sliding scale

i’ve been realising lately that a great big part of being a grown up is about being at peace with the fact that real life exists on a sliding scale.

let me explain.

in childhood, everything is black or white.  there is right, and then there’s wrong.  there is good, and then there’s bad.  there is ‘friend’ or there is ‘that catty biatch who won’t let me play with her barbie’.  and in terms of thinking about your future relationships there is ‘the one’ or there is ‘everybody else’.


combine this childlike black and white attitude with the fact that you spent a big chunk of your childhood memorising every line to certain big-screen musicals, and you have yourself a recipe for disaster.  the ‘musical’ genre of movie really runs with the black and white concept.  it so fully believes in the idea of ‘the one’  that it has whole songs and big chunks of the score designed specifically to signal to you that ‘the one’ has been found and life is about to begin.

what i took from all this was a very ill-advised approach to life.  basically i’ve spent the last twenty years walking down the street waiting for the dance routine to signal that the good times have started.  and in my relationships i’ve always felt like something was ‘missing’.  but really, the only thing missing was that the poor guy hadn’t sung at me from a gazebo while i coyly danced around doing harmonies.  so i’d dump him.

anyway, clearly this worldview has not really been working for me.  the thing i’ve come to realise is that everything exists in shades of grey, on a sliding scale.  there is no good or bad or right or wrong, only varying degrees of each depending on a multitude of other variables including context.   i’ve been okay with accepting this for most areas of my life  but i really didn’t extend it to the way in which i conducted my relationships.  i’ve really been holding onto the black and white thing like some sort of cop-out relationship life raft.  the obvious truth is, of course, that if there is no right and no wrong, then there’s probably no ‘one’ and no ‘everybody else’.  all relationships exist somewhere on the sliding scale in between, and a happy relationship is one that is peaceful and accepting of where they are on that scale.

this is hard to accept because it puts a lot of the responsibility and choice onto our own shoulders.  with the idea of ‘the one’, you relinquish all control over the decision, handing it over to fate.  essentially, you don’t have to make a choice.  the one, is the one and that is that, you only have to sit back and wait.  but with the sliding scale, what it means is, that we have to actually make our own decision.  it means we have to take a risk based on our own judgement and risk making the wrong decision.

and that, my friends, is terrifying.

i guess the silver lining here is that presumably your decisions are also on a sliding scale – there is no wrong one, there is only what you choose.

*sigh*.  someday i’ll be brave enough to do that.  but today i’m just gonna go watch Grease. one. more. time……



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