Internships, fear and becoming a real person.

I’ve decided to stop being absolutely terrified of life. Of course, there’s very little in my life that is actually fear inducing. Or rather, it’s only fear inducing in a Western orientated, over-privileged, kinda way. My fears mostly correspond to feelings of social ineptitude or intelligence insecurity. If I were to be hit by bus tomorrow (actually my bus did hit a car today) all my little tiny feelings would be put into perspective and I’d have to recognise that the fear of losing one’s physical or mental capacity to live is a real fucking fear. So, being afraid of commitment starts to look a bit irrational and douche-y.

Well, today was my first day interning for┬áthis little ngo organisation I stumbled across, one proactive Tuesday, about three weeks ago. I remember that day well, I woke up feeling well rested. So I went to work, scooped some ice cream and then went to my local library because I felt that I was ready for my ‘life’ to begin. Whatever that means.

So anyway, next thing I know I’m interviewing for a role which requires a person willing to use their full brain capacity. And then they offer me the role. And, I’m supposed to just, you know, give up this flake-y, nocturnal existence which centers around excessive eating and partying. I had very little responsibilities, and even less┬áto aspire to. I got to focus on myself and didn’t have to deal with any scary tension filled situations concerning a mistakenly dictated phone number. So, for a really long time, I was happy working in a job which required very little energy. There was, like, a zero likelihood of career progression. But, there was also no pressure. No one expected anything from me. I didn’t really care what my managers or co-workers thought of me because this is just a temporary gig. I felt okay about being inept at my crummy job because ineptitude is practically part of the job description.

Not that this internship is the bees knees. I mean, they’re not paying me or anything. But, jesus christ, did one of the guys impress the shit out of me today during my first meeting. Sometimes, you get used to people doing something well, patting themselves on the back and being satisfied that whatever they did worked well enough. But this guy, and this company, they want to help. They want to help in the best way and they want know if there are better ways to help. It’s been a while since I was around people with a vision I can get behind.

My favourite part was when they were talking about expenses and booking flights and stuff and looking out for the cheapest thing because they’re aware that the majority of the funding is supposed to be spent on the people they wish to help. Not on their own comfort.

So armed with optimism, I’m going to put aside my fear of failure and enjoy the shit out of working alongside inspiring people because I forgot this was an option. I know it’s what ngos should be like, but, they never are. I think, I stumbled across something here. I hope that I can appreciate it and not lose my shit completely. ‘Cause that would be embarrassing.

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On the impossibility of knowing who we are.

I’m not really sure where the idea of stability and consistency of human character came from but I have a feeling that it’s more of a wishful thinking sorta thing rather than an indubitable fact. I mean, if we go back to basics and pull our gaze away from our puny little lives and look at the larger world around us we can identify that everything is in flux, easily enough. I mean, change is something that happens. Lets just accept that. I’m not saying whether its good or bad but it is there. It’s an ingredient of life.

Going back to basics, even the earliest of philosophers understood the variability of the sensorial world. Some may have thought that change was constant, others, like, good aul Heraclitus, accepted change and argued that we acknowledge that some change helps sustain and preserve things in a certain state. I’m not gonna go into the whole river philosophical theory thing but basically: same river, different water.

So back to change in relation to humans. So I guess, I can admit that there is something essentially stable at the core of our existence. I am who I am and people can recognise me as me because I have certain physical and psychological features which remain relatively unchanged. Yet, as we grow we undergo minor physical and psychological changes. We grow tall and mature, we continue to age and our features begin to blur. Our youth fades and we become frail. But, if we take an even more narrow look at ourselves then we can see that we go undergo minor changes to our personality on a daily basis depending on our moods.

We play with versions of ourselves and try preserve the ones which are accepted and rid ourselves of the habits that lead to even the most minor of social exclusions. Other people’s opinions matter. Thus, we spend life naturally growing and deliberately making changes to our body and mentality. Sometimes, these are conscious decisions but most of the time our personality is the result of a collection of knock on effects resulting from deliberate alterations.

So essentially, we try to understand ourselves and to a certain extent we succeed. However, I’m starting to think that our ignorance of ourselves is revealed when we begin a relationship with another human being. I guess, I’m talking about a romantic type of relationship where you try put forward the best version of yourself. But in attempting to intimately merge yourself with another you start to rediscover parts of yourself. Or rather re-evaluate our pre-existing notions of ourselves, our attitude, mentality and body. We take on another’s interpretation of ourselves and try to match it up our subjective understanding of our character. Example: B thinks A is funny. A likes and accepts this. Therefore, A is considered to have a good sense of humour by A ’cause B said so. More, or less.

I feel like we’re all very much like play-doe. We essentially have the same core and consistency but we have the ability to mold and change ourselves. But, others can change us too. Like the physical, social and cultural worlds have a major impact on our character. If these are drastically changed then we too undergo change. But funnily enough, if you stop and think about it, our desire to stop change and sustain a certain way of life helps the world around us change a little less. Or rather, it helps slow down the change to allow for a gradual acceptance of it.

So in life, we travel through different stages, changing slightly or drastically at different points. I guess, I think that it doesn’t matter that we’re inconsistent, unstable and changeable beings. But, when you get into a relationship and you want to be honest about who you are I think that it’s important that we try figure out who we are at this particular point in our lives. It may be that I’m not the person I was a few months ago and haven’t gotten around to realising it just yet.

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