The lesson of The Tortoise And The Hare as interpreted in the article which I posted yesterday is a valuable one — especially in an age where speed and efficiency are the most highly praised qualities — but it has always left me wondering what to make of those individuals who are alternatively faster or slower than most. I wonder about that because I myself have spent the better part of my life switching between turtle and hare behaviour, depending on where my energy cycles took me, or as the doctors would say, depending on which end of the bipolar spectrum I happened to be in. I’m wondering about all this because I find myself in a place that feels unnatural to me and which I suspect is in large part due to the medications I’m taking. It’s not so much that I think there’s anything wrong with being slow of body and mind, but lack of motivation is not easily overcome and I’m constantly expecting the energy surge to kick in as it always has before so I can get up and start making up for lost time, do all the things I want to do and get my self-esteem back. I could always count on that before, and now that it’s been taken away from me “for my own good” I find myself having to learn to function with only half of the tools that I came equipped with in the first place. No easy task.
My mum and I have had many exchanges about this since she knows me better than anyone, and even though I agree with her practical point of view, it doesn’t change the fact that I feel stuck. Like a dog tied to a pole after it’s spun it’s way around it to free itself, only to find it’s run out of chain and is choking stuck. How to explain to the dog that it’s tied down for it’s own good when the animal remembers the joy of running careless and free? How to explain to someone who is capable of being a turtle and a hare, and also a horse, dolphin, buffalo, eagle, frog, wolf, deer crow or antelope (among others) and isn’t bound to any of those creatures that from now on she must live solely as a turtle, and a particularly slow one even by turtle standards? With all due respect to the self-loving turtles out there, how do I make peace with the fact that someone else has chosen that I’m better off being slow when I’m happiest being fast (or at least free to roam)? I hope you forgive me for all this self-pity, and I know I’ll eventually surmount it but I guess I’m not done mourning the parts of me that I happen to love most.