Changing Perspectives vs. Social Conditioning

25 09 2010

There are many things that I think are cool but wouldn’t choose for myself.  However, I have recently begun to wonder if this is because the thing in question genuinely doesn’t interest me, or because other people have given me repeated negative feedback and I have therefore internalized that the thing in question is not a good choice for me.  (While I am a free spirit and make my own decisions, I greatly value the thoughts of my parents, Jay and others close to me.)

For example, during college and as recently as last year, I became interested in piercing my nose.  I thought it was a cool look that jived with what I wanted to do.  But Jay didn’t love the idea and, almost needless to say, my parents were not fans.  I began listening to the logical arguments that were made: how unpleasant a pierced nose would be with a cold come winter, how if you don’t like it later in life, you are stuck with a hole in your nose, how unprofessional it would seem in the job market and so forth.  Now I am still a little tempted, but relegate it to the “that’s cool, but not for me” category.

Similarly, I always thought it would be the greatest to perform on Broadway.  I’m not a star singer, but I can certainly act, dance and hold a tune.  My parents encouraged my passions and are so supportive, but we still nevertheless had a slew of practical conversations that led me away from that dream.  (“The audition process is brutal.”  “If you break your leg, your entire career would go down in one instant.”  “How would it jive with Shabbat and religious practice?”)  I’ve since dabbled in community theater and part of me still wants to perform, but I no longer feel the need to ‘make it’ on Broadway.

Has my perspective changed and matured, or have I just adopted others’ guidance – perhaps against my better judgment?  Can anyone relate?

posted by amybetho




5 responses

27 09 2010
The Wandering Cartographer

wow…this is a toughie…or maybe not and I was just also socially conditioned to think that it is 😛
I went through similar conversations with regard to piercing one’s nose, I did it anyways though…
I think that the fact that you no longer feel the need to “make it” is a sign that you’re actually ready…I find that when I do something out of pure love and enjoyment is when it’s bound to be a success, because it’s done with full mind, body, spirit (whatever titles apply to those concepts) It’s okay to be cautious, but we also have to live, perhaps maturity is living with caution as opposed to onerous paranoia that impels us to all be clones of one another…I’m reminded of a previous blog entry I read of yourself when you were describing “doing something new”, how you felt uneasy at first but it ended up being a great experience…did you use the phrase, “what’s the worst that can happen?” Sometimes it takes a leader (like you) to show people that it is okay to be your own person and be a productive member of society…
those are just my ramblings, I hope it provided some insight and not just a floor for me to see myself type…. lots of love!

29 09 2010

Thanks for your comments – totally not rambling and very helpful. That question of ‘what’s the worst that can happen?’. Well, I guess sometimes you need to hear it from someone else for it to sink in. So much to say – would love to continue this conversation ‘offline’. Skype date?

1 10 2010
The Wandering Cartographer

I would love to Skype!!! When are you available? xoxoxoxo!

15 10 2010

getting your nose pierced is the opposite of a big deal. also, i have a job and no one cares less. also, it’s not a big deal with a cold.

15 10 2010

Good to hear. I am a super low-maintenance person. Is it a lot of work/upkeep at the beginning? And if you take it out, does it usually heal without scarring?

Also, that’s cool that you have a job and no one cares but you’re doing TFA, right? If I were to go for a corporate interview (yeah, right!) or one for a major Jewish organization or even present Faces at an Orthodox institution, don’t you think it would be more of a big deal?

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