Another World

Rated PG

I don’t believe in the Many Worlds Theory – well, I believe in the theory, not in its plausibility.

The Many Worlds Theory states that every possibility is a reality. That at every point where there is an option or choice, all possibilities play out or are played out somewhere in the universe or in alternate dimensions of space and time. To me it is a fluke of the mathematics of Chance and Probability. The math allows for the possibilities but that does not mean the results are actuated. But it is a fun thing to play with.

I often imagine another me – one of the mathematical possibilities on one of the theoretical many worlds. We’ll call him Hteik – the opposite of Keith. He is extroverted and suave. A bad-boy, tough guy that the ladies swoon and beg for. I’m a tough guy too. A martial arts instructor, a skydiver and jump-master with more than 200 jumps, I am pretty tough and resilient. But I have a soft, gooey filling. Not like Hteik. He has a nutty, firm center.

When Hteik sees a pretty lady that catches his eye, he has no problem saying, “Hi.” He chats her up, flirts with her, and begins the dance without effort. Moreover, his confidence radiates about him like a physical aura. He often doesn’t have to be the first to move. The ladies come to him like moths to a flame, willing and wanting to be burned. The few times that Hteik is rejected, he takes it in stride. There are many fish in the sea, and sour grapes often make a fine wine for the next entree.

But Yin and Yang exist in all universes. Balance is a cosmological constant in all worlds and all possibilities. And that is where I find a part of Hteik that makes me most uncomfortable. You see, for Hteik to so easily hunt the hotties, he has to accept the inevitable rejection. More than accept it, he must ignore it. It must bounce off his thick hide and firm center. There cannot be much yielding. He cannot really care.

Some would say that makes sense. Don’t give a damn if you get rejected. So what? They don’t know you anyway. But could anyone ever really know Hteik? Worse, could Hteik ever really know anyone? If you practice not caring when things don’t go your way, do you have the skill to care when it is necessary? Surely, you care about yourself and your needs. Certainly Hteik is concerned with his goals and conquests. But what of the conquered?

My insecurity, my introversion, my shyness grows out of a fear of rejection – on any level. Some may call it weakness. But that fear is a sign of caring, not just about myself, but also about what you think about me. It is empathetic. My caring extends outward and inward. Understand, I am not an altruist. As proven time and again, there are no purely altruistic acts. I care about you because I want you to care about me. I am as guilty of selfishness as Hteik.

However, if I may be so bold, there is a different quality that works more toward my own feelings of right and wrong. I am concerned about myself, obviously. But I split that concern with the concerns of the world around me. I do not want to force myself into it. I would rather figure out what it is seeking and see if I can comply.

I have learned, and now firmly hold, that I cannot and will not change myself to fit whatever it is you may want. So, like Hteik, rejection is inevitable. But I can have compassion for your concerns and needs. I choose to care. That choice is just as likely to be a cause of discomfort as pleasure. In fact, it may more often prove uncomfortable than pleasurable. But I honestly cannot imagine not caring. Practice makes perfect, and that is something I do not want to practice, a person I do not want to be.

I am Keith.

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