Definitionally Speaking


As of late, properly using words – categorizations, diagnoses, etc.- has gained importance to me.  So working on another entry got me to thinking, high-school-english-essay-style, about the definition of symmetry as we learned it in our younger years.

I pictured a rectangle.  An orange one, or a red one, or a purple one, or whatever that particular rectangle happens be.  If folded one way, dividing by a diagonal, a peculiar collection of triangles is created – one formed where the two sides overlap and two places where each is distinct from the other.  But a symmetrical shape can be folded in another way (like horizontally, or vertically) and one piece will lay perfectly similar over the other.

On an interpersonal level, I think our one-on-one relationships form little rectangles of their own.   Together we are a unit, and together our lives take on one shape, and it is orange or red or orangy-red or purple, defined on the outside by a solid line.  We are inside, they are out.  And there are dotted lines running through us, separating one from the other, and dividing us into the two pieces we also are.

But we are symmetrical; that’s why we’re friends.  If you fold us one way, we are distinct and separate, but if you fold us another we lay the same over-top one and other.

I look at you and I see me.  There we are, folded together, the same.  Fold us one way and we are distinctly separate and different, but folded another we share the same sides and corners.  The same fears.  The same failures.  The same weird phobias we can’t shake. The same callous tongue and rolling eye.  The same emptiness. The same intensity. The same ability to send good people up in flames.

Depending on the moment, it can be kind of nice to know someone else knows how you feel.  When someone is lying on the floor next to me in bed curled in down with the lights off saying “You know, I had the same problem last summer”, its makes me feel like I’m not alone, and that we’re facing this big scary thing called “our twenties” together.  But sometimes it can be unsettling seeing your mirror image, watching them bleed or hating them for doing the things you know you do as well.



One response »

  1. I don’t try to be unsettling, but I know I have my flaws and irritations. 🙂 I am glad we are facing our twenties together too, because without you, I don’t know what I would do. Yesterday, I was thinking…this is the type of problem I need to talk to Rachel about. She is the only person who would come close to understanding…It must be that symmetry thing.

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