A Conversation with Jekyll and Hyde

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I think I’ve been spending far too much time thinking lately. A little thinking is great, but for me, too much usually results in a battle of wills between the Jekyll and Hyde in my brain. Why all the thinking? A lot of reasons. I actually have enough quiet now to think. I’ve gone through some pretty major life changes in the last several months. I foresee more changes in the future. And my birthday is quickly approaching. For whatever reason, the month or so before my birthday almost always results in some sort of “search for deeper meaning”/existential crisis. I try to blame it on being a Pisces.

Right now, I can’t seem to get my mind off the idea of second chances (or third chances or fourth chances…). We all make mistakes in life and need second chances. Hopefully we learn from our mistakes and the next time we get a similar opportunity, we’re ready for it. Work. School. Love. Life. All full of opportunities to either succeed or screw up. If we gave up after the first mistake, the first chance, we’d never get anywhere as a society.

Not all second chances are so easy though. If a loved one is cruelly and suddenly ripped from our lives, the last thing we want to think about or can think about is a second chance. And when a second chance comes around, do we take it? Are we ready for it? I think there’s so much emotional conflict involved in that kind of situation that it could make even the most sane person crazy.

I don’t think second chances are meant to be a replacement for anything. They can’t be. A first is a first. But that doesn’t mean something or someone that comes along later won’t be worthwhile or good for you. The problem comes in allowing ourselves the vulnerability that is necessary to risk a second chance. I know this firsthand. I’ve had two opportunities at love. Neither of them worked out because I wasn’t really me in either relationship. I can’t help but wonder if I’m out of chances. Or is the third time the charm? I’ve taken chances in my career that haven’t always worked out the way I wanted. I’ve ignored my gut in relationships, causing hurt and pain for everyone involved. But I’ve also learned from all these experiences and they’ve led me to where I am now.

Which is where, exactly?

This is where the Jekyll/Hyde conversation starts. Jekyll, the good guy, is saying that things work out for a reason. Each experience has led to another, and they are all leading to that final moment of destiny where everything converges and becomes clear. Jekyll tells me that I will eventually have the career I want, I just have to wait a little longer. Jekyll tells me that the woman of my dreams is out there waiting for me. She will appreciate me for me and I will FINALLY be able to really be myself. The geek and the philosopher. Silly and serious. Strong and vulnerable. Romantic and practical. Passionate and mellow. She won’t criticize me because of what I read or listen to or watch. She’ll just accept me and love me. She will be all the things I’ve dreamed of. Jekyll tells me she IS out there.

Hyde, however, is an asshole. Hyde tells me she’s out there, but it won’t work out because nothing ever has. Hyde tells me the universe likes to dangle wonderful things in front of me only to yank them away at the last moment because I’m not meant to have them. Hyde tells me I’m not meant to be happy. Hyde says, “Look at your dreams. That’s all the proof you need to know you are going to end up alone.” I hate Hyde. Hyde is too convincing. Hyde makes me crawl into a hole and close myself off from life. Hyde tells me that I’ll only get hurt if I make myself vulnerable. And I can’t say that I disagree with Hyde a lot of the time. I have ended up hurt and disappointed and crushed many times before. How do I know my next chance won’t result in the same thing?

So, Jekyll and Hyde are duking it out in my head right now. They’re making me cranky and tired because all the yelling is keeping me awake. I’m trying to only listen to Jekyll, but Hyde can get pretty loud. Jekyll provides hope while Hyde mocks my naïve optimism. Jekyll wants me to believe I will find someone because I deserve happiness. Hyde wants me to believe it because he’s a masochist who wants to laugh when someone special gets yanked away from me just as I’m about to reach her.

The problem with wanting something or someone is that it makes you completely vulnerable and that’s a feeling that scares me more than almost anything else. Hyde likes to feed on that fear, which is why he seems to be winning the battle right now. Jekyll would say that I have to stay positive, guard against negativity, and ramble on about self-fulfilling prophecy. Yeah, I’ve heard it all before. Live in my head for awhile and you’ll understand why Hyde has won out for so many years of my life. But I really AM trying to listen to Jekyll. He’s got my back, while Hyde just wants to put a knife in it and twist around for good measure. If he had the chance, he’d probably pour salt in the wound too. Like I said, Hyde is an asshole.

Who’s going to win this battle of wills? I honestly don’t know at this point. It might depend on when you ask me. On a good day, I’ll say Jekyll will absolutely win. On a bad day, I’ll say Hyde always wins, then go cry in a corner by myself. On a good day, I’ll think about my dream woman and how happy we’ll be someday. On a bad day, I’ll think about her, only to have Hyde interrupt me and tell me I’m a fool and that once she’s around me long enough, she’ll change her mind and tell me I’m not really want she wants and walk away. On a good day, I’ll finally have the career I want and will see us growing old together. On a bad day, I’ll be miserable and alone and Hyde will be there to say, “I told ya so.” I’m hoping for a string of good days right now.

Oh, and if you see my dream woman, tell her I said hi and that I’ll be waiting for her.

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