August 19, 2013
I am perplexed by Today’s Daily Prompt: On the Edge. What do you do to keep on an even keel? What do I what? An even keel? I’m not sure I understand the question.
Edgy, that’s me. I cannot remember a time in my life when I wasn’t at least a little bit on edge, so to speak. Which is ironic because I have always sought balance in my life. I’m not quite sure what I mean when I say, “Balance in my life.” However, I doubt it means balancing edgy and anxious with tense and nervous, which has been my balancing act thus far. Geez! Talk about uptight.
But seriously dear Readers, I have had balance in my life. For instance, being a single parent throughout much of my children’s lives, I had to balance the time I spent at work with the time I devoted to my family. That was a no brainer, the scales would always tip toward my children; a fact that I hope, was not lost on my children.
But as far as truly keeping myself on an even keel, I compartmentalize. Every emotion, every thought, every personality (and believe me, I have several) has its own little box, tightly wrapped, on a shelf, in the far corners of my mind. I have written about this before, dear Readers, so I do not wish to sound redundant. However, I think this is one of those things that bears repeating, if only to help me gain a little insight. For those of you who were around to read it, I posted the original on April 18 of this year.
As I stated before, I have several personalities. I don’t mean I have a split personality, I mean I am a different person to different people and in different situations. “Everybody does this,” you might say. Well, I am not quite Sybill but I am certainly more than most. I remember when I was in high school, my senior year to be exact, I created a speech with props, to introduce myself. The way I chose to set-up my props demonstrated this compartmentalization thing. I sectioned off a table with tape. I taped off four sections and they were labeled: DAUGHTER, SCHOOL, CHURCH, SELF. In each section, I included something that represented that part of me, or that Vickie. Daughter Vickie included a picture of my family, all ten of us, a rolling pin because I used to have to make tortillas on a regular, and a Miss Piggy doll my mom and dad bought me. School Vickie contained a mat maid uniform, the novel Watership Down, and a copy of my application to NAU. Church Vickie held a copy of a Glory and Praise song book, a rosary, and a crucifix.
Now, you are probably thinking, “Right, and just how do you remember that?” Well dear readers, as I stated before, I compartmentalize and have been doing so all of my life. I put pieces of my life in little boxes in my mind. I wrap these boxes in pretty little ribbons and bows. In my solitude, I gently unwrap them and examine what is inside. Exercise complete, I re-wrap them with care and precision and put them back on the shelf in my mind. I would examine these gifts of my life to evoke pleasure, sorrow, pain, joy whatever I thought I needed at the time to make me feel complete, whole. Sadly, they never did.
I have always thought this drill to be futile, until now. Now, I realize that it has been this incessant compartmentalization that has kept me balanced, on an even keel. I’m not saying the whole thing has been healthy, mind you. But that wasn’t the question. The question was, “What do you do to keep on an even keel?” And my answer is, “I compartmentalize.”
When I first posted this blog, I wrote something to the effect that I know I am beset with insanity because I have done the same thing over and over throughout my life and expected different results. However, today I see my neurotic behavior throughout my life as a necessary evil. It served to keep me balanced. And although I am learning to let go of unhealthy past behavior, some of it still sticks.
By the way, I didn’t tell you what was in the last section of my demonstration speech from high school, the SELF section. Nothing. That’s right, there was nothing in that section. In my 17 year-old wisdom, I believed the nothingness represented that I did not know who I was, yet. However, my wise 48 year-old brain knows differently. There was nothing in that section because I thought I was nothing when I was being myself. I valued myself so much more as Daughter Vickie or School Vickie. I am finally coming to believe that my Self has value, which has given way to my compartmentalizing less and less. I won’t say that I am now laid back. However, I can say that I am certainly less uptight, less edgy. And that has to be a good thing, right dear Readers? Right. Peace, ~v