Monday, February 2, 2009
how to be
do you ever wonder how you came to be the way you are?
or just how different your way is from everybody else's way, or if deep inside they feel all the same feelings you feel?
or do you just operate by being who you are, and not even think about other ways?
our society seems to be into self-improvement: huge sections are devoted to this in all the bookstores, and frequently the best-seller lists are heavily populated with books that will help us improve one aspect of our life or another. how to be more assertive, persuasive, healthy, positive, successful, friendly, amorous . . .
I tend to think I'm pretty okay the way I am. I know I'm not the easiest person to deal with, for I guard my inner self pretty well, giving it plenty of space. it is sacred to me, and it's not a place for everyone to be, nor is it a space that I want to expose to the world. one has to earn their way in there.
you, dear reader, have earned your way in by being willing to plow through what I have to say. to read my writing is to venture into my sacred space. it may be that I can allow you in this way because it's one-sided: you can't easily argue or provide unwanted (by me) feedback. you just have to accept what you read, then either toss it out or be marinated in it for a while, or some combination of the two. you can agree or disagree or accept or not accept: whatever you do with it now becomes your issue and not mine.
I don't want to be in a position where I feel I have to defend myself. I know my strengths, my depth, and what I am capable of thinking, feeling, and experiencing. I know that I waver between being protected and not: it is difficult for me to walk in this world completely bare, without some slim layer of protection. a large, iridescent bubble, surrounding me and my heart from the harshness of the world and the knife it can press against my skin.
when I first started riding I wore teva sandals on my feet and nothing on my head. I felt the air rush through my hair and toes, and I gloried in the feel.
within a few months I had been beaten into submission and began wearing a helmet. then came the cycling shoes, and I sacrificed the heavenly rush of air to safety, practicality, and enhanced performance.
soon after, I had my first spectacular crash. skin was scraped from my body, I bruised my entire left side, and I cracked my helmet. and I thanked God I hadn't cracked my skull.
there is wisdom in wearing a little bit of armor as we go about our encounters with the world. I don't enjoy wearing my helmet --- I'd rather be free of it --- but the possible consequence of going without is just not worth it. I'd love to wiggle my toes again in the warm summer air, but I've sacrificed that for improved technique and power.
so there are trade-offs. but I've learned that to walk my path without the bubble leaves me too exposed and vulnerable. and the pain I experience as a result cuts so deeply that I struggle to breathe.
just as you wouldn't leave an orchid on your front porch throughout the winter, I will not leave myself bare to the elements that swirl throughout the world.
I leave my beautiful bubble behind when I know, deep in my soul, that it's safe to do so.