Friday, 19 March 2010

Chewing the Fat

Well, most disappointed (not really) that more of you didn't enjoy my kitsch quiche post.

But more importantly, I was just thinking about self-esteem, and how that is one of the swords rammed down my throat and out through my perineum and pinning me to the floorboards, and always has been.

Self-esteem. Ffs. I don't know. I wouldn't be surprised if I come over as having stacks of it. But that is a lie. And it's been a lie since... oh I don't know... how far do I need to go back? But maybe it is better to talk of when I started to learn to fake confidence. Late teens. And yes, it was all faked. I faked it until people started talking behind my back about what a confident chap I was. What a fake. And even after then, when I recognised my fakery, I kept on doing it. It's the only way for a chap or chapess to get on, y'know.

Now I'm just over a year from forty.

The thing I find hardest now about this in-built weakness is that whenever anyone says anything complimentary (and this has always been a problem, but has got worse over the decades) I firstly don't believe them, I secondly disparage or belittle their opinion, and thirdly I ignore them.

I am a weak worm. Voiceless and clueless. Chop me in half and both bits will wriggle for a bit.

I know this mindset is false. I prefer to believe other people rather than myself. It doesn't help.

I just try these days to keep things in mind, and not be horrible to people who are being kind in their admiration. [edit - this particular instance, mostly photographically related, but also a 'sane' person telling me what a good thing I did with Wern last year, and supporting my intention to do it again]

And last of all, I blame my mother!

Take care all, Dx


la said...

Oh, bluster is easy. Throw in a wee bit of schmooze to seal the deal - proffer you hand, stretch out the other as if to touch them (but don't), make eye contact (but not too long, smile, say their name.

There you have it: confident, capable, in control and charming.

Of course, it's all just an act. It's there to dazzle. Like magicians, we trick the eye into believing what it wants to see.

But what if there's nothing underneath? What if your sense of self is transparent and ghost-like?

I hope I'm making sense and not being pretentious. Really I'm just rambling and not thinking very much about what I'm typing. A glass of water, more paracetamol, and back to bed for me.

It really doesn't matter what compliments people pay because they're complimenting the topcoat, aren't they? Not the weak little worm that you really are. If they saw that, they'd probably squish you.

I'm not a worm. I'm not sure I'm anything. Maybe just layers of paint. Did you see those sellotape sculptures? A bit like that maybe. A space in the shape of a person, where a person should be.

Out of interest, who was the sane person?

And this is much more than a compliment - know that even though we've spent very little time together, and much of that in awkward silence, you're someone who has had a profound influence on the way I think and feel. (And not what, but how.)


Bippidee said...

I can definitely relate to this. People always think that I am very confident, sure of myself etc, (sometimes I end up faking it to the point where I come across as arrogant and up myself) whereas in reality the opposite is true. My self esteem appears to be lurking somewhere at the bottom of a very, very deep hole, and is very reluctant to come out. I also find compliments very difficult to take. Sometimes I manage to just smile and say thank you (whilst inside screaming 'What on earth are you talking about?! How can you say that? Are you mad??), other times I will actually laugh if someone compliments me because it just seems so absurd. Self esteem is a difficult thing to negotiate.

Kate said...

Apologies for the lack of comment on your last. I've been too brain-numb these past few days (lack of sleep). However, I did eat quiche yesterday (in a psych hospital at that), as a gesture (and I don't even like eggs).
Self-esteem. I have the inverse: most people think I'm a flakey, timid, unasuming wreck yet, secretly, I'm full of myself. I generally avoid people hence the delusion of grandiosity inflates unchecked. That doesn't mean to so i don't also tink I'm a twat. I am, but self esteem - I have sack-loads. i just don't think anyone else thinks much of me. Hence - fuck'em.

David said...

La, yeah, squish squish squish! Super sound. And I like the sellotape metaphor. 'Sane' person was my mad cousin. And your last is very sweet (panics, and wonders what the hell I've done wrong now! :-O)

Bippi, that all sounds very familiar. The odd thing is is that perversely I can be so arrogantly sure of my own poor opinion of myself and my abilities that I look down on others' compliments as being i) incompetent (i.e. if only they knew) and ii) inaccurate (I am so effing clever I can *really* see my own worth for what it isn't)! How dreadful is that?

Kate: Ah well, chuck, you're from God's Own County, where the Real People come from! Self-esteem is bred in the bone up there isn't it? :-)

Don't mind me, I was just trying to apply a little self-honesty as a corrective.

Take care all, Dx

la said...

Once again celebrities save the day

Insecurity is ego chasing it's own tail, innit? I think the phrase I'm searching for is "locked into an onanistic frenzy of self-love and self-loathing."

(Spellchecker insists onanistic isn't a word. This is why I can't recall them by googling letter combinations - I have a greater vocab. It also says combinations isn't a plural. Well, fuck you, firefox. Aye, it understands that.)

Mo said...

I think I might recognize that delicious chocolate. Confident on the outside but smoothly weak on the inside. May contain traces of anti-compliments.

"Overconfident, hilarious, facetious, bad attitude, the funniest person I have ever met, the nastiest person I have ever met, friendly, over-familiar, hostile, passive aggressive, intelligent, superficial, an arsehole"... as an adolescent I fell into the role of court jester. It was an easy role to play. I forgot who I was, I still don't know. Actually I don't think I was ever anybody, I think I probably just invented a personality for my vacant mortal coil.

But occasionaly I think I am that confident arsehole. However, mostly I know I'm not. It doesn't matter. People expect the joker and presume animosity if I don't perform. I can hardly try and explain "Oh don't be offended, the past 40 years have all been an act, I'm actually a very miserable twat". What's a phoney supposed to do?


Best Wishes

David said...

God. What stars you all are/were. D June 2015.