“Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne
These last two days I’ve become a regular visitor to Dictionary.com. I’ve been called an enigma and have been told that I have a predisposition. I’ve heard these words used many, many times but have never really thought or cared to know their actual meaning. I find it easy to put together a supposed meaning for words depending on the way the sentence or paragraph is constructed, but to be flat outright called an enigma, and being told that I have a predisposition, well, I felt dumb. What the heck do they mean?
So I referenced the dictionary for their meanings and this is what I found out:
Enigma – n a person, thing or situation that is mysterious, puzzling, or ambiguous.
Predisposition – n tendency to a condition or quality, usually based on the combined effects of genetic and environmental factors.
Needless to say, I was shocked to learn this. I never really saw myself like this but now, while taking a good look in the mirror, I can see it quite clearly. Like the saying goes “hindsight is 20/20.”
I’ve been called complex, complicated, intense, high maintenance and even difficult. Those qualities never sat right with me because I find that they have negative connotations tied to them and I don’t see myself in a bad way. I believe I have a big heart and I feel deeply about things, situations and people. Who knows, maybe that is where the intensity and high maintenance comes in. And I’m still learning about myself, I’m open to seeing things in new ways, allowing myself to grow as a person, and therefore I am constantly evolving and changing. Perhaps that is where the complexity and complication comes to into play.
I’m not big on labels. Never liked them at all. I think it’s a way to quickly pass judgement on people without even knowing them but I can’t help but wear the enigma badge proudly. I have to admit that there is something to being mysterious and puzzle-like which I find neat. But I’m also aware that it must be frustrating for some people who are trying to figure me out and get to know me. I’m not intentionally trying to hide anything or trying to make things difficult, I’m just learning about myself, figuring out what fits for me, and what works. And if something doesn’t, then I just move on to learn about something new.
What I’m having trouble with is being told that I have a predisposition. As much as I’d hate to admit to it, I do. What I struggle the most with is that the person who told me this I have known for a very short period of time, about a week and that this person has been able to see right inside of me. I’m a private person (yes, one that writes about my thoughts and feelings for the entire world to see – an oxymoron, I know). Only one other person in this entire world has been able to see right into me like this, and now I’m faced with a second person. I sit uncomfortably with this. This person has pinned down that the outgoing, joking, sarcastic front I put on to not let people really see me is just that – a front. Because of my past, I don’t feel comfortable letting people get close to me, to really know who I am, yet I enjoy being in company. And so I put up a wall. As I was told, not many people will put up with this behaviour for long and eventually they will go away. I don’t let it easily be seen that there is someone beyond that front, and it will lead to a very lonely life down the road. The good thing is, predisposition does not mean predestination. It doesn’t have to end up this way.
I’m aware of the wall, and I’m working on it with my therapist, but I didn’t really know how bad it was. This was a HUGE lightbulb moment for me. This front is automatic, not only with people I just first meet, but with everyone in my life. As soon as they start getting close with me, up it goes, and it’s like a brick wall. It keeps them out and me in.
I’m reading a book called “The Last Lecture” and in it the author at one point talks about brick walls. The purpose of the brick wall isn’t to stop people from doing what they or getting what they want. The purpose of a brick was is to show you how badly you want something, and how you can overcome any obstacle if you truly want to. This is a brick wall for me. One that I have to scale.
So how about that….I’m an enigma with a predisposition. Who would have thought?