tommx: (Default)
[personal profile] tommx
I'm starting up a set of posts that are an attempt to try to help new readers understand who I am, and to give me an opportunity to reflect on who I am, who I've been, and how I got from there to here.

I have been different people at various times in my life. I mean, I've always been me, but I haven't always been this version of me. I suppose it's my way of saying that I am the sum of my parts, I guess, but the point is that if you compared me as I am today with who I was when I was, say, 14, or 24, or even 34, you'd see the same person for the most part, but there would be differences that aren't obviously related to age or maturity.

I often look back at the various versions of myself and cringe. Even reading old entries here, I can't help but roll my eyes at how blind I have been to my own privileges, microagressions, etc. They're hopefully not too glaring to the casual observer, but remembering who I was when I wrote some of them is sometimes upsetting to me. It's a good thing I didn't keep a journal in High School. Aside from the fact that my spelling was atrocious back then, I also really had my head shoved up my ass back then. Case in point, I got sucked into what I can only call a born again Christian cult. Suffice to say, I don't do a lot of bragging about that.

A sobering thing to consider, for me, is that the current president (I throw up in my soul to even say that much) has become a mirror to me, reflecting every aspect of being a cisgendered white male of a certain age in this country. I don't claim to be fully aware of the extent of my privilege, largely because I think such privilege tends to be more obvious to those who don't have it. I've come to realize that part of how my privilege manifests itself is to look at people like our current president, and unconsciously congratulating myself for not being like him. It's almost like a drug, that sense of satisfaction at not being as bad as the next guy, and it's a trap I've been trying to work on not falling into anymore.

As a man of privilege, I feel that it's on me to do what I can to help those who are being marginalized, oppressed, or otherwise held back from living their lives as they wish. There are limits to what I can do, of course, but I figure whatever I can do is better than nothing, and hopefully, what effort I make will be beneficial to someone in a real and meaningful way.

Part of the fallout of disliking previous versions of myself is that I've been hesitant to connect with people because I worry that I'm not, in some way, good enough to know them. This is another thing I've been working against recently, as is evidenced by the fact that I've been pretty brazen in my friending frenzy. This is kind of my way. Whenever I break through some sort of personal barrier or take on something new, I tend to go in head first at full speed. It may not be the healthiest way to go about it, but it's kind of what I do. Lisa tells me that she admires that about me, so I'm hoping that it's a healthy thing for the most part.

Anyway, this is the current version of me. I don't claim to be the best version of myself, but I try. My honest hope is that I do not fail any of you, but should I, I hope sincerely that I will have the self awareness to recognize it and make amends.

Date: 2017-04-14 05:20 pm (UTC)
medleymisty: (Default)
From: [personal profile] medleymisty
I think it's a good thing to grow and look back at your previous self with...well, I don't know what to call it precisely, because I know sometimes I fall into a spiral of toxic shame, and that's not good. But it is good to be able to see how you've progressed.

Have you heard of Dabrowski's theory of positive disintegration?

I'm also anxious about the connecting with people but have friended a fair few new people here lately, and now I'm all worried - but what if I mess up and post something that they hate me for?

I don't know if we're ever the "best" versions of ourselves. There's always more learning and growing to do. I've tried to come to terms with that in the last few years, and to try and accept myself as I am, knowing that I'm not perfect and I never will be, but that at I'm trying and that counts. Part of trying to deal with the self-hate and toxic shame.

You sound cool to me, if that helps. :)

Date: 2017-04-14 05:31 pm (UTC)
dorchadas: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dorchadas
I've come to realize that part of how my privilege manifests itself is to look at people like our current president, and unconsciously congratulating myself for not being like him. It's almost like a drug, that sense of satisfaction at not being as bad as the next guy, and it's a trap I've been trying to work on not falling into anymore.

This is one of the most dangerous moral traps in modern Western discourse, I think, and kudos for working to eliminate it in yourself. Even if your never manage to do it entirely, the effort is worthwhile.
"It is not your responsibility to finish the work of perfecting the world, but you are not free to desist from it either."
-Rabbi Tarfon, Pirke Avot 2:21

Date: 2017-04-14 06:00 pm (UTC)
iddewes: (magnolias)
From: [personal profile] iddewes
Nice to meet you!

Date: 2017-04-14 06:09 pm (UTC)
meepettemu: (Default)
From: [personal profile] meepettemu
Have you seen 'I am not your negro'? I haven't but it seems to speak to what you're saying here and I intend to watch it

Date: 2017-04-15 11:31 am (UTC)
kat_lair: (GEN - bloom where you're planted)
From: [personal profile] kat_lair
The best definition of privilege I've seen is 'not accepting/understanding that something is a problem because it's not a problem for you' and I try hard to keep that in mind when approaching the world/other people/discussions.

go in head first at full speed.

Date: 2017-04-17 02:03 pm (UTC)
erisreg: (Default)
From: [personal profile] erisreg
not a bad approach, unless you tend to frequent pits or cliffs,.. most missteps can be corrected,.. even if it entails healing,..

best to work on the basis of what works for you,.. because really, you can't argue with results,(though there will always be those that try)

i don't feel any older than i did 40 years ago, but once in a while my body reminds me that i might be,..

as long as i like me, i'll keep on truckin,..:)

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