‘I’m broke but I’m happy, I’m poor but I’m kind
I’m short but I’m healthy, yeah
I’m high but I’m grounded, I’m sane but I’m overwhelmed
I’m lost but I’m hopeful, baby
Man, I love that Alanis Morissette song … Hand in My Pocket. The lyrics just knock me out, basically saying we’re all a lot of things at the same time and that’s o.k.
I often think if I was a car I’d be a hybrid. Or if I was a mouse, I wouldn’t be a ‘city mouse’ or ‘country mouse’ – I’d be a ‘suburb mouse.’ Because I’m ‘all or nothing’ about some things but definitely in between on others. I’m strong but I’m sensitive. I plan but I’m spontaneous. I’m confident but insecure. I’m observant but oblivious. You get the idea …
I think we’re all quirky and contradictory and unique that way. And I think that’s the point of the song. Sometimes we lead, sometimes we follow. And we’re all works in progress.
Put to music, one of my verses might be … ‘I’m shy but I’m friendly. I’m up but I’m down. I’m tired but inspired, baby.’
A Zen way to look at it would be we’re all things at once. One of the coolest things I read in Thich Nhat Hanh’s Peace Is Every Step was when he talked about how the page I was reading was part of the earth since the paper came from wood, which came from a tree, which was watered by the rain, which came from a cloud. And this made the book and cloud like one. That knocked me out too!
I think a lot of us still find comfort in ‘categorizing’ ourselves … or I do, at least. I can rattle off my Myers Briggs personality assessment letters like the best of them: ENFJ, for Extrovert (vs. Introvert), iNtuitive (vs. Analytical), Feeling (vs. Thinking) and Judging (vs. Perceiving).
And I know which of the basic four categories I fall into from workplace seminars and books like People Styles at Work. There’s always the controlling, ‘in charge’ type; the amiable, ‘people pleasing’ compromiser; the expressive, ‘get out there and have your voice heard’ kind of person; and the quieter, ‘let me process and think it through,’ more analytical type. (I usually fall between amiable and expressive.)
The categories can be enlightening, even fun. But what it all comes down to, is that I try not to ‘box myself in’ too much. Or, as Alanis says, ‘What it all boils down to, is that no one’s really got it all figured out just yet.‘ And, even better, ‘What it all comes down to, is that everything’s gonna be fine, fine, fine.’
As for me … I’ve got one hand in my pocket and the other is rolling a bocce ball!