Duality – when parts of you are conflicted
There exists in all of us a strange duality. Strange because we show a face to the world and dance a merry jig with the could and should duality demons within. One part may want to do what is right while at the same time feels conflicted to act in another way. It is this conflict between should and could; right and wrong that often gets to us.
Just as we have two eyes and two feet, duality is part of life.
It is entirely natural to feel this way; it is one part of what makes you human. What is important is that you notice it and make a conscious decision about what you would do when you next observe this duality. Pull it apart and examine it; choose to act differently.
Yesterday, I acted in a way that had me thinking about this very thing.
I walked away from the woman with the cup outside of Lidl’s. Her note said I have x number of children, blah, blah. She didn’t smile, she just stood and held her cup, trying to not catch anyone’s eye. I have no problem with giving the people outside of any supermarket the euro from my trolley and often do. There are two women who usually stand there. The older one always smiles and chats and the younger one asks for food (and yes I do buy her food and useful female things).
I always wonder why they are there as well as figuring out how much they are making from standing there – probably a lot more than others who have ‘proper’ jobs. Is there someone pulling their strings; scaring the shit out of them? I did once ask the younger girl why she did this, and her answer was ‘it’s better than prostitution.’
Today, however, I had been with a friend who does masses for charity and the money she raises goes to buy food for the poorer people in our community. Today I felt that the woman outside the supermarket should have done more than scowl. What is her story? Does she know that there is food available? I don’t know. All I know is that today another part of me wanted a smile for my euro. Writing this now doesn’t feel pleasant. Another part of me wishes I’d just given the euro regardless. Hell, what did it matter, one poxy euro, I could have just given it to her? Lesson learnt.
I want to ask you who are we look down at the tramp in the car park sipping cider while his dog sits patiently by his side. What bought this man (like my supermarket ladies) to that corner of the car park? If I had taken a different fork in my road would that be me? What if my party excesses had become one too many and in a moment of carelessness I wandered to the other side of the street to make my life out of a cardboard box and a few cans of cider?
The image of the man and his dog on the top floor of the Newport car park stays with me, even now. I wanted to go and talk to him and take them both food, but another person said ‘no don’t get involved.’ One part wanted to make his world better, but whose better was that? My perception or some other reality? And another part didn’t want to get involved because I had other people closer to home who needed me.
What then, of the woman with twenty dogs because she cannot bear to think about what other life they might have. Her pension spread thinly but her desire to love and care for these scraps thick with love. Her coulds outweighing the shoulds.
And the kid in the street throwing stones at car windows in an attempt to draw attention both to him and away from him? This child, who wouldn’t confess or say sorry ended up being beaten by his mother because of his stubbornness. Who are we to berate this child when all he wanted was to be loved? What if the naughty child that you or I once were decided that being bad was the only way to get noticed and ended up being different people to whom we are today?
When I see the kids doing their stuff, I understand that there is something going on that forces them blindly to seek recognition and attention. I pray that they will ‘grow out of it’, that a fork in the road will appear, and they will take the one towards a brighter future. Do they even know that there could be another way?
I can remember one morning, standing in a filthy flat at eight am, with a cider swilling ex-heroin addict, hysterically crying because her son had just died and she couldn’t comprehend why. I watched while she ranted, passing pictures of different dead men to me, husband, boyfriend, brother, uncle and now son. My emotions were ripped into a million pieces, I held her as she sobbed, she stunk, and as she wailed I wondered what could I do? Back home was a 91-year-old woman who would shortly be getting out of bed and needed my help.
Torn. One part wanting to stay, to help her sober up and put her life back on track and the other part having to go and help someone else. My head was fucked, and I chose to walk away and leave her to it. Not a day passes when I don’t think of her, and I don’t like the part of me that left her to it. Not long after she killed herself.
Growing up and growing old doesn’t always mean becoming wiser, you only have to watch Jeremy Kyle or be the victim of someone else’s issues or a crime to know that an underbelly of dense energy resides in some people.
When I hear other people berating and talking down of wrong doers, I wonder what their demons are and if they have ever done anything that they are ashamed of that they too keep hidden?
The bigots who look down their noses at the drunks and druggies. Have they never stuffed their faces with too much fine wine and rich food or overspent on a retail therapy trip. It’s the same thing, just different sides of the same coin. Duality.
I know that there is so much wrong and too much evil, I have no idea what causes someone to kill others or steal off old ladies, but something drives them, some forces exists that pulls them in that direction.
A few years ago my mum had her pocket picked by some women. They walked away with 90 euros and who knows how much from other old ladies. Mum deeply saddened to be a victim was bought dinner by friends, she lost some cash and a bit of faith that night. Did the women go home and buy dinner for their family, did the money go into some pot, did they each get their split, was it a choice because of dire need or are they out and out shits?
We know there is no excuse for adultery, theft or GBH, these people could keep their pants on, get jobs or go to anger management classes, couldn’t they? Could they? When the devil dances with their demons what choices do they feel that they have?
We can never know other people’s reality; we only know what we think about it and the action we take as a result of what we experience.
The choices we make are intrinsically connected to our values. When it comes to what is morally right or wrong, it’s easier isn’t it. When faced with could and should, it’s a little different, and wonderfully connected to our personal growth.
I wonder what will you choose today when you feel conflicted? I know that in future, I am going to ignore the bollocks in my head and hand over my euro.