I was told, recently, that I am different. Different from other comic book fans, in that, I prefer to enjoy the product, rather than complain. Different from other Americans, in that, I believe that the US is not the total and end all of nations in the world. Different from other Christians, because I believe in such a big god that I don't think human rules and human values are the same as the God I choose to believe in. I am different because I am an INFJ on an MBTI scale of personality types. And different because I am a poet who does not care about achieving for Academia, and I do not write for the genres and subjects that poetry fans read.
Am I so different? Yes. I am different. Some of this is because of the circumstances of my birth. Some is due to the parents who raised me. Some is from the cultural experiences I have had. And of course, my DNA is likely a party to the different that I am. My life is not one that I am in complete control of, being that I live on a planet with 7.5 billion other people. This isn't an amazing new concept, but it is one that some people attempt to suggest. "I am not like the others" yeah, right.
I am different for numerous reasons, as you can see. Another way I am different is that while I write and do other things, most of them provide little financial award. Someone asked me if I was on welfare, since my work doesn't make much money. I am not. However, from day one of being in a serious relationship with the woman who became my wife, she was aware that I was going to be a writer, and that she needed to abandon ship if she didn't understand that I was unlikely to ever be more than that. We are fortunate that we've arrived safely to the end of our child's K-12 education without being in bankruptcy, but some of that isn't my fault. Getting cancer and paying oodles of money over years when I've fought it meant that our finances were thin. And I only get to buy things if I sell my work, or books I buy as likely being of interest to collectors. I am not a capitalist, I am not a communist. I am an artist who has done work with little financial compensation, or critical success.
Why does any of this matter? Everyone is different, right? Yes, we are all unique in the very same way. Yet, no matter the desire to think we are all different, you can assume that many people in any culture conform to a certain template that "normal" is considered to be. I do not mean any disregard towards or contempt for anyone who fits that norm. I simply am aware of how deeply different some people are. And I believe that people who conform receive a great many benefits for such social conformity. The world does nothing without there being a reason. If I am kind, it is because I believe society is benefited by my action. If a person steals that act rewards them in various ways, but comes with a risk. Conformity allows people to thrive within the boundaries of a system. Those who live outside of that system risk the benefits of being a social animal.
But remember, quantity is not quality, and no matter how unpopular you are, remember this too, 10 million flies love shit, it does not make shit good. Being popular is not the same as being good. Doing things that are or being of high quality does not guarantee anyone popularity. It guarantees only what it is.
I no longer attend church. I have been involved in many churches, but I am not a social person, nor am I extroverted. I am deeply introverted. The act of going to church is one that some people feel rewards them socially, as well as spiritually. For me the balance is solely for spiritual rewards, because I hate being in the midst of a large group of people, even in family or friends, I get overwhelmed. The cost of being in that group is often anxiety and stress, but it can be worse, causing me to become wounded, and regret attending that church. So, my choice has been to watch two different youtube ministers and read a variety of blogs for spiritual gain. Not attending the group but getting the lessons allows me to grow.
So how do I intend upon moving forward? I choose to keep writing, and I choose to be a positive force for the areas of life I am inclined to enjoy. I am a Christian, a poet, an American, a Male, an INFJ, a Father, a Brother, a Son, and a Husband. I like books, cats, comics, music, history, and documentaries.
Wie Schafe zur Schlachtbank geführt
One can assume that my goals are for a palpable reward. And I accept that. But the kind and form of reward, I think are diverse, unusual, and are not easily interpreted.
(Cat Photos copyright Jonathan Ness 2016)