Lost in the Chasms
Surely the category I fill in our intellectually stratified, social sub-megalopolis falls somewhere in the Caucasian, white-collar, upper middle class, which dominates the majority of well paying positions in the South Bay and most of the country. Contemplating this truth at home and in the academy, I am somehow discomforted by the fact that my job search will be easier than others’--that my personal experiences of loss and anguish, of struggle and achievement somehow squish into a category which allows for success based on statistics rather than case. I learn that it has been easier for me than others. And yet all this fails to console me.
Grappling with the questions of identity, with striving to forge some life fulfilling career while meeting the expectations of family and community hardly seems simple in my late twenties, pre-mid-life crisis. It leads me to look around and wonder if anyone really feels that they fill the paragon they portray.
I consider my sisters, both perfect Redondo Union products, to fill the type of model roles of which I speak. Cathy is a Mother, with a capital M. Her devotion and strength form a pillar that literally holds up the intricate workings of her beautiful household. Laura Shlessinger and Martha Stewart have nothing on her. And Elizabeth is a successful businesswoman. She sells insurance and can accomplish any goal she sets, and has. If any of us ever needs anything negotiated, she can get it done. I’ve known, ever since I found inspirational, success oriented placards on her apartment walls when she was 21, that she would go as far as she chose. And yet I know she has trouble deciding how far that should be. And that Cathy agonizes over her own commitments. It all makes me wonder.
In a world where goals can be so clearly defined and achieved, am I the only one feeling lost in the chasms between the peaks on which rest these well defined goals? In the way poetry commands beautiful descriptions yet continually falls short of capturing the majesty of nature, I feel my life is like a poem. With a little bit of playful alliteration, shocking vocabulary and daring ingenuity thrown into a conservative meter and regular but scant rhyme scheme, I plod along—not really capturing any heights, but running up a hill or two.
I believe now that those categorical peaks on which political and philosophical debate dance are mirages of the endless groups of hills that make up the individual realities we all experience. And yet I feel lost between them, something un-grand, unnamed in the statistical analysis of market demographics, and unrepresented in the partisan politics which rule our nation. I am making it a personal goal to get to know this little hill I walk on, to cultivate it, and to find that hour of sunlight that darts between those mysterious mountain tops and warms the turf which, without comparison, seems to satisfy me.