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no audience

So I've isolated myself here in my room, trying to get some packing done. I need to clean up this place so that when the movers come Thursday they can just take the big stuff and the rest will be in boxes. Frightening.

But that's not what this is about. It's about how packing's not happening. I just finished reading the incredible Gaiman novel, American Gods, and it kind of has me in this odd frame of mind.

I'm sitting here feeling powerless. I've isolated myself, zephyr is mostly quiet, the house is being quiet as people are downstairs watching TV or whatever it is they do when they're not packing their rooms... And I have no audience. It's like, if no one is looking at me, am I really here?

Good thing for LiveJournal.

Make me wonder how much of this factors into others' lives... Obviously it must be variable, since there are hermits and the like out there (or so we believe; after all, is it even possible for us to have heard the true tale of a successful hermit?)



It occurs to me that up through high school, my parents filled that role. They came from on high, provided punishment where I slacked off, encouragement when I did good, and the world was a predictable place. I went off to college, though, and then none of that was there. I could slack off with minimal immediate consequences (though the long-term effects were still felt, keenly). I wonder what it was I was looking for in friends, in the way I interacted with people; I look back on it and I think all I've ever wanted was an audience.

How does that factor into how I interact with people today? I think I'm a little better about this, but... I get antsy when things are happening that don't center on me for too long; I can't sit in a meeting and just listen at work, at least not without making the occasional attempt at contributing, even if I have nothing serious to say. Conversations with friends don't work so well if I'm not an active participant. Am I self-centered? How do I stop being so? Have I already started getting better? What was it I used to be?

Interesting line of thoughts. I need to work on just listening to things, and picking up information, rather than listening with the intent of proving that I'm listening. I always thought those people who listened and just said "uh huh. yup. right." were pretending to listen, just sitting back and going on autopilot. But now I wonder if they're actually hearing more of what's being said than me, when I say what I think are intelligent, responsive things to what's being said.

Just some thoughts on my way to trying to be a better person.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
chaiya
Jul. 21st, 2002 09:16 pm (UTC)
Being a better person is a good thing. This was a good post, Chris -- I have delayed writing because I couldn't think of something cohesive to respond with. But this wasn't a really cohesive entry, and the time has come for me to add my $0.02, so here we go! :)

Everyone is self-absorbed, to some extent. This is a good thing, for many people. It leads to self-reflection (current entry being a perfect case-in-point) and self-discovery. But most people are social creatures -- they require outside confirmation, affirmation, etc. This is also a good thing. We learn to live with ourselves while living with others. Sounds like you're doing a lot of that in this journal -- learning how to live with others while figuring out your own internal stuff.

Not that I like hearing myself talk, or anything. *grin*

You have an audience. We may sometimes be mute with awe (or confounded by rage, or laughing hysterically off our chairs), but we're here. I often utilize LJ as a tool for checking external references. Sounds like you're doing that here, to some extent. Keep it up, Chris -- all this figuring out is good for ... something, I'm sure of it. ;)

*hugs
crs
Jul. 21st, 2002 09:26 pm (UTC)
checking external references...
Yeah, some of what I do in LJ is, basically, trying to figure out where I deviate from societal norms... Am I being a jerk for thinking this? Am I being reasonable? That's the question I most need answered lately, somehow...

I guess I grew up kind of isolated from societal norms. My parents ingrained into me a fiercely strong rejection of convention, and while that's a good thing... Sometimes you need convention. That's where comparing notes like here comes in. (Thankfully, one of the conventions my parents got me to reject was the 'being tight-lipped about how you feel' stoic man thing...)

Though I think at the time I wrote this post originally it was more of a "someone tell me I'm doing something right here" mood than anything else... Or maybe it was a "someone witness that I'm at least trying" moment. I don't quite remember the context, but it was something like that.

Or maybe just "someone give me a hug..." *hug* I get that way when I'm tired... Thanks :)
chaiya
Jul. 21st, 2002 09:36 pm (UTC)
Re: checking external references...
Can my replying count as a "someone witnessing that I'm trying?" And I DO think that you're doing something right, here. You're opening yourself up, examining what's there, and inviting the insights of others. That's not only fucking brave, that's really essential to leading a better life. The unexamined existence really isn't worth much.

*morehugs* (Although I do think that talking about getting tired and maybe "just" needing hugs can be a cop-out ... watch out for that. :)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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