When ever I put the kids to bed, I always have these calm moments of thought that slip effortlessly through the nooks and crannies of my mind. Sometimes, they come and zip through before I have a chance to hold on to and develop any of the deliciously rich concepts I conjure up.
Tonight, for some reason, I got lost in a the land of attempting to define the Fine Line.
You know the one I’m talking about.
That Fine Line that determines how far we are willing, or not, to let our moral/ethical guidelines bend and sway with the movements of life.
Some people, surely those claiming to have the highest standards of moral integrity, will say that their Fine Line never budges.
I call bullshit and say that perhaps it is those that respect individual and human integrity who will have the most sway to their line.
Life is dynamic. It only makes sense that those who are the most successful as just as dynamic as the system of people and pressures they are living within.
That being said, regardless of one’s willingness, or not, to recognize the buoyancy of their Fine Line, I can openly admit that my Fine Line is absolutely dynamic.
And I think that it has taken me a long-ass time to come to this conclusion.
And although it took a minute to understand clearly, it has taken a life time of experiences and interactions to realize the significance of this finding.
What it means is that I totally “get” that there is no Black and White of right and wrong.
I think that I’ve known that awhile. Yet, I never related it to my personal sense of integrity. In some far off land of Denial, I think that I had pictured myself as this strong standing icon of consistency.
(and please note I said consistency…not Correctness…I’m pretty sure I’ve stood for shit that was incorrect pretty darn confidently)
And I’m not.
What is right today could very well be completely, totally, 1 million percent wrong tomorrow.
And it all hinges on that fine line and what I’m willing to accept to be good and true and what I’m going to overlook, realizing that sometimes Good and True come after violent mistakes.
Tonight I sat in the quiet dark of the nursery, listening to the faded voices of the Big Chickens downstairs, gently rocking the Baby Chicken to sleep, I started to think about my Fine Line.
How far would I be willing to bend it?
Life before Chickens?
Probably not so much. I only had me to live for and me to take care of when life didn’t turn out the way I thought it would.
But, for those of you with Chickens of your own, you realize that Chickens mean you start making some radically different decisions to ensure their safety and their opportunity to thrive.
When you are alone and having the make decisions that will radically alter the direction of three innocent lives – that Fine Line starts to disappear.
Using good ol’ Maslow…when push comes to shove in the land of Chicken rearing and you are starting to think about how to move from that first foundational level of needs of food and water to the layer defined by shelter, your priorities change and your willingness to do whatever it is you need to do to ensure food, shelter and safety start to change.
I’m not sure where my line is.
And, honestly, I’m nowhere near the point of desperation and pulling out all the stops to feed the Chickens a grain of rice before I nestle them to bed under the nearest overpass.
But, would I be willing to do things now I didn’t think that I would ever consider doing before I had three little dependent people clawing after me?
And she-who-likes-to-take-what-I-write-grossly-out-of-context just might take this to mean that I’m going to start selling drugs (and don’t even get me started on that one) or get back into the prostitution thing (you know..outside my life as an Academic Whore) or some other odd illegal something or other.
This has nothing to do with Legal.
It has to do with personal integrity.
And that fact that we need to be darn careful when we make judgement calls on our own past and future behaviors…and those past and future behaviors of the people we are surrounded by.
Killing a man is wrong.
Or so we think. Did we ask why?
My ex used to always say that if anyone raped our daughter he would flat out kill them.
(again…this isn’t to say he is a murderer…he is an Ass, but NOT a murderer..well, I don’t think so anyway…point here is that I’m not saying he is a violent killer…just sharing an expression he made about the consequences of fucking with our kid)
So – is murder wrong?
I don’t know. Did you just ruin my kid for selfish reasons?
You tell me.
There are a million examples.
And a million scenarios.
But, I guess my point here is that I can say my Fine Line has changed fairly radically over the last year.
Chalk it up to life experiences. New challenges. New perspectives. New people.
I’ve changed my mind.
Let me rephrase that.
I’ve embraced my changing mind.
Even when it changes on the drop of a hat or on a careless whim.
And in that transformation, I do think that I have become a tad bit more judgmental in a very non-judgmental kind of way.
I think that I’ve stopped trying to understand why people do what they do. I just respect their willy-nilly mind-changing…as that is kinda where i am in life.
And I think that this lesson is coming at an important time. Over the last month, I’ve come to some pretty solid conclusions that people who I thought I knew were hiding their true Reality from not only me, but from a lot of people. I think they were even trying to hide their true Reality from themselves.
And as you all might have guessed, I’m pretty good at emotionally detaching and removing people from my life.
And several of these people I was tempted to remove.
Until I remembered the Fine Line.
And I decided to perhaps separate myself a bit instead of remove, and appreciate their fluid Fine Line for what it is worth.
Am I judging?
Fuck yeah I am.
It’s human nature.
But, I’m judging from a very subjective place.
Taking in their decisions and putting myself in their positions. Mulling and perhaps walking along my Fine Line and seeing how their decisions feel.
Some don’t feel so good.
So, I accept the decisions for what they are worth for that person and reject them for myself.
The important idea is that I’m not quite rejecting the people (yet).
I guess that means I’m growing up!
And it also means that I’m testing some boundaries with Trust.
And I ‘m testing some boundaries with trusting myself to make decisions that maybe I didn’t think were on the Right side of my Fine Line.
And it is also giving me space.
I know, through the rumor mill and from nefariously cloaked things people tell me in round about ways, people are judging my Fine Line, too.
My acceptance of their Fine Line is perhaps giving them a bit of empathy, or at least understanding, in accepting my Fine Line.
Even when they don’t like where they think my Fine Line is leading me.
My Fine Line has changed.
I’m living a life that I didn’t think I would ever live.
Living a life I didn’t think I would ever want to live.
Here I am.
A living, breathing example of life on the Line.
Would this have been my life ten years ago?
Five years ago?
But, like I said before, the Fine Line changes when we have Chickens to protect and futures to plan.
So, perhaps I can chalk my Fine Line up to walking on a tight rope.
A precarious dance – made with deliberate steps, supported by good will and intention and lots of hope.
Perhaps a tiny bit of Trust.
My Fine Line is changing.
Perhaps, more importantly, my Fine Line has changed.
At least until I need to re-negotiate it.