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Life

Comfortable in my own Skin

I decided about an hour ago that it might be a good idea to update my profile photo everywhere – to better reflect what I have looked like for the last six months or so. It struck me while posting it that something unexpected has happened in recent times – I have become more-or-less comfortable in my own skin. In my thoughts too. Things haven’t always been this way.

When I was young, I was always the gawky kid that didn’t quite fit in. I found it difficult to make friends, and then difficult to maintain friendships. I thought about things too much – I still do – and worried about perceptions of actions and words by those around me.

I wouldn’t say I’ve started to care less about what other people think – I think perhaps I’ve just become a little more confident that my view or outlook is ok – that I’m not a lunatic or monster. If somebody else wants to have an agenda, or a mission, that’s up to them – we don’t have to share opinions, ideals, or world-views. Differences are almost always what make people interesting, and a chance to learn from. I suppose the only problem with that is the most vocal are often the most resistant to other points of view.

It doesn’t help that historically I have sat on the fence about so many things.

For years if questioned about my religious beliefs, I would say I was agnostic – because I didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. These days when questioned, I will freely admit that I have no faith or belief in any sort of higher power. That’s not the same as atheism – by the same logic that you can’t prove the existence of a higher power, you can’t disprove it either. Just because you haven’t observed something yet doesn’t mean it’s not there.

A few months ago I probably lost a few friends while defending J K Rowling’s defence of women’s rights, in the face of an opinionated mob weaponising social media against her. When a public response against such attacks on social media was then signed by several hundred of the foremost writers and thinkers of our time, I will admit to exhaling somewhat.

A similar situation happened about a month after the COVID19 pandemic had swept the world. For a time our prime minister was in hospital, being treated for the virus, and the people were behind him. Then slowly but surely, all manner of keyboard warriors and armchair experts started weighing in on every decision, both past and present. I commented about it on Facebook, and spent an afternoon defending even the thought that I might defend our government. Somebody I used to work with eventually saw my point, and commented “see that’s the thing – you’re a nice person – you’re calm, objective, and reasonable – so you expect others to be too”. There were no more comments after that.

Stepping away from blogging over the last few months has caused quite a bit of reflection – about why I write, what I write, and who I write for. Although I have often stated that I write for myself, if you know any sort of audience is out there, it obviously influences you to an extent. I’ve begun to wonder if I now care less about that audience too – not in a bad way – but it’s difficult to express why.

Maybe it’s a realisation that everybody has their own story – their own journey – and it’s not about worrying what others think – it’s more about being true to yourself, and affording others the chance to do the same.

By Jonathan

Developer, Writer, Runner

5 replies on “Comfortable in my own Skin”

Bravo. I’m glad to hear it. Sometimes, when there’s a good bit of growth, it takes time to be comfortable in one’s own skin. And, once there, it may take a little more time to figure out the why of one’s own blogging. I occasionally go through a “What’s the point?” phase, before settling back into the realization that my objective is merely to be one small voice of reason, mostly on the environment, in a world deadset on consumption for its own sake. And I cannot redundantly bludgeon folks with that message, because that can be rejected, out of hand. So, I have to let the “me” of it shine through, and pick away at the message. What’s your purpose? (You don’t have to say–but it should be with you there, somewhere in the background.)

Liked by 1 person

I don’t really feel like I have a purpose (in the blogging realm), and probably never did. I’m here because I’m part of the firmament more than anything. I have always been here. I’ll continue to be here – writing out thoughts, while marketing morons try to assuage eyeballs all around me.

Liked by 1 person

Well said, JB. Growing in understanding who you are and being comfortable with it is the only way any of us can actually have the capacity to listen well to others. It gives us a willingness to realize we all have a story, a set of standards we live by, for a reason. Trying to craft a life to pander to others only brings frustration. One of your best posts, my friend.

Liked by 1 person

I think one of the things that has frustrated me more than most in recent years is the growing sense that so many focus on one viewpoint, and regard any other as opposition – often very vocally.

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