Thursday, July 22, 2010


Not long ago, I tried really hard to dig within and identify my neuroses. Eventually, I concluded that I didn't have any. I'm just not a neurotic person, I thought. I'm too easy-going. I was wrong, of course. Everybody is neurotic in their own way, I think.

The neuroses I have since uncovered are all to do with words and self-expression, which is fitting. Here are just a few...

1. I hate using baby words. For example: tummy/belly (even as a child, I have always used the word "stomach", even though I know that the term technically only relates to the organ, as opposed to the general area to which I am usually referring), hubby, telly... Sometimes, I defy my own instinct and use the occasional juvenile word, just to get myself out of my comfort zone. "Silly", for example, which I am now comfortable with using - sparingly (it is a real word, after all).
2. I really don't like ugly Australian slang. Moll, bloody, Pom*, bonking, snogging, yobbo, dunny, mozzie, dag, arvo, snag, even Aussie. I'm not even going to start on those disgusting racist terms still in circulation, which should have died out decades ago.
3. I avoid swearing at all costs. I think I have sworn once on my twitter feed, but I was quoting somebody (a bigoted ignoramus who accused me of being a "sh*t talker" - I made sure to encase it in quotation marks so my followers knew that they weren't straight from my mouth). There are two reasons for my reluctance to swear. One, I always have my mother's advice in my head, which is that "Only unintelligent people swear because they don't know any better". Two, brings me to my next point...
4. I want everything I write to be pretty. You'll often find me combing over my writing, replacing words and phrases that sound jarring. I'd rather sound too flowery and elaborate than even a little grating or vulgar. You may have noticed that I love pretty adjectives (lovely, delightful, adorable, gorgeous are some favourites... and I also love to turn them into adverbs).

So those some of my neuroses. It feels good to have them "out there". Just to be clear, I don't expect anybody else to adhere to my silly (see?), self-imposed rules. It's not that I object to or judge other people for using ugly or juvenile wording. Some of my favourite writers pepper their writing with obscenities (Benjamin Law, for example - his book, The Family Law, is incredible... so funny and poignant). It's just not me. I like to be able to read over my work and be satisfied with the flow and the pretty diction. Writing is one of my greatest pleasures in life, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I suppose I could delve deeper and use those those neuroses to ascertain a greater insight into myself... Perhaps I am a bit uptight and superficial, with an innate desire to ignore or hide the unpleasantries and ugliness that exists in the world. Or, in a more flattering light, maybe I am just optimistic, wanting to see the beauty in everything and share that with other people. Even if the former is true, at least that part of myself is restricted mainly to my prose, rather than being imposed upon everybody I encounter in my day-to-day life.

I guess that's the thing with neuroses. Everybody is weird in their own way, only we all try to hide it so that we fit in and appear normal. Instead of having it (what makes us different) "out there", we express our oddness through private moments - neurotic quirks that allow us to be ourselves, in a raw, natural state. Sometimes we try to fight these traits, but they manage to sustain themselves against our will. I think that, as people get older, they weaken that fight and let their eccentricities take over more and more. That is not necessarily a good thing because eccentricities are not always healthy, and rarely productive. Forcing ourselves to get out of our comfort zone or do things that we don't want to do, in an attempt to please other people, is part of life. It's not always fun, and it's vital to know how to balance it with "me-time", but, ultimately, it makes us better, stronger, more loving, and lovable, people. We live in a world where our happiness, and the happiness of those around us, hinges on our ability to be unselfish and compromising so, instead of resenting our idiosyncrasies, we should treasure them. They are, after all, little crevices in which we can be our true, unadulterated selves.

*Interesting fact of the day... Apparently - according to one, rather shaky, source - my great, great grandfather Edwin Greenslade Murphy ("Dryblower" Murphy) was the first person to pen the term "Pom". He was a journalist and poet during the gold rush in Western Australia, at the turn of the 20th century.

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