Monday, February 22, 2010

Balancing Act

Life's not fair, and life's not easy.  And do you want to know why?  Because it's all a balancing act.

Standing on stable ground versus juggling on a highwire.
Ambition versus aggression.
Enjoying food versus overindulging.
Turning the other cheek versus being a doormat.
Frugal versus spendthrift.
Being a leader versus being a despot.

Where to fall on the extremist spectrum?  Or perhaps to settle in the extreme edges on a spectrum of mediocrity?  How do I achieve balance in myself as people around me strive to achieve their own?  How do we balance each other, equalize one another?

Tact versus little white lies.
Healthy confidence versus inflated ego.
Letting people live their own lives versus standing by while their lives derail.
Fundamentalist versus noncommittalist.
Cautious versus killjoy.

I took a theatre arts class once called simply "Movement."  One of the warm-up exercises we did at the beginning of each session was a deceptively simple one.  Stand with feet and legs pressed close together, arms down at your sides.  Now, rise up on your tiptoes, as high as you can go.  Don't waver; stay steady.  When Mark the professor walks through the ranks of his students and softly nudges the small of your back, don't lose your balance.  Don't step forward or raise your arms.  Make the most imperceptible shift in balance so that you can maintain the stance indefinitely.  We could never predict when we'd put our heels back on the floor.

Impetuous versus carpe diem.
Curiosity versus nosiness.
Assuaging curiosity versus TMI.
Living versus existing.

Monday, February 1, 2010

First Class Mail

Dear Self-Esteem,

It's been too long since we've had a long heart to heart.  Our chats lately have been relegated to something between "why, hello" and "buck up, will ya?"  You'll probably agree this is sadly deficient, and I confess the blame is all mine.  I've been ignoring your phone calls, not responding to your texts and emails, ditching plans with you whenever Pity Party dropped by unannounced.  I've been a really bad friend, and I couldn't fault you if you never wanted to talk to me again.

But I hope it doesn't come to that.

You see, one of the things that initially attracted me to you was how you made me feel good about myself, even when everybody else was razzing me, telling me how I didn't measure up.  When you and I were hanging out all the time, what Pity Party or Self-Loathing told me didn't count for much.  I knew my friend was there backing me up when those one-note sirens sang in my ear.  The discord they struck up inside me set my stomach roiling, but you always soothed me.

So where did things go wrong, you ask?

I wish I could tell you, Self-Esteem, I really do.  All of a sudden, it seemed like Pity Party and Self-Loathing were everywhere.  Commercials, conversations with other friends, the mirror.  And they had a new friend:  Not Good Enough.  They formed a triumverate like all high schools seem to have of the cool girls.  You know the ones.  A super-tight clique that is glossy and beautiful and impossible ever to be a part of.  But I wanted to be a part of it.  So badly.  And sometimes they'd pretend they wanted me.  They'd trick me into some stupid prank or dare, I'd go along because I wanted to be cool too, then they'd laugh at me when I fell flat on my face.

By then, you'd all but disappeared.  How could you do anything else?  I had no time for good friends when I was spending all my energy on those three.  Now when we pass each other, I still feel a little glow from your effervescence, but it quickly fades when I meet up with PP, SL, and NGE for coffee.  And I don't mean to talk bad about them, but they make me feel so guilty if I even look your way.  I really think they might be out to wreck more than just our friendship; I think they're out to wreck me.

So I guess that brings me to the point in writing this letter.  I don't want to be a stranger to you.  You're too great a friend, too faithful an ally, too fun a co-conspirator for me to give up without a fight.  We've got too many memories together not to make more of them, right?  Like I said earlier, I've made a real muck of things.  I'm truly sorry for not being a better friend to you, not listening more attentively to what you have to say.  I wonder if you could see yourself giving me another chance, maybe slowly building up to being best friends again.  I don't know what else to say, except, will you please hang out with me?

Any Woman

P.S.  I've enclosed a list of things I'd love to discuss with you over coffee.

(On Reverse)

These are topics you used to promote conversations on:
silly expressions
childish glee with food
social butterfly