Friday, February 19, 2010

Observations & Reactions

I've just finished reading the latest blog post of someone I happen to know as part of my larger social circle.  (Please note that she's an acquaintance & not a good friend of mine.)   Since I don't want to give away any clues as to the identity of this blogger, let's just call this person, "Person X" for lack of a better name.

This person's blog has a gigantic following (i.e., 200+ followers on Google Friend Connect & goodness knows how many through their Atom feed). For some reason, her gigantic following pisses me off. Not because of jealousy, but because she is a horribly selfish, petty person. It makes me angry that other people identify with what she has to say, because I want to believe in people's better natures. Maybe these people just want to be entertained, but nonetheless, it's a sad statement with regard to the mindsets of lots of people in modern society today. By following her blog, they are lending credence to what she has to say, & validating her viewpoints via their tacit agreement.

"Person X" blogs about a whole host of different topics in a very straight-forward manner. I would suspect that the reason "Person X" has such a large following is that she is extremely honest about her feelings, allows herself to appear flawed & vulnerable in the presence of others, & admits to thinking horrible thoughts that other people also think but wouldn't dare admit aloud. She basically thinks aloud on her blog.

She blogs in semi-anonymity, & so, says whatever she feels like, without impunity or a sense of responsibility to her readers. But that's not the full extent of it. She herself admits that her comments are often bitchy & mean, & frankly often says things that make my ears curl.

Honestly, the more I read this blog, the more I want to unsubscribe. But of course, there's a catch: I'm part of "Person X's" social circle, so if I unsubscribe, she will notice (i.e., I'm following her blog via Google Followers via another, non-anonymous identity), & this will cause an uncomfortable social situation, because the social circle to which I belong is a very tightly-knit one. Most of the people in the "circle" are nice, but she seems to be the sole exception to the rule. It seems there's always "rotten apple" who's intent on dragging other people down with them (to their level!)....

I think I will just stop reading her feed in my RSS reader.

I can't believe the kind of petty things this person admits to feeling. It makes "Person X" appear so very small. "Person X" is also highly competitive, caught up in the status & success game, & is extremely insecure about her image & self-esteem. She focuses way too much on external factors -- For example she's obsessed with her physical appearance & others' physical appearance to an unhealthy degree. She harshly judges both herself & others for their shortcomings, but doesn't even seem to be aware that the solution is to accept the flaws & make peace with them, instead of trying to push herself & others to unnatural states of being.

She's constantly chasing after one ambition or another, but is so caught up in the game that she doesn't know when enough becomes too much. In my estimation, she has a somewhat addictive personality, & enough never seems to be enough for her, in both her personal & professional lives. She's constantly hungering after the love & approval of others, which is almost always going to be a lose-lose proposition, as the love she really seeks can never be found externally; it is to be found within herself. She doesn't give herself the love she needs to start with, & that is really, profoundly sad.

At the same time that "Person X" decries the unsupportive manner in which many women treat each other, "Person X" also embodies the very qualities she despises. "Person X" is clearly trying to escape the traps she has set for herself by blogging about it. However, instead of escaping, she merely chases her own tail while putting down others for doing the same. She clearly cannot see herself as well as she sees others.

This person also uses speech which is not only unkind to others, but also unkind to herself. I'm not surprised, because she has been the victim of childhood abuse, & is always going on about how she doesn't want to be a victim & despises the "victim" mentality, etc., etc. It's clear that this great injustice done to her & the hurt it has caused her deserve empathy, & not reproach, & that her attempts to distance herself from the role of victim are a direct result of these experiences. However, she has thus far been unable to press the mental reset button.  In my opinion, she could greatly benefit from professional mental health counseling, to help her piece her life together & heal from the residual effects of her childhood trauma.  Her behavior is unfortunate: Instead of choosing a better path, she has taken the low road. In her flight to distance herself from her past, she has chosen hatred instead of healing:  She hasn't yet learned how to make peace with her past, & is still a gaping wound in need of mending.  She clearly despises herself, & despises the same qualities in others that she cannot abide in herself. And this manifests itself in mean, hateful declarations.

