The Twins

I’m a Gemini. To use astrology in its most reductive form.

I don’t know how much weight I put in that, but obviously I put some.

All mutable signs have a reputation for being indecisive, but Gemini is The Twins – and right now I feel like I have two opposing advocates living in my head, so, I don’t know, that feels highly relatable.

Often I notice parallels between what plays out in people’s personal lives, and what plays out in society.

I’ve spent some time lately thinking about how the effects of various systemic problems in our world can be understood quite well in terms of certain categories of human mental illness. And how, perhaps, by thinking about them in such terms we may be better able to deal with them appropriately. You don’t treat a person with PTSD the same as a healthy person and expect the same results, for instance.

Some people seem to have noticed a similar thing to me, although I’m sure they understand it in countless different ways. But they are responding to the situation with these ‘illnesses’ in mind, however they conceptualise them. Many people have not. They have probably noticed other things instead, that I don’t see.

But, much like the devils on my shoulder, by and large we don’t disagree on what the problems are – where we’re going round in circles is the implementation of a solution.

Me and my dichotomous twins are pretty clear on what we want, but they have very different arguments about how we should get there, and I can’t find a way to reconcile them. So we’re going backwards and forwards and, I fear, all the while just getting degraded. Is this the folly of a two-party system? Do I need a new starsign?

Alternative route

The second risk I face when I have too many ideas is that I will be paralysed by self-cynicism. I, at some point, grew so tired of my brain taking on the personality of a really enthusiastic special needs labrador, that I learned to counteract inspiration with brutal, faithless apathy. Bleak, and effective.

Neither the labrador nor the cynic are really welcome contributors to my life path right now, but I wonder if maybe I should just let them fight it out and see what happens.

A long time ago, I was told a story about some guy who got attacked by someone on crack, but he was a blackbelt in Aikido so he just kept disabling him. But his attacker couldn’t take the hint because he was invincible, so he kept on attacking, and Aikido Guy had to keep upping the severity. Until, eventually, by the time the police turned up, the attacker had a bunch of broken bones and other injuries and was staggering around after him like a zombie. And Aikido Guy got charged with GBH.

That’s sort of how I imagine this going down.

Danger ahead

I’m going to have to be careful, because I’m getting too many ideas. Whenever this happens, I risk disappearing into a soup of half-started projects, entangled in competing priorities and counter-productive overexcitement. I risk making bad decisions. I risk losing what I’ve already built.

And when I read that back, it sounds pretty serious. It sounds like some pretty maladaptive impulsivity. Yeah. I’m going to have to be careful. But, Once Upon A Time, it wasn’t just a risk, it was a guarantee. So I guess that’s something.

Victim and Perpetrator

I have been The Victim, and I have been The Perpetrator.

I am keenly aware of these two truths. Sometimes my trauma gets rekindled and I fall back into helplessness. Sometimes I relate all too easily with another’s misdeeds.

Neither of these positions are a good place to be. Neither are happy. Neither are without turmoil. Neither are without blame. Neither are full of blame. Neither are the entire story.

We are all frail, imperfect humans, and we are all, I’d be willing to wager, both The Victim and The Perpetrator, right now, simultaneously, in countless different ways.

Right before lockdown, I was interviewing to become a Samaritans helpline volunteer, and I got asked how I’d feel if I had to speak to a child molester on the line. And the truth is – as despicable as such an act is, and as highly triggering as it is, to a parent especially – I’d feel sympathy, and empathy, for that person. I’d think about all the events of their life, or perhaps all the peculiarities of their brain and biology, outside of their control, and understand that, while they were a serious, dangerous, perhaps irredeemable Perpetrator, they had also been a Victim many times over. I’d see them in shades of grey, and I wouldn’t have to work at it.

That makes me perfect for the Samaritans helpline. Less perfect, honestly, for everyday living.

Turn it over

Sometimes, I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do. As hard as I try to figure it out, I can’t find the right answer. I can’t logic it out, I can’t find a gut feeling, and there sure as hell aren’t any rules to follow – I just don’t fucking know.

In those moments I have to remind myself to turn it over to a higher power. Turn it over to The Universe. Turn it over to God. Turn it over to Archangel Michael. Turn it over to The Infinite Wisdom I Will Never Understand.

If it turns out The Infinite Wisdom doesn’t exist, I’m no worse off, because I didn’t fucking know.