Have you ever seen Batty (voiced by Robin Williams) in FernGully, the Last Rainforest? He’s a bat that escaped from a lab where humans tested the effects of electric shock on him. (Yes, yes, I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s a kid’s animated film.) Batty’s brain doesn’t exactly work correctly, and he often changes thought direction mid-stream.
This is how my brain works, how it has functioned for a long, long time. Perhaps always, although it is something I became aware of in the past 20 years or so – essentially since this movie came out. I remember sitting there watching it and thinking “Yes! Finally! Someone gets me!” My husband used to call me the dumbest smart person he knew. He didn’t really understand how my brain works – and let’s face it, that’s no big surprise because neither do I – but he learned to just go with it. Eventually, he came to realize that my – shall we say – “unusual” way of thinking was actually complementary to his more structured thought process.
We were often able to look at a problem from two different angles… two completely different angles. This was an ideal match because we tended to balance each other out, and generally found a solution somewhere in the middle. If he had been pondering a problem without success and discussed it with me, I would have a new viewpoint and could sometimes come up with an analogy that put it all into perspective for him again. He would get excited and say, “Yes! Thank you. That makes so much sense!” Then he would do the same for me when I was too emotionally connected to an issue to see a workable solution.
This wasn’t something that developed overnight. It took a lot of back and forth, stops and starts, and naturally quite a few disagreements before we each understood that we were saying the same thing, but speaking different languages. The communication barrier was tricky at times, but eventually we learned to compensate. It eventually got to the point where he would share articles he found about “weirdos“, and encouraged me to never change.
We balanced one another out in other ways, as well, some of them meaningful and others just plain silly. Where he was always looking for the most well-planned route from A to B, I tended to look like that kid in the comic strip getting from A to B via K, Q, C and Y. He was about the destination, while I was about the journey. I got him to relax and he got me to focus. I hated pizza crust yet it was his favorite part; I loved the lobster claws, while he favored the tail. He was a major sports fanatic and incredible athlete, while I really don’t care for sports and am quite clumsy. He was logical while I was creative. And the list goes on.
We even fit like pieces of a puzzle physically – he was broad shouldered with extremely narrow hips, while I’m a definite pear shape. When we stood side by side, my shoulder would rest just beneath his arm even when wearing heels, and I would often comment how well we fit together. Despite seeming like polar opposites, or maybe because of it, we were well matched. In our case, “opposites attract” was exactly right, and it worked.
But as batty as I’ve always been, grief has my brain working intermittently like never before. I’m never quite sure when and where it will work as it should (or at all), and I’ve taken to developing coping strategies such as texting or emailing a plethora of questions and information to whomever when I’m “on”, lest I forget later when it might be a more appropriate time to do so.
So my closest friends may get 5 or 6 texts in a row with seemingly unrelated content simply because all of those thoughts came to mind at the same time, then not hear from me for hours (or days) because replying to them was too much. They’ve all been really understanding and for that, I’m grateful. I was never blessed with a biological sister, but I’ve got a great group of soul sisters. Thank you to each and every one for not only allowing me to be nuts, but sometimes encouraging me to “let my weirdo flag fly”.
© 2016 Many Faces of Cheri G All Rights Reserved