Growing up in Romania #5: Confessions of a clumsy guysteemCreated with Sketch.

in life •  2 months ago

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Growing up, I often passed (through any basic filter) as a clumsy guy, with-my-head-up-in-the-sky. I guess everybody connected those traits to my artistic abilities. And of course, I was left handed, which I explained in more detail here.

The Romanian language has invented many ways of laughing at guys like me, here are some of the expressions we use, literally translated to English:

  • to have a head up in the clouds
  • he has two left hands
  • to be "spread out" - it has a broader meaning - it also implies that you are forgetful + clumsy -> can't really rely on (to my Romanian friends reading->"a fi împrăștiat")
  • he has no practical sense
  • he's a day dreamer
  • he acts as he fell from another planet
  • he's dissipated
  • he's handicapped (not in that way, a lot of Romanians use this expression as a mild insult, nobody perceives it as something so terrible, we use it to describe someone being clumsy)
  • he's an Artist (with a funny face)

And of course, the more hurtful ones:

  • he's good for nothing
  • you can't rely on him
  • what kind of man are you?
  • etc., etc

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So, I grew up with hearing stuff like that at least 2-3 times a week, or even a day (usually that happens when we're renovating the apartment.) Thank god, I wasn't that affected by that, I'm still the same clumsy guy. But I have some friends who do get hit by that kind of words. So it can quickly turn into a stigma.

Romanians take pride in "being a real man" - which is the Romanian version of being the jack-of-all-trades. A good Romanian man is an electrician, a plumber, an auto mechanic; he's the best at his job (no matter what it is), he likes pork belly soup and goes to church. He can cook barbecue in any weather condition.

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My dad is by all those standards what you would call a good Romanian man. His earliest frustration with me was my inability to rise a kite with him which he built (because you couldn't find one to buy, or it was too expensive.) He told me that no matter how he tried he couldn't make me learn how to do it properly, or seem interested after that. Of course, he didn't question the flying ability of the kite he built, and also the wind wasn't quite the best that day.

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In high school he helped me build a guitar - actually he built most of it after my designs.

So, I'll do my best explain how it is to see the world through a clumsy person's eyes.

Ever since I was a kid, I found myself attracted to what one would define as rather abstract concepts for a child.

One of the earliest questions I remember asking myself was "what would have happened if I didn't do that, or that, or even what would have happened if I didn't ask myself this " - which I perceived as potential storylines that would have produced alternate versions of "me." Later, I re-discovered that idea in the movie "Butterfly effect." I didn't possess any answers, but I was switching on and off through my normal kid reality and that sort of stuff. The only problem was timing. When I was in social situations, and I had to do something practical that required being handy, I "spaced out" for a second and it was always that second that made everything else to make sense.

Of course, I had that genuine curiosity for toys and other plastic mechanisms, but most of the time I was day dreaming. I didn't quite choose the moment that happened, but in time I developed the ability to multitask.

I grew with the "stigma" of being clumsy. I find it funny now, how putting a label on someone can never lead to any improvement, even if the actions and the intentions are good (like trying to help somebody be more practical).

In my case, when I was a kid I had to help my father do, or repair stuff, or help him make signs for his sign-making business. He needed help but didn't quite have the patience to help me get better, so I could help him better. He tagged me early as having two left hands, so, even to this day every time I try to help him, his remarks kills whatever shred of enthusiasm I have for doing whatever he needs help with. So, in a way, I never developed my practical abilities because I was never actually encouraged to do so.

So yes, at a point early on and based on the feedback I was getting, I must have said "fuck that" and developed the other side of my personality, the one that was making me ask a lot of questions, and didn't require me to learn how to fix a circuit, or actually, build stuff around the house. I retained my clumsy way of being but turned daydreaming into my job and became a designer. Paradoxically it is the job that requires me to be aware of what I'm daydreaming. The sign-making experience was good though because as a graphic designer, you deal with stuff like that too.

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Of course, once you've been tagged as being in a certain way, it spreads like a plague, and it becomes one of your identities in front of the whole world. And it usually doesn't change no matter how hard you try, because everything you do is biased in the eyes of the one that perceives your actions. The clumsy one or - insert any other perception here. It even gets worse, depending on the situation. Because you don't align with people's "values" and expectations, clumsy turns into naive, or into weak or stupid. And the greater risk is to start to identify yourself with what others think of you. That's when you start to think less of you as well. And I think we all know where thinking less of you might lead.

Belief generates action. Is it vital to generate action based on other people's beliefs?



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If you want to watch my journey, you can follow me @demostene. If you really like this story, please upvote and resteem. Thank you!

BONUS Here's a song that goes well with this story - I discovered it last week in "Black Mirror"

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This post recieved an upvote from minnowpond. If you would like to recieve upvotes from minnowpond on all your posts, simply FOLLOW @minnowpond

Impressive post, one of a kind story!

@demostene, you're my favorite story teller!!!

Good job!

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Thank you, @nature.art! happy to hear that! ^_^

This post recieved an upvote from minnowpond. If you would like to recieve upvotes from minnowpond on all your posts, simply FOLLOW @minnowpond

Nice post, enjoyed it, cheers !

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Thank you @manish22rai! Glad you stopped by

very good post. thank you for sharing the story, success is always friends! I want to like you post. but not yet. guide this friend!

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Thank you for the kind words @alfa-good!

