A is for Ambivalence

Utter transparency; I struggled with this title. On a typical day, I know what to write, but that is without the pressure of knowing that at some point, some unfortunate soul may read it. On the first go around, I had “A is for attachment.” Next came, “A is for apology.” Following this, nearly ensured “A is for acceptance,” and if it continued, we may have found our way all the way to acrobatics. Truthfully speaking, ambivalence was one of the last topics I wanted to write about, because at this moment in time it is weighing heavily on my heart and on my mind.

Ambivalence: the state of having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone

Depending on how you look at it, one could say that one of my biggest character flaws is the heightened way in which I live in the “grey” area. Mixed emotions, and contradictions, run so heavily in who I am, I have it tattooed on my right forearm. Occasionally, I’m in a state of what feels like an existential crisis, and at other times, I feel catatonic at best because I am paralyzed by my inability to choose. I cannot quite put onto paper the extreme amount of frustration this causes me, because in many areas of life, I have had the outcome decided far before it came to be. Yet in other areas of life, especially in matters of the heart, or situations that could affect the heart or life of someone else, I see avoidance as my greatest ally.

Everyone, if they are truly living, will reach a crossroads at some point in their life. For quite some time now, however, and perhaps at times due to my own recklessness, it feels that life has graduated me from the crossroads, and I am permanently walking in a house of mirrors, bumping into my same tired self unsure of how to get out, and feeling hopeless about a change of scenery.

I typically live in this mundane state of melancholical unsurety because I don’t want to judge or write something off – I don’t want to make a mistake. I want to have options, and when my options run out and I make a decision, I want to know that I spent enough time with the options to know that I made the correct decision. Assuredly this does not guarantee that there are no absolutes, there are most certainly non-negotiables and strong feelings leading one way or another. What it does mean, is that I am terrible at closing doors. It means that I often feel claustrophic because of my own created state of limbo, and I typically allow people to walk all over me for far too long. I stay in relationships and jobs past their expiration date, and I struggle to take the crazy leaps of faith for myself because I don’t know if I am pursuing what is meant for me.

A strength to my “mixed emotions” state of existence, is that I can often see the silver lining – in people, in situations, and even in mere thought processes. Though I prefer to describe myself as a “realistic optimist,” my mind naturally moves to the positives of “what could be,” and the small amount of daydreamer within me takes over. I prefer to see things as a whole. I know that not everything “good,” is entirely good, and not everything “evil,” is entirely, or even inherently bad. There are pro’s and con’s to every situation, to every job, to every relationship, to every family, to every city, and to every peak and valley. Despite the knowledge and acceptance of the absurdities of the world, I can still become paralyzed by the responsibility of choices.

Perhaps Hamlet had it correct all the time – “to be, or not to be?” To be what exactly? Because even my ideas about myself are mixed. Yes, I’m strong, but I have had embarrassingly weak moments. Yes, I am funny, but sometimes my humor does nothing other than garner a few pity laughs. Sometimes, the last thing I want to do is settle and see less of myself, and at other times, the last person I want to be is myself. Quite possibly, I should have titled this, “A for Absolutes,” because in life, there are none. I will not always be the same, and even at my most stable, I will never be perfectly consistent. As I write, I am still in a constant state of tug-of-war, as I do my best to rest in the grey area of life. It is said that ambivalence is natural and common, yet nothing makes my skin crawl more, nothing makes my heart strain as much, and certainly nothing causes me more sleepless nights. Yet I refuse to accept life and all of it’s component as one dimensional, therefore ambivalence is the only answer. So please excuse me as I, ridden with anxiety, clamor into the twisted unknown.

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