Saturday, September 18, 2010

Curvatus en Se

I have probably misspelled and/or misremembered the Latin, but so it goeth.

Vanity and honesty can be compatible. This week, for they many-th time, E and I had a debate about my attributes, and as he often does he took my candour about what I really am as being in a way "down" on myself. Thing is, in me, I think vanity is a mechanical action more than an innate state of being. I am far too fascinated with my person, both internally and externally, and have little other life in the house to distract me from it. If I had a partner, or if I had children, there would perhaps be less time to lavish on considering my appearances, my abilities, blah blah whatever. This is both the result of choices and circumstances.

Growing up I was not raised on my cuteness. As far as I am aware, I wasn't exceptionally adorable nor talented, but I was extraordinarily well LOVED, and that is most important. I was safe, and that's worth everything.

So I spent no time considering my assets until I was much older. This is what I mean by my conceitedness being mechanical, rather than some inborn manifestation of selfishness.

I *am* terribly selfish, but mechanics attempt to compensate for that too.

Anyway, so E thinks I'm pretty great, and when I correct that with clinical observations to specific contraries, he finds me baffling and can't argue with me. I think I am a very, very fortunate person, but I take NO credit for that. I know my venalities, and I know that most of what people think of in me as varying forms of niceness - and even generosity - are usually attributable to those mechanics of compensation.

I do care for people, I care very much. But believing in THEIR estimations of me is worse than my stupid obsession with how nice my hair is or is not looking. The people around me think I am rather a lovely person, and I do try to be - but I have to *try* to be. It's nothing I actually am, and so I can't take credit for what is likeable about me. Just keep trying.

There are, to be sure, areas in which my arrogance knows no bounds. I am fairly smart, and I do take a little bit of the honor for that. My folks had to beat it into me - but it got in. And I like to acknowledge I am indeed above-average in certain mental pursuits.

I'm also a heck of a storyteller and writer.

Occasionally, I can be really funny. I love this, and get more out of sharing it (and get better at it) the older I get. Making someone I respect *laugh* ... ? Holy smokes, that is up there with making my dog wag her tail. It hardly getst better.

The problem regarding my interest in my looks is of far less interest to me than these things. It interests me, which makes for a funny sort of cartoon circle. I love to play with my face and clothes, too. Vanity, vanity.

And so I say to E, whatever my appeal is, it's applied artificially. I can (and, more often than not, DO) leave my appeal in a box, and while what's left isn't bad in any way, it proves that whatever charisma I have is just self-decoration. And that's not strictly a visual case. Whatever about me ANYone might like, is generated by effort and artifice.

At bottom, I am a lump of fortunate clay. That fortune was given me, it's nothing I earned nor engendered.

I'm the reflection of what has been given me. I'm intrigued by what this results in. I guess that is the nature of my conceitedness. How it all adds up - the alchemy - to turn a little brown-haired kid into anything that can be loved by such amazing people.

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