Youniversity Challenge

Who are you and how do you know that’s who you are? How did you react to that question – are you still reading or did you move on?

Should I chase after all those who decided not to give this post a chance or should I focus my attention on you – you who are reading these words?

Why are you still reading, what is it about this post… or what is it about you which keeps you focused on this post?

Is that a good way to start a post? Is that a good way to start a conversation?

“I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing.”


― Neil Gaiman, The Kindly Ones

When I was of an age (or appeared to be) where I was officially considered to be an adult, and was invited to social gatherings, conversations with others usually began with one question asked by people who had just met me – Who are you?

At first I was rather naive about it, I thought they were genuinely interested in me and who I was inside, but of course they weren’t interested in me at all, what they really wanted to know was – Who are you to me?

In other words what they were actually asking was – What’s your social status, your working title, and is it useful for me to know you?

Since I was basically a useless nobody, they’d quickly move on as I served no purpose for them, I wasn’t useful to know.

This type of interaction happened over and over again because I was moving in what is known as – The Real World Now.

I replaced naivety with cynicism, which wasn’t too difficult because I grew up with narcissists – I had hoped that The Real World Now would not be like the Unreal World Then, but it was just more of the same old same old with fewer histrionics yet underneath the cold facade there was just as much human drama.

That was in the time before the internet – which unleashed everyone’s inner thespian.

That was a couple of decades ago when Greed is Good had become everyone’s favourite new motto.

   

7 Movie Quotes Everyone Gets Wrong

   

A while later More Greed is Better took over, then it shifted into The World is Not Enough to Feed the Greedy Beast in the Belly.

By the time that happened I’d given up on the human world. On being a part of it as a useful someone. On anyone giving a shit who I really was. Did I give a shit about who I really was? Did I know who I really was?

As far as I could tell, who I was was “a thing of shreds and patches”, who only existed and was noticed when I was seen as useful in some way to someone else, such as when someone needed a song sung to them about something which they wanted to hear…

A wandering minstrel I —
A thing of shreds and patches
Of ballads, songs and snatches
And dreamy lullaby!
My catalogue is long
Through every passion ranging
And to your humours changing
I tune my supple song!
I tune my supple song!

A Wand’ring Minstrel I, The Mikado, Gilbert and Sullivan

…the moment I said anything which wasn’t what they wanted to hear, POOF!, I disappeared as though I’d never existed at all and they moved on.

Until, one day, The Real World Now, offered a new way to discover and experience being yourself.

It took me a long time to take the magic carpet ride into social media on the world wide web.

I preferred to observe others as they did it, undulating to the rhythms of this mysterious universe, creating castles in the sky, playing with disembodied beings, writing notes to each other, telling tales. I was fascinated by the boldness and bravery of their willingness to bare and share themselves… even if they often did it behind the mask of anonymous.

I couldn’t do that. I wouldn’t do that. I shouldn’t do that.

And then I did.

   

   

I took the leap…

…which led me here to the now of the writing of this post in reply of sorts to:

Fandango of This That And The Other’s Provocative Question #5:

“Is there a ‘blogging-you’ who is different from the real-world you? If so, how are the two ‘yous’ different? How has the ‘blogging-you’ evolved since you first started blogging?”

Fandango’s provocative question was inspired by something I said to him in a comment-chat we had on one of my posts (you’ll have to click over to his post to read about that).

He said something to me in a previous comment-chat, in reply to something I had said in another one of my posts, which I have been contemplating:

This is a place where I indulge myself. This is the one space in my life which is all about me.


As far as I can tell, blogging, by definition, is self-indulgent. We have something to say and we feel it is worthwhile enough to gift it to others and we expect them to read it, like it, and comment on it, telling us how great what we had to say was and how great we are for having shared it with them. Blogging is the epitome of self-indulgence.

– comment by Fandango on Thinking After You Speak

That’s the previous comment-chat, the bit in italics was something I had said in the post (which is also in my About).

When I first started blogging, several years ago, I brought all my cynicism with me… but I also had a lot of naivety because it never really goes away even if you plaster it over with cynicism.

Both the naivety and the cynicism have been helpful in keeping me going as a blogger – one makes me care and the other makes me not care, but which one does which one? It’s not as obvious or clearly defined as it may seem.

Anyway, on to Fandango’s PQ’s:

Is there a ‘blogging-you’ who is different from the real-world you?

Not anymore there isn’t. Blogging-me and Real-World me are in sync. Blogging-me has helped Real-World me be a more real me.

