Thursday, September 22, 2011

Riding the Rails

    I do find that I think in metaphors a good part of the time. I think it is a self-defense mechanism to help talk myself through the frequent rough spots of life. Just this morning, as I was pulling on my leather jacket in defense against crisp morning air at 70 miles an hour, I was thinking how easily I can get derailed. I get on an idea, and charge ahead with glorious dreams of making the fantasy a reality, only to hit a snag and get myself tossed painfully off of the rails. Derailed. Again. An advantage I have (and maybe my metaphorically  inclined brain helps with this) is that over the years, out of neccessity, I have become very good at picking myself up and getting back on track. I have to do it, because no one else will. It is difficult to be the loner. I am the only one I have to talk me down, talk me off the ledge, talk me back into a sense of purpose. It is great that I am such a good cheerleader, so optimistic, analytical and philosophical. I can find analogies and metaphors to help myself through the all too frequent downturns and defeats that I seem to stumble upon when least expected.
    I hear so many joyous reports of friends' successes achieved with the help of friends, family, partners, and I am often envious to the point of near physical pain and nausea. I know this is unfair of me. That I should revel in their triumphs, feel joy in their success, congratulate them on a job well done. But instead I feel that evil entity of envy. It is my own damned fault. I am not inclined to ask for help, preferring to work towards my dreams on my own. I am not sure if this is a learned behavior from years of having no other option, or an ingrained trait buried deep within my DNA that makes me seek the lone path. Regardless, it does make for a tough, uphill battle. Do I wish I had help? Yes. I cannot deny how often I have wished for an easier route. Could I get help if I asked? Not really. The few times that I have asked, it has done little good and only caused me grief and feelings of rejection. Oh sure, there are plenty of people out there that can offer platitudes and words of encouragement, but little to nothing in the way of solid assistance. I don't blame them, their circumstances put them in situations where they couldn't help even if they wanted to. And as for platitudes? I have become a regular Kreskin at pulling those out of my own hat.
    I am not inclined to voice these ramblings outloud. Mostly because I don't want to sound like a whinebag. But also because it does me no good, and there are plenty of people who have had a rougher time than I have over the years and are struggling with problems far deeper than mine. This doesn't keep me from knowing that my problems are more important to me. They are, after all, My Problems. It doesn't diminish how hard I struggle just to keep my head above water sometimes. How often I cry at what feel like a hundred roadblocks for my simple aspirations. The numerous Pity Parties, attendence of one, that I throw for myself. The multitude of times I see the success of others as failures in myself.
    And this is when I derail. When despite my efforts to move forward, even inch by inch, I find myself lying in the gravel next to the track silently cursing whatever glitch on the rail vaulted me off to join the cinders along the tracks. But then this is also when my metaphorically inclined Brain starts to find correlations  between my life and any journey by any means of transportation. I believe that by seeing parallels between my life and the journeys and struggles of inanimate objects I can manage to emotionally distance myself from the problems confronting me. When I can take my emotions out of the picture, even for a brief moment, I can collect my thoughts and dreams, rebundle them a bit, and climb back onto the rail to attempt to make it a few more feet down the line.
    I have been accused (or lauded) of being too rational and logical, not emotionally invested enough. This may be true. I make every attempt to channel emotions into logic and rationality. It isn't easy for one with a tempestuous nature and the desires to race headlong through life at a breakneck pace. But I have learned the skill, trained myself in cool, calculating thought. Chained the emotions that have no place to go except to shatter on the floor as they are mishandled. I keep my emotions in check, carefully guarded and protected, because they have been mishandled too often and are far too fragile to survive further mistreatment. And so in steps Brain with metaphors, symbolism, logic and rationale. Thank the gods for Brain. Brain, who keeps me calm despite the chaos of my life. Brain, that may run gibbering in circles at times, causing derailment, but then calls a halt to abberant behavior and returns to calculating logic. Brain, that despite repeated derailments (self inflicted and otherwise) manages to keep me riding the rails, inch by inch.  

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