Lachesism: Finding a word that fits.

A hunger for chaos. Patiently anticipating a meltdown. Something to give you clarity about what the world really is when it is tested by fire, and who you really are in such a state of affairs.

The reason I love words and reading them so voraciously is so I may stumble upon a hint, an explanation, a sign of shared perspective and similar inner worlds. Sometimes I find myself wishing for harmony to be done away with, to be stripped naked, to be confronted by the climax that ‘ought’ to happen, so there can be a face-off, a revelation of secrets, a submission, an admission, a certain moment of vulnerability and intensity neither of which can persist without co-existence.

There’s a word, and therefore there is a validation for the undercurrents of my soul. It is shared, I’m no alien or uncommon martyr or idiosyncratic eccentric or ill-tongued demon to reap this product of my tumultuous emotions. It is human, as it is shared.

Sign me up for love.

Forget all the instances of affection, the gestures of care, kind embraces, sweet soothing words – they are nothing but promises, aren’t they? Promises of the love that is to come your way if you can continue to allow the world, glimpses of your authentic self.

I have been thinking about this. To be in love is such a powerful feeling, that I have been drawing my strength off just the hope of it. Someone once stood by me, and spoke in all honesty, telling me that they believed in me and that’s all that took me to believe in myself and make an effort. When I think about that instance, I think about how vulnerable and fragile we are, as human beings. I think about how truly innocent and frightened we can become, closing ourselves off to the sort of love that we come into this world, believing.

What is hard, is building a relationship. Starting as strangers, and coming away feeling bonded – it’s startling. To find the energy to do it, hoping that another soul – nay, trusting another soul, to listen without judgment, speak without hesitation, but with kindness, and to feel you in your rawness, without repulsion or fear…that’s a lot of pressure.

But, sign me up.

 

The Risk and The Reward

I have realized that other people believe in me. It came with me believing in myself; so much that I put myself out there to be judged and taken apart. In all my broken glory, and scarred realness, I put myself out there. Lo, they volunteered their belief in me! That was a powerful moment, because I received validation. But I couldn’t have, if I hadn’t dared to accept its denial.

I remember manipulating you, tricking you, begging you, and demanding from you, your belief in me – whispered in the privacy of a telephone call, on a moonlit night by the lake as we watched the stars, on a stroll along the beach, at my darkest moments, when the cold draft of loneliness threatened my soul. I asked for your empathy but where I had believed there was remedy, there was the mirage of a placebo. There was nothing.

It took me a while to admit, but there really was nothing.

The first time I thought that thought, I struggled with sadness. We always struggle with letting go that which we believed was real, for belief is an emotion of the heart. But I urged myself to consider it again. And again. And today, I have a new belief.

I build a picket fence around your opinion thinking it was the Garden of Eden. Now, I take it apart to sell it for scrap. I’m taking away everything I had to give- a heart, a hearth, permanence. But it’s time I set out my wares at the market again.

See me there, if someday if you find the courage to be raw and threadbare- for that’s what spirit is made of.

These Times.

Somebody liked this post on artberlin’s facebook page today. I must admit to being quite dismissive about a lot of their posts. They all seem to be about some sort of a struggle and hurt. Now I am not one to contradict the fact that most of go through some very intense days that seem like an uphill battle against shitstorms; apologies for my French, but, I certainly wish the page had a little diversity in its tone. Even the more ‘happier’ posts are tinged with despondency and insecurity, as if it were impossible for a person in this day and age to feel unbridled joy. I certain feel that emotion fully, and often.

However, this post struck a chord with me. I have spent much of the last two years bitterly missing my former self. There are many ways in which I noticed that I had changed for the better. I had become a lot more accepting of people, and handled relationships with developing maturity. But, while I had the courage to be vulnerable, I was prone to oversharing, and struggled with my boundaries. My sense of timing was way off, and the problem was that I realized it. I had no way of being freely callous- here, meaning unconcerned, in certain situations, like I used to, anymore – I learnt it the hard way. I felt embarrassed, and felt forced to express my feelings of hurt, where I could regulate them before. When I demonstrated empathy, I felt drowned and overwhelmed. Everything was both personal and projected at the same time. For the first time in as far as I can remember, I felt unsure of myself, peppered with a sense of loneliness and being denied. I sorely missed my former ‘free-spirited’ self, voicing verbose opinions fecklessly, with little bearing on my conscience.

