Idolization and the self
A lot of this is actually straight out of a journal entry from a little while ago. I scribbled it down at about 2 am in semi-darkness, a pair of jeans thrown over my lamp to soften the light, a bon iver record playing quietly in the background. I’ve tried to connect my disjointed thoughts as best I could, and I hope I’ve created something tangible, something that aids an exploration into yourself.
Inevitably, I’ve reached a point where I’m struggling with the idea of identity. What is my identity, and how can I define it?
I think this has been spurred, in part, by throwing myself into all these big, new creative projects. The last few months I’ve opened my mind wide to the world, and in turn, I’ve been provided with this steady flow of thoughts and ideas. And because of this, I’ve just been creating a lot more, thinking a lot more, and a lot more attuned to myself and my surroundings.
I’m in a time of tumultuous change in my life. Starting a new year at school has removed me from the class and friends I’ve known for two years, and thrown me somewhere where I feel quite stranded and a little lonely. Re-adjusting is hard – I’m not really coping with the change well, and holding very tightly to the past, which has actually surprised me. A lot of things are shifting in my mind, and I feel different every day I wake up.
I’ve been turning to a lot of art and a lot of inspiring people to kind of keep pressing forward. But it’s reaching this point where I’m putting these people on a high pedestal, and idolising them unhealthily.
I’m losing touch with myself. I’m comparing my own life to perfected, filtered lives as shown on social media. I’m comparing myself to people nearly a decade older. I’m comparing my personality to theirs, my art to theirs, my decisions to theirs. I'm losing sight of myself.
I’m finding it difficult not to emanate them through my forms of creativity, difficult to have trust in myself, and difficult to find satisfaction in what I have and am doing. I’m so obsessed that I can’t be sure where myself begins and they end anymore. I feel like … people I don’t even know are controlling my life.
I’ve been spending more time alone. Journaling. Filming. Writing. Reading. Eating. Singing. Painting. Shutting off my paths of social media and trying new things.
Already, I think I feel myself shifting again. To a place where I can view others online more critically. Myself with more wholeness.
Right now, I think there’s a huge pressure to ‘find yourself’. I was just recently watching an interview with someone (I can’t remember who, unfortunately), where she talked about finding yourself as the most important first step to begin creating authentically. I disagree.
Find myself? I don’t think there’s anything to find. I don’t think there’s any definition of the self that can be put in to any language, any thought, any idea. What are you looking for, when you ‘search’ for yourself? A word? A feeling? Something you can sum up and convey to another person? We are so incredibly complex. How can you truly sum yourself up?
I used to have this idea that a definition of myself was something I could ground myself with, something I could find comfort in when I was unsure. But I don't think it is.
It’s not about defining yourself. You’re an entire person; you have moments of bliss and despair, hours alone and hours with friends. There’s a thousand different contradictory facets of yourself.
‘Finding yourself’ is about finding what you love. It’s doing what you love. It’s wearing what you want, speaking your mind, blasting your favourite music without any thought of it fitting into a genre or category. It’s staying home Friday nights, and partying away your Tuesdays. It’s you. It’s what you like. All the aspects of you can’t fit into a definition. You have to slide around on tiles in your socks and drink alone and wear the t-shirt you know no one else likes but you, and you’re going to look around and go: oh. This is me, this is what I’ve been looking for.
Here’s the thing: it’s not easily summed up and describe to someone else. Who am I? I’m mango smoothies and late nights watching Friends. I’m my home, my friends, my family. I’m the island I grew up on. I’m salt water and film cameras and embroidered skirts and the smell of jasmine, the smell of chlorine, the smell of petrol in the morning. I’m art, activism, feminism, a slight obsession with nudity, an inability to shut up, and an unfortunately strong ability to piss everyone off.
And – that won’t be me in a few months. It probably won’t be me in a few days. I’m ever-changing – everything and everyone around me is constantly inspiring, affecting and changing me. Find myself? I'd only get lost again.
You don’t need knowledge of yourself to be grounded. You’re grounded in the knowledge of what you love, value and believe in. For me: the ocean. The beautiful people surrounding me. Change. Creation. Art. Love.
The other day I came across another interview on YouTube. She spoke about her aversion to the idea of finding herself, and how it interfered with her creative process, because she would constantly try to make art that she thought ‘fit in’ with who she ‘was’. She talked about going with the flow and just doing what felt right as the key to unique creation, and I think that’s the secret, if there is one.
You are what you are attracted to, what you create, what you believe in – so just do what feels right. Stop questioning everything, stop wondering if so-and-so would do the same thing. If you like it – listen to it, wear it, watch it, read it, write about it, film it. That’s the only way to get in touch with yourself, to feel truly satisfied with where you’re going and what you’re doing, and to begin to access the creative flow that only YOU can access.
Try not to immerse yourself in the lives of others. Everyone is paying bills, everyone has shitty days, everyone gets frustrated and has doubts and heartbreak and creative blocks and no one’s really sure what they’re doing and everyone, everyone has to clean the toilet.
Just a little something to remember.