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Beside Myself...

What an odd expression.  I read it today in someone else’s writing.  And for not the first time, found it bizarre and inquiries were made.


And as usual, I didn’t like what the inquiry revealed because it didn’t reveal enough.  I guess I went looking for a story, some facet of time where there was an event that caused the saying and it was so true...so honest, and revealing, that it became “a saying”.


Sure, we are beside ourselves in grief, in pain, in hurt and anguish.  But I have also heard it used in a joyful manner “she was beside herself with excitement”.  So since its use can be positive or negative, I felt that there needed to be a more apt descriptor.


What I think of when I think of beside myself, is that the emotional event I am currently surviving requires, in fact demands, that I have another version of myself, conjuring up this other, second me, to comfort or calm the other me that is experiencing the event.  It is visual for me.  To me, beside myself, means quite very literally that I need another me to quell my emotional over-wroughtness.  Another me, to assist the current me through whatever calamity or excitability that has just happened.


Beside myself is also somewhat of a proclamation.  I am standing sentinel beside myself in support, a woman at arms, a stand in providing myself exactly what it is I need and want and so desperately cannot begin to put into words.


I have been beside myself in grief...far too often in this life.  And yet, at the very same time, I have been spared so much.


I have been beside myself in joy...far too often in this life.  Granted so much joy, compassion, love and second chances.  So fucking often.


To me being besides oneself is an opportunity to show up for myself in ways and manners that no one else can because I am the only one who ever truly knows what it is I need, or want, or think.  And even sometimes, I am bereft of even this most intimate knowledge for myself.  I think I know.  I think I do.  But I do not in reality.  Whatever emotional confusion, pain and anguish has landed upon me, defies logic, comfort and reason.  And if I am lost upon myself, how could anyone else possibly show up?


Beside myself is something I have come to see as vital.  Life might very well demand two of us to weather the storms that come rolling in all too often.  Two versions of us who walk a solitary path until the weight of living and loving and losing becomes too much.  And then, and only then, are we graced with another version of ourselves to assist us through the gauntlet of misery or ecstasy that descends upon us.


I know that this isn’t the backstory for the phrase.  But it is what I think of every time someone utters it.  I see two me’s, side by side, surviving yet another life storm that brings me to the brink.  The brink of madness, of heartbreak, of pain, of loss, of joy, or love.


And for me, I am grateful for this emotional splintering where the laws of the universe do not apply and I am granted access to show up for myself in joy or in pain...in ways that only I know how.




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