When faced with trials & tribulations, we all have a choice in our response.  Will we curl up into a ball & crumble, run away, or fight head-on the things that haunts us?  And if we choose to fight, will we be noble & dignified in our responses or continue to lash out?

"Grace under pressure," to borrow Ernest Hemingway's phrase, is rarely easy, but it is the more admirable path.

All of us are flawed, imperfect beings. However, we should not seek to judge others by a different standard than we judge ourselves. In fact, it would be healthier to suspend judgment & just move through the world with graceful acceptance of our shortcomings & move forward by working with the gifts we have been given.

From the outside, she promotes the image of herself as attractive & successful, & has many male admirers. However, inside I suspect that she is constantly feeling frantic & unbalanced. Her writing seems to support my theory.

I don't envy this person in the least. I actually feel pity for her, but at the same time, don't want to have anything to do with her.  She can keep her kind of "success," because I would rather have a balanced existence than lead the type of life she chooses to lead.

As you may have guessed, I am not a jealous person by nature & am actually fairly happy with my own intrinsic & extrinsic qualities. In other words, I clearly feel no hatred or jealously towards this person, & truly hope that, for her own sake, that this person can get their life together & align her insides with her outsides. I also hope that she will be able to see what a bottomless trap she's set for herself & will be able to dig herself out of it. However, I cannot be part of this person's universe anymore. It is corrosive & stifling to my very soul.

I choose my friends with great care, and am thankful that this person is not a good friend of mine. It's easier to pull away from someone or avoid them completely when they are an acquaintance with whom one doesn't often interact or even see with any regularity.

While I'm not perfect, I'm happy to say that the people I do choose to hold dear to me are people of much better character than this person will probably ever be. It's true that while even one's own good friends might disappoint from time to time, it's much easier to be forgiving when one knows that deep down inside, they are good people.

I guess that the real matter is that I just cannot abide pettiness & shallowness in others. These are two traits I find highly unbecoming.

I don't care what my friends look like as long as they have good character & are loyal, honest, & trustworthy. That's what matters most.

Musical Musings & Other Thoughts

It just occurred to me that I haven't written much about music here lately. Some of the first few posts were about music & then I seemed to have stopped writing altogether about it. Don't ask me why. I write about whatever comes to mind at the moment, and apparently I've been thinking a lot about writing & philosophical ideas. However, music is always there, whether it's in foreground or the background at any given moment.

And while music is really important to me, I don't feel bound to write exclusively about it here. Just because this blog is called "Of A Musical Mind," doesn't mean that I've got to stick to writing exclusively about music or write about it in the literal sense. There are many other expressions of a "musical mind" that touch upon musical ideas without directly referring to them, per se. For example, the other artistic disciplines -- dance, creative writing, & the visual arts, etc. -- all have a unique interplay with music. I like to think of all of these entities as branches of the same tree.

Furthermore, a musical mind thinks, moves, & perceives the world in musical ways. It's about moving through the world with music in one's soul. When one has a musical being, one's senses are finely attuned to the almost imperceptible aspects that others might overlook. It affects one's outlook & moods in subtle & often profound, nonverbal ways.

People who have immersed themselves in music as a serious course of study (music theory, composition, musical instrument/vocal lessons, etc.) will already have a good understanding of what this can mean. A musical mind is structured differently than those minds that haven't been seriously immersed in music for a lengthy period of time. A musical mind is both a mathematical and artistic entity.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Importance of Allowing Yourself Permission To Write Complete & Utter Dog Doo :)

Robert Frost once said that sometimes he wrote great things and other times we wrote complete & utter dog doo.  Why is this statement significant?  Because you've got to allow yourself to write some dog doo before you can write the great stuff. :)

And this requires some poetic license: However, you've got to know the rules of grammar before you can break them. So, for example, if I've got a sentence starting with the word "because," it's not because I'm some ignorant sod.  It's because I'm using poetic license. The other reason is because this is a blog, & thus, less formal writing is required.

