Lately I have been reviewing life experiences, focusing on different parts of my character - and looking at how each part is a direct result from personal tests and adventures.
Experience: Being the sister of a younger brother and daughter of a single mother.
I Learned: I am the goddess of multitasking. i am stupidly funny. I know what you need, even before you do. Also, i have an unhealthy (but happy) relationship with this stuff.
Experience: Going to college.
I Learned: I am a lot smarter than I give myself credit for, and actually enjoy learning. I am stupidly funny. Don't trust people (young and old) who appear to have it all perfectly together. 9 times out of 10 they have no idea what the hell they are doing - just like you. I am a great bullshitter. I should have been an art major.
Experience: Getting Married.
So far I have Learned: I am better at giving than receiving love. I am a chronic worrier. Boundaries are healthy. Listening is much more effective than talking at times. I am my mother. i am homebody. mom did a good job raising me. I am a hard worker. i am stupidly funny.
So, throughout this short experiment God likes to call my life, I have recognized some basic things about elizabeth. At the ripe old age of 27.75 I can actually list some of the things which make me tick- what i need from you- what i don't need from you. This list will probably change as early as next month, but please know this is quite a feat, since I remember not so long ago being completely clueless when it came to knowing myself. embarrassingly clueless. This is not to say i am any less clueless now, and its also not to say I have it all 'figured out'...oh we are definitely not saying that. no ma'am. Like, i am not completely sure what i want to do with with my life - but i definitely am closer to knowing what i DON'T want to do. and that is a great feeling. It just feels good being able to know yourself, even if its just a little bit.
One thing on my list, I am a firm believer that all things (good and bad) happen for a reason. All life's trials and messes are there just to make me a more colorful person. A more complete, capable, and 'with it' human. well, maybe not 'with it' and capable - but definitely colorful.
Im not saying i don't loathe these experiences. Stupid obstacles and detours roughing up my little path. Some annoying pebbles in my shoe, some boulders I dodge, and some are effin landmines i unfortunately can't escape. Some obstacles I can see from a mile away, but then there are others that sneak up, and knock the wind out of me. Everyone has their own personal landmines and pebbles. Everyone loves a : A what the hell was that moment, or some i have just been shot in the face experience. On one level, how you handle them reminds you of your growth and progression as a person. And on other levels, it just plain sucks ass. For me, its difficult to not dwell too much on the sucking ass part.
So yeah, the reason behind this post.
I am currently in the process of working through an annoying pebble that has been a constant companion for me, and has been since i can remember. Fortunately (or unfortunately) this trip to India has brought it up to the surface. Maybe its the fact that i don't have a television, maybe its the fact im going to be 28, or maybe im just getting tired of me.
its Fear. So much fear i fear.
I know people have different quantities of fear. But for me, i somehow must have gotten a really good dose of it along the way and i haven't been able to shake it, dilute it, unload it, or whatever it.
I am not referring to the basic normal fear stuff (which i have in abundance as well):
* i want to put a permanent helmet on my 3 year old nephew
* driving on the freeway in general is scary as all hell
* the fear of drying a bread knife and cutting off all your fingers
* fear that my loved ones won't make the right choices for themselves
* fearing people who come over will look behind the shower curtain
Im talking about the self sabotage fear. the type that prevents you from living your full potential - that halts your growth by not allowing the development of your given talents. the type that has the ability to alter your future peace. the real fear we should be fearful of.
Bluntly put, i fear expressing myself....shocking i know. but understand I don't mean VERBAL forms of self expression. i think i have the verbal part covered thanks, we are currently working on pulling that back a little. or a lot. Im talking about not talking. Writing, painting, tweezing, singing, photography, interpretive dance, whistling. whatever. Oh my God how i love these things, how they inspire.....But one would think, if i loved them, if they feed my soul, if they were a part of my identity - then WHY am i so PAINFULLY shy and incapable when it comes to doing them!? Sing a solo- diarrheaville . Write something to read out loud -no way jose. Paint me a picture - i have to file my paper piles. I feel judged before i start. All my ideas are moronic. I am suddenly 4 years old. Self criticism becomes my best friend. defeated.
The sick justification is the fear. Do it well, or don't do it at all. The sense that for it to be worth doing, it must be of a certain quality, and im not capable of delivering such quality. Thus, nothing happens. Maybe this comes from growing up in such a creative hot spring filled with brilliant artists. The critical nature of my family? The brilliant could afford to be critical...they were....well, brilliant. Maybe its my self esteem. Maybe i haven't learned to get over myself and other people. Anyway. I can finally say, I am slowly getting over the fear. Like i said before, all things happen for a reason. Thanks to my bff mother india. (here's a good video to explain what bffs do together).
I experience a lot of 'normal fear' here. A language I don't understand. A culture that seems a bit wacky at times. A lot of men staring at you, taking pictures of you, laughing at you (unfortunately its all about male frustration. im not even going to lie). Doing wrong more than doing right. Getting yourself in potentially unsafe situations (translation: it was unsafe. i admit it). You look like an idiot, you feel like an idiot. I fear the known, the unknown, the possibility of god knows what. So to deal, I have developed a tough exterior. i know i have always been snarky and sassy, but I do things in india i would never do back at home. I yell at random strangers, i am off putting on purpose just to intimidate. Sometimes i feel i have to be mean - to be forceful. Let people know I am not to be taken advantage of, let people know even though i am a foreign woman - i demand respect. or at least, some personal space ("I'm sorry, i can SMELL yall looking at me, can you please BACK THE FUCK OFF!" is what screams through my head. in case you were wondering). I have learned that if i allow the fear to consume me, i don't get a lot accomplished, so i will be 'assertive' - its a fair trade. its a good lesson.
The action of forcing myself to act fearless in my daily routine, has managed to spill over into my personal life. I began asking myself: if i can stare down a man - a complete stranger - and make him leave anna alone, if i can take an overnight train by myself - if i can attempt to learn hindi and have my coworkers laugh in my face, if i can yell and scream in broad daylight at the guys who pull over on the side of the road in their car to harass us....well then i should be able to write down my random thoughts and actually invite people to read them. i should be courageous enough to paint. and i should take pictures of whatever the hell i want. i should be able to lighten up .
And surprisingly....it is going pretty well.
This blog has actually been a big part of that. consider it an exercise in getting over myself. i enjoy writing it, i am arguably consistent, i get what i need out of the process, and even though it freaks me out - i can send it 'out there' as i close my eyes and hit the 'publish post' button. done. it does a good job of informing the family what is going on- as well as reminding me of why i am here. Painting is also going well for many of the same reasons. Its easy to be inspired in india. The more i do it, the less frustrated i become - not just with painting- but with the other messes i deal with. The only problem i have had is I am attempting to do a cow series, but lately everytime i go to take a picture of a cow - it charges me. i figure if i get gored it will make for an even better story. I have come to terms with the fact that the action of doing is the important thing - not necessarily the end result. I consider it my new meditation, which really works out because i don't fall asleep as often. im taking it as a good sign. moments of calm, quiet, and contemplation are a good thing. alliteration is also quite nice.