Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cross Examination of Self

Yesterday Rachel asked some questions, inferring we could play along if we liked. Since I'm the one who usually asks questions to get to the bottom of that infamous "WHY?", turnabout is fair play. So here we go.

Do you think that you know yourself in any sense? Do you care? And if you don't care...why is that? Sure I do. It's what I don't like about myself that concerns me...which is complicated by the fact that in most cases, I am the one who can changes those things. I care, yet I sometimes procrastinate...but only in the case of self. Anything else, I do in a "timely manner". :) (Yes, I once worked for a lawyer....the wording crops up occasionally).

Do you like yourself much? That would depend on the day of the week. Sometimes I'm a fine human being. Other days I harbor thoughts which are hardly sweetness and light. It's the ability to USUALLY keep said thoughts to myself which allows me to keep liking me.

What would you change about yourself if you could (and I'm talking personality...not physical changes)? And if there is something you would like to change...why haven't just got on and changed it? What's stopped you? I'd be braver. Mentally, I'm open to ideas and varying viewpoints. But getting up in front of a room before a crowd of strangers to read, like you do....that would feel like standing on the edge of a cliff, waiting for someone to push me off. I've done public speaking, I just don't enjoy it. Unless I can make someone laugh. Then I'll press my luck. I haven't changed because I think the world is filled with too many Chiefs searching for the spotlight and I like being the Indian behind the scenes. :)

When you look in a mirror do you smile or flinch ('s the concept of yourself that I'm thinking about here more than your physical attributes...though they may be linked)? Laugh. If my sense of humor ever evaporates, I'm resigning from the human race. Besides, I still have freckles for heaven's sake! I've never really felt like a grown up in many ways.

Do you treat people the way you'd like them to treat you? What, always? I try, Lord knows I try. But some people will always be jerks and unlovable, so those I just sidestep after giving a valiant effort. Wouldn't want to tarnish my halo. ;)

Do you think you've contributed anything positive to the societies that you've lived in? Do you think that matters anyway? This one I'm answering "backwards". Yes, I think it matters! Otherwise, why bother getting up every day? Doesn't mean I gather people in a circle to sing Kumba Ya, it just means I believe in the power of one person. A single person can do great things....when he/she can motivate someone else and keep that effect going. [Think Kevin Spacey and "Pay it Forward"]. I may not have made grandiose contributions but I'm happy with the small victories, like a kid who believes he/she is stupid coming in to say, "You know that spelling test you helped me study for? I got them all right!" Those kids live in a neighborhood which doesn't believe in "better" and thinks math skills should be used to conduct drug deals. Even inching them towards being a contributing member of society versus a life long leech is a good thing. Besides, I don't like the spotlight, I have to be content with the small victories. :)

What do you find really, really difficult? This little voice in my head just screamed, "5th grade math!" :) I hated it then, I hate having to help the kids with it now. So I tell them, to remind me, "I want you to ask questions until you understand, so you won't grow up like me and feel intimidated by math." They like feeling smarter than an adult. The most difficult? To stop asking "Why?" I have a sense of curiosity that just won't stop. Thankfully. Unless you're the person being quizzed, I suppose.

If you are a person who writes then why is that? Think about the reasons and which ones are the most significant to you (practicing honesty to the point of death!). My immediate reaction was, "Because I can." Not bragging here. Writing is just like breathing to me. Words come easily. Yes, I too have written since I learned how to spell. But I knew I was hooked the day a teacher taught us the word "cacophony" and I didn't just like the way the word sounded, I could immediately describe it with a scene.

Sure, it's nice when people pat you on the back. But that's not why I write. I do it for me. Because it gives me enjoyment to create. And in this economy, it's cheap entertainment. :) I honestly can't imagine not writing. I never really wanted a blog. A friend talked me into it, saying I told good stories that should be seen by more eyes than mine. I said the world didn't need another blog. He challenged me to try. It felt like a safe dare. And when I did, someone replied, "Thank heaven I'm not the only one who feels that way!" Makes you feel like more than a spec of makes you feel like part of the beach that wraps around the world. And, thanks to people like you Rachel, it's expanded my horizons in ways I'd never have foreseen. Thanks for that.

But I still suspect that, deep down, it's because writing is the only way I get to finish a sentence without being interrupted.

Anyone else want to play?


steven said...

hope - this is truly fascinating and revealing. the idea of writing as a means of finishing a sentence without being interrupted made me laugh out loud!!
there's an idea put in our heads somewhere, sometime, that we should strive towards the perfect iteration of ourselves - i think inside each moment of living life we are as perfect as we can be. have a peaceful day and thanks very much for this! steven

Rachel Fox said...

So if you want to be braver...but not in the sense of getting into the spotlight...then in which ways would you like to be braver? Or are you really quite happy as you are?

Peggy said...


I'm still learning from you Hope,which is what I love about you(one of the things)
I love to find the inner stuff in people and you just gave me a lot to digest. Sriving to be perfect is a disease that I share with you. Being good enough is always in the back of my mind, behind the smile.
People are really not that different.

hope said...

steven, see I'm happy because I made you laugh. :) Even if it's the truth. I think that old adage about "If at first you don't succeed..." made a big dent in my young skull. Thanks for always making me feel smart and peaceful.

Ah Rachel, who asks the questions with no pat answers. :)

95% of the time I LIKE me. I'm not perfect [hear that Sis!] but I try hard to do the right thing. And that's my goal. 4% of the time I'd like to be able to take a deep breath and either tell people the unvarnished truth or to just back up and leave me alone. Being a southern female, we find that difficult because we've been told it's rude and we should try not to hurt other people's feelings. Oddly enough, northern girls think it's just telling it like it is. The other 1% I save for conversations with myself as a mental health check.

Peggy, you're right. Reminds me of that Saturday Night Live sketch Jon Lovitz use to do when he would cry out, "I just want to be loved. Is that so wrong?" Of course in his case, he was usually doing something wrong. :)

Yeah, these little exercises peel away another layer of the onion of who we are. I hope I don't make you cry. I'd rather make you smile. :)

Titus said...

Layers of onion - that's so it! These were a very challenging set of questions, and you rose to them!
Honest, insightful and I am always inspired when you write about with your work with the children (and I know there are a lot of aspects of the job you don't like at all). I really identify with the "to stop asking Why?" and wish I'd thought of it first (I'm still stuck on the first question) and I just loved this part of the Why do you write -
"Makes you feel like more than a spec of makes you feel like part of the beach that wraps around the world. And, thanks to people like you Rachel, it's expanded my horizons in ways I'd never have foreseen."
And yeah, I laughed at the end. And I'm going to play too.

hope said...

Thanks Titus. I think we find out more about each other here because we sit down and listen. In "real life" most people can't sit still, much less listen.

Ah the thrill of being quoted! And the agony of me spelling SPECK wrong. :)

Titus said...

Not deliberate. I thought it was American.

Susan at Stony River said...

I loved your answers.

NEVER stop asking "Why?" ! It's the greatest (if most frustrating) question ever.

Amen to that 5th grade math.

hope said...

Susan, I morbidly imagine someone trying to nail the lid shut on my coffin, only to hear a muffled voice asking..."WHY?" ;)

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