Saturday, April 15, 2006

What I’d Want to Be Like If I Were a Guy

I’ve written many times about my belief in the anima and animus, according to the theory developed by psychologist Carl Jung. Here’s the 79-cent, off-the-self-help-shelf definition of the animus: the suppressed “male” aspect of a female’s psyche, with the parallel definition for the anima with guys. Over the years I’ve become intimately acquainted with my animus, his preferences when it comes to guises to take, and the ways he can help (and occasionally hinder) me. He’s done a pretty good job of confirming what Jung taught: that the animus is not imaginary, and really is independent and autonomous. I’ve met a lot of sane, successful women who understand exactly what I’m talking about regarding the animus, because they’ve experienced it all their lives, too.

I’m pretty crazy about this aspect of my psyche, and I think he’s the motivation and inspiration for the majority of my writing. (It’s not like “muse” is a new concept, hey?) The other day I thought about how very cool it would be to be a flesh and blood guy, if that guy were like my animus. If I woke up tomorrow with Y-chromosomes, I would certainly aspire to be like him. If I managed to emulate him perfectly, this is what I would be like:

1. Capable and decisive. I’d know what I was doing most of the time, and when in doubt, I’d find a way to figure out what to do pretty efficiently. I wouldn’t fake knowing things I didn’t know, though. I’d have the ego-strength to admit it and use the opportunity to get smarter by learning from others.

2. Quietly and cheerfully self-confident. I’d enjoy being in charge, being sure of myself, and demonstrating my abilities. I wouldn’t be boastful about it, but good-natured and helpful.

3. Moral and ethical. I’d care a lot about right and wrong and personal responsibility. I’d be capable of getting pretty enraged at people who didn’t care, too, and want to do something about it.

4. Funny. The kind of guy who teases in an affectionate way, and is genuinely witty and humorous in all sorts of situations.

5. Competitive and driven to success. Whatever sports I participated in, whatever work I did, I’d really want to excel. I’d be a gracious loser, but I wouldn’t like it. Using my gifts and abilities to their full extent would be very important to me. I’d embrace hard work if it brought results.

6. Adept at air guitar. The point of this one is, I’d secretly wish I could be front man in a rock band. If I had the talent, I’d try to be front man in a rock band.

7. Not afraid of seeming unmanly. I’d have a good grip on the qualities that demonstrate true masculinity (especially 1 and 2), so I wouldn’t mind appreciating those things in life men sometimes avoid, like watching musicals. (I probably wouldn’t like as many of them as I do as a woman, though.)

8. Wise and a little mystical. I would value wisdom a great deal and try to cultivate it. I’d also have a fascination with life’s mysteries. I admit, in appropriate circumstances I wouldn’t mind indulging myself by playing the shaman role.

9. Able to revert to a “little boy.” That is, I’d never lose my childlike wonder and enthusiasm for those things that really excited me. I’d be able to play, be imaginative, and get crazy once in awhile.

10. Egotistical, balanced with sensitivity. I’d have an ego all right, but a guy can get away with that and even use it to his advantage. Fortunately, I’d also be perceptive enough not to let it blind me to people around me and their needs.

That’s my animus, in a nutshell--you can understand why anyone would want to be like this, hey? And it might well be impossible to do if you were just a flesh-and-blood guy.

But as long as I’m not aiming for the realistic: I guess to complete the wish list I’d want to be 6’1”, muscular but lean, have wavy dark brown hair in some very excellent slightly long haircut, have chocolate brown eyes, and look good with or without a beard. I’d like to have a good singing voice, be a decent dancer, play real guitar and maybe piano as well, be able to do voice impressions, know how to fix cars and do home handyman stuff including woodworking. I’d like to be able to play ice hockey, do some kind of martial arts, and play baseball. I’d be smart with computers, money, politics and pop culture. And I’d be a great cook and a wonder with the grill. Is that asking too much?

Yeah, yeah, I know.


Mel said...

Great post, Diana! So interesting! I've never thought of my animus in that way. Very cool!

Diana Laurence said...

Thanks Mel, glad you enjoyed the post! It's a fun little exercise I've been trying out with my family members.