From the latest Chiron blog (and if you read this and not that, you’ve got your priorities wrong):
Once Rob wanted to introduce a new member to our little play group. “What’s he like?” I asked, “How messed up is he?”
“Oh, he’s broken,” Rob replied, “but he’s broken our way.”
My world is full of beautiful but imperfect and even broken people. Rephrase. They are perfect, but they are perfect at being themselves, not perfect compared to some imaginary, objective outside benchmark. They are perfect, not flawless.
I’ve recently returned from a trip down a brand-new rabbit hole. I ended up hanging up with people who do stuff I really don’t care for, with a passion I can only dream of. I went into it for research purposes, with no expectations, and ended up having a fantastic time and making some new acquaintances I think I’d like to turn into friends. Now, I am generally an antisocial asshole, so this came as a bit of a surprise: why am I suddenly so fascinated by a bunch of hoomans?
The answer is very simple. They’re non-standard-issue; they are broken-and-fixed; they’re like me.
I can find it very hard to relate to people who are NOT broken, because they simply don’t get me, and I probably oversimplify them. I also don’t care to be dragged into dangerous or out-of-control situations (been there, done that), so my catchment area can be pretty narrow.
The people I’ve got a lot of time for are broken-but-aware-and-functional. I love listening to people who found ways to manage problems that could have been disastrous, and keep monitoring and managing themselves. Their choices may not be my choices; hell, their choices may, to me, be as big a problem as the original one. That’s not the point. It’s the process that matters to me, the fact that they are able to accept who they are, yet manage it. No lies, no excuses, no bullshit.
I ought to have realised this much sooner, but I didn’t: people who engage in extreme lifestyles without becoming giant living (or dying, or killing…) train-wrecks tend to share some qualities, regardless of the actual lifestyle.
- They are massively self-aware.
- They fully realise not only their qualities, but their faults or lacks.
- They have worked out the connection between their problems and their drives, particularly when those drives are potentially harmful.
- They have found a way to manage those drives, to channel them in ways that may not be constructive, but at least minimise the fallout.
- They have found ways to use their shortcomings to their advantage. If they engage in self-delusion for the purpose of their journey, they do so consciously.
- They have processed the fact that they are not non-standard-issue humans, and have found a way to live with that fact.
- They are wonderfully articulate – and I don’t know whether this is a cause or an effect of all of the above.
- Above all, they are usually broken, and they own it.