Monday, November 18, 2013

Teeter-Totter

Life is a lot like a teeter-totter, in that balance is always strived for and seldom if ever achieved. We are all constantly going through the ups and downs of happiness and misery, success and failure, and too often having our rear-ends slammed jarringly on the ground. Getting both ends of the board level is one of those forever-elusive goals of which life is, in fact, made. And once balance is achieved, either in life or on the teeter totter, it never lasts long.

All my life I have sought—largely unsuccessfully, of course—to find a balance between my totally unrealistic egoism and my excessive and unhealthy self-loathing. It's a theme touched on constantly in these blogs. (I am not content to merely beat a dead horse; I insist on pureeing it.) My egoism makes me demand far more of myself than I or any human being could ever possibly deliver, but that doesn't stop me from demanding it. And it is my inability to meet those demands—or even come within walking distance of them—which fuels the self-loathing which truly frightens me at times.

I think, yet again, that I am so utterly fascinated with life that my frustration often stems from weighing everything there is to see and learn and do against what I have seen, or learned, or done or will be likely to live long enough to do. I see life as a vast candy store, and myself a little kid shoveling candy into my mouth with both fists until I look like a chipmunk with both cheeks bulging. And then I get angry because I want it ALL and my mouth simply cannot hold any more.

I've often noted that every toddler thinks of himself as being the center of the universe. Life soon dissuades most of that notion, but I fear it has never totally succeeded with me. Even today, battered and shop-worn and often thinking of myself as being in the "Free! Help Yourself" bin at a rummage sale, I am consumed with the wonder of life. I am quintessentially aware that since the instant time began, through all the time involved in the birth and life and death of stars and galaxies, and onward through the rest of eternity, I am the only "me" there ever has been or ever will be. (Of course, so are you: but it's still a mind-boggling thought.) How could I not think I am special? How could you not think you are?

And since I am so very special in my keen awareness, why shouldn't I be equally special when it comes to everything/anything else? But I am not, and I cannot—-well, let's make that absolutely refuse to—accept that fact. (We won't go anywhere near the subject of my tenuous relationship with reality here.) 

Balance is often achieved through accommodation, through a system somewhat similar to the way submarines and lighter than air craft use ballast; getting rid of some excess weight here, or moving/adding it there. I fear I'm not all that good at accommodations. I want what I want without having to give up any of what I already have. Hardly practical or logical, but fully realizing that fact does not materially change things.

But on thinking it over (as writing these blogs often makes me do), I realized I actually have found something of a tenuous balance on life's teeter-totter despite myself. Every teeter-totter has two seats, one at each end, and in effectively dividing myself into Dorien and Roger, my life has two parts. The real-world Roger, who must deal as best he can with the infinite frustrations and anger of daily life, and Dorien, who is largely able to ignore the wars Roger fights every day, and simply gets on with writing of worlds in which evil and cruelty exist only, as the scripts of plays often call it, as "voices off." Dorien's life is far less stressful, and while Roger must still constantly struggle for balance, it gives him comfort to know that he can use Dorien as emotional ballast to keep the teeter-totter a little more level.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday and Thursday. Please take a moment to visit his website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1), which is also available as an audiobook (http://www.audible.com/pd/ref=sr_1_1?asin=B00DJAJYCS&qid=1372629062&sr=1-1).



1 comment:

Kage Alan said...

It's interesting that those of us with a writing personality almost always partition the two sides off. One handles our personal lives and the other the public. Maybe that's why people are so scared of us?