I am a quiet fellow. I keep my own counsel and reckon it solid most of the time. I don’t discuss my thoughts with anyone very much. Those thoughts I make public are those that I rehearse and process and censor for some time before I share. I have regarded this habit as a sign of my intensity, though the line between intense and passionate is sometimes hard to see.
I take solace from my steeled reserve, my capacity to not let it out and unbalance myself or those whom I love. It doesn’t always work, sometimes my head spins drunkenly with hurt and confusion as my hardiness ebbs away revealing a jell-o soul.
This moment of lurching self doubt never fails to knock me to the ground: stomach churning, knees knocking and temples thudding my inner ear alignments go all awry and I feel the cold floor on my cheek. There’s a horrid bitter reflux in my throat and a flickering of horror in my eye as I see myself reduced to quivering.
And in my head a long narrative of loss, void, and waste plays out: this is the revelation that I am shit, that everyone knows I am shit, everything I do is shit and my net contribution to the world is thirty seven years of shit.
Getting up off the floor is not a speedy process for me, it takes a little while (I’m a big guy). I try to re-establish communications with my quivering body parts and get them to lift me again. Sometimes I find myself stuck on the floor longer than usual because I berate myself for not being tough enough, not invulnerable, and not resilient.
Resilience is a key quality these days, go to any graduation from KindyCorner to MIT and you’ll hear about the need for resilience. Kids need to be resilient they’ll say from the behind the lectern, they need to be able to bounce back from anything because as adults there’s lots that could knock them down and they’ll need to know how to get back up.
But I am not a kid. Maybe I didn’t get the resilience lessons, maybe reserved and resilient don’t go together. My reserve holds back the unloading of energy, the letting go of all that stress and adversity doesn’t happen. It stays inside, a spring coiled and pressed. The harder that spring is pressed the more steely I become but also the more likely it is that the spring will loose it elasticity altogether and I will fall to the floor.
I value my intensity, my reserve, even though it discloses my lack of resilience. Maybe I just don’t have the bounce back factor. Maybe I’m like one of those circus performers that have the cannonball shot into their belly: I can take the hit but I can’t make that cannonball bounce back.