Monday, June 27, 2011


–noun, plural -ties.
doubtfulness or uncertainty of meaning or intention: to speak with ambiguity; an ambiguity of manner.
an unclear, indefinite, or equivocal word, expression, meaning, etc.: a contract free of ambiguities; the ambiguities of modern poetry.

Ah, good old ambiguity.
When you're single, especially, life can be full of it.

With recurring feelings of "Meh, I don't know, I *guess* maybe I *kinda* like ______ (fill in name of person here)," we go about our ambiguous single lives systematically categorizing people in our lives as "potentials," if only in the name of keeping things interesting.

"I'm in my twenties, damn it! This is my one and only chance to.... go out to bars! And flirt! And stuff! Because you can't do that when you're older! Or something!"
We tell ourselves, trying to justify our reasons for choosing the intentionally unattached life.

Days when you aren't feeling incredibly ambiguous about just about every person you meet/hang out with/flirt with/go on a semi-date with/text/Facebook stalk are rarities for many of us.

Are you just friends with ________(fill in name of person here)? You ask yourself quietly. More than friends? FWB? Do they hate you a little? Feel lukewarm about you? Want to chuck you out a window one minute and kiss you the next? Shit if you know! And chances are good they probably aren't too sure, either. They're just playin' the field, man! Keeping their options open! Just like you. Sometimes there's a sort of a mutual, unspoken understanding that the ambiguity is there. That neither party has a shitting clue what is going on, and that's O.K.

It seems as though we've reached a point in time where "anything goes," but with that mentality, everything is also sort of incredibly up in the air. Perhaps too up in the air. So up in the air, you've lost sight of it and can't really identify it anymore. What is that thing? looks a little like a Care Bears balloon from a kid's birthday party. Cute!

Maybe this is only the case for people with commitment issues, or those who are the children of parents who have divorced (or who otherwise have incredibly dysfunctional relationships,) or, really, people who just have a flat out different point of view when it comes to relationships-- but even so, that appears to cover quite a wide demographic these days, wouldn't ya say? (I don't really know, I'm so out of touch with reality that I probably haven't a clue. I'm probably the only ambiguous broad on the block. OK no I know that's not true. Well maybe *MY* block, but not other blocks.)

At the end of the day, maybe a life of ambiguity is more of a choice than anything. Maybe the randomness, the wondering, the not knowing what will happen next is a lifestyle choice for many individuals.

With the uncertainty of not knowing also comes a sort of freedom (unless you get preggers, an STD, or a broken heart in the process. That's when things get messy.)

It's essentially choosing to live your life as thought it were a comedy/drama/mystery/action flick rather than a rom-com. Which, I mean, it is what it is. Some days you feel like seeing a crazy film that has you on the edge of your seat, makes you laugh, possibly makes you fart (wait, why did it make you fart?), and is just all around interesting all at the same time-- others you long for the steady laughs (and heaps of cheesiness) that comes with a rom-com. Or in my case, you really aren't all that into movies in the first place, and only watch them when other people suggest them... *BUT* you get my point.

I read an article from a former journalist-turned-counselor named Dana Goldman, and I enjoyed the last bit of her article that talks about her transition into becoming comfortable with ambiguity as it relates to her career in counseling. (Not to mention I can completely relate, since I used to want to be a journalist and have, on a few occasions, contemplated going into the ambiguous world of counseling) :

"Where ambiguity lurks, my natural tendency is to pull out a machete and start clear-cutting my way to a landscape more, well, clear cut. That's how I ended up reporting news ... and why I ended up getting tired of reporting news. When you can understand all the angles and curves of something in an hour, how much is it really worth knowing?

It's easy to be drawn in by the feeling of mastery that accompanies us when we do small things well. But I'm starting to realize it's more valuable to be present with important ideas and ambiguous feelings than to fully comprehend those small things. So, here I am, in class, in the world, ready to try and let the ambiguity stand."

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