The title paraphrases that great sailor philosopher Popeye. His more earthy version is, “I Yam What I Yam”. Well said, so simple and so true. (Visit Popeye here).
Many of us try to be something we are not. Such an attempted transformation rarely lasts and is often transparent even to the most myopic observer. Think lipstick on a pig.
More realistically many of us strive to push beyond our natural limitations. This is generally quite admirable. My caution is to be self-aware enough so that when you fall back to your natural state, for a moment or forever, you recognize that every moment you have surpassed your natural state has been a grand moment and that falling back into your natural state does not make you less.
So, where is this coming from and where is it going you may rightfully ask. Over the last week or so I have had to face some facets of my self that I work hard to overcome because they limit me and what I can bring to the world. Lately I have fallen and I tend to beat myself up pretty hard for it–this, by the way is one of those facets. Writing about my foibles is partly a cathartic exercise. However, I work under the general assumption that feelings I have, others have. The sum of me is unique but many of the parts can be found elsewhere. So the other reason to write is to connect to the community of people who share parts of me.
<Warning, Warning. Major tangent ahead. Feel free to skip the italics.>
So now I am thinking about why I write this blog. Lets share the perspectives of some friends. Not long after I started I shared the fact that I blog with some long time friends. M, a woman, said something to the effect of ” Isn’t that a bit narcissistic. Why would anyone care what you write?” Maybe it is but so what? I harm no one. No one is required to read what I write. Yes if I was doing this strictly for me I could write a journal and not publish. However, I want to become a very good writer. The feedback helps for one. And for two, I enjoy the community, however small, that this blog creates.
Now back to the regularly scheduled topic of the day.
So what about who I yam has come to the fore lately. The main one is my biggest personal challenge. I am a Man Of Fear. Big and small, too often big. How did this come about? Inherited or learned behavior from my maternal grandmother. She was The Worrier. Some families have warriors, ours had worriers. (Example. We lived 15 minutes from her house. After a visit, the phone would be ringing as we walked in the door. She wanted to know we made it home safely. Every time.)
So how does this fear thing work with me. I see disaster around every corner. In small moments such as being in traffic and imagining accidents about to happen–all the time. In big moments it freezes me momentarily from doing things I know I should do. Left to my natural state I might not do them at all. I have learned to face my fears and then push through them most of the time. It takes its toll. It is a tough and tiring way to live.
I am also a procrastinator. Many of the people who know me well know that one. I don’t know why. To do what I do for a living well, which I do, I need to be organized and to juggle multiple assignments. Here too I have learned to push through and to do tasks now, at least work tasks I am less good at personal tasks.
What recent event brought on this wave of self awareness that I am taking my sweet time to share? My car shook.
Starting on the drive into work Wednesday morning and on the way home from dinner, it shook constantly. Never before Wednesday. My Fear–I had screwed up the engine because was months late in getting an oil change. It may have been as much as 6 months (procrastination in case you missed it). I could hardly sleep that night and I was sick to my stomach all morning as I waited at the dealership. I was convinced that not getting a $30 oil change i was going to cost a $30,000+ car instead. Not a good time financially to do that.
It ended up being some coils that were covered under my extended warranty. Replace the coils, get an oil change and fork over $89 and I was done. This is how most of my fears turn out. Much ado about next to nothing. However, I Yam What I Yam.
If only something as simple as a can of spinach could change everything. Instead we persevere, being the best us we can be.