I pinned this quote onto a private board last night. Today morning felt different. I was halfway through breakfast when I paused to consider my thoughts. I compared them, setting them against thoughts from months bygone, contrasting them as one would do with a work of art and its replica. Today’s thoughts felt different. They lacked the craving and intensity that had become characteristic of how they had felt over the past two years. This was not the first time I had noticed the difference. A couple of days earlier I had been invited by a friend to a neighbouring plantation for a short getaway. I have been traveling quite extensively over the past two years, and each time I would have forceful thoughts invading my every being, reminding me about the anxieties that I ought to have, and things that were required to be set right in the ‘real world’ outside of the bubble of my travels. Not during this trip. I was utterly laidback, and enjoyed the smallest of moments, even if they seemed mundane. I strolled, watched a movie, slept in, and spent time with two of my best friends whom I had known since school.

I am back to feeling light, instead of attaching sentiments to every feeling. I am now capable of expressing myself without being misunderstood- a subtle undertone to much of emotional life until recently.

So, the short of it is that, yes, I used to miss the person I used to be. But that’s nothing in comparison to how comfortable I feel in my skin now.

Make way. Coming through! Announcement:

A little over a year ago, I embraced vulnerability. I dove into it head first. It drove a steak through my heart, tore me apart, and made me make a fool of myself. But… it introduced me to care, affection, and deep bonding. Such a wide spectrum of experience, all during the course of a year – I’d never have it any other way!!

As I grow comfortable with vulnerability, and carry it with better grace and poise – and the wisdom of discernment – I have a found a new curious creature that is begging to be fostered; oh crap, they’re twins! Meet Failure and Rejection. They tell me that they are actually two-thirds of a triplet. Her name is Opportunity, so if you see her around, send her right up to my house to reunite her with her family! 😉

Also, what Brene Brown was to my year gone by, Jia Jiang is to what is to come. Buckle up – knowing me, it’s gonna be a quite a ride! 🙌

Varying Displays of Affection

I have come to the understanding that, in their most intimate relationships, everybody seeks to feel valued and appreciated. Some of the greatest falling-outs result from feeling undermined, even though the other person might express it in ways alien to your own understanding.

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My parents gave me fist bumps. And a LOT of space.

Having started on my 20s, it was probably about time that I understood what made me feel valued. I began to notice patterns in the way I helped friends when they needed me. Realizing this helped me communicate my affections better as well. For instance, being someone who leaves their phone behind a lot, I make sure I take the calls of friends who might be going through an especially trying episode in their lives. If I don’t, then I am prompt in calling them back or letting them know of the circumstance that’s keeping me away from them. Usually, it has worked out for me. The friends that I have, the people that I hold closest to my heart, have always seemed to value this aspect of my ways. In fact, that’s become one of my frequent sign-offs – “Don’t worry, I got your back.” I’m glad at my being able to successfully communicate my affection for them. It took me a while to figure it out, since everybody has their own way of expressing it, but I think I am getting there.

When the styles are mismatched, either or both parties might end up feeling rather disregarded or suffocated, given their own individual preferences. In my own life I have known myself to distance certain sorts of people, while wondering quizzically about others’ behaviors. I am going to use this post to talk about a few of those kinds.

The first kind is the people who having known me for just a few days, suddenly want to do everything together, and as much as I understand their needs, I cannot have that. I’d rather prefer to sow my probably-metaphorically-misplaced, friendly oats far and wide. There are plenty of people out there, and they all seem interesting. In fact, the people closest to me are the people who get to know my other best friends, who might be peeps I may have met in completely different contexts and circumstances. If I see them making an effort to get along with the others, I love them for it. Being something of a collector of seemingly disconnected experiences (how they are all connected is for another post), interacting with a different group of my friends is sure to draw any of them out of their comfort zone- probably not the easiest social setting. My mantra is, if you love me, you’ll love the people who love me too. And of course, I absolutely adore them all.

The second are people who will land up on my door step. I don’t dislike this kind, as much as I am inconvenienced by them. I have really tried to take my time less seriously, but I can’t help but hate distractions. I mean, I lead a life that I have consciously structured, in the absence of which I become highly malfunctional. I indulge in this dysfunctionality from time to time: for example, I took a year off, from a rather ambitious, carefully-crafted career in finance starting the latter part of 2013 to travel, volunteer, meet new kinds of people, study philosophy, and work in an entirely different sort of organizational setup- I really plucked myself out of the known zone, and reinvented my perspective for myself! But can I be doing that for the rest of my life? Probably not without hurting and baffling the people whom I care about, which brings me back to my way of expressing affection- by being there when they need me.

The third kind of people are those who want to be centre stage. All the time, that is. It’s GREAT in the beginning. They tell me ALL I want to know about them, making my people-watching considerably easier at their individual level. But after a point in time, I find myself rolling my eyes, gasping for air made up of the molecules that is the participation of other people! I am sorry, but I am interested in you, but just about as much as I am interested in Elon Musk’s ideas on space colonization! If you are going to take it personally, then I’m going to end up hurting you quite a lot without meaning to.

