Seeing Ourselves

I streamed myself the other day (it’s not a painful as it sounds). I did a 40 minute gig as part of a larger fund raising event and we were all streaming from our living rooms or bedrooms. Considering my lo-tec setup the sound was reasonable but my video (visual) was horrible (a combination of my iPhone doing its thing and my lack of experience in streaming). On a scale of one to ten for embarrassing moments this was a zero so nothing, really, to write about.

The reason I bring this up is that when I played the video back I didn’t like what I saw sat in that chair. I’m out of shape, I know it and I feel it. This wasn’t an epiphany, just a visual confirmation. So I’ve resolved to go on a low carb diet again and after only a few days I feel a difference. I don’t know what’s been different about this week but I’ve also been feeling different on the inside and I think it might be about what I’m consuming mentally. I can’t prescribe the answer but I can illustrate through example.

Sometimes a simple thought can have dramatic effects but only if there’s something foundational to build upon. You don’t wake up one morning deciding to change your life dramatically and then do it unless there is some blueprint you already have in your mind but haven’t been able to translate into reality. I don’t think I woke up with this thought. Rather, it came after bingeing on TikTok. My recollection is that much of it is trash but there are some pretty amazing, unique and talented people out there who we wouldn’t normally come across.

It confirms what a pile of crap [Some Country’s] Got Talent is. There are tons of amazing people in our communities, on our streets and in our families and they put most of the BGT stars in the shade. In reality celebrities are paid ridiculous sums of money for being boringly average. If you want to be significant you only need to be significant to a relatively small number of people — there’s no need to be famous. When you are famous you are shared around so much there’s nothing left of you. It’s an illusion.

My simple thought didn’t spring from this conversation in my head. But when you pull something out of the ground you often pull up something else with it. I’m prone to reliving my history and it not being a bedtime story. This morning it occurred to me that every turn my life has taken, has come about through my own choice. I couldn’t recall anything of signicance where I was forced to take a particular turn. Even now I can hear my mind unearthing some incident to contradict what I just wrote but, in essence, it’s still true.

On the surface this might sound depressing. That I self harmed my chances of achieving my goals or sabotaged chances of happiness is not a positive thought but at least it puts me in control. In it’s own way it makes me significant. If I am to blame I don’t need to look for scapegoats or believe life has been inevitable. If I was in control then, I still am (to the extent I have agency in different aspects of my life). In my defence some of the situations I’ve found myself in, made decisions difficult and I can give myself a break for being human.

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You might not see this as a great revelation, and it isn’t really, but it’s a particular piece in my jigsaw. It changed my mood and outlook for the day. I got up, made myself a filter coffee and experimented with scrambled egg in the microwave (which turned out well). Then I got my laptop, erased the blog post I was writing and began this.

I believe most of us have had out-of-body experiences where we see ourselves in the third person as if we are being given a trailer, slideshow or Powerpoint, replaying our past from a relatively unbiased angle. Those aha quotes and memes we would like to stick on the fridge door are almost always no more than decoration and brain candy. But we have blueprints hidden in a drawer, waiting for a true aha moment. The quote must come from you.

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