Everything is more than it seems, darn it

Photo courtesy NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, labeled for noncommercial use

Sometimes being an introvert and a thoughtful person is a pain in the butt. Everything — everything! — seems to have hidden layers of significance and meaning. Some days, moving through life is like boating around in a world that’s full of tips of icebergs. It’s easy — and enough for most people — to admire the beauty of what’s visible above the surface. (Like the person on the right, in the image.) And it is pretty, yes, it is.

But thoughtful introverted people like me know there’s so much more to an iceberg. We wonder how big it really is. How deep it really goes. What it’s going to bump into above or below the water. How pure is the ice. Can you steer a submarine through it. How on earth can that big heavy mofo float like that.

Photo from Flickr, Iceberg: Photoshop power by pere

All this wondering about what’s beneath the surface can wear a person out. Because it isn’t just icebergs. It’s people, and situations. What did that person really mean by that? Why are they doing that — what’s their real motivation? Do they not realize the message they’re sending by their actions? Are they politically motivated? What’s their agenda?

And of course I realize I have my own unrecognized issues, desires and motivations. I’m no exception to the rule. I try hard to understand myself as well as others. All this second-guessing, introspection and perceptiveness can be tiring.

Multiple layers of experience can be both enriching and annoying. On a recent day trip to the Puget Sound area, an inspection of a property for sale turned into a meditation on priorities and goals; a scenic drive along a peninsula became an examination of privilege and generosity; the sheer pleasure of burning fossil fuels with the wind in my hair made me question my goals in life. Sometimes I’d just like to fucking relax and enjoy, without all this meaningful stuff keeping my mental space cluttered and busy.

Trying to satisfy my curiosity by asking someone what they mean is sometimes satisfying, and sometimes not. Some people are obviously kidding themselves.

But sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar. Sometimes, people really do say what they mean, and mean what they say. Dogs especially.


Originally published at Michelle Rau.

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