Let's just eliminate all the bullshit, shall we?







Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Identity

It's hard to lose your position in the rat race. (Like the joke says, "Even if you win, you're still a rat!") Most of us identify ourselves--through connections big and small--to our immediate surroundings. But when we fall from our station, maintaining a sense of who we truly are can become a tricky endeavor.

A gradual decline over an extended period may be somewhat more easily accommodated, but when one's descent is rapid and overlapping? The acclimation process may be formidable indeed.

The deceptively sneaky ease with which change can occur is terrifying. Lay-off, natural disaster, health crisis, break-up, death of loved one, and the rest can necessitate the need for a prioritizing. When these events steadily interlace, a breather may not be possible.

Perhaps the frightening and tenuous nature of bad luck being such a lurking threat is what makes for observers' discomfort. When tragedy affects many, there is a compound effect of friends, family, and loved ones not staying for the ride, let alone the long haul.

People don't like to watch difficulty, even when experienced by another. They fear the starkness of reality when it confronts them in such a personal way, befalling someone in their circle. There is a paranoia liken to early response to HIV/AIDS that colors people's interpretations; they seem to think hardship could be readily transmitted by proximity.

Some tell me that people stop calling because they are afraid I will ask them to borrow money. Or I may invite myself to eat with them. Or ask for help with tasks or debtors.

Some say that the reminder of my circumstance is too depressing for people to deal with; ignoring a friend of 20 years is the equivalent of crossing the street to avoid a homeless person on the sidewalk. The actuality of one's own perceived doom being so close at hand, so arbitrary, is too much for folks to bear.

Self-preservation takes hold, and friends must abandon the person bringing down their life raft. Otherwise, their perspective of how the world works may be tainted. Their spider's web veil of delusion that their temporary comfort and denial is not defense against the raging storm will surely fall away.

It doesn't take much: A single car accident. A stolen purse. A problem--perceived or real--at a job. A pulled muscle. An infidelity.

Our worlds are tenuous and fragile, constantly furthered by tricks and luck and whim. No matter how seasoned you are, that can be a hard lesson to learn. When you learn a vital truth that not everyone else possesses, there is a certain prerequisite loneliness. Buck up, true believers; this one's gonna require armor.


For Want of a Nail
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.

For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
-proverb

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