We Haven’t Reached the Ends of Ourselves Yet

Habits and assumptions and the prospect of change

I just figured out why the keyboard tray seems to have done the opposite of what it was supposed to do. About a month ago, I got a pair of properly fitting glasses that made my prescription so much more effective. It’s brilliant — the world has crisp lines again! — but I’ve still been habitually leaning in towards my screens, and now with the keyboard tray pulled out, I’ve been leaning in further to cover the distance, but the thing is that I don’t need to lean in towards my screens anymore. I can see perfectly well now. I started testing it yesterday, leaning further back than I even need to, and everything is crisp and clear.

So why am I still leaning in like it’s all fine print? Habit, pure habit. Several times already since I started this post, I’ve had to remind myself to lean back in my chair instead of hunching over my desk.

Because I’m me, I have of course telegraphed this to cover other areas of my life. What else am I doing habitually that I no longer need to do? There are all kinds of things I do and think that no longer make sense as life changes. For example, I had friends that teased me about being clumsy when I was a kid, and I’ve assumed clumsiness as part of who I am since elementary school. I was thinking about this the other night, though, and the truth is that I was never generally clumsy, despite what people said about me. I have clumsy moments, because I am highly distractable and lose track of all my parts when I have a lot going on in my head, but the truth back then was that I was honestly quite agile. I scaled the big trees in our yard to tightrope their branches, easily ran along the top board on backyard fences, and liked to perfect this stuff when I was hanging out alone and had nothing else to do. I took the social judgement as truth and didn’t account for my off-hours acrobatics. I let them convince me I was clumsy and then spent decades feeling insecure about how I moved in public.

It feels weird to be discovering only now that I’m not the clumsy person I was labelled as back in elementary school. I also no longer have to behave as though I can’t see my computer screen, because I have working glasses. I suspect a whole host of stuff I believe about myself is utter crap at this point. Maybe I don’t dislike sports? Maybe I like fast things on water like motorboats and water skiing? This seems deeply unlikely, because I also dislike wind in general, which you can’t avoid when you’re strapped to nothing but sticks and a rope behind a fumes-belching motorized vehicle racing over water, but who knows? In my 20s I found drums annoying — to be fair, there were a lot of terrible drum circles around then — but I appreciate the role and appeal of drumming now.

Any of us could be much different than we’ve been and have led ourselves to believe we are. I’ve always known this, but watching my body’s habit of assuming I can’t see has laid it physically bare. We’re not walking linear narratives with consistent facts and measures. We’re more like choose-your-own-adventures where the facts and measures are all pretty questionable. Maybe it wouldn’t make for the best reading, but it makes people, and ourselves, a lot more interesting.

The prospect makes me feel a bit scared, which is good, because even tiny liberations are scary. It means something important is happening. It means we haven’t reached the end of ourselves yet. I like that sentence.

We haven’t reached the end of ourselves yet.

Originally published at https://elanmorgan.com on September 9, 2020.

Written by

Writer and Web Designer. See also: lover, fighter, object of subjectivity. https://elanmorgan.com and https://elan.works

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