I have always been intrigued about why people are the way they are whether it is a real person or a figment of some creator’s imagination. Have any of you known relatives who are old enough to remember every bitter reality of the Great Depression? Were some of them so frightened about trusting strangers with their money that they hid it under some loose floorboards or in a gigantic pillow case. They may have been foolish but their foolishness was still reasonable because at one time a bank may have failed and told them that their life savings was gone. Batman’s vigilante heroism began when a maniac murdered his parents and he began a lifelong battle to destroy other monsters. Penguin was a monster only...not. He was borne deformed and thrown into the sewer to be raised by Penguins and circus people. His parents could have sent him to a special school and understand he did not choose these realities. But the abandonment from Day One ruined any goodness that could have been nurtured. Indiana Jones was not always afraid of snakes, by the way. It is revealed that as a teenage boy he fell into a circus car filled with snakes while trying to outrun grave robbers in the desert.
As an adult I am a veritable tangle of good intentions, demons, obsessions, kindness, and flaws. Some of my origin stories were a thunderclap of change. Others happened over a gradual period of time. One of my origin stories revolves around the recycling obsession and a huge phobia of unnecessary waste. In college, the other students really pushed these values onto me and produced shame for being wasteful. The students campaigned to print essays on the blank sides of used papers to conserve paper. They also made a huge mountain of uneaten food just to show how much is wasted every day by the students who loaded their trays with more than they could consume as though it was not a big deal. It was both haunting and sad. Years after leaving the campus these lessons have stuck with me like mental cement.
Another important origin story had to do with the way I conduct myself as an individual on the Autism Spectrum. There is a constant fear of making a mistake and suffering from the consequences for a long time. It is nearly impossible to let things go. This is because back in 2006 I had lost both my Human Service and Teaching career. These places could have clearly told me what was wrong and allotted a reasonable grace period to fix everything. They just said, “This is not for you.” The same thing happened over during future attempts to rebuild my teaching career. One time I ran into a husband and wife at one of the schools who fired me. They offered a compliment about my work in their classes as a substitute teacher to which I bitterly responded, “It apparently was not even close to good enough for your entire school district. Was it? The husband looked at me not knowing how to reply. After some hesitation he said, “Well…you are still young. You can deal with some rejection.” I wanted to reply, “Perhaps someone should terminate your employment for practically no reason. And see how well you deal with rejection!” These days I am so afraid of being inappropriate at work and giving people a reason to terminate my employment. No matter how supportive and reassuring any employer happens to be…fear will always linger. And complacency is the veritable boxing glove in which evil slips its hand!
There are other personality traits that have been sculpted by anguish. My watch is always loose because of being yelled at quite severely as a child for always having it too tight. It is now the other extreme and is as loose as a hula-hoop. It annoys my family but not as much as the other extreme from those childhood days of yore and yesteryear. Back when I created my first book in 2010 I was plagued by procrastination and fear of creating a mediocre product. I now struggle with feelings of shame, anger directed at myself, and fear of doing it again even though everything fell into place. Another thing I do is eat too fast because as a child my family berated me for eating much too slow. I am not sure how to find a healthy medium and do not know if it would even work because even the most experienced gymnast will fall off the balance beam.
The wisest thing I have ever heard is when someone on a radio show said that we must always be careful about what demons we choose to let go of because we may be letting go of the one thing that drives our triumph. These were not the woman’s exact words, but it was something along those same lines. I would like all of you to think about when you developed certain personality traits and whether they work for you more times than not. Is the way you are such a terrible thing, and would it be much worse if you were on the other side of the so-called “”flaw” or “personality defect?”