Wednesday, April 11, 2012

You Don't Complete Me

 If I were a circle, you could follow my perimeter steadily around for a long time before coming to a sheer, unexpected cliff. One such cliff is the place where I struggle to speak.

I generally like myself, and I am confident in my intelligence and relationships, but sometimes I become tongue tied, shy, awkward, and anxious. My own mother has expressed confusion about this aspect of me, saying, "you are so confident, why do you freeze up like that?" This awkwardness had long caused me to feel incomplete, as if I just need to develop or find the rest of my circle. This cliff causes me disharmony, stress, and frustration with myself.

Recently, I have been working with a psychologist with the desire to banish anxiety from my life, so that I can complete my circle. During my last session however, I gained a greater understanding of my incompleteness.

In my mind, I pictured my incomplete circle-self. Next, I saw Owen's incomplete circle. I found that we filled some voids for each other, but even together, we were incomplete.

As Tom Cruise speaks the famous lines, "You complete me,"to Renee Zellweger, I don't find myself swept into the moment so much as thinking, "That doesn't make any sense." Even when he is with Dorothy,  Jerry Maguire seems incomplete. He's still moody. He's still selfish, though maybe less so. What does he mean by complete? Obviously she doesn't make him into a perfect person. I doubt that she makes him completely content.

When I think about it, being together has not completed either Owen or me in any sense that I can come up with. Both of us still spend time feeling inadequate or discontent, though I'd say that each of us spends less time that way now that we are together. Earlier in our relationship, when Owen and I would have communication errors, I wished that we didn't have such gaps between us. I wished that we shared a body and brain as a complete circle. Yet, with more reflection, I realize that at that point, we would only be one person and alone.

If we were both complete independently of each other, we might looks something like this:
Notice how perfect circles can only touch at a single point. Only when the circles are broken and flawed, such as the blue circles above, can they make more contact. When the circles are broken, they can join together. My closest friends are those with whom I have shared vulnerability. These are the friends who make fun of me for being awkward, or those who have listened to me rant about the rampant elitism that pokes my insecurities.

I have determined that my anxiety makes me human. This anxiety, though it cramps my style, provides me with some of the flaws necessary to be in community with others.

Perhaps if humanity were a tapestry it would look something like this:
Imagine that every circle in the picture above has its own unique pattern or color, and imagine it with millions of these broken circles. Through the gaps that remain behind we can see the light.

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