Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Peace of Mind, Freedom, and Lack there of

I started this blog as a tool to lead myself to peace of mind. I’ve used many other artistic models for this in the past. My first tool was drawing; I started when I was very young and got pretty good when I was pretty young. In fact, one of the earliest times I remember being hurt was when someone in my elementary school first grade class told me I had traced a picture that I had drawn. I remember feeling so hurt that one someone would think something so beautiful wasn’t my own work, but also it threw me because it was one of the first times I was called a liar to my face.
When you are young, other children are mean. It is also true that when you are an adult, other adults are also mean. I would question whether it is human nature for us to be cynics. The sad part about my childhood was I never really had any friends. Don’t get me wrong, I had family who were much nicer, understanding and worth their weight in gold as friends. But I never really bonded with other kids in my age group. Many kids were mean to me because I didn’t look the way I was supposed to (but even as adults – our vision of ourselves is skewed). If you are too fat, you are wrong. If you are too skinny, you are wrong. If you have a pretty face, you are probably wrong. The list goes on. Either or, I learned by young adulthood I had to be comfortable with my own appearance because in essence: I was the one who had to look at it the most.
[My husband and I determined when my daughter was born that she would be home schooled, with social activities such as ballet to create friendships and bridge the social gap home schooling creates. We both disliked traditional schooling methods for various reasons, the clichés, the bullying and lack of an educational curriculum which is slowing diminishing in the American Education System. (I recently read an article that cursive is no longer required. How sad we have come to such a state that music, art, and our cultural essence has diminished so much.) But this is all off topic, back to my main point.]
I continued to draw into college to relieve stress and give myself peace of mind, but at one point in my life I shifted gears into writing. (It was probably around the time, I focused on English writing as my undergraduate major.) I loved art and drawing but after about a year and a half of art school, I knew that if I continued on that path, I would not only learn to hate my hobby - but I would also have a very difficult time finding a job.
When I first started writing, I began with traditional poetry which often rhymed or followed a pattern – later I would find that that particular style of writing was “old school” and it was “in” to write your personal stories and creative concoctions. When I began writing about myself I was uncensored, it was drilled into my head that if I was going to write anything, it should be the truth (you know - freedom of speech who-raw!). That was the first time I got burnt as a writer. Someone read something I wrote and determined it to be unprofessional because I had written exactly how I felt, swear words and all. At that point in time, I took a step back and tried to be more censored. I’ve actually followed that suit for well over seven years now. I avoid swearing or stating exactly how I feel because it isn’t accepted by everyone.
I truly believe that when I began censoring my feelings and writing, I took a huge step backward. Even now I avoid saying exactly what I’m thinking because I want to pursue peace, but pursuing peace and achieving peace of mind have definitely turned out to be very different things.
I actually feel as though I have regressed to elementary school and the professionals I deal with daily are merely kindergarteners in my class. Not only is my peace of mind hindered, my freedom seems to be as well. I’m constantly worried about who is watching and how I am being perceived. I’ve spent most of the last six months making what you see when you “google me”: professional, admirable and successful achievements. But I don’t feel any peace of mind and my freedoms as an individual are being squashed. I’m struggling to find my peace of mind even in my own image and the more I search for it, the more my husband seems to dislike me as a person because I’ve changed.
A long time ago I read a quote “The only thing in the world that is constant is change.” I feel this is accurate because I am constantly changing myself to find myself - yet I’m not sure I am lost - just some of my elements are. Even as I look for guidance daily in Buddhist literature; I often find exactly what I’m looking for, but just when I begin to feel empowered again – something happens which makes me feel like a prisoner again. I was literally told this weekend by a colleague that I “need to learn my place.” My problem with that comment is I know where my place is, it is where I have worked so hard to be. Yet, why am I feeling most of the time like I need to take a time out and find it all over again?
To Be Continued.

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