Friday Reflections #3
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you someone else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
If I were to look back at life so far, and search for what might be considered accomplishments, there are very few material things that would come there. Getting a poem in the newspaper when I was in the 7th grade might be one, getting distinctions in secondary and higher secondary school might be another, and quite recently, winning a carom competition at my office. But looking at the quote by Emerson, I can’t help but agree with him that my greatest accomplishment so far has been being myself.
I am – a writer. I think the world around me has taken its own sweet time to come to terms with it. Granted, I accepted that fact late as well, after I’d tried what the world felt was suited for me. But no one has been able to change that after. I remember being told, “Writing is only a hobby, a pastime. You find yourself something better to do.” I can’t explain that it is what I want to do, so I ignore that. It might be a small accomplishment, but I was selected to be part of an anthology of short stories recently. It makes me happy.
I am – a bookworm. That’s something people are still coming to terms with. The number of books that I have keeps increasing, and the shelf space is starting to run out. The ultimate dialogue that I’ve heard, to try and stop me from being a bookworm, is “It’s only till you get married. After that, your priorities will change.” It makes me wonder how stupid the world has become to imagine that people stop reading after marriage. I don’t intend to do anything such, and no excuse, even if it is less stupid than that, will change what is a priority to me.
I remember a dialogue from the movie Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. “Happiness comes not from caring less about people, but caring more.” I agree. I have tried to be there for my friends when they have needed me, both by listening to them and by trying to cheer them up, no matter how low their mood. I think that that compassion is returned to me someday somewhere by someone. But it matters to me that that friend becomes happy once again. I care to try and find out the reason if a friend is angry with me. And I am restless when they are angry. If the fault is mine, I have had no hesitation to apologize and right that wrong. I’ve known the value of a good friend, and I hate to lose one. I do accept when I find I can’t convince that friend though.
Quite often, it feels like the world around me wants to mold me into being one without emotions. Get rejected from a publishing opportunity, don’t lament about it or anything – just give up and focus on your work where you are accepted. A good friend walks away without a reason – their choice, you can’t do anything to change; they lost you and not the other way. It seems that every sad situation that life throws at me, it is meant to be ignored and pushed away, not mourned, accepted and moved on from. But I don’t accept that. Emotions were given to me to be felt, and I express them as clearly as I want them to be. If I’m sad, I’m sad, and I do not pretend to be happy. I might not say it to the world that I’m sad, but those who know me would know that I am. If I’m angry, I’m angry, and when I am, it’s difficult to calm me down, that’s for sure. If I’m doubtful, I’m doubtful, and I need to find that confidence from somewhere. That is a part of me I like, and I haven’t changed, and danced to the tune of the world.
People try to tell me, “Relationships are defined by blood too.” In all honesty, I find that to be bullshit. Not being related by blood does not make my cousin any less of a sibling. We’ve grown up together. We cheer each other on, no matter what. There are quite a lot of memories special to both of us. And that dialogue is not the way to placate me when I’m low for some reason that has to do with her. Even otherwise, there are friends who are like my siblings, who understand me, better than most people who are related to me by blood. This is a belief that has not changed, though many have attempted to change it.
“Strangers are just family you have yet to come to know.”
These words from Five People You Meet in Heaven are wonderful. And though I don’t want every stranger in the world to be part of my family, I know there are many friends who I am yet to meet, who feel like they are family. It’s one reason why I have started to get along better with people. I don’t immediately assume that they are people who are likely to hurt me, and so they have to be avoided.
I suppose all these are reasons why I am unique. I have not diverted from what I feel is the best version of me, even though many have tried to mold me into what they feel should be the best version of me. Expecting something of me is acceptable, but not that that expectation should overwhelm who I am. I am grateful that this is my greatest accomplishment.
(© 14th October 2015)