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From the Hip

Quite Contrary

Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Living in a black and white world.


Have you ever played tug of war? It's when two groups are pulling on opposite ends of a rope, trying to drag the other team over the center line. My life feels like the rope sometimes, with me on both ends pulling against myself.


Did I lose you?


Someone told me a while back that I'm a contradiction, and at first glance I would agree. I live in a black and white world – I don't see gray. I have an extreme nature. Things either are or they aren't. Yes or no. Zero or one thousand. There is no middle for me. I am opinionated, confident and decisive. Typically I don't waver. Ever.


I am clear that this is not always healthy. Granted, when it comes to standing up for my convictions or making decisions, it can definitely work in my favor. But in general, this extreme nature of mine has caused a lot of problems. Not for me – I'm fine with how I am – but for those around me who have determined that I need to be more flexible and less rigid.


For example, I hate to be photographed because I am not photogenic (this is not a ploy for pity compliments). It's just not a quality I possess, so I prefer to be the one taking photos. But sometimes, when by the grace of God a picture of me turns out okay, I will post it. Interestingly, thinking about this dichotomy led me to realize that my actual issue – deeper than my extreme nature – is a desire for control. But that's another topic for another post.


I've learned to accept myself the way I am, flaws and all. When I was younger I used to think that I should be more spontaneous, but it became too much work. I like to plan and I like to know what's on the itinerary (there's that control issue again). But why does that have to be a bad thing? I resent that being type-A or a planner gets equated with not being fun. I do not think those things are mutually exclusive. In fact, I often have more fun knowing I'm not going to be stranded somewhere or end up in a compromising situation.


I am acutely aware that there is always room for improvement. I was told a long time ago that "this is how I am and you just need to accept it" is not a very spiritually mature stance. Dang it. I try to accept others the way they are – everyone has good and bad traits, no? Yet my tug of war continues.


Sometimes there is beauty in having two extreme natures. For example, I can equally enjoy the bursting starry night sky of my country home as much as the skyscrapers jutting into the black of the New York City skyline. I can hate the crowds of theme parks and casinos yet have a soft spot in my heart for a damaged soul. While some may see these as contrarian, to me they make perfect sense.


And until I tire of pulling on both ends of that rope, I will continue to see the world in black and white. Because to me, it's not a tug of war or some internal battle. Instead, it's a beautiful dance, and I will never stop dancing.






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