A friend of mine once advised me against giving all of myself away, and shared with me that some things should be “just for me”. I was familiar with the concept…even wrote about it years before…but when I heard it at that precise moment, it “clicked” in a different way.
We’ve all, at some point, either witnessed or gone through the “Mine!” phase that all children go through. That experience of joyfully playing with a toy, or sitting in a loved one’s lap, and another “competitor” (who usually doesn’t even realize they’re such) comes up and wants to share that experience… All of a sudden something (or someone) that was taken for granted and the implied eternal loyalty of our now extra-beloved friend or object is “at stake” of being compromised, and there is a sudden surge of possessiveness that rises up and those infamous furrowed eyebrows and the barked “Mine!” appear out of nowhere.
What happens when that beloved object is one’s sense of self?
With the advent of reality television, I’ve noticed an increased use of video diaries and even recently watched a documentary that was formatted in this way for about half of the time. These video diaries contained many of the most intimate parts of the documentary footage, because it wasn’t just observing the person’s life and interpreting a set of events…the video diary portion was the person’s actual thoughts, emotions, revelations, fears, and so on – a journey into the very “self” of the person. From these diaries it was fairly easy to connect to how that person actually was outside of the persona that was projected in [or inferred by the] public.
Of course, they chose to make these diaries public, but I find a lot of value in just the act of creating them to begin with. Video or audio diaries have a different depth than the traditional written diary, and here’s why: we can audibly verbalize much quicker than we can write. And for a person whose mind is full of ideas, heart is full of emotions, and who receives understanding and makes certain connections as the thoughts come sometimes those moments can be lost in trying to put ink to paper. Seems weird and might not make sense, but the temptation is to “edit” what’s written, whereas a video or audio diary just “is what it is” typically. Conversely, a written diary seems to encourage a decision about which thoughts to actually pen, so reviewing it tends to read with the fascination of a novel.
Nevertheless, keeping a diary of ANY form has value because most of us have far too many thoughts and ideas to stay “squoze” (yes, squoze…keep it movin’) up inside. And taking just a brief moment to get them out in SOME kind of way is much healthier than keeping them bottled up and trying to “sort through” them…that’d be kinda like dressing a baby before it’s born – good luck with that.
Another benefit of keeping a diary is having a “friend” to talk to, without bitching about the same shit and eventually realizing they’re not really paying you much attention anyway…you have become white noise. With a diary, there’s no misinterpretation of intent or meaning and therefore no temptation to offer advice where there was none requested, and no hurt feelings when that advice is ignored or when the action taken seems to be completely opposite what was “advised”. With a diary, you can be as silly, zany, discombobulated, confused, concerned, opinionated, angry, frustrated, inventive, deep, upset, emotional, revealing, perverted, experimental, curious, steadfast, strong…(you get the point)…as you wanna be, and no one is judging you except you.
Of course, thinking about it, hopefully we all have at least one person who comes to mind as our living/breathing diary…and we cherish that person to no end. Maybe that person is even our chosen life partner. But for illustration purposes, that person is excluded right now, because even with that person, as implied in the beginning of this entry, some things should be “just yours”. And this is not to discount the value of that relationship…it’s actually to preserve it. We know how WE need a break from our thoughts at times, so if another person is receiving them all the time how do they have time or space for their own?
So getting back to the concept of “mine”… I’m the first of many siblings (I have 6 of them, to be exact), so I had to share all the time. It wasn’t an option to keep anything for just myself. I had a brief period in my teenage years where I was alone, but as a very involved teenager I still didn’t learn how to tend to “just me”, or that I SHOULD actually learn how to “be”, independent of outside feedback. It was just habit to seek counsel and advice from everyone and everywhere except my own core. Is there value in having another perspective besides our own? That goes without saying. But if external feedback is the primary sustenance for our personal growth, therein lies a serious problem.
Allow me, for just a brief moment to make an important and controversial observation. Raised as a Christian, I was taught by well-intended Bible believers that we should “trust in the Lord with all [our] heart, and lean NOT to [our] own understanding.” So how or why would I ever learn to trust myself to make good decisions without first seeking my warped concept of God? What I thought or felt didn’t matter, unless it aligned with what my concept of God said was the right thing. And how did I access that concept? By comparing notes with other “believers” to ensure a right interpretation of what I thought I should do. In retrospect, to call this dysfunctional and crippling would be an understatement.
I held onto this way of existence for a very long time, relatively speaking. [I’m only 38, so it hasn’t been “that” long.] And it wasn’t until fairly recently that my understanding of “God” evolved into fully accepting that I actually AM God. How did I come to this heretical stance? It is impossible to take anything from infinity. And if God is all there is and my being here is just another expression of the infinity of that very God-energy, then I am still that same energy…just manifesting in another form. Therefore, being cloaked in this human shell that I wear, my experiences and upbringing merely taught my human form how to be and perform in this world. This means that “seeking God”, “praying”, and other terms for connecting to our understanding of what or who God is means actually pausing our humanity and stilling our minds to allow ourselves to more clearly express the divinity that we are…where we “know the Truth, and the Truth makes us free”. Only when we marry ourselves to the idea that what we need is outside of ourselves or somehow away from us or NOT us, do we find ourselves fumbling, stumbling, and otherwise just plain ol’ fuckin’ up. (My humanity came back.)
And this is where a diary is helpful. Because no matter how many times I forget who or what I am, I can go back and process my own madness to once again arrive at a place of not only functioning but maximizing my life experience with a renewed sense of self. I can walk away from those pages, that recorder, or that camera and know that I was able to work my way through some of the clutter without burdening another soul…and what’s left is all “MINE”.