About myself, I’ve discovered this: I’m an interpersonal Weird Al.
By that, I mean, I am a parody artist of rooms and people. I can sense and take on the values and expectations of people I interact with.
In my work, as a facilitator, this is wielded well: groups find in me someone who is attuned to their reality and can speak back to them their needs. I can summarize and synthesize well, because in many ways, I have simply taken on their burdens am speaking from their point of view.
I can also find that if I’m not careful, I can lose track of my own point of view on an issue. I drift into becoming a performance artist that is simply the embodiment of other people’s expectations.
The art of getting acquainted with what my own needs are, is a very slippery pursuit. It’s part of why quiet time, and time away from people, is crucial. It builds a self-understanding that becomes a stronger fortress, letting me more intentionally slip into “facilitator” or “listener” mode without losing my sense of self.
I remember a scene from a high school bus trip for a band and choir festival. An older kid I respected had lent me a CD to listen to. As I sat in the seat across from him, I noticed we were both wearing a similar plaid jacket, and were reclining in a similar pose, listening to what would have also been the same artist. I nodded at him to point out our similarity and he smiled back. I had hoped it would built solidarity and respect, a camaraderie in being seen as twins. And maybe it did, but I instantly felt a strong sense of embarrassment and shifted my posture, and gave the CD back.
Did I even like this artist? Not in the slightest; it was George Thorogood, for goodness sake — an artist I’ve never looked up again except now, to remember how to spell it. I remember finding the music to be thoroughly unappealing out-of-date rock; I was simply listening to because it was lent to me. While the jacket was mine and the pose comfortable, the posing wasn’t. I caught myself in the act of accidentally becoming someone else.
On the Ennegram, this “performer” personality shows up as the 3. The ability to shape-shift into different caricatures and archetypes as the moment needs.
I’ve realized lately that this is reason #1 that I’m choosing to continue my writing project. It’s a chance to daily explore and express what is true only to me, only when alone. The stories and experiences and emotions that are uniquely mine. “For learning and alive-ness making.”
A line comes to mind:
I am whatever you say I am. If I wasn’t, then why would I say I am?
From the year 2000, it’s Eminem saying that.
Commit to the public record? Put a thing online? Why?
To keep myself me. Solidify my sense of self like a ghost getting a foothold in the physical world. Here’s me otherwise —I am whatever you say I am.