When I was just about to start school, I was tested.
During those times (late seventies/early eighties) any kid who was in a wheelchair or had leg braces or seizures was tested to see just how Special Ed. they were. Me and my wheelchair would be no exception.
I remember being taken into a rather large room and met with a male psychologist (?). In the center of the room was a semi-circle table with part of the center carved out for a person to sit. I was rather enamored with the table since we didn’t have one of those in our apartment. And why would someone need a table like that anyway?
To my dismay the psychologist/proctor of my exams sat in that odd spot of the table and began putting a series of cards in front of me, asking me various questions about what I saw in them. Next blocks and patterns were put in front of me to recreate. Then paper and pencil for me to follow patterns. I became at first enthralled but then quickly bored as this seemed to be going on forever. For a four/five year old, any time over 5 minutes is forever.
As the tests wound down, one of the last things I remembered the proctor doing was to bring in a glass with water in it. I was then asked if the glass was half empty or half full.
This presented me with a HUGE problem – how do I answer this? I began looking for signs and clues that would lend me a hand. Were there droplets of water on the outside of the glass to indicate someone had poured water out of it? Were there lingering droplets of water on the inside to show that someone had poured water into it, say from a pitcher or faucet? Did the glass fall over and cause water to spill out? I began looking at the table to find evidence of such to no avail. I examined the edge of the glass for lips prints, thinking perhaps someone had drunk from it?
When I felt I could come to no conclusive answer, I informed the proctor that it was both – full and empty, as evidenced by the fact that there was some water but that it was not all the way full to the top. He promptly informed me that that couldn’t be an answer and to try again. I again looked to the glass for help and again found myself at the same unanswerable place. It wasn’t empty, cause I hadn’t found any evidence that someone had poured any of the water out and it wasn’t full cause I hadn’t seen anyone pour water in.
I was troubled. How could there be an answer when it didn’t feel right to give one? So I told the proctor that it was just half. He seemed rushed and displeased and scribbled on his paper. I became upset and started to cry. He told me I had done well and not to worry about that last question. But I was not to be consoled. I asked him what the “right” answer was and he told me there was none.
I felt tricked. Why was I made to make a decision on something that couldn’t be answered?
In much the same way, I seek answers for just about everything in my life: why my Mom chose to die, why I am lesbian, what my purpose is in being here, why I have some of the troubles I do… why why why. Some of these questions are unanswerable but I steady try to find answers to them. Most times no one answer feels right, other times there seems to be so many possible answers. Yet always, I am on the hunt, unrested or unsatisfied with anything that doesn’t feel right.
My Ex asked me once if I would ever be satisfied/happy and at the time, I was angry at that question come accusation. But you know, I don’t think I ever will. Oh, I am for the most part a pretty happy individual but the more I come to know, the more my answers change.
No, I won’t ever be satisfied because the glass is just half.