This “I”

A lovely late spring day, bright and cheerful. We’ve come to that time in spring when we need moisture. The trees and other plants have leafed out, dramatically increasing the transport of moisture from the soil. It has also been rather windy which contributes to the drying of the soil, and the risk of wildfires has increased substantially.

Jennie and I been immersed in a whirlwind of work, the college graduation of one of our adult kids, and the myriad tasks that accompany the transition from winter to spring. As a result, I’ve found surprisingly little time to write, or to read others’ blogs for that matter. I guess I should be less surprised as this time shortage seems to occur pretty much each year.

I’m still trying to work myself out of the malaise that accompanied the virus that spent much of the winter with me. I try to remember that Post Polio amplifies the impacts of every other malady, increasing the severity of the illness as well as the time required to recover from it. At this point I am mostly left with an oppressive PPS fatigue.

My internal world pretty much mirrors the external one, and I find myself falling into the cultural trap of imagining this “I” to be a simple, unitary organism and consciousness, rather than the complex dynamic ecosystem “I” actually am.  Not surprisingly, I frequently find myself conducting an internal audit as to what should be different from what is. The answer is, all too often, that pretty much everything should be different!

This idea of “I” is, it seems to me, at best a useful construct representing many points of views, divergent needs, and often seemingly conflicting dreams and aspirations, a web of inner and outer relationships of such complexity that it is almost impossible to grasp, let alone monitor, on an ongoing basis. I suspect that I can, on an ongoing basis, be aware of only a tiny part of all that interwovenness. Mostly I am aware of a part of self that insists on being “other”, being some unique “self” that feels besieged by innumerable internal and external demands and threats, and resists the very notion of complexity and interdependence.

Fortunately, I can fairly often find humor in these moments when I am aware of my internal enactment of the larger cultural milieu, even as I shrink back in horror. After all, how can we not carry within us those ideas and voices that fill the cultural landscape in which we live? The trick, I imagine, is to take several deep breaths and encourage the screaming, conflicted selves within to take a step back, stop shouting, and actually listen to each other. Given we have to live together, maybe we can actually find away to work together for the common good. Surely that would aid both the “I” and the world at large.

2 thoughts on “This “I”

  1. I think English could do with a good bit more complexity in pronouns in general, including, as you’ve so aptly described, our “I.” How we speak about ourselves not only reflects our inner world but can also serve constrict it if the options we are given are insufficent to fully capture its riches.

    1. Suzanne, this is so true! We need to find a richer language. I am often grateful to the many brilliant writers of English who have found ways to talk about the ineffable.

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