The mind is a funny old place – for some, staying on top of it is a doddle, whilst some may struggle to keep it under control. There are those for whom the world is something over which they exercise their emotional authority, whilst there are those for whom life, day-to-day, is an emotional rollercoaster, where events and occurrences dictate their reactions. The mind can also be pretty unpredictable, like a car that has run without the slightest mechanical problem for years, there’s no guarantee that one day you may not turn a corner, and with a sickening crash, the engine falls out, leaving you – the hapless driver – with nothing but broken pieces of metal littering the road.
The boundary between control and confusion, stability and stumbling, is narrow and once you’ve crossed over to the dark side it can be a hell of a job to claw your way back, although many do, and equally, many can pull off the illusion of having done so whilst in reality they’re still stuck on the wrong side.
I’ve always been one those who is very good at acting the part, whereas behind the scenes the turmoil that’s going on may paint a very different picture. Over time I’ve developed a strategy that seems to work for me:
- Trust no one
- Always expect the worst
- Avoid people
- Try not to drink too much
Pretty rubbish, huh?
OK, so it seemed to work for a bit, then a couple of years ago a rather scary and unexpected event forced me to reappraise things. It was a real wake up and smell the coffee moment and, for the first time in many years, I found myself challenging my own coping strategies and questioning whether it was time to start reaching outside my comfort zone and start living a little.
Of course, it came to nothing – it’s never as easy as it might sound. They do say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and on that basis, my own personal highway is a multi-lane motorway, complete with toll booths, services and variable speed limits! Even so, the seeds of discontent with my own personal philosophy had been sown – I knew some butt kicking was due, and I knew I was the one who’d have to be doing it to myself.
As they say in movies, when they can’t be bothered to write a narrative to cover the intervening period – or, as is the case here, that interval is rather boring and lacklustre – ‘time passed’, and looking back to that particular moment in time when I saw myself and what I was setting forth as a life as clearly as I was ever likely to, I’m surprised to find that in some ways I have indeed made progress. One of the signs of those changes is that whereas before my life was predictable, safe but nevertheless – to me – pretty challenging, it is starting to become – in my mind, anyway – rather less safe, terribly unpredictable and horribly challenging. I must admit, however, there’s a certain masochistic element of excitement about it – that same feeling you get at the top of a vertical drop when you’re teetering on the edge – terrifying, but nevertheless compelling.
I think, to some degree, SL has played a part in this ascent into the realms of the living. It has given me the opportunity to poke my head above the parapet, without becoming vulnerable. It has exposed me to situations that, in RL, I can and do struggle with quite badly, but inworld I can cope with them. It has forced me to be gregarious, even sociable, despite this being contrary to my RL nature. And, knowing I can do these things virtually, has – with varying degrees of success – leaked across the void into the real world with unexpected consequences.
There are still occasions when I crash and burn, and there will still be days when I can go from zero to hero and back again, in the space of a few hours. Whether I ever get to a point where I can deal with that is debatable. But – and this is the big, big thing for me – when now I look to the future, there’s an element of hope there and not the overwhelming feeling that it’s all going to go horribly wrong; as for when I look to the here and now… Well, let’s just say it’s both interesting and complicated, and leave it at that.
This has been one of those weird posts that I never planned to write, and now I have, I wonder why. Oh well, never mind!
Ah, now I don’t hardly know her
But I think I can love her
Crimson and clover
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – Crimson And Clover