The last few weeks have been harrowing but beautiful. It was a combination of everything that is wrong with this world, and everything that could be right. It took me from the depths of despair and despondency to the heights of elation and then left me abandoned somewhere in between, drifting along my meandering path as I tried to make sense of the extremes I had just faced.
My usual composed nature was too easily disrupted this time around. I found myself feeling deeply what I usually only observe with fair detachment. It was oddly uplifting while simultaneously jarring. However, the truth of it rested somewhat deeper within me.
I have expended a fair amount of life in the pursuit of understanding the range of emotions that I witness in others, because too often I found myself unmoved while standing beside someone in a moment of devastation. Many would interpret that as insensitivity, when the truth was closer to oblivion. That oblivion was founded in the lack of any reference point against which to relate to what was happening around me. In the absence of not having been a recipient of a full emotional spectrum (for lack of a better phrase) it should be easy to understand why it is that some of it would seem foreign to me. For some reason, this simple logic escapes most people, including me at times.
There is much that I have heard, learnt, and contemplated about the true impact of environmental and societal influences on our fragile but powerful minds in our formative years. I witness its damaging effects in my daughter who still struggles to subscribe to a code of morality and ethics that should be second nature to her. I also see it reflected in my other daughter who is distracted by a false sense of control while finding comfort in owning a space that is not yet fully formed, and by implication, not hers to own. I observe them as being growing human beings, but I am often reminded that many adults have not completed that cycle either.
I thought that I was finally succumbing to hopelessness. I receded, allowed the fog to occupy my mind, while I surrendered to the approaching storm without even bracing myself for its impact. Fortunately such cowardice didn’t last long. What felt like a surrender turned out to be tolerance, or more accurately, intolerance. I realised that with all that I was faced with, I set out viewing it as yet another cycle of insanity given how many times I faced it off before, and gave up wanting to prevail in the face of it. That was me defining my tolerance level for the wave of bullshit that was about to hit. At that point, my own words taunted me. Tolerance is not the same as capacity. I realised that I had decided that I had had enough, even though I was capable of handling so much more.
Emotions are for wimps. It’s a convenient barometer against which to determine the composure of others, but beyond that it lacks appeal for me, except where such emotional charges are harnessed and leveraged for effectiveness, rather than spewed forth from a lack of control, or a fit of self-absorption. I had my moment as a wimp in the sunshine, and I didn’t enjoy it. It was not about control, it was about practicality. The intensity of the emotions that I experienced in those moments allowed me to feel vulnerable, and therefore slightly more human than I am usually considered to be, but it did not offer me any value beyond the perception it created for me.
I realised that in seeking to understand and be sensitised towards the emotions of others, I unconsciously adopted some of it for myself. I allowed my environment to shape me for those few moments, and it was unnerving. I came close to believing that I had finally gone over the edge, and that the conditioned responses I witnessed in others had suddenly become my choice of expression. Fortunately that resilience that has guided me through my life set in for reasons I have yet to fully comprehend. Perhaps I do comprehend it, but would rather not articulate it from fear of contaminating it.
Some things are better left unsaid, and some things are better left unexplored. The mystique of life is lost when we seek to define and unravel every wonderment that visits us. Sometimes, to stand in awe is more powerful than to know the answer. Right now, I know that the realisations are far more important than the events themselves. What these weeks have proven is that despite my best efforts in life, there are some things that will follow its own course in spite of me, and there are other things that will follow its own course to spite me. In both instances, if my response is anything but a true reflection of who I am, I will be uprooted and any semblance of sanity will escape me forever.
The slippery slope of life beckons, but I’m not ready to step down on it yet.
[This post is deliberately vague, more so than my other posts, because I think the emotional tides that I surfed are more important than the events that I dealt with. The events come and go and change shape and form more often than the tide comes in, so to focus on that is foolhardy. It always made more sense for me to focus on the internal promptings I faced in the experience at hand, and that has kept me on an even keel when all about me were in rough waters. The challenge with such a perspective is that it lifts my emotional baseline above most around me. That baseline is the point at which my emotional disposition shifts compared to others when faced with the same circumstance. At times, it could imply that I am cold and insensitive in the face of loss when sadness should be expressed. At other times it could be that I would be fascinated with something seemingly mundane, while others look on unimpressed. The offset is awkward, but it creates opportunity for much mockery, and this is turning into a post within a post, so I should abandon this thought process before it becomes totally incomprehensible.]
2 responses to “A Thousand Thoughts”
Beautifully written 🙂 I’ve just experienced a devastating break up because my partner had these same turmoils. Emotions can be difficult to understand. Thank you for sharing this
And thank you for sharing that 🙂 it’s always difficult to separate being sensitive to their turmoil while not making it your own. But sometimes it’s important for our sanity to do that.