TL;DR: Sometimes a squirrel is just a squirrel.
Other times, it is a metaphor for manic thinking.
Originally Written: 15-Sep-2021
Word Count: 762
Read Time: 3 minutes
If I am anything, when permitted to speak freely, I am a squirrel.
A squirrel is the kind of animal that will chase after something it wants, even at its own peril.
Hoarders by nature, a squirrel will in fact fail to recover up to 75% of its food stores.
This is due in part by other squirrels, but is also a consequence of the animal's memory.
Squirrels will bury and rebury the same nut just to remind themselves of where they put them.
They'll even sometimes create hoards of nuts in places to act as a decoy to their main stash.
For what remains untouched by its owner, we see the continued growth of many oak trees.
All thanks to our furry friend.
So, too, do I feel are the potential of my ideas.
It is my opinion that I have more ideas than time to work on them.
As a person who is bipolar, I can frequently jump from one whole idea to the next, often fluidly.
Or, at least, I think I'm fluid. But other times I can be... a bit much to keep up with.
This mode of self-expression makes my actions appear haphazard, or 'random', at times. But it makes perfect sense to me why I move from one idea to the next.
Much like a squirrel with the nuts it finds, I am a hoarder of ideas. Many, many ideas.
However, as a person who is also obsessive compulsive, I can be super hard on myself in ways that prevent these ideas from ever seeing the light of day.
Instead, I have groves of half-baked concepts. Concepts all with true merit and reason, mind you.
But no execution. No tangible product. No fellow squirrel who could at least benefit from the trees I plant.
At least in my mind.
My ideas make sense in Thoughtland, a realm where they lay untested.
But they don't seem to make sense in Reality, a realm where my raw thoughts invariably come out weakly at times.
As someone who identifies as neurodivergent, I struggle to convert what strong concepts I build in my mind into something tangible for others in reality and it is frustrating.
What good is it to have what one feels are good ideas if one cannot properly translate those ideas to others in ways they can effectively use them?
When you don't apply your theories, they just remain theories.
Theories built on a house of cards we call Knowledge.
Untested and flimsy in its resilience to new information.
It is by testing our knowledge against the wind that we see how folly it is to relish in knowledge.
If knowledge is the accumulation of facts, then wisdom is the context gained from applying those facts we hold as truths.
If we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all humans are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, then we must re-examine what those truths mean to us in changing contexts.
What is true today may not be true tomorrow. There is no reason it has to be.
However, expressing our truths in this world of increasing scrutiny around showing up perfect all the time within increasing contexts of nuanced culture is killing our ability to test those truths more freely.
What do I mean?
I mean sometimes we, and I, can be a bit too sensitive to how others are coming off such that we miss what they are saying.
That's not the say we ought not to pursue more inclusive behaviors from those otherwise ignorant to the lines drawn with their words. Let's call a spade a spade. Or a racist a racist.
But not everyone learns everything in the same order.
What if it is your opportunity to be the one that educates another on something they've been completely unaware of up until that moment?
What if it is your opportunity to set an example of what it looks like to compassionately coach someone through their rawest of thoughts, such that they become something greater than the person they were before you made the choice to?
What if it is your opportunity to be the bigger person in a situation.
What would it take?
What would it create?
Who would it help?
Understanding oneself does not require being understood by others.
It requires testing oneself against the perspectives of others and seeing what sticks, and what stinks.
It requires allowing one's ideas to see the light of day, such that they be seen for what they are.
Good and bad. It's what you take from it.
But what you do with it, that's the work.
What am I talking about?
Context, in the form of feedback.
If squirrels were more trusting of one another, they would share where how they go about hiding their cache of nuts with one another.
But they don't. They hide their nuts and rely on themselves to remember.
But what if they shared? What if they helped each other find better hiding places for their food?
Wouldn't that help all the squirrels in the end?
But it requires trust.
Trust in the idea that another squirrel is out there with the same idea as oneself.
The odds aren't great, but that doesn't mean there isn't someone out there who will appreciate our ideas for what they are while doing the work necessary to let you know what stinks.
For those that do, hold onto them.
They are special.
They are your network.
Feed them with your ideas and they will feed you.