Friday, November 1, 2013

I Am Multiple Me

 "Mrs. Darling first heard of Peter when she was tidying up her children's minds. It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day. If you could keep awake (but of course you can't) you would see your own mother doing this, and you would find it very interesting to watch her. It is quite like tidying up drawers. You would see her on her knees, I expect, lingering humorously over some of your contents, wondering where on earth you had picked this thing up, making discoveries sweet and not so sweet, pressing this to her cheek as if it were as nice as a kitten, and hurriedly stowing that out of sight. When you wake in the morning, the naughtiness and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind and on the top, beautifully aired, are spread out your prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on."                                    - Peter and Wendy (JM Barrie)

I am multiple me.

It's true you know. I don't seem to fit any kind of standard category, and while I am ok with being uniquely who I am - truly.  I'll has been a sorrow of mine that there are few who seem to "get" me and I always feel a bit foolish trying to empathize with others. 

I think most of us are born with the innate need to be "gottened" and yes I just made up that word. I think a good portion of my life has been spent searching for others that don't make me feel like I am on the outside looking into a world I will never truly understand.

It is possible a trained mental professional would have a field day in my head...or perhaps I flatter myself, and the truth is I am exactly like every single other human on the planet, and that idea alone terrifies me so truly to my core that I run away as fast as I can - and then I feel alone, because I have left it all behind in my hurry to get away. It is a catch 22 of belonging. I want to belong, but I want to belong on my terms, which in turn, makes me no longer belong.

I am multiple me.

This phrase has been in my head since I attended a SCBWI conference at the beginning of last month and one of the speaker's talks formed that phrase in my head. She was talking about how as authors, we have to be able to become each and every one of our characters. If you cannot be them, you cannot effectively write them.  Immediately my mind started finding my characters and discovering how I could relate with each of them. Then I started thinking of some of my favorite books and the wide variety of characters within them. I started imagining how so many unique personalities could fit into one authors head. And of course, being the visual person I am, I then thought of my favorite authors with the many heads of all their characters sewed onto their bodies so they looked like some grotesque version of a Halloween masterpiece. Of course, then I imagined my own characters sewed onto my own body and myself lumbering around awkwardly trying to stay upright - perhaps I could write a story about an author that gains another head every time they create a character? Oh goodness...

My multiple-ness has been feeling rather cluttered lately. Life gets too busy and I forget to organize. I need someone to re-arrange my thoughts for me, it would make waking up in the morning so much more pleasant! Or perhaps my problem is that I am not yet all the way grown up:

"I don't know whether you have ever seen a map of a person's mind. Doctors sometimes draw maps of other parts of you, and your own map can become intensely interesting, but catch them trying to draw a map of a child's mind, which is not only confused, but keeps going round all the time. There are zigzag lines on it, just like your temperature on a card, and these are probably roads in the island, for the Neverland is always more or less an island, with astonishing splashes of colour here and there, and coral reefs and rakish-looking craft in the offing, and savages and lonely lairs, and gnomes who are mostly tailors, and caves through which a river runs, and princes with six elder brothers, and a hut fast going to decay, and one very small old lady with a hooked nose. It would be an easy map if that were all, but there is also first day at school, religion, fathers, the round pond, needle-work, murders, hangings, verbs that take the dative, chocolate pudding day, getting into braces, say ninety-nine, three-pence for pulling out your tooth yourself, and so on, and either these are part of the island or they are another map showing through, and it is all rather confusing, especially as nothing will stand still." (JM Barrie)

Why is it that gnomes are mostly tailors? I never really got that - but it is true you know and I have always wondered why. When I am grown up I want to be the old lady.  She sounds fascinating...

Anyhow... it is very true that nothing ever stands still in my head. Perhaps if it would for just a moment I could catch my breath.  But then if it were to stand still I would soon get bored and want it to go on spinning again.
My brain is just fuzzy and full of things that might make sense if you looked at it sideways, squinted your eyes; jumped up and down three times and then stuck your tongue out at it.  But without those crucial steps it is all just a jumble of zig-zag lines.
I need to make a list - lists always help. It clears the jumble and creates calm. Perhaps lists are the tools used to organize minds.  I imagine lists being characters in and of themselves, almost willowy like a wisp.  And trailing behind them as they fly, a thousand tiny fireflies that put everything into order as it should be.

Alright. A list - an "I am Multiple Me" list. (All of a sudden 90's Alanis Morissette is in my head...) What would be on such a list?

I am un-reliable. A sad but true statement. I hate it about myself, but this is a true list so I cannot sherk from what actually is.  I often don't text back or answer emails. I may want to talk to someone, but for some odd reason, picking up a phone and calling can be the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life (for no apparent reason.) Basically, I have no excuse - I am unreliable. I will tell someone that I want to call/text/get together with them soon and I never will. This has nothing to do with how much I love them, and my statement at the time I said it was 100% true. It has everything to do with the fact that I have too many Me's floating about in my head and just because one says something, it doesn't mean all the others will hold true to that.

