Inner / City

I was living with a bipolar for a year when I first came to New York City in 2008. Looking back, I feel the city is too bipolar because of its multicultural nature where various voices, loud and soft, embodying different values or emotions are freely expressed.

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It is no picnic to live in the multicultural society where freedom of speech is almost unalienable and boundless, for it is not dissimilar to live under the same roof with a bipolar. Admittedly, I didn’t know how to live in peace with/as a bipolar back then. I was lost and moody like a pendulum swinging quietly yet restlessly from one extreme to the other.

The amplitude and frequency of my emotions soon became too intense to bear for me. Figuratively speaking, I tried calming myself down by striking the pendulum for a balance in the beginning, instead of waiting and allowing it to rest on its equilibrium point. Not a lucky strike occurred.

Later I decided to do nothing about it. Which means I attempted to be as disinterested as possible, come what may. No judgment at all, ideally, similar to positioning myself right at the center of a perfectly round ball where the radius is all the same to any given point that makes up the ball. In theory, I shall remain impartial and neutral if nothing ever moves me.

Obviously, it is next to impossible. Culturally, I don’t feel comfortable staying at the dead center all the time. Now that my emotional oscillation seems inevitable, I would prefer to have it driven by the faith in which I believe, which is above all sympathetic understanding or compassion.

Hopefully, one day I will be able to combine these seemingly mutually exclusive ideas – disinterestedness and compassion – into one piece. At present, merging the two concepts into one is still very much like putting two magnets of the same poles together. The tension increases as the mass of magnets expands in general. I tend to think a bi-polar pole is comparable to a massive magnet such as New York City. It attracts people from all directions and simultaneously repels them especially when people show little sympathetic understanding towards it. The tension is there.

One can arguably manage to unite two magnets by external forces, but it may not last for a long time. The know-how of flipping either one of them, my bipolar counterpart and myself, that allows the two parties to connect or integrate naturally is probably somewhere out there. Unfortunately, I don’t have the exact address, but at least I have the sense of direction now; and that is good enough, for me, to be on the road again.