Tragic Flaws

Last night, I finished reading the Percy Jackson series.  All in all, I loved them and I’m really looking forward to reading the Heroes of Olympus series.  They’ve also really inspired me to get back into drawing.  I used to draw all the time.  When I was younger, I really thought I was going to grow up to be an artist.

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This is one of my favorite paintings I’ve done. The light beams below the whale look kind of stupid, but I loved the whale and the stars.

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Turtle sketch.

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Now, for the record, I am nowhere near talented enough to actually become an artist.  A photographer?  I’d like to think maybe.  But as much as I love to draw and paint, I’m not stellar.  That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it, however.  Thanks to Percy Jackson, I really want to paint some Greek Mythology.

The books also got me thinking about the ideas of Tragic Flaws, the characteristic that could potentially be a hero’s downfall.  In Percy Jackson, Annabeth’s tragic flaw is pride.  Percy’s is his willingness to sacrifice the entire world in order to save one of his friends.  The concept of tragic flaws does not strictly apply to the Percy Jackson.  In Shakespeare’s tragedies, you find Othello’s jealousy, Hamlet’s unwillingness to act, and MacBeth’s ambition.  This afternoon at work, I started thinking about what my tragic flaw might be.  I came up with several possibilities, which, now that I think about it, might not be something to brag about, but I thought I’d share anyway.

1) Stubbornness

I am stubborn.  Like, to a pigheaded degree.  If I think I need to do something, I’m going to do it no matter what anyone else tells me.  I very rarely change my opinions on anything and I am very loathe to admit I was wrong.  I will admit it, but it’s VERY difficult.  Still, I almost always think that I’m right and I’m very opinionated.

2) Defensiveness

Along those same lines, I am also very defensive.  I hate being wrong or mistaken and I take criticism very personally (which is a TERRIBLE trait for an author).  I blame this compulsive need to be correct on my time spent in a private elementary school where even the slightest lapse in perfection would result in a yellow card, three of which added up to a detention.

3) Overanalysis

I, like several girls, overanalyze EVERYTHING.  A person could send me a simple text message like, “Okay,” and I’d immediately think, “Okay?!  What does that mean?  Are they mad at me?  Are they happy?  Are they simply settling to appease me?  Do they think I’m a huge loser?  Oh gosh, they must think I’m the most annoying person in the world!”  It’s awful.

4) I Never Give Anyone the Benefit of the Doubt

This is one that I’m trying to work on, but I have a bad habit of assuming the worst.  I think I can read people, so I am likely to believe that I know their thoughts, their motivations, and every bad intention that they have.

5) Impatience

I have no patience for anything.  I hate waiting.  It drives me crazy.  I barely have the patience to write out this paragraph right now.

6) Self Pity

I’m not sure why, but there are times when my self esteem just plummets.  It happened a lot more when I was in graduate school, but I still have my off days every now and then.  Publishing my book helped a lot, but every now and then, I’ll be struck by that little voice in the back of my head screaming, “You’re so weird, you’re so useless, no one is going to like you the way that you are, you better get cool NOW.”  Again, that has been happening less and less, but my self-esteem could still use a bit of improvement.

7) Laziness

I’m lazy.

8) Compulsive Need to Make Lists of 10, or at Least Even Numbers

I think this one kind of speaks for itself.

I know everyone has flaws and I know that this list doesn’t even come close to describing all of mine.  However, I don’t think that focusing on the negative is a good idea (add Hypocrisy to the list).  I’d much rather look for the good and the beauty in people, places, and things, than for the things that might not be so perfect.  I say I’d rather do this because it’s very difficult for me.  That another thing I’d like to start working on.  My mom has the remarkable gift to see goodness in everybody.  It’s something I really envy about her, because I’m simply not like that.  I’m more like my dad, personality wise.  The only personality traits I share with my mom are that I love cats and will tell anyone who will listen pretty much anything.

I hope spelling out all of my tragic flaws has not made you like me any less.  I value honesty above pretty much any other virtue (If we lived in the world of Divergent, I’d be a Candor for sure).  I guess sometimes, it’s easier for me to understand life when I think of it like one big storybook.  Characters are easy to understand, but real people?  I think to even begin to understand ourselves would take a lifetime.

8 thoughts on “Tragic Flaws

  1. In a lot of ways, the tragic flaws within ourselves show up in the stories we write. This is why writing a story can be an exercise in introspection.

    These things make a person interesting, though. You want to invest your time in a character that has flaws and has to work with them. It makes them human.

  2. I love your drawings and paintings and I do also know about self-critic. It is a process in which we can overcome in time and actually value ourselves more, even with flaws. The question I have now compare when I was much younger is: “Why does everything has to be perfect? Why do I need to be perfect?” and than the answer comes from within, “No, you don’t” and that’s the end of it. If people starting to judge me and in the past this was always the trigger point for me to judge myself even harder, I smile back to them and say: ” You know, I value your point of view, opinion etc. but it doesn’t mean anything to me”. I still do value people’s opinions but usually these people are being asked by me and since I am older and perhaps a wee bit wiser, I choose people I know they love me, they mean well and most of all they are honest with me and therefore can take constructive criticism from them any time. But in treating myself more kindly is so far the biggest achievement for me. And spelling out all your flaws makes me like you even more. 🙂

  3. Your drawings are so beautiful and I really love the painting of the whale and stars. I’m not arty; I couldn’t draw a stick man if you gave me a ruler!
    This is such an honest post, and one that most people wouldn’t be brave enough to post, for fear that they’d lose respect from people, or followers, or both. I used to be obsessed with what people thought of me. Their opinions, good or bad, validated who I was as a person and without them, I couldn’t function. I felt that being engaged was a big ‘screw you’ to those people who believed I’d die alone as a spinster, surrounded by cats, and stinking of pee. I wanted to be engaged more to show people “someone wants me”, rather than actually be happy that I was engaged to my “the one”. It was so tiring, looking back.
    Once I met my now husband, Michael, I realised that caring what other people thought, felt about me, etc etc meant NOTHING compared to what Michael thought. He made me see what life’s all about, and that’s: happiness. That, and a sense of calm. Now, at the grand old age of 35, I genuinely don’t care what people think of me. Let them think whatever they like: I CHOOSE to be happy. And that’s all it took. One day, enough was enough, and I realised I was sick of throwing myself pity parties for one.
    I really hope that one day you realise that no-one who matters (and ‘matters’ is the key word here) thinks,“You’re so weird, you’re so useless, no one is going to like you the way that you are, you better get cool NOW.” Seriously. I think you’re really cool, the way you are, and surely it’s better to surround yourself with people who like you for you, than have to keep up the exhausting lifestyle of pleasing other people, who no doubt are acting fake just about as much as you are xx

    • Thank you so much! That is one of the sweetest things anyone has ever said to me! I actually have tears in my eyes. I’m so happy that you have Michael and I’m hoping that one day, I’ll find a guy who makes me feel like that. 🙂

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