they've had in a given length of time? Or how many boyfriends they've had (or serious relationships, flings, etc.)? I mean, think about it. So many girls (and women, too...I use "girls" in the generic sense meaning all females, for future reference) worry over why a guy hasn't called, or what a guy may be thinking, or what not to say to make sure a guy will like them. Girls stay in a relationship that's unhealthy because they figure it's better than being alone, right? Having a guy is almost like a status simple among the female side of the species. Oh sure, we all say that single is the way to go, but you'll hear us later lament about all the girls who have a guy and how much we'd like to get one ourselves. One of our own, that wants to be with only us. [Okay, that last sentence could be mistaken as meaning he's into multiple girls...but you know what I'm saying, right? It's just the stupidity of the English language and needing to match the number I was writing in. I'm too tired to go back and figure out how to make it less awkward. So we move on...]
You meet a guy. He's nice, he seems funny, he's got a smile that would melt any heart, and gorgeous brown eyes (or blue or gray or green...pick a color, pick a feature). You hang out with him, say on a Thursday evening, for a few hours. Great conversation, lots of fun. You go home walking on clouds. That excitement is pouring out of you. And he's so hot!
Fast forward through the weekend (you were pretty busy that weekend). It's Monday. No contact from him. You begin to wonder--not a lot, of course, but just a tad--is he really into you as much as you he was last Thursday (or Wed or whatever day you hung out with him)? But whatever, you've got Mon night plans, so you put it out of your head. Tuesday comes. You've got a semi-formed plan in your head about how long to wait before giving him a call. But it'd be sooo great if he called you. You freak out to all of your friends: when should I call him? why hasn't he called? is this normal? what if I wait too long before calling back? what is too long?
Suddenly, this is all you think about. You reanalyze every piece of your time together and highlight parts that could have made him like you less. That must be it, you start telling yourself. Like the saying goes: he's just not that into you. That's why (only 4-5 days after you saw him last) he hasn't called.
What does this illustrate? A dependency on what he thinks of you. If he doesn't like you, if he never calls, if he seems aloof and uninterested when you call him back eventually, it'll be awful! You'd conclude that there must be something wrong with you. And then you'd brood over how to make whatever's (supposedly )wrong with you somehow different so it's no longer wrong. ...whatever that undefined "something wrong" is...
But, this is all wrong! It's not what he thinks. It's what you think. Because, in the end, there's no guarantee that he (or some other guy, or some other guy after that) will always be around to reassure you that you matter. But you will always be around yourself. And you have the power to tell yourself that you're worth it.
Turns out, it's quite possible that I'm speaking from personal experience. I do feel like I forget what I think of myself because I get preoccupied with what other people think of me. And I hate that. It's a horrible feeling. Fear of what others think...probably one of the worst fears you can have. And probably also one of the hardest habits to break: to just stop worrying what others think and do what you do because you want to do it, not because someone else thinks you should.
And really, this goes beyond my little scenario with the guys...it's at the base of peer pressure, at the base of insecurity of self, at the base of so many people's lives. So many people in today's world act on what others tell them to do, just so that they'll be liked, or fit in. And I know what I describe sounds like childhood peer pressure. But, it happens to adults, too. Often in much more subtle, but powerful ways. We just know how to hide it better so it's not as obvious that we're acting under peer pressure.
If society today tells us anything, it's to conform. Don't break out of the norm. Don't cause a scene. Keep things smooth. Keep them simple. Tension and disagreement is a hassle. Children learn this on the playground, in their social circles at school, on their favorite TV program. Teenagers succumb to this...drugs and alcohol and sex enter the picture. Or bad grades to keep up an image. Or harsh words to a former childhood friend because they run in a different social circle. Adults then continue this in the workplace, at the grocery store, with friends at a movie or while they're out shopping. Our world has become one great big blob of conformity.
Thus, we have to worry about what others think of us, because if 'they' disapprove, we've broken out of the norm and into a realm of unconformity...and become *gasp* a rebel. Such awful connotations surround this word...because it's equated with dropping out of the norm, out of the conformist world that we live in.
Taking this back a step to my earlier example with guys. Girls feel the need to be a cookie-cutter "perfect" girl. Beautiful, proper, right height, right weight, right age, right breast-size, right thoughts and actions and interests.
And, thinking back about all that I've written, it all just seems to silly to me. Utterly ridiculous when it's all spelled out in front of me.
And yet, I'm just as much a victim of this need to conform as the next person. I like to tell myself that I'm not, and it's certainly true that I run my own way for certain things. But, let's face it, I do worry about what others think of me, and I do still feel the need to fit into the mold that our conformist society has created for us all.
So I'm left wondering: is there a way to break free from that completely? Or will I always feel the need to conform to something?
[It's been awhile since I didn't edit a post before I put it up on my blog. This is the raw, uncut, and unedited version. (Okay, except for spell-checker. Biggest pet peeve of mine is misspelled words...) No holds barred, no thoughts censored to sugar-coated. Just the real deal as I see it, in my classic, rambling, stream-of-thought style. I look back at my intro beneath the name of my blog, and feel like I have once again returned to the feeling I want my blog to give off to whomever chooses to read it. Random thoughts flowing from my brain into my keyboard as I type. Just the way I like it.]