Conversely, some of these very people, end up showing their affection for me by putting ME in the spotlight- the conversations are dominated by how awesome they think I am, how my intelligence is absolutely dazzling them, and how they wish they could worship and make a Walk-of-Fame boulevard out of the ground that I walk on. Seriously, if I needed a sidekick to hype me up, I’d have become a rapper. Just talking about it, make my breaths feel short. Now I will admit that I have not always been the more graceful person with accepting compliments, but I learn to relate with other people by knowing THEM better. Besides, I am quite inhibited by my past experiences of people finding themselves inhibited and intimidated by me. It’s disappointing and makes my friendly soul quite sad. Stop putting me up on that pedestal of perfection. It is boring, lonely, and quite far from truth, because I’m a fan of Brene Brown here.

How has identifying this helped me in my professional life? Well, to be honest, it hasn’t had the chance to help me out YET, but I see how it could if I communicated it over a period of time. Having people telling me that they have my back if I mess up a situation, or letting me know that making that one tiny mistake is not going to jeopardize all the other details that I worked on to put together, what I hope would be, a masterpiece, is really what I need to stay motivated to deliver on a job or in a relationship of any sort. I’m not usually the screw-up in professional scenarios, but that makes this all the more important. Given my powerful, stoic, cold inner-critic, makes me put my guards up if I have bricks flying my way on the outside too. Although, I am sure I will evolve to find a less egotistic way to deal with such situations in the future.

Still don’t understand how this theory could be true? Well, try and think back to that boy you knew in middle school (or whichever stage of your life you met him in). He would pull your hair, call you names, and poke the most fun at you in public, but it probably was so because he felt the most comfortable with you (Awww…). You know that because it turned out that he liked you after all.

To tell the Strong from them All

I don’t think I have quite read anything ever about ‘strength’ that has struck a chord with me. So often, strength displayed by people, seems to be a facade that covers up a hidden wound. It is a parade, a flamboyance, that is a cry for attention rather than an element of vigour and quiet resilience, which is how I understand the trait in its most raw form. But yesterday, I read this post on a human element that most do not categorize in the same emotional world as strength; but it struck a chord with me.

Strength is not drawn from repression. Or from the incidence of being slighted. Strength cannot be developed based on foregoing. Strength does not lie in defence, and certainly not in offence. Strength has no fragility of ego- as defined as an artificial, unsure sense of self-image. Strength has nothing to do with with secrets. In fact, secrets provoke provocation. They ask for probing. Strength can lay it all bare; and as hard as it is to believe, it garners either reverence from those who share it, or is perceived with a tinge of intimidation. Not everybody is ready to relate. The strong realize it.

However, strength has all to do with vulnerability. It is sensitive. It knows its power, and is therefore discriminating in its usage. Strength is, therefore, protection of balance. There is no tendency of avoidance. Or indulgence. A person’s strength can never be threatening. It is an embodiment of benevolence and nourishment. There is, however, the ability to simply be. To adapt. Least resistance, due to a lack of fear of what-coulds and what-ifs. It is mutable, willing, and able. To accept what is dealt by the state of things, and deal with it. With grace, in utmost.

In all, strength lies in the realization of its manifestation, thereby making it more pronounced.

The Strength Tarot Card (image above) is one such interpretation of the trait, if it can be called so. The last time I studied it, the interpretation of the card couldn’t move me at a level that understanding usually brings along with it. But now, in retrospect, it is the perfect imagery of the way I perceive it. The woman, in all her grace and feminine reservation, is persisting in keeping the lion’s mouth shut. The lion here, is a symbol of pompous arrogance. The need to put on a show of strength, where the energy of it has not been comes to terms with, and therefore, not mastered. But why would the woman want to have anything to do with such a thing at all? Because she recognizes the splendor of the moment in which she comes out as not a master, or a victim, but the possessor of the shared energy that she has helped tame by diving into what seemed, initially, like a challenge.

The hovering lemniscate is perhaps the most important takeaway from this representation. It symbolizes constancy. The perpetual back-and-forth of the interaction, where there is an inter-exchange and blurring of causation and effect. The lion, without its interaction with the woman, couldn’t have managed to temper the tempest within, and gain wisdom. The latter, with the potency of her wisdom, recognized the energy of vigour and forcefulness, and couldn’t have shared in the lion’s reserve of it, had she refused to dive into it head-first, as is signified by her holding the lion’s mouth from a frontal approach, as opposed to a covert attack. The lemniscate indicates the precondition of balance and its continued reassertion (infinity, if you will) for the birth of true strength.