Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Beliefs that bother me (final part one)
In one of my previous articles, I found the chance to express my dislike about a set of popular beliefs. These have to do with what we perceive as "normal" and how should the "right" way of life be. It was a good chance, for since always I wanted to share my feelings and give a proper explanation on this issue. It wasn't bad, even though I knew I didn't got very deep inside the matter as I wished. And it wasn't such a failure as my old struggle, trying to excuse myself about the way I am and also not so messy as my old disagreement on the net with people who suddenly decided to preach me about how life should be. And blogging gave me the opportunity for the first time to spread some thoughts I always worried about, to discover that there are actually some people out there who care and understand.
It was a good start and the little yet incredible support from these people really motivated me to plan for a future set of articles on similar matters or even a different approach to counter towards these beliefs (Or a dark plan far away in the future as I obscurely like to say ;). Such moments make me feel that it's worth fighting for and so I'd like to thank you very much for your support. I remembered my feelings again and then I suddenly decided that maybe it's time to write the 3rd part and get finished of these first series of texts.
The 2nd part was a bit out of subject or not into the point and it just came out as a supplement to my feelings about people who might understand and speak different than predicted (they DO exist!). It was a momentary lapse to decide writting about that story and that girl. Cute but maybe off topic.
With this article, I'll try to get back into the primary point and actually speak on my personal view I finally aquired through years of struggle and disbelief, how ingeniously society and most of the people forced me to doubt about my real self, how this system of beliefs works and grows up and how blatant seem their ideas to finally be in my eyes. And that won't be the last article on the subject rather than the end of the first series (final part one). I don't know what will further come out in the future but I'd like that it will be more structured and deep into the point than these unorganized texts that might want to say something and hopefully they do. And so, the next one may take some time..
The struggle of being different
People always accused me of not resembling 95% of the world. The most usual reasons were that I was less social than the rest, maybe too shy or a loner or simply stuck to myself, being focused on a strange hobby that most people don't understand, while showing no interest to the things most people are into.
Their blame sounded too rational and it always hurted my feelings. For I couldn't understand!
What they actually tried to show me is some kind of logic on why my life sucks and what is wrong with me. That logic used popular axioms on what life is and what is normal, though it seemed quite logical to me at that time (and it's sounding still does). And there was the point of conflict! That logic told me something that couldn't match what my heart says. Indirectly spoken, there was something wrong with myself. It told me that I shouldn't be myself, that it was my big bad mistake. And the biggest struggle was that I couldn't counter it!
What their arguments actually said is that my attitude/personality/way of life that I've "chosen" was a wrong idea. And these preachers were there in order to show me the "right" path based on their experience. In fact, that's actually what I received from them. And my feelings were hurt because I constantly believed that I am the wrong one and that I should be ashamed for that. As if I've actually chosen to be like this? As if I oneday woke up and actually decided to be like that! Because of some not as quite "logical" reasoning as theirs that I misunderstood? And they are here to proove me the right way, oh well ;P
If what they said was logical then why am I that person? Have I chosen it? Did I prefer to be shy and weird instead of normal and boring because I thought it might be more cool? And why am I still that freak? Why can't I be just like them no matter if I try? Why do I differ? This is what I couldn't understand, this is what made me almost more sad than ever..
I know now. And I'd like to try telling you..
A deviant nature
Maybe I was too young to understand at the time. Maybe I was taking things too seriously (which were pointed to me in the same manner though). Maybe I beleived that what I am blamed for is my wrong character (and that's what I was blamed for indeed). Maybe I thought I had to change and be just like most of the people. But I couldn't no matter if I tried. It was a struggle for me to be "normal" and something I was forced to and learned to dislike.
There was a confusion between my thoughts and feelings. Because I wasn't much aware about one single truth. That I am just a different person, not the wrong one who had to be cured!
For some reasons I was more introverted than the average person, being a loner/hermit or the shy guy, overanalyzing matters, thinking it too much, being focused on something creative that would totally absorb me while not being too much attracted to everyday life, I was the guy who has no girlfriend, I was the geek obsessed with his computers, I was the freak and somehow I was ashamed about what I am. Because they made me feel ashamed through these years.
Everything is just words. Ideas that gets into your head as you grow up. Popular beliefs have such a big influence into your feelings and people react automatically when they encounter them. The most usual reaction is to nod your head in universal agreement. If a belief doesn't affect you, it's natural to show your acceptance on what sounds true. Why someone who is not into our struggle should bother to disagree with something that sounds so natural to him and have his friends stare at him strangely for his obscure objection towards real life ethics? And so, through the process socialization between people who have no reason to care, the most popular ideas about life get spreaded and since everyone says so and you get to hear so, these ideas tend to sound more and more real. Another term for these popular beliefs is memes and ignorance is called the process that creates them. Though it's natural and I wouldn't like to blame them. The life of a big amount of people truly resembles what these beliefs try to tell us and it's all deep in our minds. And so, most of the people in the world really look like our idea of an average normal person. And that makes us think/feel/perceive that this must be the natural way to be :P
Modern life ethics that make me doubt about myself. And my heart tells me what my mind can't comprehent. Ideas. Words. Do they have the same meaning for everyone?
