Recently, I read a quick interview with Jane Campion. She talked about building one’s personality in the first part of one’s adulthood and then spending the rest of it dismantling the damned thing.
I thought it rather interesting, and it made sense to me. I think we all used to do that. I know that I did. I also know that the way I built that personality was predicated on my untreated bi-polar disorder, so a lot of it was about putting up barriers, about hiding and about self-preservation. A lot of that made me appear hard, alienating and opinionated, all elements of my personality that I dislike, that aren’t natural to me, and that I’d do anything not to have built a reputation for having. They’re all there for good reasons, though.
Of course times change, and I’ve learned to deal with and accept help for my mental health issues, so I’m quite a different person now from the person that I was then. People who’ve known me for relatively short periods of time, for fewer than ten year, say, probably have very different opinions of me from people who’ve known me for longer. People who’ve known me for my entire life demonstrate very different feelings for me from those who are newer friends. It takes people a very long time to change their views and adjust their perspectives, if, indeed they’re ever going to do that. I don’t blame them, of course. Life’s like that.
That personality building kept me safe, though, and gave me something to hang my life on, while I grew up and dealt with the day to day.
I worry much more for the next generation, for kids growing into young adulthood right now. So many of them seem to spend so much time saying that they just want to be loved for themselves, that they never find out who their best selves are, or take the time to develop into those people. They never seem to do any of the deliberate personality building that Jane Campion was talking about.
|Matt Lucas as Vicky Pollard|
the ultimate snotty teenager
It’s a pity. I think a bit of self-consciousness is useful in teens and young adults. I’m happy to forgive a bit of affect in a kid who is at least willing to think about who they want to be. Young people should want to emulate their heroes, and they should wonder who they are. If they don’t do those things, surely they’re missing out on forming better relationships with more worthwhile people, and surely we’re missing out on them altogether, simply because society has told them it’s OK to ‘just be’.
It only takes a moment to consider who we are and what we think before we make a statement, but most kids seem to blunder blindly through life, taking little or no interest in anything but themselves and their immediate desires.
Of course, there is always a time and a place for those unguarded moments, otherwise how would we ever learn anything, but OMG! in the vernacular, they might as well pick their noses and fart in public, which they do, not to mention getting wasted, falling over, getting their tits and dicks out, and thinking the whole thing’s hilarious, not to mention the shit that comes out of their minds and mouths, because they haven’t given themselves or us or anything at all a moment’s thought, including the dangers they expose themselves to.
Jane Campion regretted constructing a personality that she had to then deconstruct. I regret that the vast percentage of teenagers don’t begin to do something similar, because if they did, maybe the World would be a nicer place to live in for them, and for the rest of us, too. It’s all part of growing up, isn’t it? Something that kids appear to put off, more-or-less indefinitely.