Do it for this, dude


There is nothing I hate more in this world than when someone is overly full of themselves. Especially when it’s me. I’ve always hated braggadocio and flossing. I immediately dislike anyone who feels the need to continuously attract attention to themselves. I try to knock myself down as often as I can, if I feel I’m starting to get too big for my britches. I sometimes feel that my writing or my thoughts can get out of hand if I’m not careful. I try to read myself over again, to make sure that I’m not sounding like some hoitie-toitie nincompoop.

One thing that I always try to keep in mind is that everyone has their own beauty and context and manner of deep expression. Some people might seem as dumb as a rock, but they can dance like divinity. Others are socially inept, but they can craft amazing spontaneous feats of origami. Some people lament their inability to do anything artistic, but they have social presence to die for. Some people express themselves with their bodies, some with their minds, some with their hearts, some with their eyes. The fun thing, to me, is in learning to express yourself deeply through as many avenues as you can. We conventionally term “genius” anyone who is so specifically adapted to one avenue of expression that they have taken it as far as anyone else has gone. But I think that the word genius can also apply to people who apply themselves through so many means as to perhaps not be world renowned at any, but capable in all.

Anyway, to return to my point, if I had any in the first place. I guess this is a venting post. I just really don’t like it if I ever start to get too big of a head. Because this leads only to greater insecurity, in the end. Because you can’t always be on top of your game. You can’t always win. At some point, a little pin will find its way into your bubble, and everything blows up, leaving you with one big empty hole. The best thing to do is to be so secure in yourself that you don’t have to toot your own horn, ever. You don’t even have to let anyone else toot your horn, either. The horn does not need to be tooted. As long as you are secure in yourself, then you can just do what you do best, without doing it for recognition, or for a cookie, or to be patted on the head. You do it because the joy it brings (I just realized that that is almost an Ani Difranco lyric.) You do it because this is how you express yourself. You do it because this is how you connect to others. And that is the most important thing, always. The connection. The connection which is greater than the two disparate things that were. You and me and this formation we are together.

Stop wanting anything other than for this connection (I tell meself). Do it only for this. Not for money. Not for fame. Not for self. Not for world. Ever. All these other things only distract us from each other, and form fissures between us. As if we could be so conceited as to think that we are wholly divergent beings, sitting alone in our amniotic fluids. We do it for each other. To create the world. To create the currency of what can be. To know ourselves in each other.

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Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

8 thoughts on “Do it for this, dude”

  1. This is a GREAT post.

    What you said – “…learning to express yourself deeply through as many avenues as you can.”

    Exactly.

  2. Interesting post, but I see a contradiction when you shift from not tooting etc to forming connections.

    The non-tooting and no-recognition idea doesn’t really allow for connections with others. To have connection with others, you need some sort of feedback, some sort of response…? To connect you need to share some of yourself, you have to be someone to them and represent something and take a risk.

  3. Bindi: Why does garnering some sort of feedback or response necessitate the tooting of the horn, so to speak? I can share myself without forcing myself upon others. I can connect to others without making them notice me, or begging for their attention. I can simply be who I am, without “ego”. Not to ask, expect, or demand anything. If people can get beyond themselves enough to notice, then I am here.

  4. hard to know where the line is drawn between participation and over-the-top. Different people draw different lines. There is ego in any form of participation though, we always have to invest some of our self. I think you’re trying to distinguish when how much is too much? Open to interpretation, isn’t it. I think people who hold back and wait until they’re noticed miss opportunities to connect too. I’d rather you make mistakes but really show me who you are. Perhaps the trick then is to not be scared of rejection. if you do invest some of yourself and don’t get the repsonse you expect, libing with that as OK could be the hard thing.

  5. Either you have a big head about your capabilities, or you are humble and don’t make a big deal about it. Having a big “ego” in fact impedes your ability to connect with others, or to “participate.” It blinds you to what is going on around you, to other people’s unique capabilities. And yes, you could go too far into the opposite extreme, and belittle yourself so much that you disable yourself from being able to say anything, which I suppose is what you are getting at. But I’m not talking about having a lack of confidence in yourself. I’m talking about being confident in yourself enough that you don’t have to force it on anyone else. If you know what you are capable of, you don’t need to continuously be reaffirmed in this by other people. In our culture, we are sometimes taught that we have to sell ourselves, advertise ourselves, project ourselves, and outcompete, outshine, outperform our peers. But this a rather one-dimensional result of our socio-economic environment. We go much deeper than anything that we could immediately project.

  6. Hi again. ‘Selling yourself’ is what you are talking about and ‘revealing aspects of yourself to others’ is what I’m talking about. I just thought that maybe you were being too hard on yourself and wanted to encourage you to keep shining if you can because that’s sometimes what makes communication fun and can be a way of connecting with others who appreciate you. I wasn’t thinking about low or high self self esteem, just a philosophy of interaction that didn’t stifle genuine connections because you hang back for some reason.

    You point about allowing others to shine in their own ways too is the flip side of this – equally important.

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