Monday, June 27, 2016

SELF-PORTRAIT




A postscript to my previous post:
Now that I'm sober, I've assessed my previous blog post and have some misgivings about writing it. There are times when I think I'm hysterically funny and in retrospect I'm probably not.

There are also times when I come across as being arrogant, rude, and full of myself (as my critics have pointed out). I've bitched about the people who have abandoned my blog - - yet, some of them probably had plausible reason for leaving. Not everyone understands or appreciates my unique and enigmatic personality (and "unique" doesn't always mean good).

On a positive note, my previous post enabled me to reconnect with the guy in Montana, and (as I had already surmised) he's a very decent dude. My criticism of him was harsh and - although it was done in jest -  might have been over the top.

And I reconnected with someone else, who I always knew deep down was a genuine sweetheart.

Much of what I write on my blog is definitely over the top. Everything I write is genuine and from my heart (yes, I have one) but my words sometimes have dangerously sharp edges. Many unsuspecting strangers don't understand me - or my caustic humor. I can't blame them.

Does this mean I'm going to change and turn over a new leaf? Hell, no. Not a chance. What you see is what you get. My only regret is that some people don't "get it".

As I've said many previous times, this blog is one of the few places where I can be myself and say what I think. I've spent the best part of my life catering to others and bending over backwards to please. It didn't get me anywhere - - and it didn't make people have any more respect for me. I'm finally being true to myself.

I learned at an early age to feign toughness and to wear a mask of defiance and defense. I assumed an attitude of hurting others before they hurt me. 

I'm not fond of using excuses or giving sob stories of heartbreak and victimization, but I will say this:
I survived the agony of an abusive father who beat the living shit out of me and delighted in tearing my confidence to shreds. He nearly destroyed my life - and later I continued destroying it myself.

I survived the streets of L.A. and Hollywood, where I learned to wear a mask of toughness and indifference that was in complete contrast to my genuine self. 

I embarked on a long dark journey of rampant self-destruction, self-hatred, and the  solace of sex, alcohol, and other devices of escape. Later (and astonishingly) my work as a published writer and professional pianist did absolutely nothing to buoy my confidence.

My adverse reaction to criticism has always been my very greatest weakness. Actually, I can tolerate constructive criticism, but let's face it - 95% of all criticism is intended to hurt.

After enduring a lifetime of ruthlessly devastating criticism from my father, my initial reaction is to lash out in fury and fierce defense. My underlying vulnerability is intense - - a wound that never healed.

Perhaps my over the top reaction to people who abandoned my blog stems from ancient ghosts that continue to haunt me. Abandonment. Rejection. Ridicule, criticism, indifference.
Life - and the impact it has on us - works in very strange ways.

I'm not a philosopher or a psychiatrist. The older I get, the less I understand.
I only know that - for better or worse - my words are always a reflection of myself. I enjoy writing them - and it's satisfying to know that you accept them
and sometimes enjoy them
or at least tolerate them.  

Jon 

  

33 comments:

  1. I find it hard to believe that pictures of you, looking soooooo angelic, could be over the top and arrogant. Not buying it. I do buy your a sweetheart and very funny. I so enjoy your style of blog posting. And tour honesty. I also always enjoy seeing that photo of you. What the story behind that picture??? Is it one of your favorites?

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    1. Let's see - - where to begin?
      I'm only arrogant when I'm soused, and it's only faux arrogance. I am definitely a sweetheart much of the time - - and I think I'm funny.

      That photo is the only one in which I look halfway decent.It has been filtered and retouched more times than I can remember.
      It was taken LONG ago by my "friend" Phil, whom I've written about in my post "Bad Company" (which is currently on the sidebar).

      Phil was an ex-con, wanted for attempted murder - but he was also a damn good photographer. I have always attracted interesting people.....

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  2. I prefer people who are just themselves. We are all filled with light and darkness. The judgers are usually the ones who can't see or acknowledge their own darkness.
    Can you tell us more about the self-portrait? Did you draw it yourself? Was this recently done or another old photo? It's very good! :)

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    1. That's an old, retouched photo of me when I was young and hot (now I'm old and cold). I've described it in the reply above your comment.

      I always try to just be myself.
      Sometimes it works.....

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    2. Grouchy - do you mean ME or RITA??

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    3. hell, at first, I thought he was talking to me. I get so used to hearing that.

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  3. Writers are born. And dealing with rejection is part of the process, but it's tough to swallow the critique. I could line my walls with the rejection letters I got from publishers in my youth. It hurts. Your unique and enigmatic personality is what I like about you. And the commonality we share. Being TRUE to myself has become paramount to me also. I too spent too many years catering to everybody else and you are so right it doesn't get you anywhere. The BLOGS free us to be ourselves. My previous one did. However I must admit I am still tiptoeing around here. But have the utmost respect for you because you don't. Be youself. It works.

