As in every aspect of my life since I was a totty tyke, I’ve gotten ahead of myself; writing the first few pars of book number two before the debut is even entirely complete. But hey, when inspiration (and it is “inspiration” my pals, non of this abbreviated “inspo” bullshit) you’ve got to clasp it wholeheartedly with all your might and get to a pen and paper ASAP.
Anyway. The first line of debut # 2 (get the irony?) hit me as I was pondering as per and I’m pumped to get onto it. I won’t completely divulge it here, but I shall reword, rephrase and rewrite to put the gist across.
“I was 24-and-a-half when I realised I didn’t like myself very much.”
(Ok. That’s actually the opening line word for word. But it’s relevant to below, so so be it!).
I don’t say that lightly. Or to be melodramatic so as to entice readers in. I truly, honestly, utterly, frankly and profoundly don’t really like myself. I mean, obviously there are some aspects of Anneke I am a touch proud of, but for the most part, I’m a bit of a bitch.
This is all Ed aside by the way. This is diaregarding all physical appearances and what not, focused purely on the inner person.
I’ve talked before of how I want to be a better person. A good person, no less. And people say such all the time: “He’s a good person”; “Oh, she’s a good person”; “I want to be a better person, I want to be good.” But what does this even mean?
When trawling online for “What is a good person”, results abound, though mostly from religious sites declaring people who follow the Ten Commandments, etc. Or such as, “A good person is someone who does their best to help people in need and those around them, is a generally honest and nice person, and abides by the general don’t cheat, steal, murder, rape stuff. Of course there are instances where the general stuff becomes not immoral. It’s not ideal, but doing it isn’t wrong, like killing someone who is going to kill your family.” Cheers southernbelle0144. It made me realise that although there is to a degree a common consensus to the basic “rule book” – I.e., “don’t cheat, steal, murder, rape stuff”, for the most part a “good person” is all relative and open to individual interpretation.
And I want to become my definition.
My own exposition is rather personal – as likely, every one’s would be – but it is what I want to encompass. And as with all else in my life, a challenge would not be complete without a plan, so I have adopted some tools to take on this quest to ensure it happens (unlike my declaration to do 60 lengths of the pool every AM. Sounds impressive until you see the size of the pool. And did you know it gets horrendously freezing in winter and that water temperatures drop to sub zero? Not the most attainable of habits to ingrain when taking such factors into account).
Buddha said, “What you think you will become”. Many other major philosophers have too asserted such notions along the same lines. And when thinking about it, the thought is fucking scary.
Of the zillions and trillions of thoughts torpedoing throughout my mind on any given day, a good portion of them aren’t overly nice. Not bad in consideration of southernbelle0144’s take on the word (I.e., all that is not good), but there is a fair bit of poison flitting about in there (mostly in regards to my own self, but now and again directed at other people. You know, the, “You could smile you cow” at the supermarket check out operator, the, “Hurry the fuck up” to the slow driver ahead, that sort of lark). And a vast cross section are – no other word for it – mundane.
Mate! If it’s true that what you think you become, I don’t want to be a poisonous, mundane obsessor of food and weight! (Obviously I have significantly simplified, but go with it).
Have you heard of having “an attitude of gratitude”? Surely you must have. With all these mindful and feel-good caprices starting to infiltrate the western world, surely you would have come across it at some point. Well, step one in a bid to being a better, good person (or as you may remember me having referred to it before, being “UltraPop”): having an attitude of gratitude – or as I have retermed it, a plateful of grateful alongside breakfast and dinner (well for the most part right now instead of, but we’re working on it).
Every morning as soon as my actual alarm goes off (I’m one of those who sets about 65 alarms each day with the first shrilly ringing out at 3.23am – I love being alerted awake, seeing the time and realising I still have a good few hours to slumber. Half asleep fist pump to myself then back to it!) I lie there and think about what I’m grateful for. You know, a fab fam, opportunities for education, skin that usually swallows in fake tan to give off a natural hue, that such lark. Then I get up to stretch with a sort of rosy glow nestled in my mind.
