Saturday, June 29, 2013

Up Shit Creek in My Canoe

Navigating our ways through life is a little like rowing a canoe. How life goes then depends on how you row your canoe. Life can be like the calm waters of a Canadian Prairie lake on quiet summer evening or it can be like the white waters of a river coursing its way through the mountains of BC. You'd better be prepared for both.

It also depends on who you have in your canoe no matter the waters. Whether the waters you are currently paddling through are mirror smooth or rapidly frothing past car sized boulders, we still need to get to where we want to go and to get to where we want, or need, to go you need the paddlers in your canoe to be paddling in harmony with you. Even in the best of life conditions - or waters - if the people in your canoe aren't paddling with you, you are going to have trouble getting anywhere. Life is challenging enough without having people in your canoe paddling against you.

It's great to have people paddling with you in life. Asides from getting to where you want to go more quickly and powerfully, there's the camaraderie and joy of being with like minded people. But if they're not paddling in your direction even the most well intentioned of family and friends can leave you ready to weep (or worse) with frustration. So while many paddlers can be a great and wonderful thing, if not in harmony you are better off paddling solo. This is especially true when navigating white waters. If you're on a mirror calm lake and your canoe's going around in circles, hey, it's not so bad; it all still feels good and the view's fine! But if you're in white water having paddlers not in sync is big trouble. In my logging days we had an expression for being in trouble in life - "up shit creek without a paddle". It's an apt expression. It might also go, "up shit creek with a bunch of assholes paddling in the wrong direction". Or maybe, "up shit creek with a bunch of assholes thwacking you upside the head with their paddles because they don't even know how to handle one". Or maybe, "up shit creek with a bunch of dead weight assholes who don't even have paddles because they didn't know what to do with them, panicked and threw them away (or just lost them)". I could go on. The point is that you can see the appeal of paddling solo sometimes.

You might say I'm up shit creek these days. Times have been better. Though I think I may at least have a paddle. Or not. I'm still testing out different models I'll say.

Shit creek, life, mental health disorders, they all kind of meld together after awhile. The water gets rough. I've learned many times in life that when the water gets rough the last thing you need is people in your canoe not in sync with you and the situation you're in. So I go solo. Hey, don't get me wrong, I'd love to have help but most people's idea of help is to paddle in their direction and not yours. Or to just be riding along dead weight shouting useless directions in your ear. Hey, thanks but no thanks. I'm better off paddling alone if that's the case. So I find it's often necessary to kick everyone out of my canoe. I don't discriminate; family, friends, offspring - boom, out they all go. Many don't like it (while some are no doubt relieved) but that's the way it goes. I don't feel bad because I know I've been kicked out of many a canoe in my day. It hurts but later you can see the wisdom of what that particular paddler had to do at that point in their lives. Sometimes you get invited back in, many times not. Such is how life goes.

I've needed a lot of help since "The Struggles" began and I've experimented with various fellow paddlers over the last several years. So far none have passed the test (well, there was one but she had to go off in her own canoe and our canoes are an ocean apart now). White water canoeing is dangerous and there is no doubt I'm in white water. You dump a canoe in white water and it can be fatal. So I keep kicking people out of my canoe. I recently made yet another attempt to get people into my canoe - I really could use help paddling out of this mess - but people whose actions threaten to dump you into the waters you just don't need in your canoe. So out everyone goes.

Solo isn't always best and I keep looking for the right kind of paddlers to work with me but until I find the right ones, solo it is.

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