Confesiuni incomode ale lui Casey: # 6

Uneori, cred ca creierului meu lipseste putinul care se potriveste de obicei undeva intre generatorul de gandire si statia de comunicare. Cred ca trebuie sa-mi iau filtrul inapoi si sa obtin o rambursare. Sunt de atatea ori in viata mea in care am spus ceva, apoi a trebuit sa locuiesc in linistea penibila, in timp ce toata lumea – inclusiv eu – se intreaba de unde a venit naiba.

O ocazie deosebit de glorioasa a fost cand am fost cu prietenul meu si ne-am intamplat sa-i vedem pe parintii lui care luau cina. S-a dus sa-mi spuna salut in timp ce eu cumparam mancarea noastra, apoi s-a intors si mi-a spus cum tatal sau a facut o gluma ca stateau la „masa misto”, ca sa nu ne putem alatura.

Inainte de a continua aceasta poveste, trebuie sa subliniez ca tata lui a speriat luminile vii din mine. Nu numai ca era unul dintre acei oameni linistiti, misteriosi, plini de intimidare. Eram ingrozit, cred ca nu sunt suficient de bun pentru singurul sau fiu.

Desigur, am fost doar politicos ca am trecut si eu sa salut. In timp ce ne apropiam de masa, am incercat sa gasesc ceva amuzant pentru a intra in legatura cu gluma, ceva de-a lungul liniilor de pe care l-am cumparat pe uncool inapoi la masa ta. * Cue cheesy a inregistrat rasul * Un milion de optiuni mi-a trecut prin cap, in timp ce am cautat cu disperare singura fraza ingenioasa care sa aminteasca si sa castige aprobarea tatalui infricosator al iubitului meu. Din pacate am intrat in panica si intr-o tentativa din ultimul sant de a veni cu ceva pe care l-am izbit accidental:

„Imi pare rau, nu suntem suficient de cool pentru tine ?!”

Nu m-a privit. Nu a spus niciun cuvant.

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El a continuat sa-si manance masa, a privit drept inainte si, probabil, si-a imaginat o lume mai buna in care nu a plouat niciodata si nu ma intalneam cu fiul sau (din fericire, nu dupa mult timp, si-a luat dorinta).

Intre timp am mers rosu aprins pana la taurul local care a luat cu asalt CBD-ul lui Auckland, mancand masini si terorizand copiii mici.

Multumesc, filtrul creierului. Intr-adevar am avut spatele acolo, nu-i asa?

Marturisirea penibila # 6: M-am ingrozit sa am postat online aceste confesiuni. Ingrozit. Dupa prima noastra discutie despre posibilitatea de a-mi pune gandurile in ceva asemanator unei scrieri, a fost nevoie de Sam cateva luni bune pentru a-l elimina. Chiar si atunci am continuat sa scot inevitabilul, pieptanand fiecare postare, incercand sa gasesc vreun faux-pas accidental, asigurandu-ma ca nu ma trezesc ca un zgomot complet. Am vrut sa fiu reala despre experientele mele, dar si urasc sa fiu vulnerabil. Cu atat mai mult, urasc sa-mi recunosc greselile. Fiecare post nou a fost insotit de frica infioratoare. Daca oamenii cred ca sunt ciudat? Daca oamenii cred ca sunt prost ?! Ce se intampla daca sunt gresit?!? Ce se intampla daca NU Imi place NICIODATA?!?! CE DACA TOTUL GASESTE SUNT FAC?!?!? DE CE AM GANDIT IN CAPSLOCK?!?!?! MAYBE SUNT CRAZY !!!!!!! AAAAAAH *EXPLOZITIE A BRAINULUI *

Nu am reusit niciodata destul de bine sa prind echilibrul dintre smerenie si nesiguranta. In crestere, am incercat intotdeauna sa fiu modest si niciodata, niciodata, nu m-am complimentat cu nimic.

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Strategia mea de smerenie de a nu recunoaste niciodata nimic bun despre mine s-a transformat rapid in sentimentul ca nu exista nimic demn pentru mine. Opinia mea despre mine s-a bazat exclusiv pe opiniile celor din jurul meu. Chiar daca credeam ca sunt gunoi, atata timp cat alti oameni credeau ca sunt bine, tot puteam sa ma trezesc dimineata.

Because of this I always sought the approval of others, in particular my parents. I quickly learnt that I got the most praise when I achieved something, so I pushed myself to do everything, be the best, get good grades, all the usual stuff you’ve heard a thousand times before. Woe is me. Unfortunately my parents had set the bar rather high – Head Boy and Head Girl at the same time (a bit cute), captains of the top rugby and netball teams, Dad was dux, Mum won the‘all-rounder’ trophy. They pretty much ticked all the over-achiever boxes. I, however, did not. I always hovered on the cusp of greatness, at the upper end of average but never quite crossing the threshold into true awesomeness. I made the logical-ish assumption that my parents would never be proud of me because I had achieved nothing compared to them. I was a disappointment, a failure.

My obsession with achievement meant I quickly became disillusioned with God. My somewhat skewed interpretation of Christianity led me to believe that anything I was good at I had to give all the credit to God, but all the bad stuff, all my faults were all me. The way I saw it, Christianity taught me that I was just a useless, sinful, unworthy shell and all I could do was hope that God might work in me to do something good. I hated Christianity for taking my achievements away from me. The only thing that gave me value was my achievements, if I couldn’t take credit for them I had nothing. I was nothing.

