Coming from a small town I grew up seeing the same people grow old everyday. The traditions, customs, culture and values people make, which often makes people into who they are was installed in me way back then during those formative years I regretfully feel. Whether I regret for it now doesn’t matter; having developed an almost instinct with which I react rather than respond to what happens in my present environment which questions my every thought and move.
Strong, stringent and compulsory mores, morale, and code of conduct I did know and I did adhere to then; more for acceptance than for attention. Everything everyone said seemed to be acceptable and undeniably true with my vulnerability taking a drive on the front seat. Assurance was on the high. All that I had to do to be good enough was to adhere. Adhere to those little conditional acceptance people render us with. Yet what is good enough? And who decides and who lets them? These are questions for which we already have the answer and yet re-question like futile idiots in the pretext of having an intellectual coffee-table conversation.
Isn’t it we who submit ourselves to the markings of others to recheck our position? Doesn’t it bother us when someone condemns us? Don’t we feel guilty when we breach a code of conduct?
This was the situation that seemed like a long time ago, until recently. The day I came out of this place I considered as figurative as it might seem a narrow, mean strip of land urging people to fit into its conditional boxes laid on the dead weight of the people who must have made them, I saw changes. Changes that offered me choices that often shook me, making me feel a misfit in many occasions in various environments. Often to grace the occasion there was a compulsive demand on me to relax, test and let go those values I held close like a lump of dirty piece of clothing tied together in order to wear the tuxedos the elite crowd offered. What surprised me was how different the elite world is in different parts of the world. Values were lost in arrogance rather than ignorance. Many times it was a willful challenge that I endured. Brutality persisted as I had to ignore the guilt in trespassing into the land I was always warned never to enter.
Today I look back and feel that I can be marked a total misfit by the society I came from sans guilt from my side as I stand without any defense or rather a need for one with every turn I took as I tried to test myself in the world of challenges, to be more precise the test of values, encores deeming everything I did in the process either immoral or illegal.
Though I must still confess that values haunt me today like midnight's ghost, as I look back like a child whose candy has just fallen on the sand, quite sad it is to know that I stand belonging to neither world; not to the carefully screening world that made me neither to the scornfully scrutinizing world that challenges. Every step I took in the adopted world in the urban jungle was a fight-a fight for survival I must say. Every step I took was a step closer to criticism and condemn. Often commented and rather compelled to leave behind the values in the same dingy place I came from. In this exalted my performance to find my point of display in every given situation with my constant tryst with nature and nurture. Called to please my audience, a pretender I turned out to be hiding behind masks and more masks and more and more masks-till I could recognize my face no more.
Civility is as cruel as barbarism; the tender line we walk in between them as we take a stand on our way wanting to do something and the way we are expected to do it decides who we are. And often we end up cheating our instinct with compulsive forces acting on our behalf, directing and drawing us to curtail ourselves to packages in which the rest of the world can perceive us to fit into with due respect to their limited knowledge or need to know who we are.
Skin and identity politics and confluence of intellectual risings that erupt as for discussions and self-reflection in the dark alleys in the get-away dens in the lost, inebriated urban world amidst an arbitrating, margarita and scotch-sipping, hookah-smoking crowd of power-seeking mongrels, same as I, further questioned me in different thresholds of chronic dissatisfaction and suburban drudgery, giving reality checks in willful checkpoints I rolled into; only to understand that as one spreads across into a wider space, one gets tiny and feels a sense of belonging to the place from where one took wings; eventually to feel like dropping down dead while soaring high on realizing the fact that having taken off, the identity I seek is already lost in the same place where I seek it in. Values that made me that I questioned, questioned me when I thought I made myself into something beyond it. Hahaha!... Stood I there questioned and questionable… unpardoned by me more than anyone else.
Bottomline: "Trying to be an open book knowing for sure that even an open book opens up to only two pages"-Own