It's just not everyday that I pass a box of trash on the street that might be the perfect metaphor for my self-image or my country. But the streets of NYC offer many such reflective opportunities.
Reading Feldenkrais. Didn't realize he was so tapped into the connections between an individuals perceived value and the stunting of an individual's self-image as soon as they figure a way to fit comfortably into our economic system.
Feeling lucky I spent all those years wandering the streets of NYC. That job was a personal journey, a position few in the world can say holds much relative value. I made little money. I hurt my body. I did it for seven years, and it took me that long to figure out what I'm naturally good at and work on developing that ability into something positive and creative. This wasn't easy--and mostly because I had achieved a lot by the time I decided to take this job of wandering. But achievements were what needed to be stripped away from my self-image; they were misleading.
Sometime along the way I reached out to a former professor and mentor for a recommendation letter for some residency or grad school app. The prof asked, "Well, have you finally found something to hold your attention day after day for the rest of your life?"
Geez! The pressure of that question still haunts me years later. I mean, I haven't been that wild with my employment--and I think the professor missed the point: I've been happy!
Well, I guess that's what years of climbing the academic ladder will do. Especially when you get to the top, look down below and see that the entire foundation of your system is crumbling.
No, I don't have a fragmented self-image. It's holding together just fine.