At the beginning of my blogging life:

I didn’t have a friggin’ clue what I was doing or why I was doing it – that’s pretty much my approach to my real world life, past, present and most likely future too (although… that I am not going to share with you, some conversations with myself are private).

I was very cagey – that was me in person too because I have always been very weird and very crazy and it makes people run for the hills or attack me because how dare I not be normal. But these days I’m less cagey thanks to becoming less cagey on my blog and realising some things (I’ve shared many of those things in my posts so I don’t need to share them now, do I?).

I was very shy – I have always been painfully shy, these days it’s less painful but I’m still shy… unless I’m comfortable. I’m comfortable on my blog.

I kind of hoped no one would read my posts – while blog-me didn’t really want to meet the challenge of my posts being read, real-world me rather liked it when people did… real-world me was used to no one listening to anything I said unless it was what people wanted to hear, but blogging-me wasn’t writing things for others to hear – this particular puzzle has led to some intriguing personal discoveries which are still happening.

“I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.”


― Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha   

  

If so, how are the two ‘yous’ different?

Blogging-me monologues… really really long monologues, which are not really monologues at all but dialogues, conversations with me, myself, I and all the others inside.

Real-world me doesn’t talk as much when with others, because I don’t need to as I do that on my blog.

On my blog my mind tends to be switched on, unless I’m going through a dopey phase.

Real-world me switches my mind off when with others unless it is required to be on.

I talk a lot about myself and my life on my blog – don’t need to do that in RL. I’m more interested in hearing about others talk about themselves and their lives.

I swear a lot more in RL than I do on my blog – I used to swear more in my posts and then I toned it down. Toning the swearing down (or turning it off) is something I do when with others in RL who don’t like swearing or whom I don’t know, so it isn’t difficult to do it in my posts. But I do love swearing, and I use the C word because I have one and decided to own it rather than fear it – I don’t use it with others unless they’re being C’s and think they have the upper hand because I appear to be a polite person they can mess with.

And other stuff along those lines.

“Never fear quarrels, but seek hazardous adventures.”


― Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers

How has the ‘blogging-you’ evolved since you first started blogging?”

Blogging is like going to Youniversity – you learn a hella lot of lessons about yourself.

If you have fears, darkness, which you’re hiding from yourself it all comes out from the shadows to say BOO!

All your issues confront you and demand to be dealt with – got writer’s block? then deal with whatever it is which is blocking you because it’s settled in and awaiting your acknowledgment.

Don’t like what someone said to you in a comment? – where have you heard something like that before? Is it a relationship pattern repeating? A power dynamic which you’ve blocked or ghosted… it’s had enough of you running away, how about you stop and face it?

And the funny thing is… this is an amazingly therapeutic and cathartic process. It’s like screaming in silence and finally being heard – by yourself!

Once you hear yourself and really listen to what you’ve been saying for what may feel like a thousand years… Ahhhhhhh HA!

I’ve become a much more happy and chilled person in RL thanks to the shenanigans I’ve been up to on my blog.

I’m more me now than I have ever been and it’s kind of fun to be a mistake-making mess of a probably human being.

This is me:

  

this pic is from the same series of selfies as my gravatar – when I first started blogging I didn’t use my own face, people kept asking me what I looked like, it was a challenge to reveal myself… so I did it.

  

Deal with it – said me to myself and I and all the others inside and at first we were like “Can we?” and then we were like “Should we?” and then, and then, and then “Oh hella YES!”

“It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize just how much you love them. ”


― Agatha Christie, An Autobiography

That’s it from me… over to you!

Btw, I do take on board everything you say to me in the comments even when I seem like I don’t… sometimes it takes me a while to really understand what you’ve said and figure out what it means for me.

So, Fandango, what you said to me in that previous comment-chat… I’m still contemplating it, it’s still a foreign concept to me, but it is a challenge… a youniversity challenge!

And now I’ll wait and see what happens next…

17 thoughts on “Youniversity Challenge

Add yours

  1. You are amazing. Your posts are so interesting, deep, and well articulated. I just wrote a post about what people say to others when they need to get up and go to the bathroom to take a dump. How are we even sharing the same universe?

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    1. Thank you very much, Fandango 🙂

      Glad you enjoy my blather and blither 😉 I had loads of fun with the inspiration you provided in your FPQ, thank you very much for sharing!