I am not an extrovert, I am not an introvert. This bothers me. It always has. I want to fit into one of these molds, because I would like some warning before hand on whether or not people will exhaust me or thrill me. It ends up being a terrible guessing game where I get anxious before almost every social gathering, not knowing if it will wring me dry or make me feel happy, loved and full-filled. And it has nothing to do with the people, or the time of day, or the event, or anything at all. It just depends on which Me happens to be at the surface at the time. I get no warning, I cannot prepare. I just have to wait and see.

Everything in my mind has a color. People, places, things, emotions, actions and most of all, every story. Everything is brilliant, everything is painted to match itself perfectly. I never dream without color. I never have color without a story, everything in life has a story. The tree that beat the odds and grew to be straight and true between the cracks of the sidewalk. The crumpled piece of paper being blown about by the breeze in an abandoned parking lot. The child being hurried along by a parent; the parent that knows that if he doesn't hurry, the child may not get to eat tonight. Fantastic color, brilliant stories. The world is alive.

Monotony makes my ears bleed. Conforming makes my body hurt. I have an itch in my head that has to be scratched by going against the proverbial flow. If I fall into reliable patterns, into organized schedules for too long the itch becomes unbearable. I need to breath, I need to run, I need to sing loud - I cannot conform. I cannot, will not - be like you. But I also need consistency in life, which means I am constantly torn. I like to know what is coming next, I like to understand the pattern, but I want the pattern to change every so often so I don't get bored of it. It can be exhausting!   

I am exhausted. All. The. Time. But I have more energy then I know what to do with. Figure that one out for me and I will be forever in your debt.

I am arrogant. I have no tolerance for foolishness or disrespect. Be educated on a matter before you speak your opinion or I will judge you. I am very rarely wrong if I am giving someone information about a subject I have studied, I am wrong about people all the time. I make snap decisions about people - but I can also change what I think very quickly. Some people that I very much disliked when I first met them have become beloved friends. I am well aware that many people don't like me, and while I try hard to always be polite, I am ok with that knowledge. I am not a people please-er, so I am keenly aware that not pleasing everyone is a simple fact of life. I have no problem saying no, I have very strict interpersonal boundaries that I regularly break on a whim just because. I watch everyone, all the time. The world is my textbook. If I do not know someone's story I create it. I LOVE hearing stories from people and regularly forget them (not because I wasn't listening, just because I forget things a lot) so I am the perfect friend for someone who regularly repeats stories. I also love to add to your stories, whether it is telling you a fun way it could have been, or spinning a completely fantasy out of your wonderful beginning.

I firmly believe that tea can solve everything. If I am ever in a bad place, make me a cup of tea. If I am sad, alone, frightened or upset - make me a cup of tea. As long as I have a warm cup of tea to hold, everything will be ok. It is magic, there is no other explanation.

I don't like being touched.  The only people to which I willingly give hugs are my husband, my children and occasionally friends and family I have not seen in a very long time - but even that is pushing it. Mostly just my husband and my kids. It does not mean I do not love you, it does not mean anything at all...except that I simply do not like people touching me. I have actually researched sensory disorders because I am hyper sensitive to touch, sound and smells - to the point of it being physically painful at times. So if you ever see me duck out of doors at an event with an overstimulating environment, it is not personal, I just needed space over my head for a while and a break from the noise.

The sun is like a drug to me, I need time in it or I get depressed. Perhaps that is the southern CA girl in me talking. But I love it, sitting in the sun I can relax.

I love to read, I love to sing, I love to act, I love to write, I cannot dance...

I am curious. Yes...yes that about sums it up. I am REALLY curious. I am curious about pretty much everything. I am curious about people, I am curious about theology, philosophy, rhetoric, religions, natural remedies, books, stories, legends, history, culture, how to survive in the wild, psychology, music, texture, taste, sex, words, the origin of man, beauty, character, color, growing things, passion - I am curious about things that people are passionate about.  And I LOVE hearing people talk about their passions, it makes me excited about life.

I used to hate it when people would say "Curiosity killed the cat" it drove me insane! And I heard it a lot, mostly from elders in my life that wished I would just sit still for two minutes... But I remember someone saying it to me once and before I could stop myself I shouted back at the offender "It may have killed the cat, but it was also the cat's reason for living."I probably got in trouble for saying it...but I can remember that epiphany moment. I realized all at once that being curious could be a positive thing, and not just something that gets you in trouble. Perhaps that really sums up my multiple-ness. I am just curious.

I am Multiple Me. Always learning...forever curious. It is my reason for living.

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