Thursday, February 16, 2012

Onions, Jeans, Jewels, Me

    This last year has been a constant revelation of my fluid nature. I feel as though my soul, my essence is being peeled away like an infinite onion. Each layer removed, sometimes painfully, to reveal a deeper, simpler layer. And like peeling an onion, there have been many tears shed. Tears are an indisputable consequence of peeling onions.
    Today, I am exploring the predawn mental meanderings that made me think that so much of my fluidity, false starts and sometimes gender-bending explorations of self are merely an attempt to find just one place where I might fit in. I have felt like an outcast, outsider and misfit all of my life. Through school I was one of a handful of Invisibles, hanging onto the fringe of the social groups, never fitting, never understanding what was required to fit, and not sure I wanted to. As a child, teen and young adult, this was a painful and uncomfortable reality. I envied the people who always seemed at ease, happy, and socially acceptable. Over the years I did learn to emulate this behavior, externally at least. I can slip, chameleon-like, into almost any social scenario. I can chat up nearly anyone about almost anything. I have developed excellent listening skills which help me understand what someone feels comfortable discussing. I have a strong empathic ability to know what someone needs from me, be it a smile, a hug or silence. I enjoy interacting, feeling a connection, even if I still feel like the stranger in a strange land.
    The upside, is that to all appearances I do fit in anywhere. The true downside is that I have constantly struggled to find one place where I do truely fit. One group that might be the puzzle in which I am the final piece. So what I realize I have done, is slip into different social groups, explored alternative situations, sought the fringe groups that drift about on the edge of society. I have slipped into these situations as if I am in a fitting room, trying on jeans in an attempt to find the one pair that fits me like a glove (or like a damned good pair of jeans). What I have found is that, like jeans, I am not an easy fit. Each group may have some defining characteristic that I identify with, but only one characteristic. Like jeans; this pair is long enough but the waist is too loose, this pair fits the waist but the rise is wrong, this pair makes me look deformed. Why is it seemingly impossible for me to find a fit?
    I admit, this search for a good fit has led me into some very interesting groups. It has made me come to erroneous conclusions about my nature as I see one characteristic and think, "Yes, finally, that's me." But then I step back to see the whole picture and realize that all I was seeing was one unimportant pixel in the overall view. It has caused me to make declarations, that at the time seemed appropriate and true, only to have to rescind them later with a feeling of sheepish gullibility. Many may wonder why I feel such a need to find my "Fit," a group, acceptance. Why? Because I am human. Humans are pack animals. I may be an Introvert, so to all outside observations antisocial, but I still need the physical acceptance of a pack, even be it a pack of one. I feel the need, desire and requirement of contact with other similar beings. I am not seeking a group as a source of personal validation, or for approval for my Self. I am searching for a deeper level of understanding and of companionship, contact, and acceptance for who I truely am.
    Where does all this onion peeling, crying, and trying on of jeans get me? A deeper understanding of myself, and an ability to admit attempts and mistakes. I don't know that many people (especially of my age) put themselves through such rigorous and fluctuating behaviors. Many might read these words and think I am either insecure, shallow or schizophrenic. Maybe. But I think not. Insecure? Sometimes. Shallow? If I were, would my journey in search of Self be so arduous, painful, and difficult? No. Schizophrenic? No. Bipolar, yes, but not unmanageably so. I make these attempts, painful and uncomfortable as they may be, in order to discover truths about myself. Failure is often just part of the process. The failure can be every bit as revealing as success, maybe more so, though it is also far more uncomfortable and a cause for not a little humility.
    But what I realized today, after gestating on the pre-dawn maunderings, is that I will likely never find one group in which I fit. No single group could satisfy, explain, or define me and my multitude of facets. For that is what these different aspects of my personality truely are; Facets. And really, what are facets? They are the the different faces of a jewel, small and large faces, that are the reason a jewel sparkles. Facets are unique and individual to each jewel. Facets help hide any small flaws, small imperfections that are really not important to the value of the jewel. I have many Facets, each one with its own angle, each one making me a unique Jewel that will glint and shine in my own unique way. I do not need to fit anywhere but within my own setting.

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