Recently, someone close to me called me impulsive. This was shocking to me and disrupted my understanding of who I am. To be impulsive is to be someone who doesn’t think, who starts running before they know where they are going. To be impulsive is to lack direction. An impulsive person is someone who paints their bedroom bright red on a Wednesday evening because they saw a beautiful red bedroom on Pinterest, drove by Home Depot on the way home and decided to pop in and get some paint. I draw rooms to scale and cut out paper outlines of furniture before I rearrange my living spaces. I make sure that my bed is not in line with any doors or facing any mirrors lest I disrupt the feng shui that I am not sure if I even believe in–changing the color of my room is a major life decision. I couldn’t be impulsive.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about how the world can be seen and understood in different ways. On a basic level, I understand that the world looks and feels different based upon factors that as human beings we can and cannot control. I have had enough life experiences to know what generally makes me happy and what generally makes me sad and I try to surround myself with what makes me happy and do my best to not engage with what I know will make me intensely angry or deeply sad. When I feel joy, I dance, when I feel deep sadness, I often cannot help but weep.
I have always thought that human beings react to the world based upon how they experience the world. To feel things deeply is to engage and react wholeheartedly. This doesn’t mean that I feel ecstatic and dance around when I see a beautiful shade of red, I understand that the world isn’t always beautiful and I don’t weep when I see a dead animal on the side of the road, I understand that life can be very hard and certain things are unavoidable. But there are certain feelings that to me, are deep feelings and when something affects me at the very center of my being and I know that I am feeling it at the center of my being, I have always thought that I have two choices – to trust whatever it is that lies at the very center of my being and react wholeheartedly to how I feel, or to ignore those feelings and hope that they go away soon. I have generally found that when I push the feelings away I feel like I am in pain and imprisoning myself so I typically end up going with option one.
However, this might be the very definition of an impulsive person. I am realizing that maybe the very center of my being is something beyond whatever it is that experiences feelings and emotions. Prior to this realization, not openly responding to strong emotions and still feeling them meant putting the very center of my being through the heavy wash cycle on the washing machine.
But I am finding that there might be something else. There is something that doesn’t have to react. There might be something that can empathize with how the heavy wash cycle feels, but is still solid and comfortable. There is something that can experience loss but still be completely whole. There is something that can see sadness and still be at peace. There is something that can feel intense happiness but be steady. Maybe there is something that can give of itself entirely and experience life fully but remain unchanged. I hope not to lose my passion, but I am beginning to like this new friend I have found in me.