Sunday, 28 December 2014

My Faults

This commences a four-part series leading up to the New Year. 

28/12/14 - My Faults
29/12/14 - My Strengths (because it's good to end on a positive note!)
30/12/14 - New Year's Resolutions
31/12/14 - Yearly Review

What with all the New Year's Resolutions and turning over a new leaf etc., it might be nice to do a little reflection for the last few days of the year. 

Without further ado...

Selfishness

This is probably the big one. I'm sorry, but I am at heart a very selfish person. When I'm buying presents for people, I sometimes buy myself a copy of the item too, or take the better one for myself. I'm terrible at sharing with kids, because I take the best stuff. I spend a lot of time in my own head, and while that's good in some ways (writing in particular) it means I don't spend enough time thinking about other people. 

Which is bad.

I like to think this doesn't necessarily make me a bad friend. Being selfish does include my friends, as I consider them an extension of myself (*naaaarcissism*), so I want them to succeed. But still. 

The inability to think about other people is probably my worst trait.

Bragging

I have improved with this one, I think (oops is that a brag too?). Nevertheless, my sister doesn't let me forget it - she constantly tells me I'm bragging. I guess it's good to have an alarm. She says I have this particular laugh I do right after I brag, which suggests that I know I'm doing it - and I do, but I can't seem to stop. I always want to prove myself to people for some reason, I mean I always have something to prove, and mentioning awards is the most convenient way to do that. There's probably an underlying problem there. 

Annoying

I think the majority of annoying people know they're annoying. I've been told it by bullies/family etc., obviously, but I can even see it myself. My personality (partly coming from the bragging) is just an annoying one, and so I'm grateful for the people who've stuck by me even though I'm so annoying. Jesus Christ, how many times have I used that word?

I'm annoying in different ways to different people. With friends in school, particularly when I was younger, I was very insecure and constantly needed reassurance that they were my friend, and so I repeatedly asked them if they were, even though I knew as I was doing it that it was annoying. I can understand where it comes from, though. I essentially had no friends in primary school, so when I came into secondary school I was desperate to make some at all costs. A lot of people can't handle that responsibility - it's more like babysitting than friendship - and I don't blame them. I've grown up a lot since then, thankfully, and I don't worry so much about how many friends I have. But the annoying personality remains.

Another way I can be annoying is my stubbornness. For example, my friend Jerry is doing a challenge to write a haiku a day for 365 days, and when he's not in the mood to I force him to not miss a day (he's missed one but he's allowed miss four in total so it's okay). I know it's his choice but I really want him to finish what he's started and get a sense of accomplishment for it, so I am honestly doing it in his best interest. And so I start arguments over him not doing it, and I won't back down even though I am deadly afraid it'll damage the friendship. That's a little selfless, I guess, except that I also have to remember that ...

I Project Myself Onto Others
Not everyone else follows my life philosophy. I think Jerry will feel proud when he finishes the challenge, but maybe it doesn't mean as much to him. I think my sister's unambitious for wanting to be a secondary school teacher, but that's her choice, and she's a different person. To me, it's a weird choice and feels like "settling". But if it's what she wants to do, I have to remember that she doesn't have my personality. She's doing Ordinary Level maths, and that's her life. I need Higher Level maths, but she doesn't, and that's okay. It is particularly bad with my sister because for so long we looked and acted like twins, so seeing-her-as-an-extension-of-myself is exacerbated. 

I view my interests as the best ones, STEM degrees as better than Arts ones. And why? Because that's why I want to do. It's bias, and I should be getting rid of it. Or at least not expecting other people to follow it. 

In Jerry's case, what I'm projecting is my...

Compulsion
I don't mean to suggest this is OCD, because I'm not one of those self-diagnosing people and I can't afford a doctor's visit. That sounds ominous. I'm grand (denialism: another fault. But far, far better than science denialism).

But anyway, when I start something I can't bear to fail at it, to not reach my arbitrarily huge standards. I must do Duolingo every day. I must write 100 words a day (during that challenge). I must write 1,000 words a day (while I'm in the throes of writing a novel). I must achieve this impossible goal because I said I would.