So there. Haha.

If we get all tensed up & put pressure on ourselves to only write when it's easy, or when we know we're only going to spin gold, then ironically, the well springs of inspiration will often magically dry up and disappear.  However, if we just let ourselves write, no matter what comes out, we have a better chance of hitting the "bullseye" -- i.e., moments of great writing.

If only we can let ourselves be free and just write.  Don't think too much.  Just write.  Write from your gut.  From instinct. Write about your imperfect, messy life.  Because we aren't frozen in time.  We move through it, ever changing.

Write about what is, about ideas, about what you & other are. Versus just sitting there, waiting for the words to pop out onto the page in some perfect form.  The secret is to just let go.

Have faith in your abilities, & take a big flying leap into the Unknown.

Ideas to Ponder

A worthy man is still worthy even penniless, a donkey is a donkey even if he is finely saddled." ~Turkish Proverb

This is one of my favorite quotes.  It cuts right through all of the bullshit.  If you base your self-worth on what they do for a living or what you own, you will always feel insecure.  You'll never feel like you "have enough" to deserve to be you.

It becomes about accumulation instead of existing.  In fact, it's too easy to forget to exist when you're too busy accumulating.  This is when people forget about their friendships & their family. They get tunnel-vision & are too wrapped up in the tunneling to dig themselves out.

The current recession has "woken up" several people. Woken them up to themselves. They can no longer hide behind their money & their valuables.  The whole rat race has a lot less meaning now than it did before. Consciousness was temporarily replaced with materialism, but hopefully now it's returned to some people. And while some people probably never had it to begin with, others have found again or learned how to develop it.  This is a good thing. A very profound thing.

A wake up call indeed.

You can't go back once you've been to the land of Enlightenment.  It's irreversible.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cool or Cranky?

It recently occurred to me that sometimes what is expressed in music -- whether it is happy or sad, enthusiastic or angry, light or dark -- is often more accepted as an expression of truth than if it would be communicated via other means.

This can be expressed non-verbally via instrumental pieces or verbally via lyrics.

The same could be said of poetry.

I think it is because there are many people who are uncomfortable being confronted with these thoughts in other forms. As in, let's say, a face-to-face discussion, or a blog. :)

I often wish that other people would accept the full range of complex human emotions instead of trying to stop people from expressing them. I know that it isn't always appropriate to express every single emotion to everybody whenever one feels like it. However, that's not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about the need for people to express themselves in safe outlets -- call it poetry, music, sports, whatever. There has got to be an outlet. Otherwise, people will just snap in two.

It's not normal not to express one's thoughts & feelings. At least, not for me. And I won't be stopped, regardless of the potential censure of others.

Unfortunately, American society often tries to regulate or intentionally (or sometimes unintentionally) stunt this expression. There are many Americans who only want to hear when life is good & things are peachy-keen. Furthermore, this behavior makes it difficult for them to embrace definition of what a true & intimate friendship really is, & can only be, at best, mere acquaintances. This is because true intimacy cannot be established with those who hide themselves away & only show the perfectly arranged bits that they want others to see.

Yes, it's important to put your best foot forward, as the expression goes. However, friendship isn't a job interview. True friends will love you no matter what. Warts & all. The sooner a person comes to realize this, the better off that person will be.

We don't have to be loved by everyone, just by those who are truly worth knowing & loving. To have one tried-&-true, loyal friend is better than having 50 fair-weather ones.

But back to what I was saying.... It's one thing to be an optimist, but it's quite another to attempt to enforce "fake happiness" in others. What I mean is that there's this unspoken pressure to only express happy thoughts, i.e., which is felt not just face-to-face but also via social media like Twitter & Facebook. And if you don't play by the rules, usually one of two things happen: You get unfriended or you get unfriendly responses. Sometimes you might get empathy or mirrored expressions, but that is usually rare.

