Thursday, September 20, 2012

Simple Things I Never Knew About Myself

You'd think you couldn't live in a body and be so obtuse after all these years (and thousands spent on therapy, classes and a college degree that's all about self-knowledge), but I guess it's possible.

Stuff I Didn't Know About Myself
Until Now
  1. I'm emotional. I'm right-brain dominant, which is the emotional side, and I am super emotional. I've just spent much of my life (and life energy) repressing it because I live with a bunch of left-brain dominant, logical people. For some people, it's the introversion/extroversion line that causes problems with the family of origin, for me it's hemisphere dominance. Huh. Who knew?
  2. I spend a lot of time wangsting about the food I eat/don't eat. I've been on a diet (both consciously and unconsciously) for over 30 years now, and it's never worked (long term). Thinking like this does, however, serve to make me crazy. That's stupid. Skinny people who are naturally skinny aren't this insane over food. Why do people think obsessing over it will make anyone thin?
  3. Obsessing over my diet has led me to make assumptions about myself that aren't true. F'rinstance, I don't have a sweet tooth, at least nothing like your average American's -- something I never realized. I do have Chocolate Time once a month, but aside from that day, eh. It's ok, but I wouldn't cross the street for it. I'm hard pressed to eat ice cream even in summer and I detest dark meats of any kind (chicken thighs, lamb, duck, other game animals). I'm a bacon lover, but it can't be hand-cured or artisinal because I don't want to taste the underlying pig, I just want the salt. I don't like pound cake (or anything other than chocolate or my mother's carrot cake), donuts, Twinkies (urgh, pound cake) or store bought cookies. So why do I think I'm some sort of unredeemed heathen when eating? When I bother to have food cravings, it's generally for fresh tomatoes or cilantro. Does that sound like I'm out of control of my diet to anyone?
  4. I say I'm a rebel, but I spend far too much time trying to live my life to avoid negative comment. That's not rebellion, it's conformity.
  5. I'm neither a morning person nor a night owl. I feel at my best right around noon. I always assumed I was a morning person because I can't stay awake past 1am unless I'm seriously depressed, but I hate getting up before 8am. I do it, but I hate it.

I can point out to you all where these misconceptions have come from (my family as a whole, my mother, my mother and brother, my self and my mother, respectively) and you can see why I've believed them. After all, if you can't trust your family, who can you trust?

Which is, I realize now, a seriously naive way to look at life.

But seriously, who can live inside their own head as long as I have done and not realize such basic things about yourself? I've always thought I had a sweet tooth. I like candy, on occasion. I'll never say no to a Milky Way candy bar, even if I don't bother to eat it as soon as I get hold of it. But when I talked to the barista at Starbucks the other day and learned how many pumps of syrup the typical coffee drink there contains...I nearly puked. Gross. I can't even tolerate the two pumps of vanilla that goes into their hot chocolate (so I get it without), I can't imagine how big a sweet tooth you'd have to have to drink their peppermint mocha (average of 10 pumps of syrups -- not the mocha sauce, just the vanilla and peppermint syrups). Bleargh. Then I considered my own behavior. I always thought I was extreme, but I'm actually extreme in the other direction than the one I assumed. Seriously. And the one about being emotional? Jeeze. I knew I was lucky in that I'm a Jungian Introvert born into a club of the breed, but I never realized that I've been repressing my outward emotions in order to fit in with their super-logical ways. No wonder I had dysthymia -- I brought it on to fit in and feel like a normal, well-adjusted family member.

And if I'm this wrong about myself, how wrong am I when I make assumptions about other people? Assumptions. They are dangerous my preciouses, dangerous.

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