Picture from https://plus.google.com/100033957943902398154
This is a picture of atoms and particles after the atoms who managed to escape the atom smasher (please forgive my oh-so-technical scientific terminology here. I’m an English major, not a miracle worker). The man whose page I borrowed the picture from used it for a different purpose, comparing it to a business model.
I’m looking as it as people, because part of his model coincided with human nature almost perfectly. The straight lines, are, I believe, atoms–if there are any physics people or other science oriented geeks out there who are going to giggle, please just do it quietly. They keep going on their usual paths, not knowing they just escaped being crushed into particles. But their paths are…I won’t say boring, I’ll say comfortable. They have their routine and they stick to it. They are the ones who make the world work. People who work in offices and stores and do all the important jobs that society would fail without.
The ones looking like dizzy little spirals (maybe waving from great heights) are the particles, light enough that they have a hard time following the straight lines, the forward path. These, as Andy Proehl called them, and as I was thinking as well, are the innovators, the thinkers. In the not business world he used as a model, the creative ones–the people who don’t quite fit in. The people who may try but simply can’t stay on the road. We spin off on our own paths of thought. To us, the road is a stifling place where the asphalt sucks ideas out through our feet until we’re stuck in tar and we hope someone comes along to save us. Some of us are quite melodramatic. I can be horrible, and if it’s a sunny day and I’m stuck outside in the asphalt, it very well could be the end of the world. The large white truck that always speeds down the road in front of our house might be my only salvation.
But to exist as a society, we need both kinds of people–well, more than two kinds–this is very much simplified. The ones who keep us going, and the ones who create what to give us to move forward to. But consider this if considering which type of person you’d like to be. Remember in Aladdin, when he tricked Jaffar into the lamp? “Infinite cosmic powers, itty bitty living space,” the Genie said after he’d trapped him. Now, this is absolutely nothing like that, but consider that many people who are the sproingy spinning particles are also that way for another reason entirely. Mental illness. Start looking into it, great poets, authors, artists… severe depression, bi-polar, anxiety-disorders… It’s not just the famous creative people, I have mental illness, enough so that it’s counted a disability. An invisible disability, because no one can tell. That’s why it’s so insidious. I know so many authors with depression, bi-polar… it’s just something we deal with. Not every creative person has this, of course. Just something interesting to think about, along with the which came first, the depression or the creativity? Part of the reason I bring this up is that it’s National Suicide Awareness month. I haven’t really said much about it, which I should have, as I have had two people close to me commit suicide. There are medications, which some people won’t take, or resent so much they won’t take them for that reason. I’ve gotten over being angry at it. Try this med? Sure. We have to live together. I can tell people about it now, which I think is important–they don’t know until I tell them, but I don’t want to go on a slightly manic high then hit a low–that can be distressing for all of us. But often until people have a face to attach to something, it’s hard to put a disorder in context, to relate it to someone they personally know. They realize I don’t carry around a butcher’s knife and even though I’m a writer I don’t type “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” over and over on the word processor (that’s too much work–I’d just use cut and paste–see, even that sounds creepy). I’m sure there’s an easier way to do that but I’m not that good on the word processor. I don’t know what brought that up, but it certainly wasn’t a coincidence, and really doesn’t have anything to do with my working on trying not to be a perfectionist. It must have been two random particles colliding.
But how, you might ask, do these so called random particle people ever connect? I’m sure more do than the two that are the most obvious–the first two from the right that make the figure eight shape. Those two particles found each other. A woman I’ve been working with says there is no such thing as coincidence. We control the things that make us miserable. We disown them as belonging to us, as being someone else’s fault or something else’s fault, but refuse to take responsibility for them ourselves. We dismiss things as coincidence the same way we disown our self-defeating behaviors. Why would we want to keep self-defeating behaviors? We don’t know what to do with out lives if we don’t have them, if we don’t have that level of stress in them. For creative people, it’s a chokehold that I, at least, am putting on myself. I can’t spin freely with the other particles until I have made a good effort to shed what’s holding me down. Every single thing I attributed to coincidence she said, “Not necessarily,” to. Despite the fact I get dizzy quickly, I’d still like to spin for a little bit. Preferably wearing something light and floaty and gauzy in different shades of mauve. It wouldn’t matter if I have the grace of a buffalo, and it would be okay if I ran into another spinning particle. Whoever it was may have kept me from spinning into the street or a revolving door. I heard a comedian the other night: “Have you ever tried to slam a revolving door?”
So while I already contemplate whether some things in my life were chance encounters, random particles bumping into each other in some sterile accelerator–two particles ineffably drawn together who needed each other without knowing it, through fate, whatever name you want to give it, wasn’t something I had been expecting. It was, however, something whose absence I had felt.
Das tut mir leid.