metaphorical self reflection

This appeared as a paragraph in a rather long-winded email I wrote to a close friend today. It is a metaphor that really does illustrate the way many things in my life go. The context of the email was my romantic relationships, but I think it applies to more than just that…

I fear I am always going to be afflicted by fickleness and shallowness and the inability to see the forest for the trees. I see this one attractive tree and I miss the forest beyond. Not only that, but I miss the details of that tree – the importance of every branch and leaf – because I’m immediately struck by its overt beauty and overall irresistible nature. Now, though, I’ve encountered so many trees that I’ve fallen for within seconds that their beauty runs together and loses meaning. I’m getting dizzy from all the spinning I’ve been doing in the forest. I don’t want to care about the trees anymore. I want to just take a walk on my own and not notice them. Or at least not get overwhelmed by them. See the trees in bunches – as one leafy expanse – and appreciate their beauty from afar. Respect it instead of obsessing about it. Feel confident in my ability to walk by the trees and resist their charms. Otherwise I will start climbing. I will climb faster and faster before I realize just how far up I am, just how helpless I’ve become. I’ll depend on the tree to hold me up, to keep me (and my feelings) safe, but more often than not, the tree (or the illusion of the tree that I’ve created in my mind by assuming someone wished to hold me in the first place) will bend and snap off, sending me tumbling to the ground, leaving me hurt, bewildered and disappointed. I’ll try to blame the tree for being brittle or unreliable, but it’s really my fault. I should either stop climbing trees altogether or learn to climb them more slowly, to test the branches and the sturdiness of the trunk. To make sure the tree is ready for my weight before I lean on it too heavily. And if it’s not, to climb down just as carefully and continue my walk in the woods.

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