Awhile ago I was visiting one of my good friends in London and in between going to the Portobello Markets and heading out to celebrate my birthday at the Blues Kitchen in Camden Town, we sat around on her bed googling Chinese Zodiac animals. As you do.
We were both under the belief that we were born in the year of the dragon, so we decided to find out what our strengths and weaknesses were as people under the sign of the dragon. We learnt that such dragoness people are ambitious, are quite intellectual and often energetic. These characteristics didn’t seem too bad, and I guess I could see them in aspects of my personality, what being a genius and all. We read on. These people are also arrogant, impatient, fiery, tactless and unrealistic… Well, clearly this Chinese Zodiac sign stuff was all a load of crap!
As we read on, we also saw the exact dates that people need to be born within to be considered being born in the year of the dragon. It was then that I discovered that after a whole life of thinking I was born in the year of the dragon, turns out I had been wrong. Who even was I?
As it turns out, I am actually born in the year of the rabbit… And this realisation, my friends, changed things. I was once again open to Chinese Zodiac signs. I always knew I was destined to be a rabbit, or at least, knew there had to be some logical explanation as to why I have always had an obsession with rabbits – and this was clearly the logical explanation I had been searching for.
I know you must be dying to know all about my strengths and weaknesses, and I could just say google it, but alas, I am a “tender and lovely” person [words of a random Chinese Zodiac website I just stumbled upon, not mine – because I am also “modest”], so I will summarise for you. I am gentle, sensitive, compassionate, amiable, modest [told you so] and merciful, with strong memory. It gets better – “These people like to communicate with others in a humorous manner.”
Oh. My. God. I AM a rabbit!
I LOVE communicating in a humorous manner! My communications are completely humorous – Am I right?! [Side note – I’m still modest] Of course, I do come with my weaknesses as well – “People born in the year of the rabbit lack meditative abilities.” I am totally and most definitely a rabbit. I am the proof for the legitimacy of Chinese Zodiac signs.
Really, it should have been crystal clear that I was a rabbit the moment I ate rabbit poo. That’s right. I ate rabbit poo. I always thought the justification for this occurring was: “PEOPLE! It totally looked like a small piece of chocolate, left over on my couch!!” [And no judgment for eating random pieces of chocolate please, but I will allow you to judge me for eating rabbit poo, because, well I can see how that is kind of fucked up] In any case, there was no justification required. It was obviously my instinct taking over. My instinct knew that eating rabbit poo would be good for me [Rabbits eat their poo – it’s nutritious for them, and me I guess].
Anyway, you would think that with knowing that I am indeed a rabbit and as a result being able to read what kind of person I am right off the web, that I would be pretty clear about who I am, and who I am not.
This is not always so, but I know that I am not the only one who feels like I am made up of conflicting parts [In that sentence, I originally also wrote “even opposing parts”, however, after enquiry with McPho I am informed that “opposing” adds no further value to what “conflicting” already portrays. So I’ll stick with just “conflicting”, but just know that I originally wrote “even opposing” to import just how conflicting my parts are sometimes… Really REALLY conflicting].
In fact, even a brief reference to any of philosophy, psychology or religion, shows us that humans have always felt as though within themselves, they have opposing desires, motivations or beliefs, sometimes leading to the conclusion that we are in fact made of different parts (or souls).
Way back when, Socrates asserted that we have three parts (the logical, the high-spirited and the appetitive), with different purposes that function together and make a whole; that there is a contrary state to the whole (being the injustice), and that one will either listen to one state or the other. Similarly, Freud’s account of the unconscious distinguished three elements within the mind, which he called id, ego, and super-ego, with the ego being the conscious self which has the task of reconciling the conflicting demands of the id and the super-ego with the requirements of external reality. And then you look at Christianity, for example, and the belief of there being a god and a devil, which ultimately is what represents the “good” and “bad” parts within us.
Sometimes, I get really caught up in trying to figure out what parts of me are strongest, and therefore should be the parts I am more true to and act on. However, in doing so, I can’t help but feel that by being true to some parts, and not true to other parts, I’m not being true to the overall person that I am. It can be extremely difficult to reconcile sometimes, right!?
I can often feel overwhelmingly confused when I think too much about what I want, what will make me happy and what I should do with my life, due to my conflicting parts. However, perhaps I need to remind myself that we all feel this way, embrace it as being a part of life, and understand that some days, some parts may be stronger than others. Therefore, on days where I might wish for a different kind of life, know that, if I did have a different life, I would still have days in that life, where I wish I actually had the life I do have. And also understand that, just because I have this life now, doesn’t mean that later on in my life, I can’t start to listen and act more on other parts of me, changing the focus or direction of my life every now and then.
Perhaps it is actually a beautiful thing that we aren’t so black and white, that some parts of us have corresponding opposite parts? Perhaps this is what helps make life interesting, and what makes getting to know others interesting? Whilst I am not a fan of hypocrisy, the older I get, the more I realise that having thoughts and feelings that may seem hypocritical to one another, is actually just a side effect of thinking a lot, not being closed minded and being open and willing to learn more, experience more and relate more with a wider array of people.
As an aside, I recently promised a friend, McProviderofmydailypowersource, that I would blog about having finally made a decision about finally deciding on my regular coffee order. For the last couple of years, I’ve ordered pretty much as follows: soy latte, skim flat white, soy flat white, skim flat white, soy cappuccino, long black, long black with a dash of milk… the obvious theme being, I love soy with my coffee, but also felt a weird sense of guilt about the higher number of calories in a cup of soy coffee, and also not liking that I can’t taste the coffee as well in a soy coffee as I can in a skim milk coffee. So then instead of ordering a soy coffee, I order the healthier, more “coffeey” coffee. Then thinking, fuck it, life is short… I’ll have my soy coffee please! Then thinking, but but, IF life is short, I want to be skinny so that I can feel good about myself… Long black it is! Then thinking, but, I really REALLY do like soy coffees… Soy cappuccino please, because not only do I like soy but I also feel like some sprinkles of chocolate today and YOLO!
Until one day, quite recently, I finally worked out what it was that I needed. A ¾ soy flat white. I’ve had a consistent relationship with ¾ soy flat whites for about 3 weeks now. It’s going pretty strong. I feel as though I have finally found a standard coffee order that satisfies the various parts of me [I’ll be honest, I really wasn’t sure how I was going to incorporate my coffee ordering into a blog post, but I’m pretty sure I just nailed it].
Mmmm, coffee. I’m currently sitting at a café. Fuck it, I’ll get a ¾ soy flat white right now…
“Can I get a half water half skim strong flat white over here please.”
“It is clear that the same thing will never do or undergo opposite things in the same part of it and towards the same thing at the same time; so if we find this happening, we shall know it was not one thing but more than one.” Socrates.