Finding Inner Self

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    Jun 22, 2011 3:44 PM GMT
    Finding Inner Self by Ricky Jay
    When I was in my early 20’s I relied on what others thought to rule my life. I was concerned with how the world viewed “Ricky”. I wanted to excel and be quote, “A Success”, when little did I know my attitude and the way I viewed the world was hindering me from my journey. I was brought up to be a tough “boy”. I was never to cry, and when I did, I was scolded by my father and told that men don’t cry. I was asked, “Why are you crying? You shouldn’t cry!”, and sometimes my dad would laugh at me.
    Of course my mother would tell me it was okay and she would come comfort and hold me. I was taught to play sports, as all boys were. But all I really wanted to do was draw, sing, dance, listen to music, play board games and be me. When I mentioned this to my father, he would say, “That’s what girls do, you are not a girl, you are a boy.” He would take away my games or anything that was un masculine, then he would scold my mother and ask her why she let me play with “Girl toys”. At times as a young boy I found it to be very confusing, and I would cry alone. I would shut my door or sit in the restroom with the bath water running and cry. I would cry out of confusion because all I really wanted to do was play. I didn’t see it as a boy/girl thing, I saw it as me being myself and wanting to do something to make me happy. Not seeing at an early age, I was being taught it is wrong to be you and to conform to what people think. My dad was always concerned with that one concept. How will you be judged when others see you. That was how he was taught.
    In my very early 20’s I began to struggle with this concept. I wanted everyone to like “Ricky”. I wanted to be everyone’s friend. I wanted a great job, lots of money, lots of material things, cars, furniture, electronics, I wanted it all. I always thought I was to be some executive in an office making important decisions, pushing papers, hiring and firing, and sitting at meetings all day. In college my first decision was to pick a major and what did I pick of course, you guessed it, “Business Administration”. After going through some health problems in my mid 20’s, I changed my major to Science. I know I loved science as a kid and as an adult. My favorite TV channels were discovery, nova, and TLC. I started to pursue my Bachelors of Science in Biology. This was a major turning point in my life and one of my greatest accomplishments that I achieved also. A turning point because now, I did things that I wanted to do. Making my own decisions without society telling me what to do and how to act. I began to introduce myself to myself. It was quite a meet and greet and although uncomfortable at first, we grew on each other. I also noticed as I became more confident in myself, others noticed and began to be drawn to me.
    In my job I do excel quite rapidly at what I do. Which can have good sides and bad. Good side that I catch on quick, bad side as I meet each tier until there are no more challenges left, which can lead to boredom. I am a self starter, and prefer to be left alone on projects. I don’t work well when micro managed, I prefer to let my ideas and thoughts be worked out in trial and error. When working in groups, I tend to focus first on the weakest link, and try to help them develop their ideas so all can contribute equally. I like to take my time and pose questions, ask for a reason, research the concept before I accept it as one of my own. I picked the perfect profession for all my attributes. I work in pharmaceutical research. All my inquisitiveness and excitement for science I can explore. I am an explorer.
    As a child, I wasn’t able to explore. I wasn’t able to expand my mind and try things I wanted to do, so as an early adult I became lost in a jungle of confusion. Being a lost explorer in a jungle can lead to walking the same path multiple times without even knowing it. I was battling what I had learned was “right”, and what I felt was “right”. I’m beginning to enter an era in my life where it all makes sense. I’ve achieved my education goals, I have achieved my career goals, and now I want to achieve my Ricky Goals. I made a promise to myself a few weeks back to make sure I keep true to myself. For some may read this and think this is just a bunch of bull shit or how can someone sound so happy or whatever the case, but this is true and I don’t care what you think but I respect your opinion. This is me. This is Ricky, and I’m keeping my promise.
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    Jun 22, 2011 5:22 PM GMT
    I have been suffering from depression most of my life, and this year when I came into university it got more intense, I starting looking into the process of self actualization, struggling to find my self, face my insecurites, both in the mental and physical world, I want a winning personality, in order for you to do that you have to have every potential virtue you can achieve, self discovery is out there, a person whom has lived a life of tragedy can regain an optimistic look on life, a dork can gain social skills to make friends, a depressed person can find happiness, a dull person can learn and gain a sense of humour, a person whom is lost can find themselves, I'm not quite there yet, but I love life and I love you for posting this thread, I am happy someone else out there is trying to find themselves too and discover the meaning of life, which is simply to do what makes you truly happy. God Bless x
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    Jun 22, 2011 7:09 PM GMT
    Thanks for reading. It will happen. And when it does you will be amazed! Keep your chin up. XOXOX Ricky Jay
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    Jun 23, 2011 12:16 PM GMT
    Good for you Ricky and I applaud you for defining who you really are rather than letting the world define you. Coming out is part of this process. I am older but, I've found that every day is part of the process of finding out who we are. It's a great thing and I have found happiness. This does not come without work and thoughtful reflection. Bless you!
  • Ironman4U

    Posts: 747

    Jun 23, 2011 12:54 PM GMT
    Cograts to you Ricky for your journey. And it is a journey that we all need to take. A journey of self-reflection and discovery which leads us from living up to others' expectations to living our own self-directed and authentic lives.