What would even happen if I failed to do this? For the vast majority of these things, nothing. They're just things I've arbitrarily (that word again) decided are important, are part of my identity, and I'm terrified of disappointing myself. So I work hard (yay) even when it's not good for me (not yay). I'm young now, so I can deal with it. But people warn me about burning out, and though I basically tell them to eff off, well ... I fear it too. Ironically, the only times I feel close to burnout are when I'm not succeeding, so to offset burnout I work harder, telling myself If you work harder you'll succeed. 

That could be just my ego talking, though. I mean, I have won some things, but I'm not that great. Sometimes I think I have Imposter Syndrome, because I feel like everyone has too much faith in me and shouldn't trust me to achieve all the time - what if my meagre success so far has just been luck? But then other times I think I'm actually not that great (insert all of the above). Which would be Imposter Syndrome. Can you guess what mode I'm in right now?


Anyway. 

Sometimes I'm productive. But I'm incredibly prone to ...

Procrastination

I'm 16, okay? It's normal for sixteen-year-olds to sleep in and procrastinate on their homework. 

My age is not an excuse and I shouldn't try to use it as one. I know I sleep in because I stay up late (like, till 2 or 3am), often because I'm working, but I still feel disgusted at myself when I wake up and see that it's 11 or 12 am. Look at me wasting this day, I think. I have so much to do, and now I've just ruined the day. And then I do it again. I know if I really tried I could change that habit. But I don't.

I procrastinate my homework to a ridiculous degree. Everyone thinks I'm the perfect student because I get good grades (although they're slipping, they're usually As (French, Physics, English) or Bs (Maths, Chemistry, Irish, History, etc.) without studying), but until now I've just been relying on my intellect. Oh God that sounds so egotistical but it's true. 

Now that I'm in 5th Year, it's getting harder to get As just by coasting.

You know why I haven't been studying? Because I've been doing my own projects. The Young Scientist project is a big one, as are the novels and freelance writing gigs. I prioritise those because there are bigger and more immediate rewards (as well as the fact that I love them, yes, because they were my choice). Is my English teacher going to pay me $100 for an essay? Other people will. 

But that's fallacious thinking. I have to think in the long run, towards the Leaving Cert. Obviously I'm hoping I'll get some kind of big break before June 2016 (is this a sign of immaturity?) but I still have to work at school. It's a terrifying kind of arrogance, and it just keeps sneaking in.

I just do what I like, and those happen to be studious-looking things so people let me off whereas they give out to my sister for wasting time on Facebook and going to discos.
Thing is, neither of us are studying. We're both doing what we want.

But no one worries about me.

Jealousy

I'm such a jealous person, and it's really awful. I get jealous of my best friend's other friends. I get jealous of people I don't even know. I get jealous of people with better lives than me. I get jealous about other people getting complimented, even if I am too, because my brain spins that. I get jealous of people younger than me doing better than me. I even get jealous of my own friends' successes, sometimes, though I have mostly got rid of that because it's a really awful thing to do. My best friend in school recently won something big that'll get her a trip abroad, and I'm glad I was 99% purely happy for her. It's still not perfect, but I've improved. It helps that I know she deserves it so much more than I do. 

Funnily enough, the one thing I don't get jealous about is boyfriends dating other people. At least, I don't think I do. To my knowledge, none of my past boyfriends have been with anyone after me, though they have told me about crushes on other girls, and I'm pretty fine with that. I guess I successfully severed the emotional dependency. Emotional dependency is never good.

Confrontation

Another refutation of the good-girl image: I just cannot follow authority. I will easily do what someone asks me too if they provide good reasons and treat me with respect. But I refuse to "Respect my Elders" if they don't respect me. I don't think they get to boss me around just because they're older. Of course, many older people are wiser, and if they act wise then there's no problem. But arbitrary power makes me angry, because I'm very analytical and want explanations for everything.

Which makes me seem disrespectful.

I get by well in school with the administrators because our goals are very similar. I want to learn, I recognise that they're here to teach me, and as long as they don't make any unreasonable demands we get along happily. It's not because I'm obedient, it's because I'm doing what I want, which just happens to be what they want too.

When my desires don't align with authority figures', though, I come across as rebellious and confrontational. I find it very difficult to just shut up and accept things.

Wow. That was honest. 

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