I'm reading Jane Pauley's memoir Skywriting: A life out of the blue and I feel like I'm reading my own autobiography (granted, I'm only on page 65 of 300). The pressure she felt to be someone else--to take over Barbara Walter's job at age 25 on the Today show--in her career and some of the other aspects of her life are strikingly similar to the way I have lived my life.
She has experience with depression and bipolar disorder.
Please God, give me a little break here. Please?
When I try to think of words that other people might use to describe me and I allow the group of people to include people close to me as well as people on the outside who just see me "perform" these come to mind: depressed, quiet, excited, hyper, hard on herself and others, high standards, perfectionist, sarcastic, funny, electric, moody, moody, moody, doesn't smile enough, sweet, cheerful, boring, fun, insecure, confident, kind, caring, loyal, sharp witted, critical, high energy, tired looking, hard working.
I'm not sure anyone would say even-keeled, except that maybe they would--I mean, maybe they would see me racing around balancing the needs of students and administrators and the general public (all important to teachers and newspaper advisers especially) and think, "Wow, she's really even-keeled to be able to handle all that." But they probably wouldn't know that feeling in my heart--just the racing and the amazement at myself that I could do all that and make it look relatively OK that I was doing it.
They wouldn't know I went outside sometimes just to breathe.
I'm going to be spending my afternoon on The USS Midway taking photos of a retirement ceremony for someone I know in the Navy. So I'm thinking about boat imagery. I know that if I were riding on a boat I'd like it to be even-keeled because then it would be a smooth ride and I wouldn't feel seasick. Right? And being around a person with an even-keeled personality is comforting because you know what to expect. Right? But is it fun to be the even-keeled person? Maybe. I mean, those who appear even-keeled also seem to enjoy themselves in most situations. But maybe I like the electricity more--the static and the charges and the surges and the blackouts or brownouts.
Maybe that's what I am. Electric. (I know I've switched metaphors... I've really got to work on that.)
Doctors have clinical words I don't like for what I've always been admired for and prefer to call a strong work ethic.
Maybe what I'm supposed to be doing is learning how to manage the electricity levels. Maybe I can still have all those fun different levels of energy but be more in control of them.
Is that what my goal is here? Is that what this time on disability is about?
If this were a dating show and I had those four adjectives to decide which person to spend some time with, I think Electric sounds most fun. Interesting. Sparkly.