Am I who I am or where I belong?

One wonders why this craving, longing, for identification exists. One can understand the identification with one’s physical needs – the necessary things, clothes, food, shelter and so on. But inwardly, inside the skin as it were, we try to identify ourselves with the past, with tradition, with some fanciful romantic image, a symbol much cherished. And surely in this identification there is a sense of security, safety, a sense of being owned and of possessing. This gives great comfort. One takes comfort, security, in any form of illusion. And man apparently needs many illusions. In the distance there is the hoot of an owl and there is a deep-throated reply from the other side of the valley. It is still dawn. The noise of the day has not begun and everything is quiet. There is something strange and holy where the sun arises. There is a prayer, a chant to the dawn, to that strange quiet light. That early morning, the light was subdued, there was no breeze and all the vegetation, the trees, the bushes, were quiet, still, waiting. Waiting for the sun to arise. And perhaps the sun would not come up for another half hour or so, and the dawn was slowly covering the earth with a strange stillness. Gradually, slowly, the topmost mountain was getting brighter and the sun was touching it, golden, clear, and the snow was pure, untouched by the light of day. As you climbed, leaving the little village paths down below, the noise of the earth, the crickets, the quails and other birds began their morning song, their chant, their rich worship of the day. And as the sun arose you were part of that light and had left behind everything that thought had put together. You completely forgot yourself. The psyche was empty of its struggles and its pains. And as you walked, climbed, there was no sense of separateness, no sense of being even a human being.

– Krishnamurti to Himself Ojai California Tuesday 10th March, 1983

It’s easy to confuse having a strong sense of self to the comfort of a well-established social identity. Personally, I have been grappling with this dilemma in my head. It began with reading some scientific research-based book on what it takes to succeed at dating and get into a relationship. This is something that has been on my mind a lot as my family begins to pressure me to take my personal life more seriously, and some of my best friends sign up for holy matrimony, even while others are in long-term, stable relationships.

Turns out that in the early days of courtship, once you identify your prey (that’s the language these books use :/ ), you need to showcase what you bring to the table. No sooner that I count my virtues (which include loyalty, friendliness, independence), another article tells me that there is no reason to think that these are flaunt-worthy. Apparently, this is doing the bare minimum, and any attempt at making them out to be more than that, is simply going to seem unattractive and entitled.

I’m caught between a rock and a hard place here. So, I start to wonder if my social identity is worth anything – but thanks to my peripatetic childhood, that extended a little into adulthood as well, and my parents relatively unconventional choices of lifestyle and community, I have always felt like an outsider. I have embraced it thus far, because it has given me a unique perspective into things, but apparently, when it comes to dating, people seek out the familiar.

I’m really lost here, as you can see. I think of public figures like Oprah and Obama who have struggled with their own sense of identity, carving something out for themselves, and I wonder how I am going to figure this one out in the coming months… Or if it is worth figuring out at all?

 

I think I’m ready.

I was going through some of my old pins – I love pinning quotes and poetry verses taken out of context to suit my own taste and whim. However, what I could relate to once so passionately,  I simply couldn’t feel anymore. Don’t get me wrong – I remembered them, and quite vividly, but I felt detached from all of those feelings with a whiff of nostalgia. I do not feel as vulnerable and heartbroken as I once did. It was a glorious time as I knew that it was rock bottom, and that I would build my way up from there – I knew not how and when, but I knew that I would.

Now, I feel able and courageous and strong and in control, in many ways the way I had dreamed of it, but I feel rather un-human. Like somebody who has been taught how to live, instead of somebody who thrives, whose soul is wild as I once knew mine to be, and whose life was on fire.

Now, I know I need balance. I would never go close to that sort of life if I could help it. It was miserable and shrouded in fear. It was lived with awkwardness and reticence and fumbling.

How do I put this – I’d like something to happen out of the sudden. 🙂

Believing in your special.

I came across this term ‘geographical undesirability‘ and it made me feel pretty darn gloomy for a whole moment. It reminded of that time when a superior at work told me that I shouldn’t think I am not expendable, simply because I turned in some work that wasn’t upto the expected mark. It reminds me of being ruthlessly compared to others as a child, and feeling like I could be deemed unlovable simply because of other people being way too similar to me in some ways, and better than me in some others. It reminded me of my wounded ego that reared its ugly head whenever I was told that I was like somebody else- somehow, the auto-algorithm in my heads adds that up to meaning that I am not unique. I have nothing to offer that is solely mine to give. I have no beauty that may not be found elsewhere. And I don’t have that loving quality that is essential in some way.

Perhaps I have the most fragile self-esteem when it comes to being replaceable, about not feeling exclusive, but here’s what makes it ironic – a few months ago, a dear friend told me that I don’t try and make people (who have my attention) feel special either. Call it a shallow definition of risk, but that kinda vulnerability requires all my courage and strength, and through careful study of world and the people that inhabit it, I have concluded (even if only temporarily) that I shouldn’t have to make that effort for everybody.  That kinda connection is truly rare for me.

Which leads me to believe that I am an emotionally intense person. I am inclined, or stimulated in the least, to respond to the small things that catch my eye, that others miss. It pushes me to identify myself with the seemingly mundane in a personal way. While different people have their idiosyncratic ways of dealing with this sense of overwhelming-ness, I choose to either disassociate and put it in perspective among the larger scheme of things, or to isolate it to the extent of assuming randomness to be magic. Alas, neither amounts to the objectivity that my subconscious seems to seek.

