Archive for January, 2008

The Permeable Membrane

The past year or so has been a struggle.  One of epic, volatile, exhausting proportions.  I won’t go into great detail here and now, as not even I fully understand the what, how, and why.  It will come out as I explore.  Explore the things that give me peace, that give me pleasure; things that lead me closer to understanding, and things that balance it all out.

Until this evening, I hadn’t given much thought to figuring out the “why”.  I so much enjoy “going with the flow” and feeling life as it happens.  I’ve traveled abroad and gone to great depths to quench my never-dying thirst for knowledge.  Yet, I haven’t ever explored the one thing that is most vital to my happiness.  Me.
I’ve never taken a step back and looked at who I am.  What do I look like?  What do I sound like? What do other people think of me?  What do I think of me?  How do I act? What do I love?  What makes me happy?  What do I have faith in?  What is?  And what isn’t.  
I honestly have no idea. 
I thought I knew.  As a diligent, organized person, I had a plan.  I executed that plan.  But somehow, I forgot to bring myself along on the journey.  Sort of like that Home Alone movie, I forgot to make sure everyone was onboard before we left home.
So, here I am.  At home on a Saturday afternoon, with nothing to do but curl up and read a book (one of the few pleasures in life that I already know I enjoy).  Immediately the novel strikes a chord with me.  Successful, beautiful (obviously) career-woman, can’t fathom why the hell life isn’t as complete as she envisioned it being.  I read on, every so many paragraphs thinking “Yes! ME TOO!!”
I’m hooked.  I can’t put the book down.  I have wet clothes in the washer begging for a romp in the dryer.  I can’t tear my eyes from the pages.  Until I find it.  Me.  Summed up in only so many words.  But so clearly, ME.

“Moreover, I have boundary issues with men.  Or maybe that’s not fair to say.  To have issues with boundaries, one must have boundaries in the first place, right? But I disappear into the person I love.  I am the permeable membrane.  If I love you, you can have everything.  You can have my time, my devotion, my ass, my money, my family, my dog, my dog’s money, my dog’s time–everything.  If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family.  I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available,  will give you a sun check and a rain check.  I will give you all this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with someone else.”

That is from Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  It’s a story of her emotional journey to find pleasure, devotion, and balance between the two.  My story has similar beginnings, I feel, but the journey will be unique.  Her story has inspired me to write what I love, say what I feel, and balance it with grace and wit.  My journey begins here.  In the private of my own head, and the black and white words on a screen.  But maybe one day it will be the inspiration that fills someone else’s heart.

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