    I think that most of us struggle with this and it takes a certain amount of self-awareness to realize that living for others can prevent us from being whole. You mentioned many times how doing what made you naturally happy brought you to a better place versus conforming to what your father expected of you.

    We all need to take time to move forward in a way that is true to ourselves. I think gay men (and bi men) struggle with this more than most since we often mask our true selves to fit the public persona. Accepting ourselves and loving ourselves for who we are is a great gift to enjoy.
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    Jun 23, 2011 3:46 PM GMT

    Thank you for your response. Your thoughts make me smile.
  • tautomer

    Posts: 1010

    Jun 28, 2011 7:39 PM GMT
    You sound like a textbook enneangram type 2 who has begun to integrate and develop. Fantastic! It's always wonderful to read about someone who is overcoming major obstacles in their life and come to the realization of who they are and taking control of their own power.

    Major props to you sir icon_smile.gif.
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    Jul 01, 2011 5:29 AM GMT
    Men have this innate desire to conform people accotding to their standards. Its so sickening how we narrow down what it means to be a man in todays world. Women have progressed so much more than us sexually and even though misogyny and homhobia are committed by both sexes men seem to be the perpetrators of these acts.

    When a father scolds a boy for dancing or signing as a child, chances are that boy will grow up suffeting from depressiom because he was separated from his true self. Only when we recomcile ourselves to what we lost as children and mourn this loss is the only way we can move forward.

    I must admit, when I read your post, tears began to well up bc this is how I've seen so many black men raise their boys: to be tough and fierce. And this creates such an evil in tjem its unbelievable. Theres no doubt that your own father had the sa,e thimg done to him as a child and probably convinced himself that this was good for him. Even praising his father for it. But its so sad when boys, kids, are raised as adult men when tjey don't know how to be one. Whew, this is an emotional subject for me but a good one. I'll be in school for art therapu, so HUGE congrats on being true to yourself guy. :-)

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    Jul 02, 2011 6:03 PM GMT

    Your dad sounds a lot like my dad. I got a lot of the same stuff. "Boys don't do that" "Those are for girls". One I remember getting several times was:
    Dad- "Stop talking like that! You sound like a girl!"
    Me- "whaa?"

    It was the disgusted tone of voice in which he said it that was the most humiliating. The verbal equivalent to being smacked down. I still am terribly self-conscious about my voice now. I am very soft-spoken and if I ever need to call out to someone loudly, I psych myself up with "okay, here I go, take a deep breath, use a low pitch". I love to sing, but I only do it when NO one can hear me. I actually have my apartment door barricaded as I speak because I had a big singfest yesterday. It's kind of a good thing that we don't hear our own voices because then I'd never sing.

    But there were lots of things I was taught by him and friends of my parents, and other schoolkids that I was supposed to be/do/like that I didn't. They were all pretty unwise about how to alter the behaviour of a child positively. You seem like you reacted to it like my older brother (are you an older brother?). He turned out to be the perfect and successful boy and man that society wants him to be, but I see him at times guided by what is expected of him. But you've broken out of those bonds.

    I reacted very differently to all of the influences I got. I recognized that I wasn't like others, and felt equally ashamed of trying to fake it as being myself. What has been a big part of my growing up is how much I resented other boys who were following society's rules. I felt that other boys liked sports because they were caving to the pressure, and other boys acted and talked that way so someone wouldn't make fun of them. Now when I hear boys in high school talking with the lowest part of their vocal range to sound manly, it makes me angry. "How is it fair that these guys are rewarded with popularity for talking out of their most comfortable vocal range? Phony bastards! Girls don't realize that the boys are affected and they eat it up. These types will have the easiest lives in society, while I'm natural and unpreferred."

    I walked a very different path than my brother. Unpopular, no hobbies to share with others, unconfident, bad in school, gay, got crappy employment, depression, no romantic experiences. If he's a shooting star, I'm a bowling ball heading to an predictable conclusion.

    I spoke with my dad this year about a bit of this, and he said he really didn't know how to handle me. I was very stubborn with how I acted, and the more he tried to change me, the more stubborn I got. He said he was trying to raise me like his father raised him, and I was like a monkey wrench in the wheel that confounded him. His father was much worse though. I'm lucky I only had it half as bad, or the scars I still carry would be much worse.

    It turned out that my dad had to learn to adapt to me not being what he expected and wanted, but has also learned to like things about me that he didn't at first understand. It was a really good conversation. It didn't undo all of the damage or change anything about my self, but it did feel good to talk about and learn what was going on in his head as a man rather than as my father. I recommend it if you haven't.

    Congratulations and good work for taking a scythe to this dense bush of childhood hangups and forging your own way. icon_smile.gif Sorry for writing so much!