One of the reasons why we might be driven to express is to be understood. And the thing with communication between two people is the existence of the second person. Where my experience with the two-or-more person communication has mostly been stifling, exasperating, frustrating...or more.
Stifling, because the presence of another person curbs expression, in thought, in speech, or both.
Exasperating, because unless the other person does not care about you, there will be give-away moments. Facial expressions that convey approval, disapproval, I have an opinion but I'll let it pass this once, etc.
Frustrating, because no matter how good their intentions are, they will be given to a few interceptions - sometimes breaking the flow, or interjecting it with their world view.
So it nearly never serves the purpose. Of being heard, felt, experienced, and understood, as is.
That's why, some of us resort to writing reflections. Rather than aligning our thoughts and feelings and their expression to whose listening, we throw out the expressions to whoever's listening, or not.
For some other things that we want to write about, we have spaces floating on the internet, with non-identifiable labels...so no one can trace them back to us. I do that, for some of the things I need to express. Not to say that every reflection has a shady parallel version to it. But yes, some of the things I feel and think of, I wouldn't be very comfortable (or confident) claiming. Not to people I know.
There is yet another level. The thoughts and feelings that you don't acknowledge even (or most?) to yourself. They need no space.
It is with this belief, despite the reverence I feel for the written word, that I hold biographies and autobiographies in some disregard. Just the concept, I believe, is in violation of the basic tenets of writing, honesty and integrity. I think anybody who claims otherwise is either in denial, or is being false. To my mind, when someone writes an autobiography, they either have a desperate need to deny who they really are. Or they want to acknowledge and claim as their own, what rightfully is not theirs to claim. I believe that it is not possible to take away the "aspiration" of you from this process. This would be an inherent inflection in a narrative of yourself.
I believe, that in this world, there does not exist an auto -biography or -biographer, that would have been not infiltrated by this aspiration. When aspiration treads on reality, expressions blur. This backed with the compulsion (helplessness?) to see things the way you wish they were rather than what they are. Add to that that we all have an image of who we are, who we ought to be, or have been. And what you have is a very heady cocktail.
When you go down one step (further), you have a biography; an autobiography that has been processed and channelized through a foreign body. Does not even merit an evaluation, I believe.
Getting back to the part about expressing with the objective of being understood. Two things come to mind.
Are you looking at being interpreted or intercepted? Are your thoughts getting out through the readers untouched and undiluted. Or are they travelling through the recesses of the readers' mind and life experiences and assuming a different shape and form.
And by someone or no one in particular? You're probably doing this to feel connected and understood. By the world, or by someone out there in the world. Reflections afford you an intense opportunity to express and create a connection to the world...of the present, as also of the future. One hundred years from now, if someone were to read your words, you would live again, fleetingly or perhaps forever. I know some of the words that I've read will not go with me to the grave, they will leave me at my grave and move on, carried by the soul into my remaining life times.
So perhaps you live on, not because or whether you have been interpreted for what you are, but more for how profoundly you have affected or stirred someone.
What makes for a profound, deep, and defining moment of truth for you, somebody's already beaten you to it. Someone out there would have already figured it out and made peace with it. And you're still grappling with the elementary. So perhaps elementary is relative to experience.
I remember when I was young, I couldn't wait to grow up. To me growing up was about having all the answers. Grown ups look so confident, like they knew it all. But you need only to grow up yourself to be able to see the chinks.
-a- you don't still know everything there is to know -b- some of the things you thought you had figured out, get tossed back in your face and -c- the feeling starts to sneak up that the ones you think are still with you, are waiting to be tossed back, at the right time
Does living a few decades more give you an edge? An added insight into life? Or does it serve to twist your worldview. Maybe what you started with is really all there is to it. Maybe all of your experiences serve to take you away from the basics - the real thing. But why would someone design it backwards. Isn't the whole point to be going forwards, and not backwards?
Are your view points more valid because you have some experiences as a frame of reference for them. Or more warped?
Like tough times. People say that when you've seen tough times, you know what it takes the next time around. But I don't know. At least not for me. Since I have lived a certain kind of hardship, the possibility of having to re-live it makes me crumble. I'm fatigued and worn out right at the start, where you would expect to be best poised for whatever happens.
Me, I'm good at handling things the first time round. When I don't know what's hit me. And I have no frame of reference for the experience. But when you know, how do you do it all over again?
But as with everything in life, it's not that things don't make sense because some things are not meant to. I believe everything is meant to make sense.
The point is, do you get it?
Sometimes you know it in words, but for lack of a corresponding experience, you don't get it. Some of the other times, you have had the experience, but you haven't found the right set of words, to put it all together, therefore you don't get it.
Either I didn't "really really" want what I wanted, or the universe was busy, conspiring over something else, someone else wanted.
And there's no recourse. It's not like you want something, you don't get it, you can go somewhere and ask why, how, and what next.
And since I'm left to work this out for myself, I think the options would be -a- to lick my wounds and resurface, or -b- want something else and focus all I got.
-a- works for me for now. I don't think I want to focus on anything in specific for a while. I'll take a break.
Because before I return, I want to be able to get just the "right" amount of want, for the next round. I think the problem with focusing too hard is that the harder you want it, the more of you you need to apply. The more of you you apply, the more the stakes. And the more the stakes, the more irrepairably you ***** up.
But if you didn't want it that much in the first place, you hardly deserve to get it. There are far more deserving people out there, waiting, hanging on to their wants for dear life.
And if you allowed yourself to want it really really bad, aah! it is so going to crush you, when it doesn't happen. It'll make you wish you'd eased out on the intensity a bit.
I do that. No matter how much I want something, I try and play it cool. It's this liitle game I play. God knows who I manage to fool. But it makes feel like I'm on top of it. Gives me a sense of control.
Getting back to the universe not conspiring for me.
When I'm disappointed, I slow down. I lie low. I go to a very quiet place in the head. I don't let meaningless activity keep me busy. I soak in what I feel. I spend time with it. If I don't, I feel cluttered.
You're probably not acutely aware of it at all times, but you're on your own. Life goes on, keeping up the pace and the rhythm, no matter what. Unconcerned, uncaring, unaffected. Label it what you like. You could have dropped off the edge, nobody's stopping for you. So while you do slow down, you might want to get back, fast. You stop or drop the pace for too long, who knows if you'll be able to catch up.
And no matter how many deadlines you have, how many gizmos you own, and how many friends rally around you, your disappointment still gets to you. There is something so incredulously unbelievable and surreal about a disappointment. It's like its not really happening to you.
It tugs at your heart. Every once in a while, in all the clutter and confusion and the noise. It tugs at you. And it makes you stop in your tracks. Thats the power of silence. It blots out all noise.
That's the place I like to be in when I'm disappointed.
I believe that if you give yourself time, space, and the luxury of looking back, for most of us, there's a lot that we've left behind. All in the process of tid-ing over, letting go, and moving on.
So I'm wondering - if that is what I'm going to have for my life's work?
That I tid-ed over. I let go. And that I moved on.
And then if I'm going to be moving on from everything, what am I going to be moving on to, eventually? Does that sound strange to anybody else?
Seems to me that some of us (here I'm going to include others like me), are trying hard to get past events, unscathed, as least affected as possible. That assumes a fair amount of importance in all life events.
Not to say that to experience life to its fullest potential you need to pine for things
That you need to be vibrating at just 2 levels - devastated with grief and want, or elated with joy
That you have to let go of yourself completely with a complete disregard to saneness of mind and other trivia
That everything in life that is worth having, should be fought for
That well-fought is well-lived
Not even to say that you need to invent demons and fight imaginary battles to feel purposeful and fulfilled
But to give up on something you want so there are no battles to fight?
To steel yourself against feeling, wanting, needing, reaching out, striving and laboring to get what you want...
To focus on getting over more than going for what you want, I'm not so sure.
If we're all living marginal lives and getting by, who then gets to live life kingsize?
What is it - adaptation, self-preservation, evolution, sanity, happiness, fear?
When you look back at yourself, how much of you do you still recognize. You ricochet through life, preserving your sanity and happiness, and whats left is a somewhat guarded, protected, and perhaps impaired (dysfunctional?) version of what you set out with. I'm sure we all started out good. Along the way, something happened. And it all perhaps started with wanting to protect ourselves from getting hurt.
And I believe some of it's also got to do with modern living. Life no longer affords you the luxury to feel everything you experience, like it used to, once upon a time. Once upon a time there was far more time and far less opportunities for distractions. So if something were to happen to you, you would live every bit of it. You couldn't escape it. Now, things are different. Now you have to make a concerted effort to feel. Life is busy. Even if you try and hold on to some thing, there are things in the queue, jostling for space and your attention. So you constantly need to be making space for the next thing. Things are happening practically back-to-back.
Sounds like a lot of muddle.
Me, I like to guard my past, obstinately. Does my life become any less important if I let go of the past, if I do not, to my mind, make it mean something? Perhaps.
Letting go is perhaps the hardest. I'm sure not just for me. You lose some to life and then you lose some to death. And it doesn't matter who you've lost out to. Letting go is hard. I remember when Dad passed away, after the initial disbelief and sense of loss, I was far more traumatized with the possibility that one day, I would have completely forgotten him. He would cease to have relevance for me. His memory would become distant, non-real, non-urgent. He would no longer be the most important person in my life. Is this what his life's work is going to add up to? What a waste.
Was I caught up in mortality or was I grieving for him?
Letting go feels like betrayal. Does holding on make you loyal. In making someone else's life amount to something, are you hoping that someone else will return the favor one day. What does upholding your loyalty add up to?
I think the first defense we all take when we lose someone (I know I do), is that you don't want to forget. As if that's your pound of flesh. Fine, you've taken something away from me, but I'm never going to forget! So that's that.
But it happens. All the time. To the best of us.
I think if you give time, and you go with the flow rather than obstruct it, and you don't be obstinate about it, when a person's been gone long, I'm not sure if their life amounts to anything anymore. And I know that thinking this way about Dad atleast, makes me very sad. He's not so frequent in my memory any more. And this despite the fact that I fought so hard.
I remember early on, when a day used to go by without remembering him, I would take out his snaps and go over them. Just to relive what his presence was like. I fought hard, not to forget him. I'm not sure if forget is the right word. I haven't forgotten him. But yes, he's not a part of my life any more. Not in the way he was back then.
Its been 12 yrs now, and he was a part of my life for 23 yrs - every single day for those 23 yrs. He was constant, and he was larger than life. And yet, it took just a couple of years for other things to fill in the spaces. And this happened when he was, to me, the best-est and the most important person in my life.
I acknowledge my debt to him. I am indebted to him for the life I live, the values I have, the eccentricities I'm known for. Everything. I'm everything he made me. I'm completely his upbringing. All that's good and strong about me, that makes me proud of me, I trace back to him. And with every life incident, there is, to this day, something that he said then, that fits even now. That's how he was. Not someone you could put on the shelf.
Yet, there are no hollow spaces where he used to be. They've all filled up. He's gone, truly.
Getting back, does not lasting make the experience futile? It should not. But it makes me very uncomfortable.
If you were to peel the layers, maybe we have a compelling need to see meaning. Everything needs to have meant something, to have added up to something.
And till the time I saw death up close, I always imagined that life only terminates at logical points. At the end of a milestone, or when you've done your life's work, or as an outcome of something fairly significant. But in real life you could practically die mid-sentence. And that one sentence could have been the most profound thing you would have ever said.
That's the urgency of death. Life's urgencies pale in comparison.
What could be more important than life, you'd think. Where are we headed with death anyway? Whats the rush? With life, at least there's something that you still need to be doing. And not all of it can wait for another lifetime.
But no, that's not how the higher logic flows. Looks like life is practically in the way of something far more important and urgent.
Getting back to the part about wishing and conspiring. I love fairy tales. I love them and I believe in them. It's not quite working out that way right now for me, but eventually, it will.
In one of my recent conversations with God I said a prayer "If there is such a thing as magic, give me my moment of magic." Even if the moment is one, per person, per lifetime - I think I would like to have mine now.
I'm a believer.
The whole universe, will, one day, for sure, conspire to make possible for me what I really really want.
If not, the whole universe will conspire to lead me to, what I should want next.
I think when you're done with one want, life plants another seed in your heart, it makes the sun shine on it, and the rains water it for you. All so it adds up, to a big beautiful tree.
Life doesn't give up on you, ever, I think. But when you become sticky, it serves to discourage good things from happening to you. You constrict your heart, and life constricts the experiences and joys it had planned for you.
So while life might not really go the way you think it should go, it takes you somewhere you need to be, I believe.
This could be real. Or this could be delusional. Or this could just be my obstinacy, to see meaning and purpose, where none exists.
Baby this one's for you. You asked me if I was going to write about you. I just did. I don't know how much of you you're going to be able to see in this, but for all that it's worth, this one's for you.
It started with you in mind. But of course, there's no stopping a thought, once it starts. It assumes a life and a trajectory completely of its own making.
And while all of it is for you, you're welcome to take what you like. But if you were to allow me to pick a part for you, it would be the one about marginal versus kingsize.