Know Thy Species

Self Portrait

You have to understand the rules before you can break the rules. At least that’s what I’ve been taught. One easy to understand rule is, people need oxygen. We can’t live without it. It makes us uncomfortable and we start to panic. We will fight against anything that keeps us from breathing. There’s no nice and compliant if someone is choking you. You will kick, claw, poke and jab.

I once thought it was important to be tough. Tough meant defying the rules. Defying what I needed. Things that were natural came too easily and where’s the challenge in that? Climb Mt Everest and prove yourself. Prove that you can make it to the top and still breathe. Scoff. It’s important to know the rule of oxygen. Humans just can’t live at 35,000 feet above sea level. There’s barely any oxygen. And it’s freakin’ cold.

By the same measurement, I wouldn’t expect to feed grass to a dog and expect him to leave the T-bone steak on the kitchen table. It’s natural and expected for the dog to eat the steak. So I realize I have to take a fresh look at being tough and strong. It’s not defying my need for oxygen.

…Know thy species…The best way to learn about a species is to study it in the wild, living in its natural habitat. This includes everything from what the species eats to how it moves, from common predators to mating behavior-everything…..This approach works for humans too…..To understand human health we have to study our own species, the human animal. The Paleo Manifesto-John Durant

Most of my life I’ve operated by existence. My thoughts were of what I needed to survive. And even then I questioned it. I scoffed at people who were high maintenance and was cocky that I wasn’t one of those women. I didn’t require a spa day or an entire room for closeting my shoes. I could travel with just one suitcase. I could get by on less. Now I ask why that was so important. My badge of honor looks rusty now. The truth has nothing to do with high maintenance or low maintenance. If I were an African Violet, I’d need x number of hours of sunlight and y amount of rain. It’s just the facts. Maybe I’ll still scoff at the women who can’t live without their mani-pedi, but I may also reconsider and enjoy one myself.

I want to dig into this more. One of the books on my reading list is, Me, Myself and Why: Searching for the Science of Self By Jennifer Ouellette

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