Monday, August 04, 2008

I Compartmentalize.

What do you see in the picture at right?

Is it a low-flying raincloud? Or is it a puffy white cloud shielding the ground from the rainstorm above it?

If you're hungry at the moment, perhaps you might only see it as a waffle with whipped cream on top...with a sprinkling of powdered sugar falling down.

But no matter how you perceive the reality, that perception is all you've got. If you want to see rainclouds, you will. If you want to see a waffle, you will. To continue, how you perceive things will determine how you act. And how you act will effect reality, even if at first you didn't properly perceive it.

One thing I've realized lately is that I actively, strategically, and very neatly compartmentalize all of my feelings. Like the little organized blocks on a waffle, I file and catalog all my happiness (to be accessed often) and safely quarantine all my sadness (to be suppressed as quickly as possible).

It is a coping strategy that I have used for many years and have no reason to cease using. This separation strategy is not a cover-up or an avoidance of an issue; instead, it is a conscious effort to change my perception in order to change my actions and then the reality. "Fake it until it becomes real" is my mantra.

My friend Shawn thinks I'm crazy. He doesn't think I'm capable of turning my feelings on and off like a light switch. But I assure you, reader, that I can and have...repeatedly. Creating enthusiasm for a person, place, thing, or idea comes easily to me. Shutting it down is not as fun but can be just as quick for me.

To cite a positive example, I faked teaching to my stuffed animals until I became a real one. I faked being a disciplinarian in the classroom until the practice became real to me.

Indeed, we have to fake everything first in order become that which we desire. And so why should I not continue to apply this principle to my happiness?

At the conclusion of yesterday, I decided that upon waking today I would brush my hands clean of the dirt from the shovel I used to bury deep within the earth the trappings of my sadness (with a certain situation in particular). Yes, I dismantled my feelings and buried them. Or, to use another metaphor, I filled another compartment of my waffle and neatly squared things away.

So, hooray, I'm back to being neat and tidy with my emotions. I'm hanging on because this fake-ness is soon to become my reality.