      There is much wisdom to be found in discussing things which may seem trivial. People often reveal more about themselves when the conversation appears to them to be silly. How much did you glean about those who commented on your post about their character, preferences, ideals, hopes and fears, etc? You can discover a lot about others through how they conduct their personal business and deal with the inner rumblings which demand to be let out. Do not all humans have to take a dump? Why are we so embarrassed by our bodily functions? And is there not a well of creativity within the stories we tell just to go and have a poo or a pee.

      There’s something about you which reminds me of those Zen masters in those Zen story puzzles who deliberately do something silly to teach their pupil a lesson and the pupil gets annoyed because they expected their master to be all serious and weightily wise. You’re a bit of a Yoda.

      Here’s a PQ for you: Is what we perceive and find in the writing of another coming from the person who wrote it or the person who reads it?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much, JP 🙂

      I spent a large portion of my life being afraid of pretty much everything and everyone, mostly of myself. I was cowardly and did a lot of hiding. Then I hit my 40’s and it dawned on me that everything I had done up until that point hadn’t saved me or protected me from trouble, problems, grief, in fact it probably caused more issues than it prevented or solved. So… I’m going with the path of crazy wisdom these days, and just doing stuff, seeing what happens. I’m not so much brave (but thank you very much for saying that because it made me grin from ear to ear like a Cheshire Cat) as embracing the fool who rushes in, trips and falls over a cliff 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s the best way to live. May I share a quote with you “Don’t ever let them tell you that waking up and reintroducing you feet to the cold floor beneath your bed isn’t something to be proud of. Don’t ever let them say that it’s not brave shutting your eyes each night” ~Tyler Knott Gregson and following where that crazy path leads, that’s the bravest step of all. 😉

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  2. The interesting thing that I’ve noticed is that when I think I know myself, something else, some other reaction occurs and I realise that I still don’t know all of me. I only know some of me. Or maybe most. I’m not sure. 😉

    I spent a long time not knowing myself at all because myself wasn’t very good and needed a lot of fixing and I have a nose like a man and my ears stick out and I wasn’t thin enough and I should have studied music in uni. So while I was stuck on some of these required fixes there was a sort of me who kept popping up and saying “forget about your nose and go do that over there!” And I often did, thus pissing some people off. Eventually I became well-acquainted with her. 🙂

    Blogging has helped me with my thinking and my confidence as well. And what I am is here – in RL I am just bigger. 😉

    Thanks for sharing your photo. 🙂 You’ve shared parts of yourself in photos before but maybe that’s what you’ve been doing all along – working on a “whole you.”

    Do you ever wear your hair up? Because that’s how my brain has presented you in my dreams. 🙂

    Like

    1. Thank you very much, Lynette 😀

      I think that’s one of the things which makes being alive interesting – never quite knowing who we are so we have to stay tuned in to the program to see the next episode 😉

      Even when we are certain that we’ve finally figured ourselves out, something comes along to show us what an enigma we are and how much more there is to discover. It’s as though each facet of the whole of us has their own story, sometimes the stories of the different facets blend together with one facet discovering something new from the other facet like with you and the ‘fixer’ who met up with the part of you who was the ‘doer’ who knew that you didn’t need to ‘fix’ yourself you needed to do things – like fly planes! Your recent promotion is definitely an adventure in discovering more about yourself, blending past stories with the present and seeing how they create the future.

      I’m wearing my hair up now otherwise it’s in my face and I can’t see what I’m doing… maybe I shouldn’t see what I’m doing 😉 There are a couple of photos on my blog of me with my hair up and out of my face. This is one – mirrorme. I went through a sharing selfies online phase, that was fun because I kept screaming at myself not to do it and doing it anyway. Learned quite a bit thanks to that challenge. It doesn’t matter if anyone in my offline life recognises me online because everyone thinks I’m nuts anyway. I have told people that I have a blog but no one ever asks me about it. If someone online recognises me offline… hasn’t happened yet (that I know of) but I’m guessing it might be a fun surprise for them that I’m as weird offline as I am online 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like your mirrorme photo. 🙂 It reminds me of the photos taken of professional news photographers from the 50s – not sure why. But it’s also dreamy and fits in well with how you have appeared in my dream state. 🙂 I still think a lot about the dream I had where we were kids together at summer camp but you were also an adult counsellor.

        Yes, my promotion has definitely lead to me discovering more about myself but old worries come back too. I had a few moments yesterday where it was “you’re completely unequal to this. You have no idea what you’re doing.” Imposter thinking. But I got over it. Sometimes I shouldn’t see what I’m doing either. 🙂

        Some of the most interesting things I have ever done have had some interior “don’t do it” screaming going on. 🙂 Bad ideas can sometimes be great.

        Liked by 1 person

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