a proud boy …

click the thumbnails, to enjoy the pictures full size …

There was this proud young boy.
They told him that he was gifted.
And he felt proud for being special.

But slowly, over the years, something made him unhappy. It was difficult to point out what exactly. From the age of 8, he noticed that what interested him, didn’t seem to interest most people, not even his parents. They focussed on good points at school, and started asking that horrible question: ‘What do you do want to do, later, when you grow up?’

And he didn’t know.
He wanted to play
with the stars in the sky,
and ride the tractors
of his friend’s father,
on the field, (he already did 🙂 )
and tinker with broken TV-sets.

Grammar school was OK, but from 7th grade onwards, he felt he didn’t belong. They were preparing him for society, and he didn’t want to be prepared. They said he’d need an income of his own, soon, … and would have to go to university and get a diploma.

And he had to give in.

And his pride forced him to be good,
in someone else’s shoes.
But he couldn’t be good enough.

This simply were not his values. Pressure from family, and peers who were pressured by their own family, to fit in, made his heart cry. He could only be mediocre in these shoes, and that hurt his pride a lot.

Quick and temporary fixes are most often applied to forget this kind of pain.

There are many temporary fixes like kicks, being addicted to those kicks, addiction to substances, obsessions, needy relationships, hunger for money and power, and even the greedy escape in the books, … However, depression and anxiety are always on the brink. The hurt comes back whenever we are not busy fixing the putrid wound, specially when bored, alone or impatient.

We forget to do something about our pride,
that causes our mental self to feel hurt.

We forget to do something about the conflict
between ‘being a nice member of society’
and ‘following your creativity and dreams’.

To free ourselves from mental pride,
we need to get to know our mental self …
Meditation and self reflection are part of this,
and certain counsellors also do help.

The layers of imprinted ‘how to be a good member of society’
will come within view, one day,
while that search for the self is going on.

Then they can be replaced by our own values.
(much) later perhaps, by the open acceptance of not knowing…

While on this road of self discovery,
one will discover
healthy ways of being creative
healthy ways of dealing with impatience
healthy ways of dealing with boredom.

And silence and being alone
will become a source of joy …

… and then … just ‘being’ … will be enough

Pictures by bvdb (whoisbert) january 2014 – @home – Canon Ixus HS230 – IMG_5227-5839


20 thoughts on “a proud boy …

  1. Thanks for the heartfelt sharing Bert. I can relate to the sensation of being encroached upon by the pressures of conformity. I think this goes beyond just parents and immediate family. Our world as a whole fosters this kind of thinking, questions those who are unique or march to the beat of a different drummer. It takes some courage, some living, some falling down and getting up, to realize the different drummer is perhaps the only beat we can really depend on at the end of the day.


    • … well this world we live in, with the ever bigger circles around us … might want to conform us to post-conformism … which is a very strange thing in itself. Breaking free from all conformism, is almost impossible, so we have to make a conscious choice — and decide upon what is good for us, and what is not, hopefully led in this by something larger than earth, a force we often call upon in prayer … addressing by whatever name appropriate.

  2. Children should be encouraged to chart their own course but for far too many parents their focus is on living their own priorities through their children. This is enslavement.

    • it is a way human being think their ideas and opinions will continue after death …
      it is not much different from a belief in reincarnation, implying a life of ‘castic’ and dogmatic karmic thinking …
      it is not much different from a belief in heaven/hell implying a life overshadowed by sin and pardon from sin

  3. Love, just love, the photographs. They keep getting better and better. These are truly beautiful. And, the words, well, I think most of us, or at least many of us, can relate. I enjoyed the story format interspersed with stanzas of poetry. Very creative. That’s you. That’s why you don’t fit in. And that is more than fine. I think you’ll agree– although the sting from childhood still smarts sometimes. Not as bad as stigma but on the same spectrum. As for just being, it is taking many lessons to learn that that is enough. So if you weren’t able to post your lovely photographs or write your wonderful thoughts on a blog, it would be okay to just feel the awe. This is a big pill to swallow.

    • Most photographs are helped by open source software gimp. Often only for cutting and adding a little contrast, sometimes for a little more … Thank you for your kind and wise words.
      Not posting the photographs, or not even taking them … this is more difficult than it sounds. There is a synergy: by sharing I discover much more myself than if I wouldn’t be. My backyard has become a treasure island, full of memories of photographs, which by itself induces the silence … and the awe.

      • Thank you for your reply to my comment. It was certainly not by choice that I have come to accept just being and I have not entirely accepted it. I am hoping to find treasures in our backyard some time again and photograph them and post them like you do so well. I know what you mean about memories of awe.

        My husband is the one who says just be and he is able to do that without taking photos or doing blogs or anything. But then again he listens to people everyday and is able to help them to varying degrees– so we all need to feel like what we do makes some contribution to the universe. I used to just be and be happy in that but I was unmedicated and unable to really function properly.

        • Just being is easy, when things go well — if you can do that while things are really bad, then awakening must be very close.
          Indeed, what you say about your husband rings a bell. When I teach students on courses that last over 1 week, then that contact is often enough to feel good, enough to just be.

  4. I think it’s particularly difficult if that feeling of not fitting in hits you as a child. I can totally relate though my moment of insight came much later – when ‘everybody’ told be that as a technical expert you need finally become a manager and I followed that advice. It took me a while to sort this out – but it’s still much easier to cope with that if you are 30 years old and not just, say, 10.

    • I see that both my daughters underwent a couple of transformations round the age of 7-9 and 12-14. We are usually not aware at that age that something is going on, and if we are, we have no idea what. We go with the others, never questioning what we do. Then, secondary school is the worst. In my eyes, that system is completely failing in my country. I didn’t learn anything useful at all there, except perhaps, how to handle people … and now, 30 years later, I notice that nothing has changed. These days, on a professional level, I do what I want, however, often at a price.

      • I am really grateful for some awesome teachers I had – both at school and the university. I have great memories of a truly well-rounded education both in science and humanities at school. But generally speaking I agree with you.
        Most children don’t like school and their curiosity gets crippled. In Austria teachers are not paid much and the reputation of the profession is not good – kind of downward spiral maybe. I know from first-hand experience that – in natural sciences – often those become high-school teachers who failed a full technical degree program but not necessarily those who are born to inspire children. The motivation to become a teacher is then “to have the summer off”.

        • … we need motivators in life. Those who let you discover for yourself what is really interesting for you. Then show the way to develop that into a way of life … A school only need some of them, but you should at least spend a trimester every three years, getting a key course of one of those. I also had some …

  5. Beautiful, honest & bare. I loved it!
    Lately I’ve been actively discovering & dismantling my own family templates, too. Both frightening & liberating. Thank you for sharing this part of you with us.

    • It is impossible to know exactly what was going on in my past, now forty, thirty or twenty years ago. I only remember the main story lines, and I now know I had regular feelings of obstinacy as well as depression, stress and anxiety, at many times === from the age of 8 till 23, and from the age of 23 till now 🙂
      The label family template is not very appropriate, since both my parents had different ideas about it, even alienated ideas regarding their own parents.
      . it’s complicated .
      I walked past that farm, where I played as a child, this morning, while returning from the garage without a car, dropped for maintenance. So I guess that this experience freed some memories. I have always been happy driving tractors, and those farmers didn’t mind teaching us 8 year olds how to handle those enormous machines.

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