"The average man is a conformist, accepting miseries and disasters with the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain."
Last night I spent some time talking with David, who was angry with himself for being complacent over the years, while the walls of his life crumbled around him. As he stated, he'd always been in control of his emotions, and suddenly he found himself in a series of events that left no room for control. I told him anger was a good thing, so long as he used it as the means to a beneficial end. I also pointed out that recognizing, realizing, and resolving to battle against his failings prove that he's more enlightened than most individuals. More, I told him I greatly admire those qualities in him.
It's true, and I know whereof I speak. Been there, done that, didn't get a freakin' t-shirt. At one point, I put up a wall in order to feel nothing, but that's not healthy either. Better to face the dragons, than pretend they don't exist. Otherwise, you find yourself suddenly running scared as flames slap against your ass, and so out of shape that you can't get away.
Among the things I found yesterday in my own indignant battle against personal clutter, were pictures of me when I was very fit 7 years ago - I'd lost 120 lbs and was working out daily. It enraged me to see those pictures, and to recognize that I've veered so far away from that state in such a relatively short time. I shook my head and said aloud, "Barbara Ann Black, how could you allow yourself to become such apathetic fucking loser?!" Yes, I'm harder on myself than I am on anyone else, and than anyone else would be toward me. It's necessary.
While it's easy to use the excuse that a series of events "made" me step away from those disciplines, it's more accurate to argue that I allowed for it - that, my friends, is true complacency; it's apathy at its finest. Because the only thing we can truly control in this world is our very own selves, and there's no blaming anyone else for failure to do so except for our very own selves.
"What's so intriguing, or half so fatiguing as what's out of reach?"
~Stephen Sondheim, Into The Woods
Striving. Resolute behaviors. Those are the keys to making ourselves better beings. We absolutely must control the inner animal. It's hard, but think of it this way: Begin with a simple task and commit to a daily rendering, before long it becomes a routine, and finally, a habit. For example: I can't imagine not wanting to brush my teeth every morning - it's a task that was pushed on me as a young child, until it became routine, and then such a habit that I can't imagine not wanting to do it. Habits, as we all know too well, are extremely difficult to break. So, if we foster good habits and leave no room for bad ones, we begin to win the battle.
"You have been blessed with a burden and I envy you that."
Fences were made for climbing; mountains were made for scaling; miles were made for walking. There's a vast wilderness beyond my personal space, but I can't venture forth without being prepared. Self-awareness and self-control are pebbles in my personal medicine bag once again. I won't say that I will lead a resolute life, but that I am living a resolute life. Mary Poppins said it best, "Once begun is half done."
Oh yeah? Watch me.