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You Are What You Eat

August 2009

I'm a bit of a chameleon. I tend to take on the colours of whatever background I find myself against. I pick up the mannerisms of people I spend all my time with, attract fads like a lightning rod, and live the zeitgeist as if I'm popular culture personified.

This isn't really a thing I'm proud of, or aim for; it's just the way I'm wired, and a pretty useful survival tactic. Unfortunately, there's a dark side to it.

I hate the way I feel too embarrassed – embarrassed! – to stop and help someone push their car along the road. I hate that my first instinctive and unconscious response to free or used is a kind of sneering shame, or that I respond to discarded with disgust. I hate that I'm one of those closed, unsmiling faces on the street. I hate that all my immediate, visceral reactions are entirely corrupt and backwards, and that, all too often, I'm too weak to overcome them. And even when I do overcome my instincts, I hate that it takes so. much. effort.

For all my convictions, I'm a coward in the face of culture. You want to see what social norming does to a person? I'm your guy.

IDIEEASY commented:

Sounds like you are getting close to acceptance. Once you stop comparing meager achievements to an unattainable ideal, any incremental change in yourself for the better makes you feel great. You may never reach the ideal, but eventually over time society will get there because of the small differences that individuals make.

Or, maybe I am just lazy.