The White Knight is Talking Backwards

June 17, 2010

Much of my brief stint on this planet has been played as a chess game. At this point, however, I can’t be sure if I am winning or losing. I’ve gotten so encumbered by my strategy, I’m not sure whether I should be making small sacrifices or bold moves. I don’t even know if it’s my turn.

In fact, for all I know, I may even be playing checkers these days.

I grew up in a home where anticipating the next move was a matter of survival. Familiar patterns dictated my bob and weave; averting one disaster and preempting the next. Fear is an incredible motivating factor, especially for a child. To keep the peace, it was a delicate balancing act for everyone.  Although the compromises were sometimes large, the fallout was infinitely greater.

I was raised to be an emotional thermometer, constantly gauging the temperatures of everyone around me. When interacting with others, I am diligently and neurotically analyzing choice of words, tone, and body language. I don’t believe what you say unless it all agrees satisfactorily.

I quite literally fear missing the cue. I am terrified of the slip fall. And I brace myself, always, for the atom bomb to drop.

In the world, however, these “survival skills” are largely misconstrued, and often way over-the-top. In short, I come off as dramatically paranoid. You know, I probably am.

But, it’s hard to remember that not everyone has lived in a matchstick castle. While most people can deal with a situation, I have sprinted 10 steps ahead in my brain, trying to prevent ones that haven’t arisen yet. Mapped out in this grey matter is a direct route to worst case scenario; and often times I think it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. So concerned with what others were, are, and will be thinking; that I don’t even think at all.

Ultimately, however, this sets the stage for a life where the actor will never be satisfied. After decades of placating, it’s hard for me to even recognize what it is that I want. And when I do recognize what I want, it’s indescribably difficult to justify pursuing it, and almost impossible to convince myself that I am worthy anyways.

This scenario plays out again and again in all aspects of my personal life, beyond interaction with other people. I fall into a pattern of working really hard, much harder than is actually necessary, to simply maintain. Feels like I’m swimming the English Channel, when I’m merely treading water. I forego a lot of personal pleasures to keep things at status-quo, and I think the fact of the matter is most people don’t notice or care about that. As God from the TV show Futurama said: “When you’ve done something right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all.”

And I shouldn’t expect them to.

But somewhere deep inside, the little girl who has been bending and folding her whole life is getting bitter. And I can feel myself, as I get older, becoming jaded. Resentful. Expectant. Thinking that the world just owes me one, and trying to wait patiently for it. And what it all really boils down to is an intrinsic fear of being denied.

The chilling thought of spelling out, in no uncertain terms, what it is that I want or need. Saying it out loud. Taking steps toward getting that. Crossing a rickety wooden bridge toward satisfaction, all the while watching the lava river of disappointment gurgle below. Most of the time, the fear takes over. The cold sweat paralyzes me, I begin to bend and sway– make sure everyone on either side is ok– and the bridge breaks, and I hit that searing disappointment headfirst. And its my own damn fault. Every time.

The time has come for Kat to grow up, grow a set, and learn to make herself happy. For too long, I have undermined and sabotaged myself. Years of drinking away any dissatisfaction, or feeling in general. Years of self-abuse and masochistic intentions under the guise of love. Years of caring too damn much what the next 5 moves of everyone around me will be.

The time has come to take responsibility, speak my mind honestly, and recognize that there is some validity to my expectations. Time to set the stakes proper, and honestly assess my own worth.

Because, when it comes down to it, life is much more like solitaire than chess, anyways.


Are you gonnah be your own goddamn best friend?
[[TheFruitThatAteItself.ModestMouse]]
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4 Responses to “The White Knight is Talking Backwards”

  1. BathtubGym Says:

    Remember what the dormouse said …

    [audio src="http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5880191/04%20You%20Can%27t%20Get%20What%20You%20Want%20%28Till.mp3" /]

    I do like this song too. Maybe not as reverant, but uplifting none-the-less.

    Maybe this is you also. Maybe it isn’t.

    I used to be a firefighter amongst arsonists. Putting out small ones, and sometimes big ones, and sometimes before there even was a fire.

    I had to be on my feet like you say. You see the cigarette and the open bottle of Kerosene and you know what can happen, even when they don’t. Or did they? You know to put away the matches, and keep the flammables separate.

    But when fires don’t burn the forests … Everyone thinks that’s because that’s the way it’s supposed to be. So when you’re doing a great job, sometimes it’s just not noticed. It takes a lot of work for ‘nothing’ to happen. But that’s O.K.

    Sure that can wear on ya. I was waiting for someone to be MY firefighter. The person running around making sure that I didn’t blow myself up. Alas that’s not the way it works. Sometimes we are the adults in a school full of children. And we have to keep our heads, even if nobody else can see that we’re doing it.

    If you’re lucky, you can quit being a firefighter as life goes on. And the arsonists leave your life. That’s the thing, don’t befriend new arsonists. Even if they’re drawn to you, because you’ll keep them from lighting themselves on fire.

    Sure you sometimes want to say “But I don’t WANT to be a firefighter! I want any of that … I’d rather just … SING!” (A little Monty Python there)

    But I’m O.K. now. I’ve just got some firefighting skills, but it’s not my “job” anymore.


    • @BathtubGym– correct you are. It’s hard not to be drawn to the familiarity of chaos like a moth… well.. to the flame. The allure of course *IS* inconsistency. in and of its own right; always something new and exciting. The tradeoff, however, has proven time and time again to be my own wants and needs. Putting myself on the backburner to ensure everyone else is happy and not steering toward the ravine. Playing tagalong– silent and willing partner– to the excitement of others. Sharing in the bright light and joyous smiles of another’s dreams realized.
      While it’s good to feel needed (by the arsonists, by those on fire, by those who are afraid to play with fire), it’s nice just sleep comfortably in your scrap paper house covered in gasoline once in a while…

  2. hanilol Says:

    You are worth it. Easy to say, drop your worry because everything will be alright. The world does owe you something, it owes us all something, our personal freedom. World not meaning people, but what it has become over time. Constantly, drug down and treaded on by society and it’s immoral ways. You have made the best of what you could out of situations uncontrolled. You have helped me be free from being held down by the hate within the people of the world. Do what you do, you are loved well. Peace be unto you…friend.


    • @hanilol– welcome to my blog, girl!
      I try every day to remember gratitude, and that proves my biggest challenge. While I am so busy wondering where my recognition is, I am probably neglecting to give others the pat on the back they deserve. I wait, like I’m at the bus stop, for the world to shine a little light… but I wonder if I’m just wasting time.


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