The ugly bits
I am thinking about my own inauthenticity here. It's not hard, when revealing oneself, to devise a desired impression. You simply reveal only the bits you like. A kind of "quality control". My last entry came from a place of such frustration and sense of hopelessness that preserving my dignity or engineering anyone's impression of me was utterly beside the point. I was hating myself so much that it became utterly irrelevant whether anyone else likes me or not.
Not to imply that anything I write is untrue or engineered, it's just that I tend to stick with topics I feel I have a grip on. I find it difficult under normal circumstances to admit to the people around me when I'm having trouble or am in pain. Most of the time nobody will know if I'm having a problem because I withdraw in the midst of it - only to re-emerge when I think I have the answer, in which case I'll speak of it in past-tense. That's okay, right, because now I can encapsulate it as an experience I learned from.
My last entry resulted in a word of consolation from an unexpected source... someone I barely know but admire for her personal courage. She is ten years my junior, is caretaker of something which I hold dear (doing a much better job than I could have ever done), and has persevered admirably and lovingly through something I personally could absolutely never have done. So for her to reach out to me resulted in a feeling of humility, wherein it's easier for me to see where I gain nothing in maintaining a facade of strength.
The troubles I'm having right now are (mostly) the result of these circumstances of the last few months trying to make a go of living in England, which I've documented to some degree here. I guess part of it is missing my life as I knew it, as I had created it! I really had everything just the way I wanted it (control freak that I am) and now it's very frustrating (there's that word again) having to tolerate a lifestyle that is very different from what I would (did) create given the freedom to do so.
Much of my frustration has been with the mistakes I make as a cultural outsider here; but some are simply mistakes of character which are unavoidable now and again. But when lots of these things happen in a short period of time which has been otherwise frustrating anyway, it kind of explodes and I have to take stock. Like many people, I am capable of great self-criticism, and nobody else tends to be as hard on me as I am. To be honest, I'm fearful of criticism from others; I suppose more of it would be good for me.
Anyway, the thing I'm reminded of is that it's in revealing vulnerabilities -- not maintaining a facade of strength -- which brings people together. It's always a relief to find that other people have faults too, much like our own. In this realization I must commend somebody I know (anonymously, of course) who may or may not ever read this... for he revealed a lot of insecurities and failures, naivete and losses of all sorts, quite publicly; and bravely accepted the criticism which came. I resist tempering this accolade with mention of other, less commendable behavior for realization of the hyprocrisy which doing so would require. As we remember from last time, the hypocrite is me.
Sigh. And so it goes, I feel shaken by the last few weeks, and not at all like I'm making progress; and I know there is more to come.
All of this I do because I really, really love Ash and would travel to the ends of the earth for him (and under the circumstances that's not such hyperbole)... and because I love exploration.