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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

day 9: getting near the deep end. here, I brought you water wings...

I used to think I enjoyed cleaning but later came to the conclusion that I liked being in a clean space. I'm realizing today, there may be even more to it than that. Upon reflection, cleaning is a fantastic goal to set for yourself because you have total control over achieving it. Imagine that! How often do you really have complete control over attaining EXACTLY what you want? Some would say always, but they just haven't had the shit kicked out of them yet. Point is, today is a cleaning day and even though I've put it off for several days, I am now (or rather, will soon be) wholly set to the task.

   That's just a thought though, not my reflection for today. I was thinking about it because I remember at one time wanting to be known as a "neat freak". I remember many times wanting to be many things, not always through desire to satisfy an itch, but to be something I thought people would prefer to see me as (and I will get back to the absurdity of this). Truth be told, a bit of mess doesn't really stress me out the way it does an ACTUAL "neat freak". Today I'm reminded of that hurtle and what it means to be okay with who you are. I was reminded of it twice today actually, and it's pretty timely considering the blog. 

   I went to see an old teacher of mine at Humber College to discuss a bridging program for their new degree. Take a couple courses while working at the Studio and walk out with a "Bachelor of Applied Music". I somewhat sheepishly was admitting how I never really finished the Thomson Rivers degree, that when it came down to the online geneds/TR jury/general hoop jumping, that I kept putting it off until it was too late and the program shut down for "old degree" students. This teacher has always been a saint and a big supporter, but on the way out she asked me, why didn't I just do it? I stumbled at first but eventually said, I've come to terms with what I'm not. At Humber I was great at a lot of things, especially being a musician, but I wasn't a particularly good "student". The classes I really nailed had nothing to do with being a good student and it used to make me feel like the biggest impostor ever. It seriously stressed me out that the format of school didn't really (and never really had) reflect the ways I get productive, and it affected how I saw my actual successes. I got a %90 on my final recital and felt like I had some how cheat the system. Like there was a mistake because I wasn't the guy who finished english assignments on time or spent 5 hours a day in the practice module practicing enclosures in all 12 keys.

   I've since come to appreciate my actual strengths and that academic achievement is awesome for some and inconsequential for many. Like I was alluding to in day 4, there's no one "right" way to be. More importantly, I got a %90 on my final. I earned it through writing great charts, running tight rehearsals, and singing (despite a viral infection the week before) my heart out in front of my peers and professors. I don't need to achieve what others have achieved to find value in what I can do and who I am.

   So where did that attitude start in the first place? Why would you ever want to be what you think people would PREFER to see you as? Well, it's one part being hypersensitive to other people's wants/feelings (which is part noble endeavour, part obsessive concern for how you're seen), and one part not always believing you're good enough as you are (both parts nearly one in the same). The roots for that go back quite a ways to a child hood without much affirmation and with no father to push up against, a necessary part of growing up and deciding where you stand in relation to other human beings. Ironically, part of my high school years was telling myself I didn't need or care for affirmation because I thought that was how I should be (clever defence, no?).

   There's no real fault here (cept my Dad being a douche). My mother was trying her best to support three children on her own, sometimes working multiple jobs to get food on the table. There's only so much attention to be had in there and as for rebelling? Forget about it, not at the one constant in your life.

   So somewhere along the line I missed some training (who doesn't?), got some lessons way too early (who doesn't?) and spent the early part of my adulthood trying to work it out (who isn't?). That's life (and didn't I say it would get personal?).

   My conclusion? I appreciate who I am, where yesterday I might have berated myself for not being the person I thought others wanted me to be. I believe I am enough, where yesterday I might have felt unworthy. In fact, I may be more than enough. I should probably parcel out some of me, cause I'm overflowing with 'nough'.

What do you guys think? Were there things you 'tried on' that you later realized didn't suit you? Mr. Punctual? Captain phones people back? Lady cares about trivia? Dutchess of wide-legged pants?

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