My Dark Vision
I cannot even imagine what it must be like living with me. If you know me, you know I have a very large personality and I don’t get smaller when the room gets more crowded. I believe that I’m kind, friendly, and likable and if the quality of my friends is any testament to the quality of my character, I could not ask for better references. In fact, when it comes to friends, family and my wife (who is both), I may well be the luckiest person alive.
But for all I have going for me, I cannot imagine for a short minute how anyone could stand to live with me. Let me try to explain. If I have any particular gift in this world and skill that out shines all the others, it is the ability to imagine everything around me, every feature and facet of my life different — better. I see the flaws in everything. I see how everything can be improved. The things I have, the things I do, the things I see — are always overshadowed by the things that could have been that should have been, that could be.
That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate or value the things I have or the things I do. No that’s not the case at all. It’s just that I see everything as something in progress. Nothing is ever the final product. In a sense, I’m an eternal optimist, because I believe in the unfailing ability for things to improve, to be improved to change for the better.
When a see a flaw in something, it strikes me on an intellectual level and I gain a lot of pleasure from thinking about how it could be better. Flaws in things engage my imagination, give me things to think about, occupy my mind and challenge me to improve. My dark vision is a central player in my inner life, in my inner struggle and in my inner movement. All of my motivation for as long as I can remember, has been pulled from this pool of critique and a strong desire to improve my world. This can be my greatest source of joy and happiness, but from this inner truth, three problems emerge.
The first and probably the most obvious is that I don’t typically express my critique with any elegance or grace. In my mind, I may look at something I have done and think about how I could improve upon the process, but by the time it gets to my mouth, I may bark out “It’s shit.” Strike one. Of all the bad traits to bring to a relationship, wow, that HAS TO top the list. But that’s not even the worst of it.
The second and less obvious way my dark vision presents a problem is that I cannot turn it off. It’s always there sucking the life and the joy out of everything. I see the flaws in most things and I cannot turn it off no matter how I try. Typically, while everyone is standing around with joy and wonder at some great event or object, I pray that no one will force me to lie by asking my opinion — or worse, that I wont be able to lie and I’ll ruin someone else’s happiness. I cannot count on one hand how many times people have been celebrating all around me and I feel like the only person who was not invited to the party or didn’t get the joke, because I cannot see past some glaring flaw that doesn’t seem to bother anyone else; or if it does, they have no problem ignoring it. In these moments, I just don’t get how people can be happy with mediocrity. I want to shout, “don’t you see it? Don’t you get it? You’re happy for nothing! It’s all wrong!” I miss out on a lot of joy because if this. Strike two.
Then there is the third way that this way of seeing the world affects me. I think its depression. I start to think about my life as it is compared to my life as I believe it should be and they don’t match up. I think about all the things I’m doing right and all the good advice I’ve taken. I think about all the promises I believed, and all the hoops I’ve jumped through. I think back on all the turns I’ve taken through the maze and when I don’t feel any closer to the cheese, my dark vision turns inward and I cannot be reasoned with. There is no light bright enough, joke funny enough or no poem enchanted enough to get through to me and I consume myself in monstrously vicious circles of logic trying desperately to see the pattern, the flaw, the mistake, the wrong turn, the one thing or trait that will explain why things that are so glaringly self-evident to me are missed by those with the power to give opportunities. I have a huge blind spot. I cannot see the one flaw in myself, that’s holding me back. I must be doing something wrong and it eats me alive. Depression. Strike Three.
And there is the problem. Is there something wrong with me? As I tear through myself trying to find the thing I’ve done wrong, or overlooked — trying to find the way up and out of my situation, am I even looking in the right place? Maybe I am doing everything right. Is the problem external and out of my control, or am I somehow sabotaging myself? Is it possible that there just are not enough opportunities to go around or am I some how closed to the ones that are there? Could I be sending out energy, vibes, or maybe signals, that keep the things I want away, or is it because I live in a pond that doesn’t have enough food for all the fish?
I don’t know. I may never know. But what I do know, is that I cannot even imagine what it must be like living with me and my depression.