Writing Group Topic: The Centre of Calm

Calm, or lack thereof, is definitely an interesting topic for me… there is a discrepancy between what I feel like inside, and what that looks like to the outside world.

A good example – years ago, when my mother was still alive, I used to compete in international music (instrumental) contests. This involves being on stage alone, playing various challenging pieces, as a jury sits in front of you taking notes and a discerning audience behind them compares you with everyone before and after. I didn’t like it (playing instruments, as a whole: it was my mother’s thing) but I couldn’t not care. Many of the people, both in the jury and the audience, would be people I knew and my mother knew. So I was nervous, petrified, frightened before going on stage. Often, people backstage with me would make a remark on how incredibly calm I was! While others would fret and wring their hands and climb the walls with nerves, I was (looking like) an oasis of calm. I just sat there, not moving. What they didn’t see was that I was more like a deer in the headlights: frightened to inability to move!

So people around me tend to think I’m quite calm. Comparing myself with others, I know that others feel more intensely than I do, overall. And I don’t rage, I don’t tend to get angry, neither inside nor outside. I’m not stuffing it in or pretending: I really am that calm (call it placid, if you like…). Feelings, for me, are deep: they go right to the heart. Like love, caring, that sort of thing. Anger is in a different category, it’s a temporary, fleeting thing that isn’t real the next day (or even the next hour). I don’t tend to have those temporary, stormy emotions at all.

As for worry? I used to think I’m not a worrier. Then my job situation became, well, interesting, and I’ve been thinking through it a lot. Is that worry? I’m not worried about myself – I’m just occupied with what’s going to happen. But I can take my mind off that without too much difficulty. It’s a discipline thing, partly, but also I think it’s just a personality thing where I’ve been lucky 🙂

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