26 August 2010

Devils' Advocate? Me?

For all the arguing and pontificating and frontin' I have done, and sometimes still do, I am a terrible advocate for myself.  I can talk at length on just about anything I know (and often on things I don't), but the one subject with whom I have the most difficulty...is myself.

Teller of tales I am, and the only story I cannot write is who I am.

More accurately,  I have a terrible time talking about me, with giving people a way to know me.  Maybe this is because in large measure, I don't know me.  This condition has been magnified in the time since I was laid off back in June.  Rewriting a resume, or defining the "brand" that is one's self has that effect.

I can get excited about all sorts of things.  I can be engaged on any number of topics, sometimes with more feeling than reason.  I tend to be a person of causes or positions rather than ideologies or dogmas.  Those causes or positions can change quickly, often driven by shifts in emotional winds rather than anything demonstrably logical.  Which is ironic, because I also tend to cling to logic, especially when under pressure to get things done or solve a problem.

Growing up, my Big Bro and I developed a facility with language that seemed to be ahead of the curve relative to many of our peers.  We both had this ability (for better or worse) to just start talking about something, anything, and eventually make ourselves sound plausible and engaging.  This gift of language* could be practical (such as talking ourselves out of trouble) or useful (such as chatting up the ladies**) or exasperating (such as talking ourselves into trouble), but it was always a near-endless source of amusement.  My brother and I often marveled together, in private, at the amazing things we could say and have people buy it, even when we knew it was hot air.***

This deeper realization of mine comes at a time in my life where I am actively looking for honesty, in myself and in others.  I do this because I have realized it is too exhausting and resource-intensive to constantly build facades and fit molds made by others.  To be successful at that, though, requires enough content about which to be honest.  It requires faith in ones' own self, thoughts and feelings.  Faith that the Self is strong enough to stand on its own, that it is okay being the individual that it is, rather than striving (and failing) to constantly meet the expectations of the universe.

This explains, perhaps, my dilemma.  The past two years have really taken me down a peg, undermining what little faith I had in myself (misguided though it may have been) to the point where I don't trust me.  I have received a ton of advice that I need to have confidence in myself, I need to believe in myself...and I have done that in the past.  But I also know that the ego can tell itself whatever it wants to hear.  The ego is free to disregard objective reality, if that reality doesn't match expectations or desires.  The ego is free to lie to itself.

This is why I have a difficult time advocating for myself.  Am I saying that which is really true, or is it all smoke and mirrors?  Mirrors in the funhouse of the mind, distorting and misdirecting.  A near-impassable thicket of reflections and illusions constructed of beliefs, not always grounded in facts.  I'm looking for a way out, even if it means I have to talk about myself.

*Uncharitable wags might say "gift of bullshit".
**To be fair, Big Bro was waaaaaay better at that than yours truly.
***Big Bro had a motto: "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle 'em with bullshit".  He. Was. Good.


  1. dude, forgive me for sounding like a fortune cookie or a damn refrigerator magnet but...
    you need to get out of your head and find your way into your heart.

    And the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.

    Yes you can kick my ass...free of charge...anytime :)


  2. best thing i learned from my ex husband? "fake it til ya make it" . you don't have to be happy to get happy. you just gotta DO things that make ya happy. that and a good therapist. i love my shrink! everyone should have a good shrink!

  3. I think you talk about yourself...just in a hidden sort of way. I read a lot into what you write (perhaps wrongly), especially when you write your 'stories'. Is there not a bit of you hiding in there?

    Being honest with others and yourself, that's not an easy feat. Peel back the layers, see what's in there...then share it. We promise, we can handle it.

  4. I know you've had a tough couple of years, oh yes indeed. I know what a rough couple of years can do to a person, especially their self esteem. I also know that my mother's favorite saying was, "This, too, shall pass" and she was right - nothing lasts forever.

    By all means, dear, talk about yourself, as much as you can stand - we'll listen. And it will help.


  5. Or maybe you just suffer a tad from scrupulosity? It happens sometimes with people who are deep thinkers/observers. I bet if you were faced with defending someone or something you loved, you'd be the fiercest lion. Start listening to your gut again, trusting the flags. You'll trust Self again soon. :)

  6. PS on the branding? You've done it perfectly here with your rich mix of ingredients! (One Gumbo to another.) *grin*

  7. I ditto Rene's comment. You'll find yourself soon enough. You're closer than you think.

  8. I like your brother's motto--it has hung in my office for years. Life will get easier once you test the waters again. A death of sorts has occurred and it takes time to venture forth.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...