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Thank you @clumsysilverdad! looks like we found each other :)

You got a talent for telling stories @demostene , Even though my own personal story is from a completely different background (south american) there is a lot of things that I could relate to. Much success...

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Thank you @meno! Your comment brings much joy. I'm very happy when I find people that can relate to my experiences :)

This was really touching to read. I'm a believer that we all have our own special gifts and that the best presents of life are when we are present with ourselves. Nice share my Friend.

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Thanks for stopping by @the21plus! You are right :) we're all special cookies:D

Enjoyed it lolz sitting on buda especially if it's one outside :) In our language it is called bayath ul khalah , meaning the place where you think about impossible things quite easily. @demostone

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That's Arabic for "the house of empitiness", correct ?

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Oh yeah Arabic has many root words being one of the premier languages. @sandstrider

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True, I forgot to say that this is a rough translation.

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My Romanian mate in London UK told me that "budda" if you spell it that way like in the spiritual name of"Buddha" was the name for a outside toilet in Romania.

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Your Romanian mate described it well. We call "toilet" buda ( it reads like Buddha). However things can get spiritual when sitting on buda, especially if it's one outside.

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We lived in the same shared house in London for around 6 months. So I helped improve his english dialogue and he taught me about Romania, the history through You Tube.

He is from Sibiu. When he shown me Sibiu I could not believe how big the music scene is there. As a lot of the music he showed me was at a venue called Oldies.

He shown me on You Tube as well the Romanian version of Stonehenge you know those big black circles?

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You mean, Szarmiszegetusa? (hope I spelled it right, the Dacian Capital City )

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I think that might be the name. It was 4 years ago I last watched the documentary on it.

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You should visit if you get a chance :)

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When I travel I prefer the countryside out in the sticks instead of a city break. Yes I`ll probably go to visit Romania within the next 2 years. I have some other places outside of Europe I have set myself to visit over the next 18 months.

Congratulations on getting so much recognition in this post. I think it's great because it's well put together and you share your personal experiences. People seem to like that on here.

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Thank you @travelman! I find it liberating to write about my experiences, and honestly, I've been "wow"-ed by the amount of appreciation this post received.

Funny how people perceive things this differently, I can't say I'm the most focused guy around, far from it to be completely honest, even as a child i used to be very disoriented, lost in my own thoughts.

Though the main difference is that I was - and still am - a very VERY sore loser, i simply do not like ANYONE to tell me to back out because i lack the skills, i might say fuck it, but i know i'll come back and try harder because my ego can't take it, t'is both a blessing and a curse, so in a way, i can relate, but the experience was far too different.

However, my younger brother has the same traits and he's started to also discover an artistic side to himself, writing and music. Best of luck to you both, rooting for you fellas!

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Thank you @sandstrider. I relate to your ego issue, I often find myself reacting the same way, it's mostly related to my drive as a designer.

I grew up with the stigma of being stupid.

I didn't do well in class in my prepubescent days. I was scolded a lot. I misbehaved and was punished badly by my parents.

With that said, in my mind, I grew up with the stigma of never being good enough.

Slowly, as I grew up, that stigma turned into one where I felt I was not a good person as I repressed all my anger and frustration.

"Belief generates action. Is it vital to generate action based on other people's beliefs?"

No.

Most parents today try to teach their kids based on the best parenting books they can find.

What they don't realize is that there's no perfect book. There's no book entitled "The only parenting book for [your name]."

We all need to grow in our own individual way and simply try out best.

Hopefully, the people around you are supportive enough to help you.

Thanks @demostene

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Thank you for sharing your experience @aldentan. I've been trying for a couple of hours to find an answer because I can relate to it.

At some point down the road, I changed my perspective, to a point where I realized I can't really blame anything that's been going on because after zooming in through all the levels that's just the way they look at the world. Did they really choose to be there? Does anyone ever choose where and when they're born? Did we choose our eyes through which we see the world? Aren't our beliefs biased by that pair of eyes we didn't choose?

To me, when you put it that way, everything becomes oddly funny and synchronized. And the conflict is gone.

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Indeed, "that pair of eyes we didn't choose."

To put in bluntly then, why should I live according to others' expectations? Why should I try to please others? Why do I have to care about what others think?

@demostene Incredibly pleasant completion of article! Beloved the photographs and outline..

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Thank you for your kind words @eolandananni, glad you like it.

Buna! If it's any consolation, my mother and father were both programmers, and they likely think of me as being clumsy because I was much more creatively inclined toward literature. I've written my first novel, and you know what my parents' main concern was? "Well you shouldn't be wasting time writing a book. You could do something much more productive."

It's good to see other Romanians on here. I think we have a particular perspective on life that's worth sharing. Keep writing. I'm following you now :)

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Thank you @anarcho-andrei! I can't blame my parents for their world view and don't feel any frustration either (although I did at some point) - because everything that happened shaped the way I am today. I found peace in realizing that. I don't intend to put a judgemental eye on what has happened and why, but rather amuse myself of the syncronicity of life.

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Very true. If it had happened differently, I wouldn't be here, doing what I'm doing now. That's how I like to look at it. Glad to see you think the same way. :D

I feel I can relate to your post @demostene. Pleasing to know that I'm not alone in a world of "real men".

Good story, I once had a friend who was Romania...you guys have great people.
Btw you might like this https://steemit.com/contest/@splendorhub/celebration-time-200-followers-milestone-giveaway-contest-sbd-s Best wishes :)

Awesome post!!

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Thank you for stopping by @thethreehugs

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