"A paradox a paradox a most ingenious paradox... ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha: a paradox."-Ruth and the Pirate King (my high school memories of Pirates of Penzance. I was the most curly-haired daughter. This sounds more cryptic than it is. You just had to be there.)
I have this friend who has this theory (one, I might add, that we seem to talk about ad nauseam, but in a good healthy I-feel-like-Oprah way). This theory talks about the pay-per-view fight of the century: emotion vs. logic. My friend has informed me that his mother is logos and his father ethos, meaning that his mother is a most a logical creature and that his father is ruled by his emotions, both to a fault. These traits reside on complete opposite sides of a spectrum... and we talk about this opposition a great deal because he is convinced that that those strong character elements are at war inside his own psyche. These traits pull him apart at all times, making him flame and flare, then turn right around to a calmer smoother water-like sense. He believes that his mind and his heart are at war, driving him to distraction consistently: water vs. fire, cold vs. hot, opposites at every angle. I believe him. The boy is nuts (but at least he's interesting). The two opposing sides of this young man’s nature seem to be larger than life, even more so than anyone else I have met. Because he feels so torn apart by his own nature, most our conversations go along the vein of control and cooperation, learning how we can use our opposing sides to temper the another, and vice versa. In other words, how we can sculpt our yin with our yang.
My own personal yin and yang, my sense of ambition against my sense of fear of failure, often control my life and my mind. Just think of having a serrated line down one’s brain and I’m pulling at the edges, trying to make sense of it all separately. This opposition makes me feel as crazy as it sounds (like I said, at least it makes one interesting), and just as painful to put back together. The only way I have been able to assuage my paradox has been to use my fear to keep myself in check and on task, and my ambition to overcome the fear when I want to stop or give up. It hasn’t been easy, but let’s get cliché and talk about how it has been worth it.
I have turned the opposing sides of my nature and made them examine one another. These contrasting faces look directly into the other’s eyes and see down deep to its soul. It’s a scary sight, one that is liable to make one venerable and embarrassed. No one likes to be called out on faults or labeled as this or that, but when you face yourself, face your fears and your faults head on, you find yourself more clearly directed on the path you need to take to succeed. This mentality has helped in my progress in my personal and academic life. The more I can make my opposing sides, my fire and my water, whatever they represent, face each other, the more I can make them work together. I can step forward into this evolution of understanding and an embraced whole.