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    1. You're definitely correct that writers are "born". I've always been able to express myself far better in written words than in spoken ones. And I certainly remember those rejection slips. The worst part is that it took months to hear from those editors. Months of hope...and futile anticipation....

      Blogs definitely free us to be ourselves, yet there is a danger in exposing yourself to the public (nothing sexual implied, of course....)

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  4. Since I'm not a blogger ( not relevant ) I'm generally hesitant about leaving a comment on blogs. I liked yours right off the bat, no matter the topic.

    " Criticism is an indirect form of self-boasting." This really resonates with me. It's true in daily life and especially on the net where any fool can come forward to quickly condemn someone they don't even know - let alone attempt to even understand them. Your self- portrait is outstanding !

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    1. I actually like to get comments from non-bloggers. It's always good to receive input for my efforts and to know what others are thinking.

      I never realized how many truly vicious people are on the net, until I started reading the comments that people leave on YouTube. I wrote a blog post about that long ago...I can't remember when.

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  5. I don't pretend to possess any analytical powers; but like you, I've an over-the-top reaction to criticism. UNlike you, I can't recall either of my parents ever making an unkind remark, or even hearing one until I was maybe 13 ... and withdrew into a bubble of self-loathing for another decade plus. These days the only mask I wear with any sort of confidence is humor: Laugh at myself, before anyone else gets the chance.
    ... and never, ever forget.

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    1. You were EXTREMELY fortunate to have grown up in a "normal" environment without criticism or violence. I have no adequate words to convey how psychologically damaging it is to grow up in a dysfunctional household. Especially when you're an only child.

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  6. Jon
    I occurs to me that I might not have left my blog address, it's not apparent from my email. It's:
    http://memoirsofacardiopulmonaryguy.blogspot.com/

    The picture above is something that Raphael might have put impishly doing something off to the side.
    Cheers,
    Mike

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    1. Thanks for the address, because I wasn't sure if you were still blogging.

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  7. Jon, I am willing to pay you a visit and make sure you're never allowed near a computer again. I'm going to say to YOU what has always been said to ME "you think too much". Like that's an insult. It is what keeps us from believing in invisible friends in the sky, and that we would be in better shape if Hillary, Obama, and Trump ran on one ticket and got re-elected together.

    Don't you EVER doubt yourself like this again. I know from where I speak. My guilt eats at me for everything but shooting Kennedy. Why? Because while others are cock sure, I'm full of doubts about myself. And if someone as kind, loving, adorable, sweet, and highly intelligent as myself can have low self-esteem, I don't give you much change. Now, that's MY sense of humor and you found nothing to insult yourself over. The same goes for anyone with skin so thin they can't make up their mind whether to follow a blog or not. You're hawt. Other's are not. Accept it.

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    1. JON! Believe it or not but I just got bitten by a humongous spider! I threw photos up on the blog in hopes you hadn't been there yet. dammit, you had. I know what a Brown Recluse looks like..............I wish I didn't. hopefully all the cortisone I'm taking will keep it within limits.

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    2. I just visited your blog again and saw the photo. That is scary!! I'll write a longer response later tonight.

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    3. Thank you, sweetie. I just read it and I hope I don't have a longer response regarding my foot falling off. As dad would say "Urp, slop, get the mop!"

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    4. I definitely do think too much, and unfortunately much of it is tainted with negativity. I always try to tell myself that my low self-esteem has vanished, but in fact traces of it still remain.

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  8. sweetheart? ah, but your don't live with me. you don't see what a nasty little bitch I can be. :-)

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    1. I'll bet I'm a bigger and nastier bitch than you are.

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    2. If this is a contest, I demand entrance!

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    3. betcha mistress maddie would top (heh heh heh) all 3 of us!

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    4. “At times like these being a poetic bitch is all I have to hold on to.”
      ― Evelyn Leilou Colon

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  9. Jon, you're ok. Good at recognizing conflict and at examining experience. Good at setting things right too.

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    1. Geo, sometimes I try to convince myself that I'm okay. Setting things right is always a good feeling.

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    1. I should say that you have good taste - but I'll be modest and say thank you!

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  11. Keep saying what is on your mind, if we didn't find it entertaining, we wouldn't stop by to read.

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    1. I need all the reassurance I can get!

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  12. With your background, it's only to be expected you'd still be sensitive to criticism. I am, too. I try to laugh it off, but it hurts. Especially when it comes across as personal. Your blog is such a raw expression of you, a criticism of it feels like a criticism of you personally. But phooey on anyone who doesn't appreciate your blog... and you. Most of us definitely accept... and enjoy... the things you share with us.

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    1. Susan, I am definitely far too sensitive. What bothers me the most, however, is the very PETTY things that annoy people. If you say one word that they disagree with, there's an instant conflict.

      I suppose it's best for us to continue being true to ourselves - and phooey on all others. (I haven't said "phooey" in a long time....)

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I love comments. Go ahead and leave one - I won't bite. But make sure you have a rabies shot just in case.