Friday, June 5, 2015

So, who Is The Real Me and where do I find her?

Be yourself.
Be true to yourself.
I need time to just be myself.
I need space to be myself.
I need to find myself.
I need to be able to express the real me.
I need people to accept me for who I really am.
I need to accept myself for who I really am.

Is there actually 'a real me'? As opposed to an 'unreal me'? I am uncomfortable with these phrases that haunt many of us, not only in our minds but in self-help books, Facebook statuses, women's magazines, in New Age spiritual, and pop psychology books and web pages.

As an atheist, I don't believe in a soul or spirit that has been there since birth / conception / all time / whatever. I know that there is a sperm and and egg, carrying genetic stuff from way back, all the way back through all the human ancestors, the primate ancestors and beyond. And those genetic factors could be described as the deep-down, inner, real me - but quite honestly, unless you are a seriously geeky geneticist, I don't think you'd be interested in meeting that me. Not a lot of fun to hang out with. From the moment of conception that little genetic me was influenced by my environment. Everything in my environment has affected both my physical, mental and emotional states and have become part of the whole that is me. Everything I have swallowed, breathed in. Every movement, even the smallest. Every contact through every sense. Every encounter with another human, however brief, happy, sad, toxic or loving. All these things make stuff happen in my body and brain. (Have you guessed yet that I haven't had much contact with Science? Science with a little 's' happens in me and in the world and in the universe all the time - I'm just not too familiar with the precise terminology or mechanisms of Science with a capital 'S'.)

Anyway, long story short - I am me, and me includes everything that I have brought with me from the ancestors (who don't need a capital A) and everything that has touched me in any way. Somethings touch me so lightly, so imperceptibly that they don't really affect 'me'. Unless I am allergic, or turn it into a giant self-flagellating guilt trip, one square of chocolate will not change me in any meaningful way. But a large bar of Trade Aid Dark every day (the original 60 something % mind, not that new skinny healthier version) will change me noticeably - I'll be happier for a while then fatter. Many experiences affect us emotionally, but because of our own unique situations, affect people differently and in different ways. But they still go to make up 'me'. Even the nasty things.

I've come to the realisation that I am an evolving me. (Sorry Science, I'm using your word unScientifically.) I am 63 and I am not the same me as I was at 53 or 43 or 33 or..... The experiences, good, bad, and imperceptible, have made the current real me who I am. Positives can become negatives (such as coping mechanisms and friendships that pass their use-by dates) and negatives can become positives (though I can't think of any simple examples right now.) I can learn from all these experiences and become a new me. Or I can deny the lessons and try stay in the old ways for a time. Or forever. Growth can be painful, but it is way more satisfying than stagnation and decay. Something I am learning to do is to not regret the past, to move forward, grow, and to be content that I am always 'evolving' into a new me. I am learning to not speak harshly to the old me, nor be impatient with the current me, as I look forward to the future real me. I'm trying to be kind to me.

What I'm NOT doing is this: I am not calling on God to change me. I am NOT putting it out there to the universe to provide everything I need. I am NOT thinking positively or chanting mantras to attract the right people and things into my life.

The real me is right here, now. The real me is changing and growing and learning and it's all happening inside the me that is now. It's happening in MY body and brain through the natural processes of action and reaction, chemistry and other Science shit that I am not choosing to learn because I'm just to busy with learning other shit - but I'm not going to say, oh, I haven't learned all the Science, so God! The Universe! The Law of Attraction! Some people need those things to get their body and brain chemistry working the changes, but I'm saying ME! I'm accepting, and taking responsibility for, all of the versions of me that have been, am now, and will be.

Actually, I was planning to write about friends and friendship. Then something happened and I wanted to write about the influences that led me to self-doubt, self-abuse, confusion and depression, all of which affected how I learned to be in friendships. And then someone commented on her Facebook status of seven months ago and I re-read what I wrote to her then, and along with my current impatience with / intolerance of god-shit and woo-shit, I found myself writing about something quite different. I'll get to those other subjects. Maybe. The current me has begrudgingly acknowledged that although I am still passionate about bookbinding, my journaling works better here - the books will have to find another purpose.

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