The thing about these types of repressive behaviors is that it is dangerous for a person to attempt to silence others this way. Also, it makes interactions unreal & untruthful, & typically creates a wall between people. The people who try to do this also hurt themselves. Firstly, they are hampering their own inner voices by expressing a very limited range of emotions, & are obviously working extremely hard to stiftle any feelings of their own that don't fit the mold. These are the people who usually end up going postal. :) Instead of being real with others. And they usually repress in others what they most dislike in themselves. Ironically, this can be deadening & numbing to one's spirit & soul, the exact opposite end-result of what they were hoping to produce by "controlling" the thoughts in themselves & others that they do not want to deal with or accept. If they would only give voice to these expressions, it would free them to achieve an equilibrium & peace of mind that comes from self-expression. Balancing one's insides with one's outsides can be a beautiful thing. It just takes an awareness of the complete range of one's thoughts & feelings, & the maturity & wisdom to see the benefits of allowing oneself to give into these impulses in a safe & unguarded manner. That way, they won't end up in an even darker zone that comes from ignoring one's true feelings & a perpetual pushing-down of them. Then one will either implode or explode, depending upon one's personality makeup. And that is rarely a "beautiful thing" to witness. ;)

One cannot force other people to wear a mask of happiness when they are not feeling happy at the moment. As a result, when things are not going well, the tendency is often to keep it all inside & not tell anyone. Either that, or one will just tell a trusted few.

It might sound crazy to say this, but there are a hell of a lot of people who want to only talk to you when you are feeling perfectly happy. I can't hang with these sorts of people for very long, because they will only like & accept me for the parts they like. And they only want to see those parts of me. I can't be 3/4 of a person. Maybe it's easy to keep up the charade with acquaintances, because some people just don't need to know some personal tidbits, but that sort of interaction can never develop into a deeper friendship. That'd just be living a lie, & would also be highly dissatisfying.

I reject this attempt to silence what some people don't want to hear. Frankly, the people who behave like this can all go to hell.

I am sick of constantly having to be guarded about my thoughts & feelings -- which is something I've been raised to do, even though I know that it's wise to do so in a public sphere. But here I can be free.

I will speak my mind, & they can't stop me. Take that, you repressive assholes.

Ah, that feels much better. :)

That's The Way The Cookie Crumbles.....

I just realized that I forgot to Blip on February 4th, which means that I have to start over again at zero days to build up to my Level 2 "Hot Streak" badge. I was SO close to reaching 14 straight days of blipping (which is what's required for Level 2), having starting a consecutive daily blip-roll on January 24th. Oh well, c'est la vie ...d'un blippeur. :)

Other realizations, I noticed that my previous post on "privacy" got a rather frosty response, as I went from 11 subscribers down to 3. Again, oh well. :)

Let it be known that I am not writing here for others' approval. I frankly don't need it. Sure, I'm generally a very friendly & welcoming person, but people have to understand that a large extent of what I write here should not be taken personally. I am just being true to myself, & well, if others can't hack it, then I'm sorry but I'm not going to change who I am for others.

What I write here is not just little sunny ditties to make other people feel comfortable. It's about telling the unadulterated truth of what I feel & think at any given moment. It's about freeing myself & being able to express myself openly without fear of censure.

That's why I'm blogging anonymously. Get it now?! ;)

Also, people have to understand that anything I write here is a snapshot of my thoughts at any given moment & might not reflect my current state of mind. People have a zillion thoughts flitting through their head at any given moment, & I'm not going to be held to anything I say here as a frozen, unchanging personal expression. People grow & change, so naturally, so does a person's thoughts & writings. That's why they call it a blog meme.

Anyhow, I'm glad that there are at least 5 people who don't seem to mind my unrepentant, unadulterated honesty here. :) Thank you readers; I appreciate the fact that you feel kinship with me & have shown your support by subscribing. It's nice to know there are at least 5 likeminded souls out there in the universe.