“I let literature and world history inspire me to give my textiles quirky creative names,“ the elegant boss lady over 50 said, “that’s pretty shallow, isn’t it? But I live for those names.”
The group of a dozen memoir writing hopefuls and our wise, experienced writing coach giggled.
Marketing copy as her “creative shallow”? The way she talked about it was funny, one of those breaking-the-ice moments making everybody sigh with relief that they can be real here in this writing seminar.
Shallow, I thought, I hate shallow.
So called celebrities came to mind, those women for whom appearance and what they own is everything and who chose their entourage following the same categories. Shallow people are naturally narcissist prone and rarely have compassion or unconditional feelings for anybody. A person looking for real friendship would probably fall on her face realizing that the OMG, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH of a woman full of herself is void of any true emotion. Not because the shallow person is born a mean bitch, but because she never had the privilege of learning what consideration, empathy, honesty or loyalty are.
I’m one of the others, the “complicated” people. If you’re nice you call me deep. Everything to me has meaning, tells stories, evokes feelings.
“Isn’t that an exhausting way to live?” I was asked.
It is sometimes; when I feel that I’m not understood and run away from myself trying to fit in and when I need too many shields to protect myself from getting hurt. I ran from the pain and after the joy and understood after decades that living deeply means both; crushing despair and high flying happiness and in between the calm of knowing.
Shallow to me is a vacation from myself and a learning tool.
The difference lies in BEING shallow, which means the lack of self awareness and ACTING shallow, which to me is freedom from limitations of being deep ALL THE TIME.
An old friend of mine “cancelled” our friendship as she couldn’t bare seeing my “self-indulgent selfies.”
Mirrors and pictures of myself are part of my process; test drives into self confidence and who a truly am. My exploration of outfits opened new levels of understanding; accepting the feminine pretty of pink gave me new depth.
The shallow act of dress up became a guide through vanity to self love.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” I loved that quote because it condoned my “dying of boredom” in regular life.
A new friend of mine is the queen of small talk; she appreciates and gets along with everybody. I watched and cringed. When I was able to allow shallow talk as a part of life without having to get drunk to stay calm I found compassion.
Shallow talk can be somebody’s cry to connect.
Who hasn’t giggled about celebs, found the power of a billionaire sexy, identified with the cool new car, craved a freaking expensive perfume or espresso machine, loved their selfies or people that made them look good? Who hasn’t had shallow thoughts or desires?
When we accept our shallow we become deep, it’s as cool as that.
“We tell anecdotes all day long,” explained our writing coach, “the difference to writing our life’s story is to add significance and meaning to it.” The most important question, which Adam Hauge asked us ten years ago in a screen writing seminar and I seem to forget sometimes in my desire to change the world was
What does this matter to me?
It’s the same with anything described as shallow; where does it come from and what does it matter to you? It’s a question that cuts though the clutter of our wants and needs.
This is not a call to love ego tripping narcissists and happily embrace and let in the shallowness of Hollywood gossip; it’s a reminder to feel the fear in our judgements.
Everything even shallow acts have the potential of being and knowing “more.
Shallow, I figured, I shall add significance and meaning to shallow.