A stranger in our own skin

We’ve all had times in our lives where we feel like we don’t belong. Even if we are doing something we’ve been doing for years and know the inner workings as if it were as automatic as breathing can seem for most of us. Breaking out of this mindset takes energy and perseverance, sometimes more than we think we have to give.

Nearly every day in my job I experience a feeling of being overwhelmed. I’m under no illusion I am the only person who feels this way, but at times it is difficult to believe. I am slowly developing the mental fortitude at these times to take a deep breath. Then take another one. Then tell myself I am capable of working the job I am in because I am. I am capable of doing it well. It helps that I enjoy it, and that the people I work with are encouraging. When something needs doing we all get stuck in to figure out the best way and get it done. And if I’m not feeling up to being at work my colleagues notice and suggest skedaddling for an afternoon if it seems like it’s a good option.

This feeling of being an imposter in my own skin pervades nearly all aspects of my life at different times. Some aspects more strongly than others. While playing ultimate this feeling only arrives if I feel I am not playing with good spirit. This leads me to talk more and listen less, become angry rather understanding, and sometimes even play in a more physical way which is not being aware of everyone’s safety on court. With the help of good team-mates, and a conscious effort to notice when my emotions are getting the better of me, this feeling of not being me occurs far less frequently than it used to on the ultimate field.

Creativity lives in my bones. Even when doing something unrelated words form into stories, into song lyrics, and into beautiful poetry in my my mind all by themselves. This is built in to my being so you might think it would be impossible for me to feel out of place or inadequate while I engage in writing stories and music. Unfortunately this is not so. It is these things I feel most unqualified to do, even though while I write I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what it feels like I’m built for.

For all of us there will be days it seems we are unable to do anything right. There will be days when nothing feels right even though we are making substantial progress. It is on these days especially that we must be kind to ourselves. We must take a deep breath and know that with the right effort in the right places we can forge a brighter tomorrow.

What things do you do on days you don’t feel like yourself, to keep putting one foot in front of the other? How do you manage the doubts and fears that can sometimes creep into your mind?

Let us know in the comments and we’ll get a healthy discussion going. Or better yet, talk with someone you trust, because you are worthy of time.

Peace to you, dear readers.

Photo by sebastiaan stam from Pexels

9 thoughts on “A stranger in our own skin

  1. oneroundcorner says:

    Thank you for writing this Hamish. It stuck several chords for me. Have you ever read Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus? This book showed me multiple pathways in dealing with this experience. It reads more like possibilities to consider than hard principles to live by. So it is more of a collection of ideas to experiment with rather than follow as any coherent system. In addition to finding direction in philosophy, hard-wrought personal re-evaluations provide the strongest sense of self as a process of thought rather than as a permanent state to be in.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. João-Maria says:

      The nomadology of A Thousand Plateaus was unbelievably important to me for that very reason; for us to be allowed a shedding that deconstructs the rigid nature of ideologies and herdings, the “transhumance of the spirit”, as I called it once in some poem. We must labour to build, part by part, inch by inch, from our smallest perceptions, a form of ourselves gifted with the heated core of change.
      One must work in the understanding that change is not the loss of being, but a new spirit, pithier than the last.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Hamish says:

        Your comment really made me think, and I had to do some research into nomadology and The Thousand Plateaus (which I had not heard of until you mentioned it here). We must seek to question why “what is” is the way it is and encourage ourselves to become the new us every chance we get.

        If you find the poem where you used the term “transhumance of the spirit” I would be keen to read it.

        Thank you for your very thoughtful words. You have given me much to think about and to read so I can learn more. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. João-Maria says:

        It’s called “our lady of the haze”, but it’s actually a critical poem concerning some extreme liturgies and rituals found around the world.
        People sometimes think that profound change is so mystical, they require equally mystical ways to change.
        I’m happy your comment had an impact on you. Your blog seems awesome, so I’ll stick around!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. oneroundcorner says:

        Yes! The way of the rhizome! Becoming over Being! Experiencing the body without organs through deterritorializations of the fossilized dead terrain. To find endless desiring machines plugging in different ways. Fantastic! No? I’m so pleased these works impacted / changed you as much as me!

        Liked by 2 people

    2. Hamish says:

      Thank you so very much for reading and for your thoughts. I not heard of, and as such, have not read Anti-Oedipus as yet. But thanks to your comment here I have added it to my reading list (which seems to be getting longer before it gets shorter!)

      I very much relate to the idea of possibilities rather than hard and fast definites, because we are all different. We can provide each other with information from our own experiences of certain situations, but this in no way means anyone else will experience these the same way. As you so eloquently say who we are is constantly changing so how we see ourselves and others should be just as dynamic.

      Thank you again, I really appreciate your thoughts and suggestions of reading around my humble writings. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. oneroundcorner says:

        Thank you Hamish! This is such an important topic that can go under the radar for many folks. I applaud your brave open way of talking about such feelings and hope that if you find the time to read such works that it will be a springboard toward infinite ways of becoming! Have a good weekend friend! 👏👏👏

        Liked by 3 people

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