Saturday, October 07, 2006

"Who are you?"

I am fascinated by how one single question, can open up a million doors of exploration.

"What is my purpose in life?"
"What are my goals?"
"What are my beliefs?"
"What kind of person am I?"
"What kind of person do I want to be?"

And why do we never ask the questions that matter?

"How are you coping?"
"Are you happy?"
"No, really, are you?"

What strikes me is the fact that our similarities as human beings are what draws us away from each other. We carry bags after bags of loneliness, emptiness, pain, and anguish. We carry luggages and trunks of identical desires, "I want to love myself. I want to be loved by others." And most interestingly, we deal with these burdens in the exact same way- We bury them, hide them away from the eyes of the world and pretend that they don't belong to us; they don't exist at all. We put on a perfect disguise. We are happy. We are wonderfully happy. How are we? How are we doing? Oh we're fine, we're fine. We will always be fine. As unbearable and as exhausting as that suitcase of sorrow is, we will struggle (under the disguise of stoicalness) to carry it all by ourselves; we carry it with the fear and stigma of ugly and terribly unspeakable shame.

We are afraid. We are always afraid. We are afraid to love, afraid of intimacy, afraid of opening up completely. We are afraid to be seen as overly dependent or vulnerable. We are afraid to show that we care, that we care too much about someone or something. We are afraid of each other. We must be polite, but detached. We must smile, but not give anything away. We are nice people. Nice and even friendly, but guarded. It seems that the only thing that drives us and yet pushes us away, is fear- fear that borders on paranoia and self-consciousness and insecurity.

Consider this: If you are feeling tired, if you are feeling down, chances are, the person beside you or around you is feeling the same thing. He, or she, is just like you. In fact, he, or she, is so much like you that when your walls start coming up, you can be certain that his or her walls have come up as well, or have been constructed long before you even begun.

But you have to protect yourself. You cannot afford to get hurt. You know what it means to get hurt. You know how it feels like, or have come so close to something that resembles the acridly stinging sensation it gives. You are fragile, and yet you are strong. You have flaws, but you have strengths as well. You are a walking paradox and an unfathomable mystery. You are human. But so is he, and so is she. We are the same naked and wounded strangers, blind and crying for help, walking aimlessly in the dark unpenetrable corners of our thoughts and emotions which preys on us and threatens to devour us. We curl up like balls in our own unreachable hiding places, where the only thing that separates us from each other, is a thin paper wall. We hear the sighs and whispers of wishes of the prisoners in our neighbouring cages and think they belong to us. Are we really so different now? Are we really alone? Maybe one day you might even forget who is who and which is which, and reach out to touch the person next to you.

No comments: