Friday, June 4, 2010

Home Base

At Lucia's preschool, the kids start every sunny day outside in the playground. They run their little pants off. Unless you are a sandbox kid, pretty much all of the games involve running in some form. Last week when I was working at school, I was selected as the "base." Over the course of the 45 minutes of outside time, I stood stone-still while adorable 40-inch tall bodies slammed into my legs, threw their arms around my knees, buried their faces in my thighs and screamed "BAAAAASE" to the gaggle of kids tumbling after them.

The kid on base holds great power. As long as she in physical contact with the base, she is untouchable. The chasers hover at arm's length jumping, lunging, pointing and sticking out their tongues as the leg-hugger shimmies around the base, until at an inexplicably random moment, she bolts, running away again, hotly pursued by the chasers for a few dramatic moments before ultimately slamming once again into base.

Base-- safety, freedom, power, comfort, control. We all need a base. In my ideal, fully-evolved world where I am enlightened, emotionally mature and competent, my base is internal (home base) and I can access it on demand. In this fantasy, I push a little magic button that lives somewhere in my torso when I want to feel secure, comfortable, safe.

In reality, this doesn't happen as often as I would like. I frequently find myself going outside myself to find a base. I go to one of my sisters to get affirmation about my embarrassing crush-induced behaviors. I ask a friend to tell me that my latest obsession with long sweaters is not too middle-aged. Touching base is equivalent to someone saying, "You are okay." I go to an external base when I forget that I can (and should) get that same message from myself.

The other day, in a panic of general insecurity about all aspects of my life, I ran headlong (metaphorically) to a friend for comfort. I needed to touch BASE. I was desperate to for her to tell me that I was okay. And though she tried to comfort me with words, the "you are okay" feeling wasn't coming. I actually started feeling worse. Touching base with this friend who I consider grounded, calm, smart, loving, honest, genuine was making me feel less secure, less okay.

Theoretically, there is nothing wrong with needing to touch an outside base, unless you step outside so much that you forget about your home base. For me, I often jump to an outside base before even checking in to see what my home base says. When advice from my sisters or my friends feels wrong or uncomfortably discordant, I find myself looking inward anyway. And now I am screwed because, by going to this external base, I have introduced a new voice to the mix and that voice is wreaking havoc with my home base.

It's like the kids who ran to my legs as a base of safety. They could only stay for so long before they were compelled to go out on their own again. They had to run on their own, to feel their own power. That's the key I guess. Touching base with people in your life who you love, respect, relate to, is great. The balance is in remembering your own legs, your own strength, your own home base.

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