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:iconwillheim: More from willheim




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September 23, 2012
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The owls stopped hooting well before sunrise.

Well, sunrise isn't even here yet.

Bright stars out.

i have been staring at them and thinking about the impossibility of relatedness.

It seems like everyone I know is chasing after some imagined sense of who they are or who they want to be. Or they have definitions about themselves they quickly let you know about upon meeting. Rules, boundaries, categories of what is acceptable, not acceptable. "I'm a techy guy."

Love affairs start with a burst of passion that ensures continuation of the species, but only afterwards do lovers see each other as who they are, and only later do their "projections of ideal self on to their partner" fade, leaving them scratching their heads wondering what went wrong. Who is this person? Well, the same person you didn't see all along.

And so it may be with life. Imagined desires. Working to get something you have your whole identity caught up in, blasting through barriers, obstacles, creating a definition of who you are that is based on the sum of your experiences. Tilting at the windmills.

Life and love seem an imaginary battle over what I expect my ideal self to be. Truly this battle with the self is wholly illusory; completely a mental construction.

i can't control what the world throws up at me, I can only control my reaction. I do not have to be captured by someone else's fear or negativity. Though highly contagious, toxic emotional states seemingly control almost everyone here in LaLa Land, the choice and power to not be that way is mine.

I look at the toxic things in my life as learning opportunities, warning signs, tests that show me what road not to take. If I am bitten, lesson not learned. The bad juju around me can only be defused and dissipated by example and strength of character, not by fighting, or engagement.

It is wise to know when you don't have the strength rise above the negativity, and to just get away from it. Not try to change it or fix it. Main thing is to find peace. Stay centered. Not get engaged. Get engaged draws you into it, like blowing upon the embers of a dying fire and bringing it back roaring life.

I am stricken by the futility of human endeavor at large, and the impossibility of true relatedness without projection and transference.
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:icondempsey23:
dempsey23 Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2012
I've been taking off my masks for years now. Now I'm not really sure what I have. I hold no definitions. I am not one thing or another.
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:iconmetalclaw149474:
metalclaw149474 Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2012
Wow, I think I'll be coming back to read this. A lot. You are amazing sir.
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:iconblackgryph0n:
BlackGryph0n Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2012
I really love this one... Really... I'm gonna send it to some friends. They need to hear it.
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:iconthanqol:
Thanqol Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2012  Student Digital Artist
"I'm up against Imaginary Perfect Thanqol, and he's a jerk".

I know exactly what you mean. It's actually been found that telling children that they're 'clever' or 'smart' is very unhealthy for them psychologically. They start to define themselves in terms of that, and when they fail their entire worldview and self image is shaken. And then they have to seek a new one. Sometimes a bad one. It's much better to tell them that they tried hard and it paid off.

Sometimes the worldview gets so elaborate that it becomes you. You put on a mask and fall into character and the mask starts wearing you. And you're not happy with who you are because you're not who you are, and you start raging against the mask, but you've spent so long wearing the mask you don't know where all that rage and pain is coming from or how to deal with it and you become miserable. Maybe even break down. Sometimes the mask wears you.

Trapped by perception. Perception of yourself. Perception of others. People are different when they're being watched. People are different when they're being watched by their superiors. People are different when watched by their inferiors. People are different when they're watched by themselves. All those eyes build cages in your head. You're always performing. You forge a mask of iron and stick it on your face and play out your role because you can't bear to let the show end. You're terrified of what you'll be if you're not who you are.

Lie often enough and it becomes true.
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:iconnikextc:
NikeXTC Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2012
It's the first time I post a comment about a dA's journal (and that I fav one, too) and I'm replying to this particular message because it has a line that quite stroke me: "It's actually been found that telling children that they're 'clever' or 'smart' is very unhealthy for them psychologically. They start to define themselves in terms of that, and when they fail their entire worldview and self image is shaken."

It's something that fits quite well to myself, and it's the first time I see an explaination about that aspect of myself.

During my life, especially the last few years, I started to abandon what Thanqol calls "masks" (which is a perfect metaphore, by the way), caring less and less about the perception the others may have of me.
Generally speaking, I have always had this kind of attitude... "Why should I fake myself to impress the others? They will find out the truth about me, eventually... And they'll find out I lied to them... It's just a waste of time and it's kinda disrespectful" - of course, I've always searched this same kind of attitude in the others as well.
Yet, you're kinda forced to wear masks on certain circumstances, I'm trying to narrow them as much as I can, and I'm feeling more "free" than in the past (referring to the "freedom" concept Thanqol illustrates on the following post).

I have a much lighter approach on life than before, yet I have problems in facing fails. And I've been told to be "clever" and "smart" pretty often as a child (to be exact, I'm Italian and the word used was "intelligente" which is something inbetween the English concepts of "clever" and "smart", we don't have separate words for those meanings). Although I realize that failing isn't bad in its own and that it can lead to learn a lot - sometimes much more than after a success - I always feel bad when I fail. It's like I have to demonstrate to someone I'm "perfect"... Although my actual life style is to don't care about what the others may think about me. Or, from what I appear to be, at least.
Thanqol's comment gives me something to think about, I guess!

Well, I've written too much, sorry for the long post and thanks for the inspiration that both of you gave me in this evening :D
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:iconthanqol:
Thanqol Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2012  Student Digital Artist
If I had to pick the most wonderful thing I've learned in my life it's that the person who has fun while losing is the real winner.
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:iconnikextc:
NikeXTC Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2012
I agree with that, but there's a slight difference here: losing and failing.

If I lose, it's against someone (or something, maybe) after a good fight, and I feel ok*. I gave it my best and I lost in a competition where someone else just did better than me. My lose isn't entirely my fault, it's also due to my opponent's skill.

When I fail at something, I mean at something in which it *is* entirely my fault, something which outcome depends solely on my actions. I can't stand that. I tend to give to myself too much pressure, it's like my life depends on these situations and I am not allowed to fail them (otherwise I would die, obviously). And if I fail, then I tend even to punish, psychological speaking, myself for having failed. I guess I should work on this somehow...



*And I know this very well :P I'm very active in the competitive world of Mario Kart, in Italy we hold a lot of live tournaments of that game and a very nice community has formed through the years... The thing I love the most of this community is that no matter who wins, in the end everyone is happy for the winner. Sure if you get second you're "angry", but that's the agonistic aspect, which is the essence of competition.
I have won some and I have come second several times... but I always had tons of fun!
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:iconthanqol:
Thanqol Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Redefine failure. Phrase it in terms of what you've learned. Goalpost shifting is a very healthy thing in terms of maintaining motivation.
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:iconwillheim:
willheim Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2012  Professional Artist
Well said. You are always right there Thanqol. Nice to hear from you. I want out of the cage.
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:iconthanqol:
Thanqol Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2012  Student Digital Artist
It's masks all the way down.

Every time you take one off you ask yourself, "Well, if this is false, what's next?" Then you put on another mask. The mind is not smart enough to understand itself. Like in computing, no system can work out the limitations of it's own programming. You'll always have an idea of yourself and it'll never be a perfect fit.

Freedom is in the moments in between the masks. When you've let one fall and you're about to decide who to be next. I design personalities in my head I can switch between when I need to. Can't take off the mask but can chose which one you wear.

We're all different people in different situations. Take advantage of that and be the people you want to be.
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