by thea marie
An entry written for my daily journal.
Journal Entry 10/15/03
I have always been fascinated by people. Lately, I find myself just sitting and observing a lot, wondering how some people came to be as they are. Or as they aren't. As a teacher for many years, the study has been wide ranging and ongoing.
Fundamentally, I believe that everyone is the product of what, from whom, and from where they come. It's interesting to me how people can come from essentially the same background, but turn out so differently. My own siblings and I are a case in point. Raised closely by the same two parents in the same household, we have evolved into four very different people, different even from our parents.
The personal diversity in the characteristics of people is endless and seems to not be bound by social strata, culture, religion, and race.
I sit and watch my students sometimes and wonder why it is that some are so confident and outgoing, while others are shy and retiring? Did something happen early on in their lives to make them that way or are they as they are by nature? Why are some so self-reliant and others so needy? Why are some so intrinsically motivated while others need that extra cranking from the outside to get that motor started?
I enjoy observing my co-workers and other contemporaries. Why is it that some people seem to light up a room with their presence and others send the occupants of a room running from it? How come some people crave the company of others, and some just want to be left alone? Why is it that people who prefer to be alone are generally thought of as lonely? My personal experience has been that it's often the other way around.
Everybody has their own story to tell, I guess, and everybody is a story that can be told. Now that's an interesting, intriguing concept for a writer, isn't it?
I’m always amazed myself and most fascinated by those individuals who seem to have an all-encompassing need to be noticed and/or acknowledged by others. They seem to be personally sustained, fulfilled, driven even, by how they appear to other people. They go to ridiculous lengths to shape themselves into any possible form to conform to how they think others will or how they want others to perceive them. Our modern day celebrities come to mind. Despite their enormous fame and wealth, some do the most inane things to, I assume, keep the spotlight on themselves. Instead many end up blinding themselves to reality with that same light.
I always feel so sorry for them and find myself thinking what a monumental effort it must take to constantly try to keep up appearances. I tell you, I get worn out just watching and reading about them.
If only they realized it’s all for naught; the audience for whom they are performing really doesn't care what goes on behind the curtain. That is, unless a skeleton or two manages to two-step out of the closet or some carelessly laid mess happens to hit the fan. Then the individual who so craved that spotlight becomes a topic of much discussion, and most likely, derision. It happens with celebrities and it happens with the private citizen who sets himself up in this way for that kind of fall. There's something to be said for keeping that head low.
Personally, I've always been just too lazy for any of that. It takes too much effort to put on airs that aren't mine to wear. They never seem to fit me quite right. That attitude used to get me into trouble when I was younger and more under thumb. Now people tend to just let me be. The older I get, the less I care what people think of me. I'm all I have to offer. Love me or leave me.
I'm amused by the comments I often get from others who say that I seem to be so sure of myself. I wish I could tell them that all it really boils down to is that I’m too lazy and too tired to do or be anything else at this point in my life. It’s so much easier and better on the nerves to just show up, be me, and have people take me as I am. It eliminates most of the guess work for me and for the people with whom I have to interact.
As kids, I remember we used to laugh about how old people didn't care what they said to you or care about what they did. Secretly, I always admired that about them.
Now I understand.