Friday, February 24, 2017

Proud Jack-of-All-Trades

The last entry prompted a memory that led me to writing the below.

Back when I met the guy who was to become my husband, I was a proud Jack-of-all-trades. Said guy teased me incessantly for it, especially highlighting, as had been described in a roleplaying game book that it also meant "master-in-none." And, for a while, it didn't bug me... and then it sort of did... and, eventually, I found myself really focusing on one thing: belly dance. Now, it's not a bad thing and I don't regret it as it certainly served its purpose and has made me the person that I am today. 

Interestingly, though, since the divorce, I've been rekindling this pride in being a Jack-of-all-trades. I like my life a little eclectic. I like to knit, crochet, sew, play piano, run, dance, cook, etc. I may not be extremely talented in any of these things but I do enjoy doing them. And that's okay.

I do believe that this culture and society is a little too focused on success or else why even bother trying? Or more like why even bother trying b/c it will take you a long time to even have a modicum of talent/skill in one area.

But do you need even that modicum if you're enjoying "the thing" (whatever it may be)? No, you don't.

Now, granted, perhaps it is foolhardy to think that you can make a living doing art if all you can do is stick figures... but then again I've seen a bunch of memes and satires using stick figures so maybe even that is doable. (Don't know if they're getting paid or not.) But if you enjoy drawing, even if it's awful, why not draw? Chances are, you'll actually get better at it. 

Again, I think that we are too focused on a certain threshold of success that you should have with things for them to be considered valuable. And I do believe that this is how art in general and appreciation of art is falling by the wayside: we don't invest in ourselves, in what makes our souls feel good, b/c it is considered futile unless you're the next (Insert Famous Person's Name). You don't need to be. It's okay. Or try it, if you've never tried it before. Enjoy what you like. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What if you aren't who you think you are?

I know... it's a total click-bait title. ;) But it's also been reflective of something that I've been pondering on for about a month so I am unapologetically using it.

It all started with my first meeting back at Weight Watchers, when the leader explained to me the program and I mentioned at some point that, when I first lost weight several years ago, I was teaching belly dance 3 nights a week and now I run 3 days a week, am preparing for the Hot Chocolate 15k race, and still do some belly dancing. The lady said that I didn't need to worry about my exercise points (yay!) as it was clear that being active is important to me.

Say what?

I had a knee-jerk reaction to deny her assertion but stopped myself short b/c I AM running 3 times a week... and then, as I thought more about it, I remembered that what led to me running in the first place was a desire to be active. It was an aha moment that, you know what, yes, actually it IS important to me to be active. That was mind blowing b/c I had never EVER seen myself that way... even when I was teaching belly dance. (Though it was easy to dismiss that given that it's dance and not another form of physical activity.)

I mulled that over for a while and marveled about what else there might be that I've had a misalignment with.

One of the things that has been brewing for a number of years, actually, is the whole artistic side. For some reason, people view me as artistic when I shrug it off b/c I don't feel artistic myself. It's like people view me as an artist who happens to also do science whereas I feel I'm a scientist who happens to also sometimes do some artistic stuff. Now I will say that I do believe that scientists view people as being artistic if they can pair colors that don't clash too much (i.e., the threshold isn't really high) but still... what if I actually have more of an artistic side to me than I give myself credit for?

And that was probably the origin of challenging who I think I am: through artistry in belly dance. That was something that I aspired to do but I didn't know if I could pull it off or not... but I sure was going to try. For whatever reason, a certain lady who goes by the name Tempest must have seen something in me (at least in my writings on then and was encouraging me. And I started including more and more artistry in my dance, to the point where I could say that, at least when it came to dance, I am an artist. (Though I still struggled with typing it and not feeling like a fraud.)

Like a lot of people, I do have impostor syndrome. But beside the impostor syndrome, I do believe that something else is at play: a script that was written out during childhood... which has never been updated since.

See, when I was growing up, my parents really focused me towards doing science. I was told that it was okay not to be good at sports/physical stuff b/c I was good at science. It was okay not to be artistic b/c I was good at science. It somehow also bred a reluctance to even try b/c I was going to fail. Sadly, my marriage was plagued with a similar dissuasion of trying things b/c I just might fail but more importantly b/c it's not my strength.

What if none of that were true? What if I wasn't just good at science? What if I actually enjoy other things and it's okay not to excel at them but just enjoy them? And what if I can actually excel in some other things? What if I have changed over time? What if the script wasn't true? What if I'm no longer the person that the script applied to? What if there was no script?

The whole point of this blog is really to prompt an assessment of whether you've been running on an old script that isn't reflective of who you are today. If you try to remove that preconceived notion of who you are and were to write a new script or description of yourself as you are today, what would it be? And how different would it be from what you think you know about yourself?