I am fascinated by the connections, metaphors and paralells between ourselves and our homes. Inside Out & Outside In is indeed dedicated to this fascination, and sometimes I get so carried away that I force the metaphors into unlikely shapes. I fear that this post is evidence of that, but nevertheless will subject you to my ramblings, in this case to do with prepositions.
I was struck by a client’s saying that she was beside herself. Of course I have heard this before, and used it of myself and others, but this time it struck me as a curious preposition. We speak of people being out of it or out of their minds and generally it signifies something bad. Being into something, or going within yourself, is by contrast considered something good. But being beside yourself is something different. We usually associate it with grief or rage, as in “I was beside myself with anger.” This is not being out of it, like in a psychotic state. Nor is it being into it, as in a deep reflection, an inward journey or a consuming enthusiasm. This preposition means “next to” – which is curious. It implies that you are there, quite intact, but that a powerful response has caused you to move into a position of being next to yourself. It seems to me that these prepositions may reflect quite accurate metaphors for describing movements of psyche. Might these prepositions also reflect movements of ourselves in our living spaces?
The in and the out are quite easy to see. We speak of cabin-fever and needing to get out more often. And we speak of hunkering down and needing time at home. Some people are out of their homes a great deal and some people are in their homes a great deal – these things are determined by necessity and desire. But is there a parallel with being beside ourselves in our homes? I remember once being very angry and maybe beside myself with rage, and taking the vacuum cleaner round my home in a rather loud and vicious way. It helped me and my house to come back to ourselves. I wonder if being beside ourselves in our homes may be a more benign thing that may propel making changes within the home. A powerful feeling makes for the experience of being able to perceive things from a “next-to”, rather than an inside or outside perspective, and the power is put into making changes of varying degrees. I really don’t know, but maybe??
Please let me know if you have been beside yourself in your home and what this might mean to you.
BESIDE? BESIDE? BESIDE? BESIDE? BESIDE? BESIDE?