The balance in my mind isn’t always an easy to thing to understand, even for me, and is even harder for other people to understand. In fact, there is an exceptionally small minority in this world that I’ve met that I believe can even begin to understand me.
It’s strange. I’ve learnt to go about my life with few expectations; the fewer the expectations you have in something, the less likely you are to be let down by it. And yet… Yet, on the other side of the coin, if I happen to meet someone who I can click with, who have traits within them that I recognise, who I believe may be one of this small percentage that could actually understand me even in a small way, then suddenly my expectations sky rocket.
The trouble is, I don’t particularly understand why that is. I guess it is, in part, something to do with the fact that I am quite aware of how few people are truly able to see beyond my layers, see who I am underneath. Meeting someone like that fills me with such a great excitement that my emotions become harder to control. I remember the times when I’ve let myself get carried away on this wave of euphoria, the times that I’ve been burnt. It means that now, whilst I enjoy the exciting rollercoaster ride that is speaking to these people, I tend to step a lot more cautiously.
Which leads me back to expectations and disappointment. The fewer the expectations you have in someone, the less likely you are to be disappointed. It appears to be one of the great pains I have to deal with in my life yet, for the most part, I just accept it nowadays as it is. The times I tried, years ago, to push past that door just left me bleeding, in much more pain than just letting it be and living with it.
Life is very intriguing, with all its colours and movement. I find people very interesting in that respect, too, with all their colours and sounds. I’ve spent my life being fascinated by colours and sounds, seeing colours in everything, tapping things and getting excited by subtle changes in sound. It might sound bizarre to say, but I see the majority of people as being quite bland; most people just go around their business, just existing but not really living. Yet there are some others, ones that I absolutely love being around, that are like vibrant colours, like coloured oils swirling within a pool of seemingly endless depth. Sometimes, when I meet these people, I just want to dive down into that pool and explore it completely, seeing all the colours as they swirl around, listening to the sounds of the water moving around me, colour and sound absorbing me completely. The fascination I have when I see just a glimpse leaves me greedily yearning for more, desperate for more of those colours to wash over me once again. And that is when I step away, not letting myself be caught up in that web once again, refusing to expose myself to all the dangers that leaving yourself open can bring. Not willing to allow myself to be carried away too far that I am burnt once again.
The thing about it is, there was a time when I confused this fascination in people, this interest for something it wasn't. I remember a time when I got so carried up in it that I absolutely convinced myself that there was more to it. I was missing something in my life at the time and believed that they were the answer. How wrong I was. How desperate I was. How regretful I was afterwards. I know the difference now, but I paid a large price for it that still haunts me to this day. It is a mistake that I watch out for, that I refuse to make again. It means that, at times, I stop and hold myself back. I hate it, as it stops me from connecting with people fully, but it's now a built-in safe guard - you can only make a mistake so many times before realising that you should change something to prevent it happening again. It allows for room for friendships to grow, without the burden of breaking them.
The most intriguing thing I’ve noticed about these people I can connect with, however, is that they all, too, see the world differently, most having lived through the dark swathes of depression or some other mental disturbance (which, usually, always seems to involve depression on one level or another). I suppose that all of us, to some degree, are affected by what could be classified as a mental illness of one level or another; if doctors were to map the world, I’m sure a box could be found for everyone. Yet, for the majority, the so-called “norm”, there generally isn’t enough disturbance to their environment to be able to call them “unhinged” in any way.
Just think about it, for a moment. Think about all the most famous and best artists, of any medium, and how many of them were considered genius or insane. To be honest I believe that to achieve full genius you have to pass through a level of insanity first; the two are not exclusive to each other. They are essentially the same thing, just viewed through different windows. Perhaps that is why modern music often is so flat and bland - there is no substance, the creative madness behind it is non existent. I bet that so many of those people who listen to truly exceptional music or appreciate truly exceptional art don't truly appreciate the suffering that the artist has gone through to create such a work. Some of them, even, would even be very critical of someone with the same condition as that of their favourite artist, therefore being critical of that artist themselves, without even realising that it is that madness that has brought them the beauty that they love so much. How many people are quick to criticise, without even a thought for the truth behind the mask, the truth behind those eyes. It makes the life of someone like Vincent van Gogh even more tragic - reviled in his life time, revered in his death. But that, I guess, is what art truly is.
In all my own insanity, in all my own sensibility, in all my own craziness. In all of it, I am the quiet mouse of an artist in the corner, squirreling away at ideas as they come to me. I am the one with the deep dark blackness that washes over me at times. I am the one that is told how brilliant they are by some, yet held at arms length by others. I keep the colourful people around, trying my best not to drive them away, finding inspiration in the light that also keeps me going. I may be one of "them", whichever label you choose to put on me at the time, but just don't forget that I am, quite simply, me. All I ask for, like so many others, is acceptance.