Monday, December 06, 2010

The Pity Pool Redux

As I'm sure you probably have noticed by now, I am infinitely (if unjustifiably) fascinated by me, partly because of my self-perceived isolation from the rest of the world and partly because my thoughts, experiences, and reactions are the only ones of which I have any real knowledge and can speak with any degree of confidence. I observe and form my impressions of the world through my own. And though you may not have ever given it much conscious thought, so do you.

Because we each go through life without ever really being sure what is going on in the minds of others, we each must make our way through the vast jungle of life as best we can. We take cues from what we learn from books, TV, movies, from our friends and families, and from our general observations of others and the world around us. There is, at least for me and I therefore assume for you, the subconscious assumption that somehow everyone else in the world is connected in a way we are not. There's the world, and then there's "me." We are often consumed with doubts and uncertainties we assume do not exist in other people.

Though we try to hide our insecurities from others, somewhere, in the dark forest of our minds, there is a pity pool where the wild regrets and yearnings come to renew themselves when they suspect we may be forgetting about them.

My personal pity pool--again, the only one of which I can speak with any authority--is actually more of a lake which, were it to have a name, might well be Lake Lugubrious. The full extent of the lake is hidden by the thick foliage of daily existence. While I really do try to avoid it, I seem to have built a cabin not far from its shores, from which I catch an occasional glimpse of its expanse. And in the heat of emotion I have been known to take a dip in its murky waters.

There are few things more off-putting than listening to someone go on endlessly with sorrowful tales of their various aches, pains, and endless problems, financial, interpersonal, and emotional. And yet I do it constantly, and should be astonished that you have put up with me this long. But part of me suspects that you do so because you secretly share some of my outlooks, though you are far too mature and discrete to wave them about wildly as I do.

This endless recitation of my woes is not, I really would like to believe, a bid for sympathy: far too many people have had it much, much rougher than I, and I realize it and am embarrassingly grateful that I have had it so relatively easy. But it is partly because I cannot recite your woes; they are as specific to you as mine are to me.

We each have our own reasons for visiting our personal pity pool, and mine for the past six years has tended to be the almost incomprehensible chasm between who I was until seven years ago, and who I am now. We are two different people. Totally different, and yet still the same. I can't fully grasp it, and quite probably never will.

And I excuse myself for all this seemingly "oh, poor, dear Roger" nonsense on the grounds that I am fully justified in loudly ringing the alarm bell to alert you--if you needed alerting--to the fact that none of us is fully aware or appreciative of what we have until we no longer have it, and by then it is too late.

By putting my nose about three inches in front of invading your "space"....and yelling "Look at me!" I hope you might, every now and then, step back from yourself and be truly thankful for even the smallest, the most simple of things which you do with such thoughtless ease.

As for me, for all the splashing around I do in my own pity pool, the bottom line is that I am still alive and still able to do far, far more than I cannot do. And while I too seldom show it, I am infinitely grateful for that fact.

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1 comment:

Maryann Miller said...

Nice post, Dorien, and I really love the picture. I can just see you splashing about in that pool.

You are so right about each of us having that pity pool, and we do need to visit it now and then. We also need to make sure we come out of it and shake ourselves off good before we go back into life again.