Impressive Failure

I was reading an account by Joe Jonas on his life as a Jonas Brother yesterday. I used to be quite a fan of the band back in school. Their songs Lovebug, Burnin’ Up, Fly With Me, and When you look me in the eyes, were forever on loop in the background when I was around the house. It was around the time that my dad bought me my first portable mp3 player, and I think it had a folder full of their hits. Reading the story was eye-opening. Their PR machinery at the time made everything looked fortunately fateful – Nick was singing at the barber’s, got signed, and the brothers looked good, sang well, they all got signed. Some of the parts like when they were teenagers and opening at clubs for The Veronicas was heartbreaking to read – I can’t image being that young and having to deal with such a huge rejection with so many adults guiding you, and so much riding on your career, especially after they were rather tragically alienated by their church peeps. That must have made the brothers rather guarded and unsettled about how circumstances and people were. But damn, their work ethic really stood out in the story for me. The pressure to keep smiling and look like they are enjoying all the attention, all the time! But they kept it going for years, as teenagers and young adults, and that’s something.

I embrace failure. It scares me, and the slightest hint of impending rejection makes me wonder if I’m going to be friendless, defenceless, homeless, loveless. But then I remind myself that it couldn’t get worse. I have my mind, and I have curiosity, and I have the agility to adapt. I can learn, and I can make friends. I can have new conversations, and I can express. I can calm my nerves and I can calm others’. I can relax and unwind, and I can work harder and smarter than everybody in the room when I have to, and I often do. I have carried myself through the toughest of times thus far, I have fought my demons with the army that I could muster, and I have survived. I am fine. I’m alright. Failure is humiliating in the moment, but it is important to pick yourself up and move on, learning from it, adapting, and strategizing for the future. Failure is a lesson, and I love lessons because I learn from them. Failure is an option, because without being open to it, there’s no experiments, and without experiments you don’t have a single shot.

The show must go on, and I have a future hurtling at me at the speed of life!

Ordinary Flaws

Whom does idealization hurt more? – the dreamer or the subject of the dream? The person who has externalized the source of every answer he has always sought, or the person being put up on the pedestal as if his true self wasn’t enough?

What happens when that idealization ends? There seem to be ways this story can turn out. Perhaps reality comes crashing down on them and one of them breaks down, while the other feels betrayed. There’s also the chance that one of them expresses, in full vulnerability, and the other responds with kindness, understanding, and love. As much as we focus on the ideal of the second, it is probably best to concede that we are, but, ordinary people, trying to do our best, looking for meaning and love, and learning to express ourselves as truthfully as possible. We are grappling with everything that our senses send our way, and looking to instill some rhythm and some pauses into our living.

Sure, be kind, and understanding. But what’s more important is to be true to yourself and your capabilities- we’re just ordinary people. We’re simply human, and our asymmetry is beautiful. It shows how deep and diverse we are, for there is only so much that can be contained within perfection – it’s completeness is stagnant; it is done and dusted, and one must move past it. But when there is a trail of frayed thread, or a hint of desire, then there is the glorious chance of fruition- a relationship, a journey together, a vision of the sunset- shared and taken in with the delight of breaking bread with another, of community.

We’re just ordinary people.

Unspoken Truths

I’m going to close my eyes and allow myself to think of you. To think of us- sitting side by side, engaging in harmless banter, taking it by the day. I’m allowing myself to think of what you mean to me. I don’t know where I pulled this phrase out of, but it has stayed with me- to me, the sound of your voice has come to become my anchor and stay. With these within my reach, I can adjust these sails to the wind and be on my way.

I have heard many speak, and sell me their truths, but, for some reason, when I listen to my heart, it brings me back to you.

There are days when I wonder what you would say- there’s a part of me that already knows, but these whispers can’t be half as convincing as you. I yearn to, once again, hear you speak with conviction, the way you do. I need to be told, once again, that all that I have constructed in my head, is but an extensive mirage. These images that play with, they have me trapped, and I would like me some liberation. Speak out loud that which will counteract these demons in my head- tell me about the world in a way that I fear to let myself believe. I am listening with bated breath… this is not hesitation, I am listening.

When I met you, there was no yesterday and I hardly had a thought to spare for tomorrow. When it came to having to go my own way, the distance hardly worried me. I had neither your coordinates, nor your digits, nothing but my dreams to lead me. And when we found our way back to facing each other, it felt like we had never been apart. But the fact of the matter was that we had. Time had worn itself thin on your shoulders, and there were cracks on your usually unruffled, velvet surface. I had had premonitions of them, but to what good did they amount when I had not reached out. I reasoned- what could I have said? How could I have explained what I had known? I’m not past this struggle; but tonight, it is making me weary. I cannot communicate that which is eternal in this fleeting moments measured by time. I am groping, and these thoughts need to be given structure through your words – please. Tell me what it is that I’m thinking, and what it is that I’m running away from. Bring out the secrets that I can’t even tell myself in the solace of solitude. I am desperate to hear them, I’m ready. Is this deliverance?

I have wandered through many a soul, asking questions, probing to hear what they have to say. Alas, they are lying to themselves, and so they are lying to me anyway. Lies, these my heart can cook up on its own. Truths, the fuel to the fire of my burning soul, they are hidden and mostly unspoke.

March On: With or Without You

Thoughtlessly, that which you guarded with all your might, everything you ever had, all the forces through time and space – you give it away. You toss it out in the hope that it is received well, but you’ll never know. All you can see is that you tossed your soul away into the abyss, and dived right in. The fear, it isn’t in your soul; it is in the mind that worries about the soul departed. The soul, it simply journeys right ahead. It has no struggle or concern, but keeps marching on.