I hated going to church because I felt like I was surrounded by happy people who had it all together. From what I could see I was the only one who was a mess, so church was ironically where I felt the most lonely. I remember going to a sermon on insecurities where the pastor talked about this amazing girl he used to date. It was the usual story: beautiful girl, kind heart, drives a 2 hour round-trip to volunteer at a youth group every Wednesday, great at sport, sponsors 2 children, intelligent, hard-working, completely perfect in every way. And … dum dum dummm … she was insecure *shocked gasp*. I did NOT see that coming! I sat there thinking ‘I am none of those things… Does that mean I should feel insecure?’

I may or may not have taken things a little too far…

For a start, credit has nothing to do with it. God has given me gifts (at least I hope he has… I’ll have to get back to you on that one). He didn’t give them to me to rub it in that He’s better than me. He didn’t give them to me to make me feel guilty. He didn’t give them to me to make me feel useless. God has given me gifts because He wants me to have them. He gave them to me to make the most of them. My decision to embrace these gifts and pursue the path God wants for me is just as honourable as any achievement I might have along the way.

Humility also isn’t about giving credit. It isn’t about self-deprecation. Humility doesn’t ask us to feel depressed or unworthy. Humility doesn’t diminish our strengths, it merely acknowledges our weaknesses. Humility recognises that we have a need. Humility reminds us that maybe we aren’t the most important person in the universe. Humility is what reigns us in when we have arrogant jack-ass tendencies.

I would love to say I have grown and evolved and my insecurities are like, soooo totally high school. They’re not. From time to time I still have irrational freak-outs worrying that everyone thinks I’m a loser. I still have mornings where I look in the mirror and think I look like a dude. I am still very critical and self-deprecating (a side-effect of living in Australia. Every time I said something stupid I got into the habit of anticipating the response – ‘yes, I know, I suck and so does my country. Thanks guys.’). Saying something good about myself still makes me feel a bit sick. But I have been working very hard to re-train my thoughts to be confident in the person God made me to be.

I am smart-ish and capable and real and, so I’ve been told, “kind of” a babe (was going for“completely”, but what can you do…). I am also incredibly and irrevocably flawed. But it’s not my job to judge myself. When I reach the pearly gates I’m not going to find a note saying “If you really think you’re good enough, come on in. If not please take the door to your left, go down 3 flights of stairs, turn right, knock 3 times on the door saying ‘6H’ and enjoy an eternity in hell. Love, Big JC xoxo” At the end of the day, it’s just not my call. It is my responsibility to discern my sins and repent. I definitely have a lot of weaknesses and I acknowledge the need for God in my life. But it is not my job to punish myself. I punished myself for years and it was paralysing.

I think as a culture we tend towards bringing ourselves down, and quite often we bring others down to our level so that we don’t feel so bad hovering in the undergrowth. Whatever happened to encouragement? Encouragement is AWESOME! We should be encouraging each other all the time. Every time someone gives me a word of encouragement about my writing it makes me want to kiss them (in an on-the-cheek, totally cool and European kind of way). It builds me up and helps contain the cycle of fear that spirals around in the dark patches of my head. I appreciate knowing that I don’t just crack myself up. This is in no way a request for future compliments. Rather, it is a challenge. These blogs have been posted on a public forum so they pretty much automatically ask for a response. But my question to you is this: what are the little things the people around you have been doing that make your day just that little bit brighter? Who in your life could you be encouraging more?

My second, much more difficult question, is what should you be encouraging in YOU? What do you think God values in you? What do you like about yourself? Eeek, I know it’s a bit awkward. But there must be something. Encouragement is important but if you’re stuck in a rut of self-loathing the real change has to happen in you. It starts with whatever is going on inside your head. What are you telling yourself? Even with high-fives and positive affirmation from those around us, our self-talk can be remarkably different to the truth. My suggestion is to take out that ‘I suck’ cassette tape that you’ve been playing on loop and upgrade to the mental iPod of awesomeness. Welcome to the 21st century, where technology is smarter than you but you’re cool anyway. It’s a world where confidence and arrogance are actually two different things – hence the two different words (a dead giveaway). You can believe in yourself without being excessively superior and self-involved. And let’s be honest, if you do turn into an arrogant prat I’m sure you have a friend who will slap you out of it. If not, I will gladly volunteer my services. I’m good like that.

Growing up is a bit scary, but as we get closer to dropping the ‘young’ and becoming real adults it’s time to make friends with ‘responsibility’. Take responsibility for your mistakes. But also take responsibility for acknowledging and developing your strengths. No matter what you think, they do exist – you just have to find them and believe in them.

Let me put it a different way. The Wright Brothers created the aeroplane. Even if you think they cause too much pollution and the seats in economy don’t have enough leg room, you have to admit that what they created is pretty amazing. When they are going in the right direction and are piloted in the right way they are truly incredible. The Wright Bros themselves were pretty cool dudes (plus Orville had a particularly snazzy moustache) and no-one would insult them by saying their creation is crap.

Well, God created you. Think about it.