Do you look before you leap or leap and look later?
Chances are you do a bit of both depending on the situation and how much you want to do one or the other.
At any given point we have a hundred tangents bearing down on our decisions, from our past, present, and all those possible futures we think about creating for ourselves. We may be aware of some and unaware of the rest… there’s just so much focus we can give to all those things which want our attention, and a few of them don’t want us to notice them. Those hidden things which are hiding for a reason, perhaps we hid them from ourselves awhile ago and never want to see them again.
We sometimes get pressured by others to either be daring or be cautious. The pressure they apply may have more to do with them and their needs rather than us and our needs.
One of the needs which influences us, and others, and the way others influence us, and how we influence ourselves, is the need to define ourselves to ourselves and to others.
We all possess an idea of who we are, or who we would like for ourselves to be.
We have that about others too… which sometimes becomes the reference point for judging.
That person isn’t being who I need them to be for me, they aren’t doing what I want them to do, they aren’t saying what I would like to hear… they must be a narcissist.
Okay, that’s an extreme example which is being unfair… but we’re often unfair in our judgments because judgments are designed to simplify and that’s unfair to all of us because we’re all a complex, complicated, intricate array of something which is beyond our ability to grasp in simple terms. So we simplify to keep things from confusing us… from confusing ourselves with how confusing we can be when we try to look further than our judgments.
Is he/she the narcissist or am I?
What if we both are,
or what if neither of us is but we both think the other person is and that we’re not…
and yet perhaps we’re both wondering, privately, secretly, with a sense of impending doom… no, don’t go there, just jump to the conclusion which keeps things simple and easier for you to deal with… but does it make it easier?
Even at the time in our lives when life is supposed to be simple (according to who exactly? Who started that rumor which eventually became a supposed truth?)…
When I was probably about six years old, I was taken by my mother to a local playground,
we were in NYC, living there for some indeterminate amount of time,
we lived near Central Park which had some rather elaborate play areas for kids.
That day I discovered both the joys and the pitfalls of leaping. You could say that I took a leap in learning… the hard landing way.
The playground was dominated by a complex structure in a giant sandpit which had slides, climbing frames, netting, and a fireman’s pole – the latter was to become the source of my joy and fall from joy.
I was terrified at first of making the leap from the platform to the pole – what if I missed?
I didn’t miss…
What pushed me to feel the fear and do it anyway? Well, the other kids, some of them smaller than me, were doing it and… they seemed to enjoy doing it.
It was great fun… but that great fun soon became boring as it became predictable, safe, stable. I wanted more, to take a step beyond.
So… using the kind of logic which I still use to this day, I decided to leap from the top of the platform without using the pole.
The first time I did it (yes, I did it more than once) was amazing and I wanted more of that amazing feeling. But you can only have that kind of amazing once, the first time you do something you’ve never done before, after that your mind and system adjust, get used to it and gradually it becomes… boring.
In chasing after the thrill of not-boring I ended up reaching too far, jumping further than my body could actually deal with the impact of the jump.
I guess on that day I also learned that the mind and the ego don’t have any notion of the body which carries the weight of their crazy around… or more to the point, they do have a notion of the body, it’s just not a real body they’re notioning about. They’re basically narcissists and the body is their victim. They don’t give a shit about the body as it is, they want it to be what they want it to be for them – they have dreams, grandiose visions, and if they believe… then it will be so.
They believed they could fly, and seemed impervious to the gravity of the situation.
On my final (and unlucky third) leap I landed awkwardly injuring my ass… of a mind and ego. They were not happy about being made to go home when I was king of the playground for being so daring (completely crazy).
Now some of you may wonder where my mother was during all of this, and why wasn’t she supervising her child’s activity. Shouldn’t she have stopped me from progressing to the injury zone?
Frankly I have no idea where my mother was or what she was doing with her eyes at the time. I was relieved that she wasn’t interfering. She used to watch me like a hawk, and I reveled in those moments when I was invisible to her because then I could experience myself without her input about who I was or wasn’t and should be being (for her sake).
Later that day I had a very strong experience of myself, of the results of being myself without interference. The effects of the awkward landing had only been subtle at first. I knew I’d hurt myself but I was a stoic child. Ignore the pain and at some point it’ll get forgotten and go away. What actually went away on that occasion was my ability to walk. My legs turned to jelly and I was left crawling as though I was a baby again.
My mother thought I was being dramatic and putting on a show. Why would I put on that kind of a show? There was absolutely no logical reason for pretending that I was in pain and couldn’t walk. But my mother always thought that others were faking their injuries… it’s how she dealt with the pain of others.
Many years later she injured her back and was confined to bed for awhile. I was in charge of caring for her. I was a teenager at that time and the idea of caring for my mother… let’s just say I did the practical stuff and then shut myself in my room. One evening I heard a loud thump outside my door, and when I opened it I found my mother lying on the floor of the corridor which led to my room.
It was a bit like looking at a beached shark.
In that moment I took another leap… a small one.
Instead of treating her how she would have treated me (and avenge my six-year old self who spent three days unable to walk, watching Godzilla movies on TV so it wasn’t that bad, while being harassed by my mother who refused to call a doctor because she was convinced I was faking my pain, and kept telling me as much until I wished Godzilla would leap out of the TV and land on her) had our roles been reversed, I picked her up, helped her back to her room, and spent more time with her while she was recuperating.
The reason she’d left her bed was… my fault, of course. She was lonely and bored, I had abandoned her to be lonely and bored while I had a party in my room by myself. That was selfish of me… I was supposed to be looking after her, entertaining her, helping her to… not spend any quality time with herself.
She didn’t do well when she was ill.
Being ill forced her to spend time with herself… unable to do things to distract herself from her self.
Her life was a running away from the self that she was to another self which her mind and ego wanted her to be… sometimes her body couldn’t keep up with the dreams and fantasies of those inner narcissists.
Those inner narcissists who accused her body faking her own illness, and harassed it until she’d drag herself out of bed… to collapse on the floor a little while later, filling the air with waves of a secret pain that leapt out of her into others.