The following posts have no fixed theme or style, but I hope you enjoy reading them!

Saturday, 20 February 2010

You are unique and special

You are unique, you are an individual. That’s what we are told from very early in our lives. I had a book about how amazing the world was. It was a fun cartoon book and at the end was the most memorable page. It said that the most amazing thing in the world was... YOU! And there was a big mirror in the middle of the page so you could see yourself and feel special and unique. I always found that the concept that I was special and unique was a slightly odd concept. After all, there are lots of people and they are special by being unique, but how many special people can there be? If one person is special, every person is, but if everyone is special then it devalues the concept of “special”. But I was young and my parents told me it was true and I didn’t like disagreeing with them because they were big and clever.

Nowadays I feel like a mushy average of people I know, a product of my surroundings and situation, and of the people who I know. If I’m unique, it’s not in a very satisfying way! I change depending on my circumstances at any given moment. I’m possibly still unique at any given moment, but every moment is a unique point and by the definitions of my childhood, I was special and unique ten minutes ago, but I’m differently special and unique now. Now everyone is unique and special at every moment and there are an infinite number of different special people stretching round the world and back in time. The concept of “special” is getting less and less comforting.

As a child I was also told that as a person, I have a soul that lasts forever, and that is the essence of who I am that never changes. But I know I do change. The only solution is to change a small enough amount that I am still recognisable as myself. Even over a very long period, you have to stay constant because otherwise you get confused about your identity. If I remember back to what I did in the past and cannot understand the thought process behind making a decision then I have changed too much.

With all of these thoughts in mind, and being a product of my upbringing, I always aspire to be unique and constant. In the same way as an English student could read a book and tell you it’s a parable of women’s liberation or something, you could look at large chunks of my life and describe them as a conflict between trying to be unique and trying to be constant. To be unique you have to stay ahead of the game. You can’t be predictable, you have to build enough experiences and explore enough alleys that when you meet a new person, they will find you interesting, unique and special. But that doesn’t lend itself to constancy. Why do people give you such contradictions to live your life by?!

I am often told that I am fairly constant but when I was told before Christmas that I had turned into a different person, I saved the text message and it stuck in my head. It’s one of the most disturbing text messages I have ever received. I’m sure the sender had no idea how much it would affect me. To change enough to be a different person is a scary thought indeed.

Why do I desire these things so strongly? Is it a desire found only in me, in other people with the same class background and things, is it a social construct, or is it a natural instinct that has evolved for a purpose?

I want to be constant and I want to be an individual. Does anyone else, or am I unique in that?

Monday, 1 February 2010

Amusement leading into a rambling discussion of everything - if I'd done a post on each topic I could have spun it out for months

Strip pooh-sticks

Go to xkcd now! That's the amusement bit over with.

I'd almost forgotten how good it feels to be in this good a mood. I don't want to assume I'm over my bad patch because I was feeling pretty awful on Friday, but I feel good now, and that's splendid!

And the winners of the prize for cheering me up include but are not limited to: Jim & Gary from work, Lara, James, my sister Roz, Jen, and Jo; none of whom know each other except Jim & Gary

And I really don't think there is anyone who knows more than two or three of that list, how cool is that?! I feel special by being a unique cultural link between cool people. I've often thought that. The point where a person really grows up is when they have a unique group of friends that nobody else could possibly know. It's not the only definition of growing up, but it's one I like.

It's one of thoughts I have when I sit in a car at night, watching the world go by and the night sky dangle above us, over everyone. People tie each other together and we all look at the same stars blah blah blah you get the idea. I'll talk about night-driving in another post because it's wonderful and I want to take the time to write about it properly.

And the thing that cheered me up more than anything is compliments from people. One or two compliments can be passed off as someone just being nice but not truthful, and indeed you could keep going in blocking the compliments away and pretending that they didn't happen, but after a point you just let one soak in and you feel special. I make a resolution here and now to make compliments - really nice meaningful ones. Like Jim saying I'm doing a good job, or Lara saying I'm a role-model in positive thinking (I don't feel like one recently!), or Jen saying she was excited to see me, or James saying he wants to organise a night out and make sure I can come. They're all things that make me feel valued. So there we go, after all those resolutions at new year, I've got a new one. You should do it too.
Value other people, and tell them that you do

It needs doing. Like cleaning the bathroom. Well, it doesn't as much as it used to, when I was embarrassed to have guests because of the state of it (the bathroom that is). Jo would not have been impressed. I hope her boyfriend Chris didn't tell her when he came to visit a few months ago. It really is worth doing, I felt so much better for having a clean bathroom without hairs all over it and things.

Because hairs make a man more manly, and beards even more so, but they also make a man more disgusting and make everything around him disgusting too, because hairs don't stay fixed in your chest, they come out sometimes! I know. I know it well

And all the stress will go away when I go to visit my sister in France on Wednesday, which will be phenomenal (he says fumbling for words and settling on 'phenomenal', reading from the sticker on his Queens of the Stone Age album he bought online having lost it a few years ago and then forgot how good QOTSA are). Remind me and I'll do my best to report back on France in a way that I failed after my holiday in America back in October. I'm not good at reporting on holidays or events, it seems a bit formal and hard to make it interesting reading.

But then, judging from this post, interesting reading is a bit hit-and-miss with me anyway. It's a bit of a splurge, but it sums up my mood, as long as it makes sense [proviso]. It's like a rant for someone in a good mood rather than a bad mood. Is there a word for that? There should be. Why is there a word for a streaming verbal torrent of complaints and abuse, but not one (that I can think of), for a tirade of joy? Cor: "tirade of joy", that's a more extravagant phrase than I meant, but I won't take it back now. You know what I was trying to say...

Anyway, I'm so hungry it's mental. So I'll stop rambling.