Self-Discovery Saturday (belated): Thinking for one’s self (when crossing the street as well).

I started writing this blog post yesterday but I didn’t get to finish it on time. I’ll publish it this morning instead. I’m still going to try to come up with a Sunday List for later today.

I went to return some items to the library yesterday. I had to park across the street. That intersection is often busy, especially around lunch time with the nearby restaurants, not to mention one of the gates to the naval shipyard is right there. Therefore I sometimes wait for the signals in order to cross. There was a woman with two small children waiting on the other side of the intersection so I had assumed they already pressed the control for the signal. Instead they crossed when there was a lull in traffic. I’m not proud of this but it caused me to walk as well because I didn’t want to look lame, still waiting. As I passed the family I heard the woman say “We’ll think for ourselves” in terms of crossing without the signal.

First of all, I find it amusing that she told the children that they would think for themselves by her making the decision for them. I wonder if she was even aware of the irony at play there. But I started thinking of the whole attitude about thinking for one’s self when crossing only when there’s a signal. I admit that I let her decision to cross influence mine, but I also often use the signals at that intersection. It’s not so much that I cross when the signals tell me to, but I cross when they indicate that the overall mechanism told the cars to stop. I use the crosswalk signals as a tool for my own safety.

I also freely admit that I jaywalk all the time, especially in the neighboring city of Portsmouth. As long as there’s no cars coming, I just go. The cops around here don’t care. I’ve heard that this is an East Coast thing, while out West jaywalking is more frowned upon. I can only go by hearsay on that matter, but I have noticed that when I’ve been in Seattle visiting friends people around there do seem to have a stick up their ass when it comes to this. I chalk it up to the possibility that they focus more on prevention whereas we focus more on liability around here. But that’s a cause for further study at another time… and by somebody more qualified than me.

I could go on a whole diatribe about whether or not people truly think for themselves, ever, to begin with. I could go all the way to the debate between free will versus determinism, or I could go with a discussion about groupthink or trying to conform with society. But I want to take this to a more personal level. What does it mean for me, personally, to think for myself? This is where this falls under the “self-discovery” category that I’ve dedicated primarily to Saturdays.

I decided, or discovered, that I most likely am a Goth, and I need to explore this avenue for myself. By doing so, I’ve started researching all the aspects of Goth subculture, especially the music. I haven’t fully developed my look yet, primarily because of cost reasons but also because I’m not sure what I want to do for it. But I’m taking a slow approach to make sure that I’m doing it right. At the same time, however, I’m looking elsewhere for input on what is and isn’t Goth, what a Goth should or shouldn’t look like. It’s a subculture that shares an aesthetic taste but also promotes individuality. There’s a fine line there for me in terms of trying to think for myself while also fitting in to the group. Should I fit into the group, it should be because who I am naturally fits that group’s criteria. I shouldn’t conform my views and taste just so I can fit into that group. That may be why it took me so long to realize that I may be Goth, and why it’s taking me so long to make sure that such a lifestyle is right for me.

Coming to terms with my asexuality also helped me start thinking more for myself. I freed my mind of trying to conform to a sexual identity that I didn’t have. For decades I felt like a failure because I couldn’t follow through with any heterosexual relationships. Once the weight has lifted from my shoulders, however, I no longer feel pressured to go out with somebody else on a Saturday night, or try to meet somebody while I’m out on a Saturday night, or to even go out on a Saturday night in the first place if I don’t feel like it. I can now pursue my own interests without thinking about what other people (primarily, dates or potential dates) might think about me. I know, I should have thought that way anyway. But my mind was so clouded with all sorts of thoughts that I never really got around to that until just recently.

I found the woman’s attitude yesterday annoying and contradictory. At the same time, however, I think that she did have her heart in the right place. I don’t know her or how she well she lives that position of thinking for herself on a daily basis. But whether or not the thought sticks with the kids, she certainly gave me something to think about.

By the way, I’m not going to write a book review tomorrow. I said I went to the library but only to return some items. I had other things than reading a new book that I wanted to catch up on this weekend. I may write a review of some other new thing that I watched yesterday, but I haven’t decided yet.



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