Redefining Self

Figuring out who you are isn’t something that happens once. Life is an ongoing process of change, reconsidering, and redefining. But when it comes to some subjects, people don’t always remember that.

I’ve known people who came out as homosexual in their 40s or later, after years of giving no sign at all that they were interested in people of the same sex. In a couple of cases, they themselves didn’t realize they were interested, or at least they didn’t admit it to themselves. But then they realized, or they came to terms with what they already knew.

That doesn’t mean they were heterosexual up until that point. It means they were living in the way they thought was best for them, or the way they thought they had to in order to be accepted by others, but over time they realized that wasn’t who they truly were.

Online, I’ve seen teens and young adults accused of “faking” their sexual orientation or gender “to get attention,” or of “jumping on the bandwagon,” because they’ve changed their self-identification over time. That doesn’t mean they’ve ever been dishonest about it. It means they might not have thought it completely through before they first came out. They also might, over time, have seen references to orientations or genders they didn’t know existed, and realized one of those terms fit them better than the way they’d previously identified.

I’ve also seen people say that certain genders and sexual orientations were “invented” by people on the Internet. This is not true. Those genders and orientations might not have had names until recently, but they still existed.

The Internet has been a help and support to a lot of people as they work on defining and identifying themselves. People who might have thought something was wrong with them because of the way they felt can now learn they aren’t the only one who feels that way. Of course, the Internet also has its downside; people can be judgmental and bully one another.

But the process of defining and identifying oneself doesn’t have a finite ending point. We all learn new things about ourselves over time. Life isn’t stagnant, and neither are we.

Time Management

Time management is not the easiest thing in the world. At least not for me. One of my most commonly spoken phrases is “I don’t have time for that.”

It isn’t that the time doesn’t exist. It’s more that time is a finite thing, and I have a lot to do in the course of a day. Some tasks take me longer than I think they will. Others are things like Facebook, where I figure I’ll spend ten or fifteen minutes and then get sidetracked, and next thing I know it’s been half an hour.

Although to be honest, Facebook is one of the things I often say I don’t have time for. It isn’t easy for me to think of things to say on social media, but being visible on social media and interacting is part of being an author. Except I don’t interact much, because I either can’t think of anything to say or I think I don’t have time. See how that turns into a cycle?

Lately I’ve been working really hard on changing some of that. I’m still not great about social media, but I am trying to be more mindful of how much time I spend on tasks. It’s more important than ever, since I now have a part-time job in addition to writing, plus I’m doing some studies and trying to keep myself occupied. I’m also trying to make sure I spend time in the evenings relaxing with a book and/or TV show instead of being on the computer until bedtime. (It’s probably a good thing I don’t have my laptop computer with me most of the time, or I would be relaxing on the couch with the computer…)

I have improved a little. I’m actually getting most things done during the day at this point. Still working on the social media, but hopefully I’ll get there.

Meanwhile, I have to end this post to make sure I have time to write other things…

Something Else to Learn

Some people reading this know I’m a musician. At least sort of. I’ve been learning bass guitar for almost a year now, and I’m relatively competent at it, at least with some songs. I’ve been singing for years and have been seriously working at it since about January, so there’s been a lot of improvement. And I’ve been writing songs.

My band… Well, right now, I guess *I* am my band, because of reasons I won’t get into because I’ve been asked not to talk about it. But just because I no longer have another musician helping me out, that doesn’t mean I can’t keep trying. So I’ve added something else to my plate…

I’m trying to teach myself guitar.

Yeah. Because I’m either that foolish or that stubborn.

I don’t expect to be able to magically play songs just because I’ve decided I want to. I’m setting very small goals to start with, like being able to actually play the two chords I’m struggling with because I have trouble stretching my left hand. And I’m not setting any time frame for learning what I want to learn, because I want this to be fun.

On the other hand, I have “dream big” goals for the long term. I want to be able to compose the guitar parts for the songs I’m writing. Technically, I kind of already do. I know what the guitar should sound like. I can hum the parts. I just can’t *play* them. So I guess I want to be able to play what I’m already composing. Without someone else to help, I’m going to have to learn to do it myself. (Drums are no problem, thanks to downloadable pre-recorded drum loops online…)

And there are three songs that I put together when I had someone else in the band with me, for which that person did the guitar parts. So the ultimate “dream big” goal is to be able to play the guitar parts for those songs. Which is going to be very far from easy considering that there’s a lead guitar and a rhythm guitar…But if I’m dreaming big, I might as well go REALLY big.

Last year, I didn’t think I would be able to learn to play bass. I insisted I *wouldn’t* be able to. But I have, and I’m still learning and improving. So I’m facing the guitar with “It’s going to take a while, and I might not hit the big goals, but I’m going to try because I believe I can at least learn something.”

So… we’ll see what happens.

Change How You Think

I saw a discussion on a forum over the weekend in which one person was saying they were bad at something, and others were telling them to get better at it.

To which the first person said, “Well, tell me how to do that, because I’m bad at it.”

What stood out to me in that exchange was that the first person was not only taking it for granted that they were bad at what they were talking about, but they seemed to also be taking it for granted that being bad at it was something they couldn’t change. At least not without someone else telling them how to change it.

Making a change in your life isn’t always easy, but if you say or think something that implies you *can’t* change, you’re closing a lot of doors. And you’re negating your own ability to control your life, especially if you’re expecting other people to tell you how to make the change.

I encouraged the person on the forum to change the way they thought about the situation. Instead of saying “I’m bad at this,” I suggested they try saying, “This is hard for me, but I’m learning and I can get better at it.” The first one puts the focus on the person and makes it sound as though there’s no way to change it, whereas the second one puts the focus on the difficulty of the situation as well as on the power that the person *does* have to change.

When you’re struggling with something, sometimes it isn’t easy to see a way to get past it. Sometimes we forget that we can control our own lives–not other people, but how we respond to those people, to setbacks, etc.–and that we can make changes, even if it seems impossible. There are always choices, even if we don’t like them.

So if you’re having a hard time with something, stop and take a look at how you’re thinking about it. And if you’re standing in your own way, see if you can change those thoughts.