Saturday, October 31, 2009

Letting Me Be Myself

How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something, but to be someone.
– Gabrielle Bonheur 'Coco' Chanel
If we are told something again and again, it can become true. It can seep into our subconscious and take hold there as an indisputable fact. It doesn't even matter if we know it's not true.
I was bullied in high school by people who were close to me: not physical violence just harsh, twisted whispers. I heard them so often I took them to heart.
Repetition in advertising and political propaganda works the same way. Even if we see through the manipulative messages, it's hard not to be affected by them. Inventions and interpretations become fact, as immutable as the sun rising in the east.
I once believed a whole gamut of 'truths' about myself, most of them instilled in me by my family from childhood. Some were good, some weren't. As I grew up and became an adult, I realised there were no such truths.
I still struggle to rid myself of some of them.
People often cite their family as a reason for not pursuing their dreams. If we turn our back on our families, if we reject their comments and criticisms we risk being rejected ourselves. It's hard to confront – let alone argue with – people whom we love and who have nurtured us. It's even harder to comprehend that they don't always have our best interests at heart but rather their own.
Too often, what we are told by our parents, siblings and closest friends – again and again – becomes what we tell ourselves. Over time, it also becomes the way others define us and how we define ourselves.
Re-defining oneself can be hard. In my case, it felt impossible.
In the end, it was utterly liberating. Living only on my own terms turned my world upside down. The woeful, discouraging, critical voices continued to harp on – even louder when I started to ignore them completely – but they were countered by an intoxicating rush of happiness and freedom, a real sense that I could do and be anything.
The relief was absolute.


fish said...

Well worth the struggle because freeing ourselves of these tapes is the ultimate freedom.

Kate said...


angelicaj said...

My husband, and artist stumbled into your blog from a link from Fine Art Views and passed his iPod over to me to read you blog. I think women in general are placed into this realm - frequently.
You really expressed what so many women go through each and everyday...and the "input" that we receive from our "loved ones".

I too am going through this for millionth nauseating time. Hopefully this time I can detach myself from the circumstances and get on with me and stop valuing opinions of people that just should shut their pie-holes. I guess we'll see.

I hope many others have an opportunity to read what you wrote. I'm going to pass it on to other women, although I know there are lots of men who need this clarification.

Thanks for sharing!


sue beyer said...

I am really relating to this post!! i find it hard to ignore this person. they are good at transferring their guilt onto others.

Patti Trostle Fine Art said...

Thanks Hazel for really telling it like it is. Freedom is everything!!!

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for this post.

Your grid will never be the same.

Jeanne Guerin-Daley said...

Hazel, I grew up lucky enough to have had a pretty supportive family. When dealing with my creative muse however, there are times when I feel very alone in the way I think about something. Sometimes others just simply don't understand. I have found though, that as long as I remain true to myself, within my own soul, I do feel an exhilaration of freedom at the core of my being. There's just nothing else like it.