On Being Ordinary
I intended, at the start of my walkabout several years ago, to write my story frequently. What I found is that writing is hard for me. I get too perfectionist about it. So starting now I am writing just for myself — and I forgive myself in advance for typos and nonsense. You are welcome to read along if you wish, but nothing is guaranteed!
Last year I read an article that reported that most of us have a better opinion of ourselves than the facts would appear to support. We think we are all around better people than we actually are.
Which got me thinking about self-esteem.
Growing up, I had very poor self-esteem. A few bad things interfered with what could have been a blissful childhood, and for a good while, the only sense I could make of it was that something was wrong with me. I felt that way in high school – less worthy, almost less human — than the other students. Many were taking off for trips to Europe. I knew that would never happen for me. I wasn’t upset. I was resigned to my lot in life. I knew I would never see the Eiffel Tower (which felt like the epitome of achievement at the time).
Still, a small ember of self-esteem burned deep within me. I did not picture myself working behind the counter at Woolworths. I felt I should go to college. Although my family was poor, a disastrous mess and no one was encouraging me – I did just that.
As I’ve gotten older, managed to survive many challenges, picked up life experience and been supported by many people — my self-esteem has soared. I feel good about myself — maybe too good – at least according to this article.
I know for a fact that, the only thing I am really better at than most, is hand-eye coordination (I’m in the top 1%). This has been verified by testing I put myself through during my divorce. (Don’t ask) It explained why I have always been really good at catching things!
Otherwise, I was average in all tested categories – except that I failed solving mathematical word problems. But that was because, at this point in the testing, I crossed my arms and refused to participate. That probably brought my score down. They were not giving out points for having boundaries.
Both “Super Great Betsy” and “Completely Unworthy Betsy” are not the real story.
I am no better or worse than everyone else. Comparing myself to myself, I am perhaps wiser now, but my cognitive skills are clearly slipping.
I am ordinary.
Don’t knock ordinary. Where I come from, it’s an honor to be part of the club of ordinary human-beings. There is also a freedom in claiming my ordinariness. Mostly now, I am doing things just for myself – because they make me happy. Like this blog. (I do hope someday my children will read it and know me in a different way.)
I can relax. No need to keep proving myself. More and more any standards are changing into MY standards.
Simply getting to live to see another day – feels like quite an achievement – and perfectly ordinary.