The latest goal I set for myself was to be human. But I steadily wonder what is it about being human that is so mind numbingly conflicting? Of course it’s emotions. However, knowing the answer doesn’t imply you got yourself all sorted.
I feel like I am strolling through a fog where I might have chanced upon my individuality but it keeps getting lost intermittently in the mist. The fact that I live with other equal individuals makes it inevitable that my individuality not be compromised at times. There are most certainly moments in your life, where you are actually exhausted with the idea of pleasing others, looking for approvals and living upto generic and specific expectations. It doesn’t in the least mean that your life isn’t rocking enough. Mine is both, rocking and envious. Yet, there are floods of emotions which leave you in joyless droughts. Yeah they aren’t for eternity, thank God! But no matter how evanescent they are, these droughts make you feel like a complete douche bag. The spirit of life, of being human takes a sudden beating.
Certain people have profound effect upon your feelings and your state of mind and naturally influence both pleasant and unpleasant emotions. But what I also found is that art in any form, can have the most sensational and serendipitous effect on you. I recently heard the IndoSoul band at the Covelong Beach Festival and let me tell you these fellas are awesome. By the time Karthik, the lead artist on his flute came to the closing rendition “Rejoicing”, I was tripping on their music alone. That last piece of music had me entranced. I could see parts of me floating over the clairvoyant wind.
Some sensitive, exciting, intimate, outrageous memories just surfaced revealing the person I am today. And I am ready to own it up. This is my present reality and it isn’t indelible and far from being ideal. I might find a different me as I see more of life. But for now I am good. I am not seeking for approval neither am I intending to be rebellious, nor am I smug or self centred. All I want is let me be who I am. However, in this moment of self limelight, I realized I still place relationships at centre stage in my life. And if there’s a hiccup in there, I would want to sit and sort it out. Because the unresolved baggage conveniently kills another perfectly happy day. Sitting prissy with ego is just not worth it. It is such a powerful feeling to be in charge of your life. To be in command of healthy emotions. And it is so much easier to have it when all your significant relationships are in harmony including with your kids, spouse, friends, parents, lovers or anybody who matters.
There is yet another kind of approval, I want to be liberated from. This is an external notion which simply frustrates me. A few weeks back, I had a couple of college going girls knock at my door. A lot of such college students keep coming these days as part of NGO campaigns for social causes. I am usually courteous and affable with them. I always hear them out patiently, congratulate them for their work, whether I donate every time or not is secondary. But that particular day, I was already irritable about something and her fawning tone only worsened it. So she started with her much rehearsed version of the noble cause and condition of the cancer suffering destitute women and children. I was distracted but I let her talk. She finished with her opening statements and with some mock interest in me asked, “Ma’am you must be working…engineer or management?” I curtly replied, “No, I am not working.” She smiled all the way trying to appease me, “But you look very professional.” With that I pretty much pounced upon her with my words, “You have barely known me for five minutes and I have spoken not more than four words to you, so what makes you think I am a professional?”
She was taken off guard least expecting my reaction. She realized I was more peeved than appeased by her professional remark, so she quickly added, “Ma’am it is upon educated women like you to take decisions and make a change. You just have to write a cheque in…” This further patronizing sickened me so much that I had no choice but to snap again. I said, “Look an educated woman like me will not write any cheque simply without verifying the facts of your cause. So you can leave your details with me, I will check over them, discuss it with my husband and if convinced will definitely call on you.” At this she was almost out of my house.
It was the ludicrous patronizing approach that annoyed me so much. As if calling me a professional would give me such an intellectual endorsement, make me jump with joy and sign a fat cheque right away. And this is not the first time I have heard these patent marketing lines from the donation seekers and others alike. If at all she meant that I came across as a smart and outgoing person to her, what makes people assume that I or anyone else should be a working professional? What is it with this hugely misplaced notion of associating sharpness, intelligence or skill with working professionally? Or the society cannot fathom the idea of a qualified, intelligent and talented homemaker? Is it such a ridiculous idea that somebody with brains and capability might choose to be a homemaker? Why have we begun to generally disparage women who stay at home, look after their kids, and cook for the family as less competitive and confident? Yes, they might not be as worldly, street smart or outgoing as their working counterparts who have much higher exposure to the world. But this difference might be purely out of lack of opportunity rather than lack of capability.
I choose to be a homemaker. Yes, undoubtedly because I am fortunate to afford the luxury. But that’s not all to it. I do not self doubt my worth just because I am not out there working professionally. I am not looking for a popular ratification or working stamp to prove my merit to anybody. And yes, it is disgruntling when people so often gauge you and patronize you through their faulty populist notions of independent, working, empowered woman.
At the ripe age of almost 36, I think I have figured out myself reasonably. And I am ready to be responsible for it. I do not in the least mean, “take me the way I am, or leave me”. But I do mean that I might be done looking for others confirmations of me or matching upto their expectations. All I am is comfortable in the individual that I am. And I choose to own it up.