If you had to pick just one song to best describe who you are, what would it be? I know, that’s hard. I could easily give you the soundtrack of my life so far in about 12 tracks. But try and describe who you are, inside and out, in just one song? It’s hard but it’s something I have thought about for a while.
For me, it would have to be Alanis Morissette’s “Hand In My Pocket”. Really.
I’m free but I’m focused
I’m green but I’m wise
I’m hard but I’m friendly baby
I’m sad but I’m laughing
I’m brave but I’m chickenshit
I’m sick but I’m pretty baby
And what it all boils down to
Is that no one’s really got it figured out just yet
’cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is playing the piano
Ever since I can remember, I’ve felt that there was this duality within me that a lot of times is in conflict. It makes my head hurt, it’s a struggle some days, and it as a kid always left me feeling like I didn’t belong or that no one else understood. Granted, perhaps everyone feels like this to some degree (hello puberty and hormones!), but especially during my teenage years I felt like I bounced back and forth between two people.
I’ve never been diagnosed as depressive, bi-polar, or as having multiple personality disorder. Yet, I’ve never sought counseling or professional mental help of any kind. I certainly rejected the thought that I needed help then and I’m still wary of the idea now. I didn’t identify with those who are clinically diagnosed with these conditions – I never saw myself as “that bad”. At the worst I figure I just have a higher level of anxiety and am prone to depression without some form of outlet. I just have this general distrust of mental health practitioners.
Don’t start with your lecturing please, I know this is a distrust with no personal evidence whatsoever. I’m only making things worse for myself, I’m a part of the problem and not the solution, you’re making this all up…yes, I’ve heard it all. As a kid, and still sometimes as an adult, I had this terrible fear that what I felt and thought really was just imaginary; a product of a vibrant imagination, a insatiable curiosity, and perhaps even some form of hypochondria of the mental variety. I’ve written before how I hate to be wrong and hate even more to look like a fool – I’m sure this overlaps with why I’m reluctant to communicate sometimes. Yet, at the risk of sounding very wrong in all kinds of ways, I really think that it’s because I didn’t want to wear that label; I didn’t want the negative connotation of mental illness attached to my person.
However, I’m starting to look at it a little differently these days. Exploring my faith and who I am on the inside has been, and honestly still is, a long journey. Yet, it took an encounter with the Roman God Janus for me to kind of “wake up” to this new outlook. I’ve always been drawn to the Greco-Roman myths and up until recently identify as Hellenistic. I’ve followed where I’ve been lead by research, myth, symbolism, and personal “callings”; I stumbled across Janus while looking for something else entirely. Here, staring at me with two faces, was the image of the God of Doorways – Beginnings and Endings.
Well, shit. There is a God representing duality? WHY AM I JUST NOW FIGURING THIS OUT?! He literally is higher up on the Pantheon totem pole because he enables the turning points, the transitions, and the space between each. My first thought upon this discovery was in regards to mental health and those who experience visions, particularly religious visions. So many people over the course of time have been beaten, burned, permanently silenced for communicating that they are connected to their duality in such a way that they are confident that duality is part of the Divine experience. Of course, if this is who we are, if this duality still allows me to live and breathe and not harm others, then why should I suppress it?
Okay, so this is not the totality of my perspective on duality and mental illness/health. But it connects with the song that I chose to represent who I am. The contradictions in the lyrics are funny, but also true. It depends on how I’m feeling that day and depending on what’s going on is how you’ll find me. Yet, when it comes down to my core, who I am no matter what, is that I’ve got one hand in my pocket and one hand is outstretched, open.
Writer, Wannabe Artist, Overthinker, List-Maker, Photographer, Chronic Under-Salter