Thursday, October 09, 2008

contemplations in the aura of a headache

as the aura of my headache fades, i find myself thinking about the online art journaling course i've been taking. i'm a little behind, but have taken to traveling with a mini-stash of goodies to use to work on it while i'm in the solitude of my hotel rooms around the world. what i like about it is that it's all inspiration and no pressure. unlike an online scrapping course i signed up for thru SISTv . lots of pressure and really just NOISE there and that was a big turnoff, which caused me to drop off after the first couple of tutorials--i just haven't made time to go back to it and don't actually plan to and i'm definitely not submitting anything.

in contrast, rachel has done an excellent job of offering great journaling prompts and inspiring examples and then giving time and space to fit the assignments into your own life. it's been just excellent and as a result, i actually signed up for all three in her series.  they've been just what i needed to both be creative and try to live in and be aware of the present moment.

the prompts have been inspiring in their simplicity. things like making a list (which we know i love) that starts with "keep it interesting..." and "i want..." and "i need more..." and "currently loving..." very grounded things that help both to focus forward and to honestly take a look at where i am right now. it's felt healthy and has been a great thing to do with the time i have alone in the evenings in hotels. it has made it much less lonely.

one of the ones that i haven't done yet, but have thought about a lot was a prompt to look at things that were said to you in childhood which have shaped the way you behave today. some of my thoughts on that went into the list i did on monday. but in general, i've been thinking about the place of my personal history in the present of my life. i've been thinking about since i read an article in a 3-day-old danish newspaper in the thai lounge in singapore a few week ago. it was by poul høi, the best danish reporter writing today. he had visited midland, texas to try to get to the bottom of what has made george bush who he is. i started wondering then what the small town i grew up in would say about me. i spent the first 18 years of my life there, so it surely shaped me (for better or worse).

i know that one thing it did was make me care what people think. when you grow up in a small town, you're dependent on the opinion of those around you. they all know you. it was impossible to go astray--no skipping school or anything like that, because someone would see you and ask your folks why you weren't in school that day. so, i guess it made me basically a good kid--i didn't step too far out of line and while i wasn't valedictorian of my class (my high school boyfriend was that), i did ok and went off to college and such. because that was the other message--education is important. that may be why i collected SEVERAL degrees before i went out into the real world and got a job.

but what we do and where we spend time continues to shape us and shape people's opinions of us even after we're (ostensibly) grown up. in my current job, my previous job carries great cachet and i'm still defined by it (in a good way, luckily), despite not having been IN that job anymore for nearly a year! i'm actually perceived as someone special for having had my previous job. i shudder to think of what it would be like if it had been a liability! in a way, i'm a bit branded for life by it, at least as long as i stay in the industry i'm in.  and of course the job DID shape me and teach me a lot and much of it was positive, so in a way, it is a valid judgement. sometimes it bothers me a bit tho', because i feel that i'm MORE than just that person who had that job and i have to fight sometimes to prove that and to stand as me in the here and now and not with one foot in the past. but perhaps that's just life. we're shaped by our experiences and can never really escape from that...


Amanda said...

I have moved back to the town both my husband and I grew up in...for the purpose of raising my kids in the same environment. Of course there are things that are different, but overall, this is the same place.

My perceptions as an adult are markedly different than those when I was growing up. But this place is the same. I loved my growing up, and I hope my kids will look back and love theirs too.

julochka said...

amanda--i could NEVER go back and live there, but i'm very glad to have grown up there and like visiting (which is all too seldom). and what with my job, there's not a lot of opportunities with shipping companies there. :-) i definitely love for my daughter to spend time there tho', and she loves it too.