Sunday, January 15, 2017

Your youest you

Today's me has thought many things: how do I be my muchiest self? How can I be true to myself? How do I live purposefully? What shall I do with my untaken time today?

Maybe I shall take it.

I could have one of my least favorite kinds of days (I've been thinking of them as "purgatory days" lately)... A day where I actually have hours to myself and I think "the possibilities are endless!!" and I spend it watching things I've already watched, eating things I've eaten before, thinking "I'll get around to it" when it comes to laundry and homework and dishes and letting them haunt me throughout the day. I end those days most of the time hearing Scarlett O'Hara's voice say "tomorrow is another day," but I ain't Scarlett. Nope nope nope. I am not living her life. 

Am I living mine?


As I forced myself to do motivated things, gathered my hair into a messy ponytail, and began throwing laundry into the washing machine, I thought "were I writing myself as a character aboard a sinking ship, what would I write? Would I write a person who found a corner and waited in misery for the end? Or would I write someone who made herself as useful as she could, helping others, and fighting for survival? I know I would idealize myself and write the latter. Absolutely, I would.

So why not write myself that way every day? Why not do things? My happiest times have been my most motivated times (even as a kid, when what I was motivated to do was go outside and climb an enormous tree in my family's backyard and look around at all I could see and wonder about what life is). When I do something because I want to, when I get the things done that I know I need to, when I do these things in a manner that allows me to take care of myself at the end of the day, I am my happiest self.

I had the unique opportunity to portray myself recently, in a play. I don't mean that I played a character similar to me. I mean, I played myself. My name was used, clothing similar to my own was worn, a hairstyle the designer saw me wear in class one day became my designated hairstyle. Of course, this "self" I played was not my truest self, but that in and of itself gave me so much to ponder. Would any portrayal of myself be completely true? I'm playing "myself" all the time, and even I think I'm doing it wrong sometimes.
Why did I need to gather my hair into a ponytail in order to start doing chores today? No real good reason. I've seen people do it, and I wanted to be such a people. No one was watching, but it was a performance, in a way. I was performing myself for myself. My favorite idea of myself in that moment, anyway.

Years ago, a sister of mine read "Tuesdays With Morrie," and in my opinion, misinterpreted its meaning terribly. My interpretation of her interpretation was that one should do whatever they feel, whenever they feel it, and the chips will fall where they may, but one must be selfish in order to be true.
I read the book and did not glean such a message from it, but her interpretation (or my interpretation of her interpretation) shook me. I did not like it.
The reason I bring this up is that I do believe we should practice self-care. But I also firmly believe that we should all take care of one another, also. BUT we can't truly take care of others if we are not capable of doing so because we aren't taking good enough care of ourselves first.
About a month ago, a beloved professor of mine called me out on my tendency to go against the metaphorical flight attendant instructions of placing the gas mask over my own face before helping my neighbor with theirs. This professor was one of the writers of this other version of "myself" that I played a few months ago, and while calling me out on my disobedience to metaphorical flight attendants, also said "you always say that you were playing this wussy version of yourself, but I never hear you step up and take leadership."
Certainly not my most favorite pill to swallow, but she is correct.
That version of myself is/was an idea. Every day the way that I portray myself is perhaps another (maybe similar, maybe not) idea. It is super rare that I perform "myself" with a real purpose, though. And whyever not? 
Does it make me completely false if I determine at a day's beginning who I'll be that day?
Are my choices true if their motivators are pre-conceived?
But where I'm the one who would be choosing the motivators/goals/purposes for the day, does that refute the previous questions?
How do you be your youest self?
Who am I living for?
Why do I choose what I choose?


Oh, the ponders.

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