Then for the affirmations – a list blue tacked on my bedroom wall (very carefully with the expensive Bostik Henio, it shall leave no markings) of the person I want to be. At the bottom are lines along the likes of, “I am an incredibly successful author and blogger and yoga teacher and celebrant and writer” (hey, I’m only human), but the top tier details such as, “I am a genuinely good person;” “I out others before myself”; “I am a caring, loving and good daughter/sister/niece/granddaughter/cousin/Aunty” (to come!!!) “/friend/employee/colleague/PERSON”; “I look for the good in each day, am a bucket list ticker and am there for all others as much as I can be”. This list of what makes up UltraPop is read once again at night immediately before filling in the p/d scrapbook detailing all the stuff occurring throughout the day that made me laugh/smile/feel happy/what not. Then it’s lights out before my second plateful of grateful.
Then there’s the checklist. (SO much blue tack). A list of 20 things ruled into columns that get either a tick or a cross at the end of each day. Ok yes, a few of the 20 are among the “floss teeth” and “not bite nails” variety, but for the most part they come along the lines of honesty, thinking good thoughts, making everybody feel like a somebody. And every night I go through and tick/cross accordingly to give a score out of 20 (and as a high achiever, I find it horrendously hard to settle for anything less than full marks).
I’ve got this thing now too where if I’m thinking nice thoughts, if the circumstances are appropriate, to actually utter them out loud. Too many people internally compliment others but don’t actually verbalise, and it’s a gosh darn shame. Last night a group of women came in for dinner (I was working at Onyx; must clarify it wasn’t a gang of gals just swinging by number two for some tea) and as I checked on them to see if all was right and merry, I registered that one of them was particularly attractive. She would’ve been in her early 60s or so, had a very flattering pixie cut and was adorned with many rings and sparkly pieces about her bod. When the ladies came up to pay, I said to her, “Sorry” – the feel to need to apologise illustrates how uncommon it is to witness – “but I just want to say, you are a very beautiful woman. Truly.”
Well. Though at first extremely flustered, she then got a tad teary, clasped my hand and said thank you. “Once you pass your fifties compliments aren’t come by very often,” she said. “Thank you.” She felt good, in return I felt good (though I felt slightly mean to the other three females, like in not telling them they were all pretty I wasn’t very nice) and this morning my first plate-of-grate (full) thought was, “I’m so chuffed I made that lady last night so happy”. I hope when she got ready to go about her day this morning she looked in the mirror and saw it too.
In all my strategising over how to best come about being a good person, my mind suddenly sparked back to second year Uni, Intercultural Communication and champion theorist Stella Ting-Tommey. The lovely lass came up with this model to describe in diagram form developing intercultural communication competence, as below.
I have taken her ideas and reworked them as my long term plan to be a person. Let me decode on that.
Ting-Tommey (what a surname) posits that to be interculturally sensitive and able, one passes through a four step process: the initial unconscious incompetent state (I.e., unaware you’re being a shit and potentially offensive or racist), the consciously incompetent state (I.e., in the know that you’re being shit and potentially racist), the consciously competent stage (I.e., mindfully attempting to be sensitive and aware) and the fourth and final unconsciously competent – when you mindfully are a master of intercultural sensitivity.
So I’ve applied this model to me becoming UltraPop (and people say the core papers never get used!), interchanging cultural competence with being a good person. So currently I am in the cross over of the second and third stages; aware I am not overly good and mindfully seeking to become so.
So I have the tools in place. The gimmicks, gismos and paraphernalia. And so far it’s starting to make small changes. I’m incrementally becoming “gooder”. On my way to being a good person.
And hey, if all of that fails I have the best back up mantra to keep me on the good road: Be the person your dog thinks you are.
Because Otto thinks I’m pretty fab. And I can’t let him down.