To be introverted is something people criticize. But a good friend told me once that in psychology that word describes a different kind of person. Even himself thought sometimes before that being introverted is not a good thing and it had to be cured by trying to be more social. Though, in psychology people are split in extroverted and introverted personalities and they are all accepted as something natural.
To be focused is another thing that most people criticize. Maybe because it reminds them of a serious looking teacher/scientist/madman (E.g. in movies the mad scientist is a common cliche) who is too focus on his studies that he doesn't look far away himself. And maybe because the younger generations wish to live a life full of joy, girls, happiness, entertainment instead of having to bear with the conservative elderly who are too obsessed about school/studies, blame the youth for their lustful life, being too strict and serious instead of further enjoying their lifes. Maybe my way of life was blatantly blended with theirs. Mmm,. both elder and younger people didn't like me. But is it too bad to be focused, to be like some great scientists, thinkers, philosophers, artists or geeks? Should everyone be the average person? To be focused and choose another path in life than just enjoying it, should be accepted in my opinion as the wish of a unique kind of people that seek for something different than most people do.
This is my nature.
The greatest clue about everything that mattered me, was given to me when I started getting more into what people call mental disorders, first by finding out in my surprise that there is a name for something that bothered me since my youth. That bug is what made me more sad than ever. It's too hard to get now into detail about what is called Pure OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and generally this is a personal thing that I am sure is a part of me and I had my time arguing with friends whether it is my idea or rather just a psychological trait that could easily fade away if I changed my attitude towards life. I won't get into this now. I'd just mention at the moment that OCD is the same thing that makes me anxious in social situations, always blaming myself, totaly lacking of self-esteem, being absorbed by my thoughts and isolated, as it is (I beleive) the one and the same thing that gave me the presents of constant doubt, analytical thinking, my passion and my focus, while also making me more aware about a kind of struggle some people don't want to understand because they didn't possibly went through the same thing as me in the past. It teached me understanding and rendered me to be thoughtful, though these being again a part of the doubting nature of my OCD.
In a nutshell I discovered that there must be a more proper explanation about my social traits and the different nature of me. Not the one that kept me blaming myself about what I've "chosen" to be. As if I did. What I am was always a part of my nature. And people will disagree by saying that if I think like this then I'll postpone any attempt to change. But the matter is: Did I have to actually change?
I now know myself more and it's confronting to be aware that this nature is something that shares both traits and gifts that I should accept. It's in my personal crisis now to figure out how to learn to like myself and take care and use the elements of my nature in my advantage. I can now be me. I know now what I always needed to know..
Just a remark: It's not that everyone who is diferrent should suffer from some kind of disorder. It's just that the search into disorders (either my case or others) teached me that some people are the way they are because it's in their nature and that is neither bad nor should it be changed. Would you make some rational claims why someone shouldn't be gay for example? He hasn't chosen to behave like this! But it's not something bad at the end. It's just the social struggle and criticism that makes the whole thing feel bad. How about asexual people? Yes!!! There are people who don't enjoy sex and their brain biology don't let them feel. Biggest taboo ever for the popular beliefs to say that but it's true! How can you know how these people really feel and how can you claim it's their mistake?! Autistic persons? A friend says to me "well, us autistics don't naturally learn social skills. We might have to learn them manually and that is what defines us as autistic.". And she beleives that this is not a disorder that should be cured. She tells me that they just have a different brain with it's advantages and disadvantages. People suffering from SAD (Social anxiety disorder). Are they just having the attitude of avoiding social situations because they have gone through the wrong path? Hell no!
And do you know what I lately think about all these so exclusively categorized disorders? It's just another word. If the disorders didn't interfere so badly in the social lives of these individuals, their deviance wouldn't be considered something that has to be categorized. It's the observation of the individual that something is not "right" with him but maybe it's that one which makes him feel different (maybe "disfunctional") to the rest of the world. But it's just a unique kind of personality to me that maybe has to struggle with real social life because of that difference. Not something that has to be cured!
I figured out that there are two primary kinds of struggle for deviants. The physical pain that may come out of their possible "disorder" and the social pain that they have to endure because of the constant criticism and unacceptance from society. And sometimes the second one is quite more painful for the individual..
If you differ, there is a good reason for that. Try to find that in yourself and actually like yourself. It took me more than 10 years and I still struggle at times. But now I know..
Thank you for listening.