Monday, 3 September 2012

The Hardest Thing to try to do


...is to see yourself as others see you.  I've given up on this exercise.  It's impossible.  Just look at a photograph of yourself:  this is how others see you all the time. Look in a mirror and take stock of your facial expressions.  Do they correspond with what comes out of your mouth - or are you mystified when people misinterpret what you say?  We live inside our own heads: we talk to ourselves silently all the time - thank goodness, others are usually not privy to our most honest and private thoughts. We understand ourselves perfectly.  How often though,  have you been uncomprehending of compliments paid to yourself or conversely, been astonished by criticisms of your character that you did not recognise as part of your own self-image?   We present different sides of our characters to different people so that should those people meet up and talk about us - they might think we were a split personality.  I think my worst moment was during a classical music lesson at High School.  Our teacher, whom I deeply respected and of whom I was terrified, picked on me one day after playing for us some beautiful music on her gramophone which I had enjoyed, entranced.   "Wipe that insolent grin off your face or I will.....!"  I forget what she threatened but I was devastated at the injustice. Today, I have a friend who seems to misinterpret my every utterance, so that I find myself always measuring my words carefully and trying to think the way she does.  Can't do it. You can't win at this, but I suppose it makes sense to keep trying.

4 comments:

  1. Certain people seem to have personality profiles that are almost stereotypical. I am a babbling hot head, hard to believe I know. When I get around a cool dude (such as my previous boss) who unlike me did not wear his heart on his sleeve, but kept it in a concrete bunker 300 feet underground, it seemed that I turned into even a more babbling idiot hot head. Then I would hear the dreaded, "why don't you tell us how you really feel?" Damn, I even get that on the internet. Why do we purposely make ourselves foolish around the cool cucumbers of the world?

    Yeah and why don't you go ---- yourself. (Always thought and never said).

    Why do we purposely make ourselves foolish around the cool cucumbers of the world?


    In junior high, I used to get told to "wipe that smirk of your face." Unlike you though, it was a real smirk. I was a little bastard in junior high, especially in music class. I would answer questions wrong on purpose. The music teacher seemed to think that the future of planet hinged on every 8th grader knowing a G clef from an F clef, and my purposefully wrong answer did not please her. She announced to the class that I was a failure, would always be a failure, and would probably spend my life in the gutter if not prison. Wow, I even failed at her prediction.

    "SMART ASSED 8TH GRADER GETS 20 TO LIFE FOR NOT KNOWING A G CLEF."

    It was my wife that ruined her prediction about the gutter and there by probably prison as well. Yes, my wife saved me from the gutter, and ruined Mrs Jones (not her real name--you just never know who could be reading while I doubt that my music teacher had children--which would require an act of human warmth, you just never know. Ironically she was married to the guidance counselor who was the nicest guy in the damn school, but apparently a bad lay from our music teacher's disposition, they didn't have Viagra back in those days) predictions for my life based on the firm science of analytical musicology. I hold that woman responsible for my hatred of classical music, which I later revoked and became somewhat of a fan when I 1) gained a good bit of maturity actually only 4 years later (while others my age were listening to the Rolling Stones, I listen to Rimsky-Korsakoff and Bartok--which typically was totally uncool--the story of my life), and 2) did not have some miserable hag screaming about the importance of Haydn to the modern world. It should come as no surprise, that I was far more interested in the importance of Zora Duntov than Haydn.

    I believe I have totally lost my way and am now incoherently babbling. Shall I tell you how I really feel about music teachers.

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    1. Ooops I ctrl C'd instead of ctrl X'd the cool cucumber sentence when I moved it. My music teacher is probably looking up from hell thinking "the dumb son of bitch don't even know the difference between COPY and COPY & DELETE. I was right about him after all."

      Yeah well to hell with you Mrs Jones, while you are basking in the warm glow of the coals this afternoon surrounded by demons who intentionally skip notes and sing in the wrong key while playing out of tune pianos, I shall put on Debussy, perhaps Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, make whoopee with my wife, and contemplate my failures in life.

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  2. Isn't it interesting how a teacher's misinterpretation of a facial expression can sting so then and be remembered years later? When I was in elementary school, we had very strict Irish nuns as teachers. I came from an abusive home and saw my time at school as a respite. So I walked around with a smile on my face most of the time. But I'll never forget the mother superior coming up to me at an assembly and bellowing "Wipe that stupid smile off your face NOW!" Yikes! So much for the respite!
    As for people around whom we walk on eggshells....perhaps life is too short?

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  3. The friendship I speak of has been going for more than twenty years now - and despite appearances, we are very fond of each other. I found this interesting quote:
    "It was an odd friendship, but the oddnesses of friendships are a frequent guarantee of their lasting texture" (p.5 Parades End, by Ford Maddox Ford) I guess I am fascinated by our differences - just as I am by my husband of 36 years.

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