Monthly Archives: June 2010

Miscellaneous Cacophony

Recently, I have noticed my tendency to link somewhat unlikely words together.  I have invented Serendipitous Crisps and an Itinerant Traffic Cone, amongst others.  The title came about when I was describing music without rests (it also works for life!)

If you would like to know more about the cone and/or crisps, just ask.

(Yes, this is a blatant fish for comments!)

Who’s an ugly duckling?

Not I!

Some of you may recognise that as the final line of the Ugly Duckling song, based on the story by Hans Christian Anderson.  I have been thinking about this story recently, for one reason and another.  Whilst it resonates with me to an extent (which is no surprise as a misfit child who seems to gradually be finding her place in life), I am aware that the necessary simplicity of fairy tales leaves a little to be desired if you choose to use them as more complex allegory.  Let me explain.

We join the ugly duckling at the point where it is evident to all the ducks that this is quite obviously a swan, and always has been.  Swans are also able to see this, and treat the ‘duckling’ accordingly.  This confuses him.  He has been told, in all of his formative years, that he is ugly (and probably weird/stupid etc as well!).  Now, however, some of the most elegant and respected birds on the pond are welcoming him as one of their own.  Whilst he enjoys this, on one level, he is always secretly afraid of being ‘found out’.  He has grown up amongst ducks, remember, and thus has some very duck-like behaviour which swans do not possess.  Add this to the constant negativity he experienced growing up, it would be very surprising if the ugly duckling were simply to cry ‘Not I!’ and glide off into the sunset.

I would expect him to still feel nervous at the sound of malicious quacking, and a sense of inferiority whilst around self-assured swans.  All this would, of course, be baffling to the onlooker.  Why would a swan not be proud and confident, why would a harsh look from a duck send him into such a downward spiral?  He is a fabulous looking swan, after all.  Can he not just ‘get over himself?’

The problem here would be in the thinking of the swan himself.  Although the reflection in the water and the words of those around him tell he that he is most certainly a swan, it will be difficult for him to believe this to be true.  He will have spent all of his energies until this point trying, and failing, to be accepted by ducks (his ‘family and friends’ of childhood).  His whole way of thinking and of behaving will be based on the idea that he is, in fact, an unsuccessful duck.  This thinking will be very difficult to break, and certainly will not happen simply by others telling him it is not true.  To him, it is more true than their ‘misguided’ opinions.

Only when swan decides to accept that he is, in truth, a swan and act accordingly will he truly reach the gliding off into the sunset stage.  Declaring ‘Not I!’ to the question ‘Who’s an ugly duckling?’ will not come easy to him at first.  In fact, he will feel more inclined to say ‘Me, I am. Sorry about that.’ and hang his head.  Alternatively, a more angry swan may go for the questioner with beak and wings, causing others to wonder about such an extreme reaction to such a patently stupid question!

Either way, the only real solution to Ugly Duckling Syndrome in swans is for them to say ‘Thanks’ when treated like a swan and ‘No thanks’ when treated any other way.

Wiblog Therapy

Some final thoughts

Having become constrained by the format of this Wiblog Therapy, I have decided to draw this thread to a close.  A recent post by Lanark, plus a conversation at work today,  prompted the following train of thought.  The idea expressed appears fundamental to classic ‘depressive thinking’.

I think there are many of us who wish to earn credit in life.  This is not, in and of itself, a bad thing – we all like to achieve things on our own merits.  There is a flip side to this, however in that it can leave no room for failure and thus no opportunity for the gift of grace.  The grace that comes with overlooking a ‘fault’ or a ‘failing’ that a good friend will do.  Forgiveness, I suppose.
I know, on some levels, that those who love me (God, family, friends etc)  will forgive me on the whole.  Because they value me, I am blessed by people who will overlook stuff that I find difficult to accept in myself   However, if I’m honest, I do not want it to be about being forgiven and accepted ‘despite’ my faults. I actually do not want to have to be forgiven! Deep down in the dark of my humanity, I actually want to never make a mistake.  Never want to know failure, disappointment in myself, the sense I have let another down.  In short, I want to be perfect!
Can anyone see the problem here?  In some perverse way, it is a form of pride.  The pride that says ‘I will only accept your high opinion of me when I have proved to myself and you that I am worth it in my own eyes!‘  No, get over yourself, Dith!  Accept that you are not perfect, never will be this side of eternity and allow others to think well of you if they choose.  Somewhere along the line, I may actually learn to extend much needed grace to myself – and finally stop trying so flipping hard to get it right!  (Whatever that means!)
At the end of the day, the real forgiveness needed is forgiveness of myself.  The acceptance of my own humanity, frailty and brokenness.  In getting there, I guess I can reach a stage where the love and forgiveness of others actually penetrates my thick skin of low self-esteem and I start to relax.  I’m getting there, WibFolk, but it is a loooooong journey! 🙂

Wiblog Therapy

  • Mental

  • You say she went mental,
  • but what do you mean?
  • Did she become violent,
  • insane and obscene?
  • Or did she fall down
  • a dark hole in her soul,
  • and find her life spiralling
  • out of control?
  • Or did she retreat,
  • was confined in her mind,
  • to escape from a world
  • she found cruel and unkind?
  • Was she shy – or obscene –
  • or somewhere in between.
  • You say she went mental,
  • Please, what do you mean?
  • Dith ’10