Sunday, April 10, 2011

But am I learning anything?

While I am learning a thing or two, I am having a hard time putting what I am learning into practice. Hephaestos is not a god whose influence I feel every day in my life, at least not in the way we Hellenistoi normally see him. But there is one aspect of him, as he is revealed to us in Myth, that strikes a chord in me.

He is described in myth as ugly.

I am rather an ugly looking man, and my own perception of this has, over the years of my life, caused me to be a bit self destructive. I over eat, I do not take care of myself as I should, etc. One thing I have never done, is drugs, though, and I think part of the reason is that I latched on to my ugliness almost like a badge of honor. Yes, part of me has always been very self destructive, but another has held himself separate from the norms, been unique, been different from the hordes of capitulating trend sucking fools that always seemed to surround me. I guess I used it as a way to prevent myself from conforming too much to the norms around me.

But there is something I have never quite gotten over. And that is the idea that my ugliness is actually all in my own head, because people chastise me for claiming I am ugly. Not that they ever say I am Brad Pitt or anything, but they don't believe I have the kinds of looks I do.

Yet, part of me cannot get over it, I do not see it. I see ugliness, and strive to make up for it in other ways, and as I embarked on a plan to lose weigh a couple of weeks ago (15 pounds now, yay!) I have to consider why I feel the way I do about myself in relation to my search for inner peace and acceptance. And in relation to the divine, who we all think of as beautiful, a prejudice that is part of our own human conceptions of the world, because divine beauty is not physical, it derives from the way we perceive their state of being, a state of being that is not decaying, not moving toward death, not subject to the same horrors we are.

Hephaestos, though, was perceived as ugly. Ugly because he wasn't perfect, yet the creator of so much beauty that the gods had no choice but to accept the divine nature of his power. How do I deal with my own perceived ugliness? How do I accept it and move on?

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