Saturday, October 08, 2016

In Praise of Me

You may have noticed that I have a tendency to be just a tad egocentric. It would appear my favorite word is “I.” This may stem partly from the fact that I work very hard to protect that part of me which still remains a child, and children are the center of their own universes.

It isn’t easy balancing the two…the adult and the child…especially since I definitely prefer the child. This of course, leads to a number of inner conflicts and contradictions, because children are equal parts ego and insecurity. And since I identify more strongly with the child than the adult, I desperately seek and soak up every drop of praise and attention I can possibly get, though on those occasions when someone is kind enough to indulge me, I am totally at a loss as to how to react to it, other than with varying degrees of awkwardness and embarrassment. My “child” is, on the one hand, extremely shy, yet has no compunction whatever about running around in all directions waving my little triumphs and accomplishments for all to see and hopefully respond to with admiring “ooohs” and “aaaaahs.”

This need for praise is undoubtedly one of the reasons I write, running to you with these blog entries, hoping you’ll like them.

I am reminded of the story of a young minister, after his first sermon, greeting his parishioners at the door. One little lady, taking his hand, said: “Reverend, has anyone ever told you that you are absolutely wonderful?” The young minister, deeply flattered, said: “Why no, ma’am, they haven’t.” She patted his hand and said gently: “Then wherever did you get the idea?”

My “adult” does think that I have been blessed with some small ability to express myself in words (written words only…in actual conversations I tend to stumble all over myself), but since it comes naturally to me, like having brown eyes, I can’t really take much credit for it. So how and why I have any logical reason to assume that anyone might be more than politely interested in me, I have no idea.

Some people, it is said, wear their heart on their sleeve. If this is true, I also wear my heart, lungs, lower intestines, and soul on mine. I have no secrets. None. You want to know something about me, just ask, and I’m more than willing to blabber on endlessly until you run the risk of ending up feeling like the little girl whose book report on penguins said, “This book tells me more about penguins than I care to know.”

Much of it, of course, stems from my highly distorted senses of ego and inadequacy, both of which I have blown far out of proportion. I have always believed that I was somehow very special (I saw God in a cloud as a child, after all, and if that doesn’t make me superior I don’t know what might) while at the same time holding myself to totally unattainable expectations. (If I cannot live up to what I expect of myself, how can I possibly live up to what others may expect of me?) So for whatever reason, it is very important that people…that you…like me. My “adult” finds some comfort in the fact that I have finally reached the point where, if someone doesn’t particularly care for me, I see it as their problem rather than mine.

But because I so strongly believe that all human beings are basically alike, both my “child” and my “adult” hope that you might recognize, in my ramblings, certain elements in yourself. In short, I’m more than willing to be the pickled frog in biology class if it might help you recognize some part of you you had put aside or buried under the weight of years. If my memories and feelings strike memories and feelings within you, it only underscores the fact of our common humanity.

The Oracle of Delphi had a favorite bit of advice for those who came seeking guidance: “Know thyself” and if my putting myself under the microscope might be of benefit to even one other person, it’s well worth making an occasional fool of myself.

And if you ever think I’m coming across a bit too pontificatorily (you’re right: there isn’t any such word…but I like it anyway), please take a cue from the little lady at the church and let me know…gently, of course.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from UntreedReads and Amazon; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/

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