It’s so bizarre how life can work sometimes.
I spent pretty much every day trying to conceptualize the perfect entry to re-emerge as a different, enlightened individual. Striven to be more motivated, ambitious and social, I brainstormed mentally, agonizingly, everyday to just try and find the right words. The correct sentences. Everything that encapsulated my emotions, my feelings in a way that wasn’t as pretentious as past entries but still retained the youthful humour I put into everything; of the struggling, socially anxious person that I am. The complex contractions and tragic ironies of feeling lost love, grieving over a person I’ve kept a complete secret to even those closest to me whose ascent into the unknown has led me to question everything in my life. The tribulations that rival Shakespeare in misfortune, both humourless and comical. Perhaps I’m being a little dramatic. As I’ve preached to many already; tragedy is highly subjective. Although I still weep for those where their days are ruined by an unsatisfactory coffee when it’s clear tea and ONLY tea is the answer.
One of the flaws in this mindset comes from the dehumanization of the self when we engage and discuss about “enlightenment” and the re-imagining of the self. Every birthday and every day that comes upon rarely transforms us to a completely different person. At the age of 18, where we are expected to meet maturity due to the social designs we have learned, where somehow the finality of puberty and the beginnings of being culturally appropriated into the “adult” world; I ask, does anyone really feel any different for just turning 18? And even if you do, do you feel completely different?
When we reinvent ourselves, or when we are told that there is a reinvention of someone else; I feel we immediately think about the extremities. “Sally’s lost heaps of weight, she’s almost like a different person!” as an example (albeit facetious as it may seem). Why do we say these things? What are we expecting? Perhaps because of the weight she’s lost, she might be nicer around the office and stop telling sob stories about her struggles about being accepted? Maybe she’ll stop sending us cat videos on facebook and invites to games we never and would never play even if there was any intrinsic, positive value into playing them. To any sane person; that girl is still Sally and just because she’s lost weight doesn’t mean the changes are inherently linked with us. And the more and more I think about it, transformation is less likely caused by the people who judge, but more about the conscious decision of the individual who wishes to “change”. Whatever Sally’s motives are, it’s quite narcissistic of us to place ourselves at the immediate speculators and judge her for things she decides to focus on.
The more and more I think about it, the dilemma seems clearer but nonetheless complicated, like a natural, human struggle. We consciously have to keep consolidating and revitalizing ourselves to break old habits and reinforcing new ones at the face of everything – those that go against us, those that support us and anything that we engage ourselves in. The reasons why I hesitate on the many numerous projects I set myself up in wanting to accomplish this year; is that beautiful saying “old habits die hard,” but not only that but also; that it’s a conscious battle to pursue things. A cerebral battlefield where the anxieties, external influences and any possible engagement you have with anything conflate and become a rigorous obstacle to just pull through. Some ambitions only chip away at the obstacle of being fully “self-actualized”, while others just being possible misdirections that lead us only to where we started; the displacement of zero. So why, do we give people such a hard time for wanting to change? Why do we expect something so astronomically different to what they were? And more importantly, why do we even bother?
The fight to be free. To prove the point that we aren’t shackled by our bad habits or trapped by apathy. Growing up, I’ve realized that a lot of “the struggle” we people face is concept of being “free”. The ability to enact agency; to do what we want to and have the resources to being able to do whatever we want and be anything that we want. Ironically, those resources and that freedom involves being committed to something that compromises that freedom; that part time job to get some money, that gym membership to lose weight, buying presents for your girlfriend in hopes she’ll never leave. All these things we commit to for the hopes of change. Change being the symbolic value, the “money” if you will that enforces that fact that we’ve made it and that it has real world consequences to ourselves and how we interact and engage with the world. A fear I have with the world is how nowadays, it is much easier to be discouraging and damage someone who tries to incorporate something different. The freedom fighter analogy suits well here – of social justice blinded by being the real terrorism that they preach to be against. Of false idols that charm and sway the public of just acting on instinct rather than rationality. Of people who act with automatic control and have the ball in their court and shoot missiles without thinking about the repercussions of their actions. The brilliance of this irony is that it’s so easy to get trapped in such a cycle and that fighting ourselves to get out of it only exacerbates this problem.
What does it mean to be free? To be able to create change whenever possible without being restricted to anything. Semantically, we are all born restricted with no true freedoms except for the ones we can purchase and enact. So why do we fight for it so hard? Because I suppose it’s better than to have absolutely nothing. We are the conscious hoarders of the best possible product in our perceptions. Those best possible products are our dreams, whether realized or not. And having a failed dream still gives a life meaning, rather than having nothing and having a life meaning nothing.
// Finality //
One of the other struggles I felt was the pretentiousness of what I was about to write.
It didn’t feel completely honest like when we all come up with new years resolutions. Although I do have a hunch that even those that seemed to protest to be against the idea of resolutions secretly have them in their minds like dirty little secrets that they don’t want to reveal. Although that’s purely speculation, from my experience a little probing can be quite revealing. To be completely honest, the blueprint of the post was already done but there wasn’t any motivation to write something that wasn’t raw and true. As “snobbish” and “artistic” as that sounds, the truth of the matter was that these thoughts about the meaning of transformations cluttered my head and made me doubt the changes and ambitions I wanted to live up to.
Even though it’s only been the start of the year, this year feels like both a beginning and a finality to so many things. Things are drifting further and further away and things have become more fleeting. Youth, family, stability, innocence. Things that seem to be stripping away which seem to make these ambitions seem all the more elusive and the farewells all the more sadder. Legends dying left and right where transformations and “changes” out of our control seem to make things more difficult and make me realize how limited our freedom really is both spiritually and temporally, not only politically. Where decisions seem to matter more and mistakes are forgiven much less. A life yet to still be lived and love that still remains uncharted. A melancholic sense of finality that seems to taint what a true beginning seems like. A naive assumption that there’s still all the time in the world to achieve anything and there’s still a long way to go before it ends.
I learned that those things that seem to jeopardize our ideal dreams, things that taint shouldn’t really be seeing as “tainting purity”, but where purity is ironically something not just of the absence of undesirable things, but challenges are pure in the intent of how they can change everything.
I was at the beach with my friends at midnight for a friends birthday. And as they spoke, I gazed out of the barely visible horizon hearing the rush of small tides and realizing it life is a marvelous contradiction of beautiful beginnings and ends.