Life is a lot like a teeter-totter—balance is always strived for and seldom if ever achieved. We are all constantly going through the ups and downs of happiness and misery, between success and failure, and too often slamming our rear-ends 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 egotism and my excessive 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 egotism 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 my inability to meet those demands—or even come within walking distance of them—fuels the self-loathing which truly frightens me at times. (And I suppose that having so said, I should add a disclaimer that I have never for one second, even in my darkest moments, ever considered depriving myself of life; the very concept is anathema to me. I am far too grateful for the gift of life, however rough it may be at any given time, to willingly give it up.)
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 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?
And since I am so very special in that aspect, 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.
This blog is from Dorien's ebook of blogs, Short Circuits, available from UntreedReads.com and Amazon.com; it's also available as an audio book from Amazon/Audible.com: