Skip to main content

That makes more sense, at least.

I think I figured out where I was heading with that post the other day.

As I often do, in blogging as in life, I think aloud a lot. Perfectly harmless, mostly. So in case you couldn't tell I was struggling to figure out the point of that post as I wrote it and hadn't the sense to just save it as a draft and fix it later.

All the same, I think I've figured it out afterall.

It used to be that when I would tell someone about something or even the way I'd be doing certain things, there'd be something I wanted out of them. And that would more often than not shape how I phrased what I said--manipulation.

Like, I'd tell them about some problem I'd solved, trying as subtly as I could to get them to commend my cleverness. Or maybe it would be a story of how awful something had been, and I'd hope to gain their consolation, sympathy.

Like when I had trouble writing papers for a class. I wouldn't leave asking for an extension at just telling my professor I was struggling and then asking. No, I had to explain every turbulent struggle, every self-injuring habit, every fatally naive choice; I would tell them, top to bottom, about my life long difficulties with ADD, and, oh, how I'd swear I'd now changed--learned something--and just needed the extension to make good. Those emails to my professors was like a disingenuous visit to Confessional--habitually regular but ultimately insincere.

In those cases there were always two things I was trying to get out of my professor. First, I could not bear to let them think any less of me--to disappoint them. So what if I pleaded like Niobe, so what if it was all so undignified. No, I had to explain how hard it had been so that they wouldn't think I was a failure, that they could see I was trying my best--I had to make them understand.

Secondly, I was working them to get an extension. I really meant it, mind you--I wasn't being entirely duplicitous. I really was sorry, ashamed; I really wanted to change. But I hadn't the means to. And I was in denial while still desperate for the validation and approval of these people I looked up to. I hoped that if they could just understand how it was, then they wouldn't think less of me and wouldn't hesitate to extend my deadline, out of sympathy or support or some such.

Of course, now I can see how silly, pathetic, and even unethical all that was on my part. Nowadays, I try to do things differently. But back then it was an act of futile desperation, tired and rehearsed, for lack of some better course of action.

Similarly, so much of what I said and did used to so eagerly fish for something--some validation, sympathy, attention. Sometimes the only reason I'd be talking about something was hoping someone would realize how cool I was, how interesting, how hard I was trying, and would tell me as much so that maybe I could believe it, too. Because so much of the time, I regarded myself so coldly and thought so little of my own assets that I couldn't do any of that for myself--I couldn't appreciate or approve or even accept myself and could only allow that kind of affirmation from others.

It's sort of funny now; I think I'm actually a better listener because I spend less time worrying about how I'm going to make you notice and love me, how I'm going to inject something for you to praise me or forgive me for.

I'm hardly perfect, of course, but it feels so much better--dealing with life, living--when I can at least accept myself as I am without requiring validation from someone else all the time. It's so relieving, really, to have somehow lessened that burden. I don't know when that started or exactly how, but I'm certainly much happier for it.


Other things that might interest you...

This moment: A tattoo.

So I read Mrs. Dalloway in high school, and it was perhaps the most beautiful thing I'd ever read. One passage in particular, very early in the book, hit me hard with my first experience of the sublime, and stayed with me—and led at last to my first tattoo. In people’s eyes, in the swing, tramp, and trudge; in the bellow and the uproar; the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging; brass bands; barrel organs; in the triumph and the jingle and the strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London; this moment of June .  ( Emphasis added; full paragraph included below. From the full text of the novel as made available by the University of Adelaide. ) The paragraph this is from, the 4th paragraph of the novel, is the 1st passage with the stream of consciousness the book is famous for; although self-limited here, the flow is no less gorgeous. In the passage, Clarissa is walking on a street to get those famous fl

QP: Changes to come, I hope.

My grandmother passed away about 2 weeks ago. I hope to write about her more soon, but for this moment, I want to speak briefly about where I'm at overall: Her passing has led me to reevaluate aspects of my life because I'm realizing that the status quo amounts to just wasting my life away. (This is another "quick post," which means it's a short update that I likely didn't edit and revise quite as much as the more "thoughtful" pieces I aim for. I say this because I'm self-conscious and worry that you, my reader, will judge me!) I'm up in Boston and have today and tomorrow off, and I want to spend at least a portion of each day figuring out (some of) my life. I say this fully aware how often I've variously done so before: asserted a need for change, described how I was going to do it, made an attempt, then fallen off in the follow-through. I'm honestly not sure what to do about that, though. It frustrates me now just as much as eve

Revamp, pt 1.

I decided I want to dig in and take this blog, and more broadly the "Palmerpink Brand" as it were, more seriously. Ok, maybe not that  seriously, but yeah. I wrote up a larger exploration on my other blog of initial questions to lay out some basic considerations regarding a revamp, asking things like the What, Who, and Why of this blog. Some of these things I'd explored previously , but I wanted to dig into deeper this time around. In short, I want to use this blog to share things I find meaningful and hope others will be interested in, as well as reflections and updates about my life; I want to write for myself, but also people who care about me and/or the sorts of things I share about (eg, reviews about culture and such); and I want to commit to my voice mattering, to deciding my blog matters to whatever little degree it can. (I also floated the possibility of culling posts that are no longer representative of what I want in this blog, as well as any stupid lab