It’s a group thing, this participation. And it only works if there’s a head count above one. And I’m not just talking about the fellowship and the meetings; this idea extends to where I put it into practice: my life.
Step 11: sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
Here’s the nut of it: My participation is different, my behavior modified, depending on my environment. But why is that? Why should anything about me change based on location? Am I compartmentalizing myself, becoming different versions of me because I feel it’s necessary? Because the second I’m twisting myself into what I think I need to be based on what I feel the normal expectations are for what’s going on around me… well, I think this convoluted sentence gets the point across. How long have I been slipping in and out of personas like an actor performing one-man dinner theatre in the round?
Still, it’s what I do, and I’m forever adding to my line of action figures. After something upsets me at work, I instantly transform into “Silent Drone Man”, complete with clamped lips and headphones. Real head-down, eyes-forward action! Later that day I’ll hit a meeting and reset to “Best Version of Myself Guy”, which is super-cool to look at, is extremely rare and in mint condition. Then I step outside and he’s removed from the packaging, becoming instantly devalued.
It’s an insane way to think, especially since there tends to be giant emotional overlaps from one scene to the next. Why is “Arctic Blast Spy Soldier” attending a children’s birthday party? Where’s “Loving, Encouraging Dad”? I’m still having a hell of a time not noticing backdrops. I mean, wherever I go, there I am, right? No need to carry around a big bag of hats.
The idea is to be the one true me; not an idealized, unreachable, top-shelf item reserved for serious inquiries only. And though I’m not there yet, I’m starting to recognize when the switch is coming on, and I need to call a time-out on myself. If I’m acting and behaving in a right-sized manner, there should be no need for all the dress-up.
Today: Participation is mandatory.