Tuesday, October 4, 2016

All or Nothing

If you read my poetry from when I was a young teenager, then you know. You know that I was an angsty, brooding, emo-music-listening-to kind of teenage cliche. I dripped black Sephora tears, bled in ardent poetry, and listened to way too much Linkin Park. 

If you read my articles on Chabad.org from my late teens, then you know as well. You saw my writing attitude shift into a more optimistic, spiritual, if not somewhat self-helpy, vibe. 

Ask me which version of me was more real, more honest, and the answer is, well...neither. 

I wasn't trying to be dishonest or inauthentic at either point. In fact, I was merely trying on these personas for size, and I took comfort in giving myself a label, so I could pretend I was all figured out. Really, I was just searching for an identity, in a world that I have always seen as either black or white. 

What I needed was balance, in a world that I has always nudged me one way or another. What I needed to do was something instead of doing everything or nothing. 
The thing is, balance has always been a challenge for me. My room has always been either chaos, or meticulously organized and labeled. I got either A's or F's on exams. I worked tirelessly on a project or didn't do it at all. My day was either categorized as "amazing" or "awful", rarely anything in between. 

The truth is my day is a cocktail of monotony, joy, sadness, anger, anxiety, excitement... not in that order nor limited to those emotions (how fun for my lucky husband!). It's taken me years to understand that life is not meant to be lived in an "all or nothing" frame of mind. It's not all great or all terrible... people are not all good or all evil... and most of us fall somewhere in the middle of the broad spectrum between perfection and failure. It's the very place I am learning to be comfortable in, and although I've always favored "insta" results, I am learning to appreciate the lifelong journey that is balance. 

When I am tempted to revert to my usual "all or nothing" state and veer far left or right, I pull over and stop to think how fortunate I am to live in world that is not just black or white, but painted in various shades of vibrant color. 

1 comment:

Mr. Cohen said...