Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Middle

I learned to mistrust extremes at the foot of my father.  He was intense in every way - in his brilliance and humor and talent and thirst for life, for trying out anything and everything and not considering the consequences when he should, and for all the destruction he left in his wake because of it.

I learned to mistrust too good or too bad or too much of anything.  Not that I wasn't interested.  Not that I wasn't tempted.  But I am nothing if not an astute observer and good learner.  And I knew that all the extremes led to problems, and big ones.  They led to disappointment and regret, yelling and tears.  They led to struggle and stress and broken hopes and dreams.

And I wanted no part of that.  No part of the drama and complication and chaos, of the uncertainty and unpredictability.  So I chose safe.  And certain and secure.  And I chose it with the finality of iron doors clanging shut in a prison - safety with no way out, unrelenting and oppressive, liberating in an odd way by the things from which I was freed, by the simplicity it ensured.

But I have too much of my father in me.  Or me in him.  Or some combination of qualities that gave us a similarity, if not a cause for the similarity.  I am intense.  I like to swing from heights and plumb depths and see where it all will go without having to know before hand.  I like tempting fate, at least a little, and I like traveling without a map just to see where I will end up.

I need more than neutral and have never reconciled myself well to an in-between of average.  I gravitate toward those with great talent, great energy, great personality, great insight, great ability, and I breathe in the air around them, and realize how much I miss it myself.  I miss the fresh, heady scent of possibility, of pure creativity, of bringing into being what never was before.

I'm tempted to think I've been lazy, allowing so much time to pass in this middle space, but I know it's just a lesson over-learned, a card over-played.  And while it may have needed to be right up until this exact second, it doesn't need to be for even another moment beyond that.

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