I think we give ourselves a bad rap sometimes, we melancholy, analytical, introverted, grumbley-type folk. We don't understand why everyone else is so happy and colorful all the time, and assume we have an inability be happy or colorful at all.
But I see in color, I do. I prefer not to wear it as my identity, but it doesn't mean there isn't room for me to claim a part of it. There is room, so much room, on this strange and vibrant planet. As I walked up my drive tonight after an evening facial (my annual b-day treat to myself), I saw it more than usual. I grabbed my camera and let myself be one of those colorful people.
Conversely, I hope that those colorful folk find ways to realize they too are melancholic, like to wear black, and allow negative feelings to just be instead of chasing them away with self-help or external distractions.
Why in goddess's good name do we box ourselves in so rigidly?
I know why.
It was a rhetorical question.
The composition of one self is as vast as the composition of one solar system. We contain multitudes, we see moments of our greatness flicker (two points for guessing the two literary references here). It's like a mother with ten children - each of them must be a certain kind of person so as to easily know them (Jane is the athlete, David is the beauty queen, etc). It's a sad practice, but it makes sense. So let's not judge ourselves too severely for it.
I began to straighten the kitchen from the hasty family dinner of pizza and salad and thought about what makes us who we are.
What if we have less control than we think over:
who we are
what we think
how we feel
Science seems to be backing me up here*. We inherit the temperament and personality traits we come to love or despise in ourselves. Some are born grumpy and it's nearly statistically impossible that they change into a happy-go-lucky person. We can change habits, relationships, and outlooks, but we simply cannot change the building blocks of self.
Similar to the subjection and consumption of women, somewhere in the course of human history, society decided that humans prefer upbeat, energetic, free-spirited people. Conversely, we were taught to distrust quiet, introspective, inhibited-types and soul-crinkles.
I'm one of those people, and I distrust myself all the time. Society could just have easily come to value solitude and sadness. It's hard to be me, but it's hard to be you too - I am guessing.
So I plan to embark on another mental retraining. To accept all and everything I am - understood or not. And not just resign to its presence, but accept it like I fully accept my daughter into my love. To divert the steady flow of compassion I have for everyone else and let myself tip-toe in it. To refuse to feel shame because I feel less free-spirited than others, because I like to calculate risks before I take them, because I need to know what to expect before I can proceed without anxiety, because I dislike small talk with strangers, and that despite everything - I will always be a highly-irritable curmudgeon, snapping at you for leaving empty ice trays out on the counter. I will always live in an abundance compassion, insight, and thoughtfulness for others while simultaneously dreaming about the next moment alone.
Since I cannot change my DNA, I shall determine to change how I see it.
*See "Brain Rules for Baby" by John Medina.