Ego / by Christina Osheim

Goodness gracious, what to write, what not to write, whether to get into the meat of it or just shimmy through with a funny story about furby knife wielding bloody pandas. (yes, there is such a thing and it exists on youtube).

ego.

I've been thinking a lot about ego of late. And what a fickle and complex lady she is. (assuming ego has a gender... i consider it to be neutral or based on the gender of whom it is being referred)  Egocentric, Egotistical, Egomaniacal, Ego Driven, blow to ones ego, stroking an ego... All of these statements have some sort of negative or aggressive bent to them. Thanks to google and I am assuming Wikipedia or dictionary.com OED etc. has defined ego thus

e·go

ˈēɡō/

noun

  1. a person's sense of self-esteem or self-importance.

    "a boost to my ego"

    synonyms:self-esteemself-importanceself-worthself-respectself-imageself-confidence

    "the defeat was a bruise to his ego"

    • PSYCHOANALYSIS

      the part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity.

    • PHILOSOPHY

      (in metaphysics) a conscious thinking subject

So ego is not inherently bad. It is, as with everything else, when pushed to the extreme that it becomes a blight on the face of humanity. *cough cough 45*. 

The ego thought of in terms of ones self worth, a mediator, identity, and and a conscious thinking subject is not bad. In fact that sounds pretty darn good. (I also must be honest and say I never have taken a philosophy class, though I did take a number of religion classes, so will muddle my way through my thoughts as clearly and concisely as possible.)

I have been thinking about ego as it is connected to fear and pride. As I venture off into the path of an artisan so much, pretty much everything is unknown. Except for what I am doing this venture for. Art. Specifically clay. I was speaking with a friend earlier today about focusing on just one thing. Like being the best shoe tier in the world, Double knots, fine! fancy loops, not a problem. etc. If you have the training and practice and time spent to get even to a modicum degree of being the best you will then be really pretty good, right? And shouldn't you then have pride? I can do a triple lutz shoelace knot in under 30 seconds. I am the Rocky of Rocksports. Gold medal shoe tie  competition belt has been mine hands, or shoes, down for decades! No one would ever doubt or second guess my abilities as I am just that awesome. And that is one way ego can become sick. Your self worth in regards to your accomplishments becomes inflated to a degree that you can become self centered (egocentric) and dismissive of others. This being said, if you tie someones shoe and they, unknowing of your status say:  "man, that is the most gorgeous lace I have ever seen. Thank you and well done." It should be ok to smile, say thank you, and get pleasure out of someones enjoying a skill that you have. You shouldn't have to shrug and say "it's nothing." because it is not nothing. it is something. I have trouble saying thank you. Or saying it's nothing. I am, I hope getting better without adding the arrogance. I remember last Saturday someone looking at my work then looked at me and said "you've had a lot of training, haven't you?" I laughed and said "yes, I have." And hopefully didn't sound too arrogant or "I went to Cranbrook, the #2 school in the country for clay."

And Cranbrook brings up another point. I DID go to the #2 school in the country and I worked my ass off and kicked some serious ass at the end(my own included). It was hard. But I did it. And got a compliment from the professor I respect most at Cranbrook. Your pedigree should be able to open some doors, or should be acknowledged. Right? It is ok to say that I have done and am doing things I never knew I could do. Which brings me back to ego. As I venture forth and apply for all these shows and go to all of these sales I look at my work and the work I am doing to get there. It is really good. Do I see plenty of flaws yes. I do. Do I get to the point that I see enough flaws that I want to shy away and toss the whole lot into the garbage. Throw up my hands and become a line cook at Applebees? Yes. Well, not really the applebees part. ugh. I see plenty of flaws. And I work to improve upon them as much as possible each time I go forward. And now I'm thinking myself into a black hole of WHAT THE HELL AM I TRYING TO SAY! 

Ego. Pride. and Fear.

Fear.

I have this pedigree, I have good work that is consistently improving. I am getting good feedback. I am doing the steps that I think are necessary, feel logical, and my intuition tells me are right. But... But. But.

I am applying for and going to things that I know my work and conceptual thought is stronger. But I would still like to be a part of this community or that community or this email list. I want to show you I can tie the triple lutz shoelace tie, but am totally down with hanging with your simple knot. But you may not want a fancy knot in with you. And that is your right. And I have to accept that. Fear is the worst bastardization of Ego it is inherently linked to Pride. I have written so much about the various things I have gone through this year and in previous ones. And it is humbling. I have been thinking about the term going in without ego or no ego. And what I am thinking is going in with a centered ego. Rarely is it calm. Or rarely is my ego calm. But going forth with everything I do trying to acknowledge what I am good at, what I struggle with, and how I can improve. Living in that gray area. I know I should get this. That I deserve this. That my pedigree says yes it fits. People tell me I'm a shoe in and don't need to worry. All of that may be true. But, I will stay in the gray area. I won't know until I know and if I do I will humbly say thank you for giving me this opportunity. And if I don't I will say "thank you for considering me. What or how could I have improved." And realize that it is an opportunity. If I get it I have to work and be kind and thoughtful and keep my fear and pride and ego from taking over. 

Easier said than done. But good to think and write about. Now I gotta run and learn to tie the triple sowkow as I saw there was an International Shoe Knot competition with not a gold belt, but a platinum one and really I'm a shoe in. ;)