Saturday, April 02, 2011

The Me in Me

Like a graceful bird cutting through the sky, the thought gently glided by and perched firmly onto my mind, fluffing and wrapping its gossamer wings around me. Now, I constantly feel the feathers hugging me; a shivery flutter of reminder at times, and at times a warm shawl tugging at my neck. Having sensed this presence growing heavier on me in the last several months, that I can no longer ignore or shrug it away.

Feeling the contours of this thought, I recognize its familiarity and ingrained truth. It doesn’t feel like an epiphany, for there was no bolt of realization that pierced me. The thought steadily took form and alighted on the right part of my mind at the right time, goading me to face the truth that I have stopped being “me” to someone very dear.

Having pondered for inordinate amounts of time on what constitutes the self, the core of an individual independent of the body, I have come up with numerous theories. I have always looked at myself and have been able to connect with that “inner me”, to justify these theories. But I have never tried to verbalize, in precise words, in terms of traits and characteristics, who this “inner me” is. However now, when you, the very person who felt and knew “me” even before I became a complex mass of cells and developed any semblance of awareness of myself, accuses me of changing, bemoans the loss of the “true me”, and no longer wants to get close to this “different” me, I am forced to try and find words to make sense of this conundrum when “I” no longer am "me"  to someone.

I have been told (in not so many words) that I have changed in many ways - the way I look, the way I dress, the way I talk, the way I behave, the way I act, and the way I think. And they are all true - I have indeed changed in all of these areas. I have to concede that you're making a genuine and valid point about “me” not being “me” anymore. Besides, it is true that the above attributes are the main identifiers of a person, or a personality, and it’s dubious for one to assert that they are still innately the same despite all these changes to their external and internal self. But how can I grasp at that fuzzy feeling of identity choking my guts, how should I yank it out and show it to myself and you, and say - “Look I am the same!”

Change is an unavoidable consequence of life. I tell myself that although I have indeed changed, it is more of an evolution, even an improvisation. True, I haven’t “improved” in so many aspects, and have surely fallen back on many, but I realize that my changes were with the aim of bettering myself and my survival. Isn’t such a betterment of myself a good thing? I remind myself that I worked hard to discard some stubborn old ways and pushed myself to the edge to develop vital characteristics - such as a thick skin, and the ability to talk well, talk right, and talk smart to the right people at the right place, at the right time. And yes, my thinking process has changed in leaps and bounds, thanks to my books, my education, and the cherished people around me who have prodded, kindled, probed, hammered, and stretched the limits of my thinking. It follows that my behavior, actions, and speech have accordingly reformed.

In essence, I have been growing, experiencing, realizing, evolving, and maturing. I tell myself this is part of life. I am glad that I could shed off the persona of the painfully shy, wide-eyed, all-trusting, guileless eighteen year old. Yet, you, whose love and approval I value and crave so much, remain stuck in the memories of the eighteen year old and the three year old, who saw the world in black and white, and regarded the virtue of unquestioning obedience as the mantra of life. I don’t know how to make you see me, as I am now, and as I have always been - connected to you.

Whimpering on this side, I want to argue that the core of my interactions, my love, affection, and concern for you have never changed. But the arguments are endless. Like the old philosophical riddle of the sock with a growing hole - I don’t know if the several new pleats of yarn that are stitched in to patch my old holes will make me a brand “new” sock. Can I hang onto the last frayed thread and still claim - I am the same old me? Or can I argue that no matter what type of different yarns I am weaved in, no matter the colors, the patterns, my blueprint is always the same - I am still a sock. The sock you knit. Of a certain structure, and of a certain purpose, and that will never change.

5 comments:

Suvasini.... said...

A very thought provoking post raising a very existential question...

I guess, I can answer the questions you raise if I replace my "self" with the tree which grew out of a single seed, went through several seasons and changes and became a new person every spring, but it remained in some ways the same tree. It had the same type of leaves, it flowered at the same times and gave the same kind of fruits...

Or maybe consider the caterpillar which metamorphosed into the butterfly....

They are the same beings, but change is built into them. The same way, change is a part of us and is built into us. But just like the tree and the caterpillar, there is also something which stays constant....

PS - didnt know about the socks metaphor but agree with you completely....

Srishti said...

Deep thoughts!
" I am the same old me? Or can I argue that no matter what type of different yarns I am weaved in, no matter the colors, the patterns, my blueprint is always the same - I am still a sock. The sock you knit." awesome lines neeru :) At least you have progressed to try to give a definition of the Me. I am still finding the "Me" in me :) The questions I face are different. "why are not like every other normal girl ? " my only answer is it's bcos I am not them and as a point of fact there's no single definition of "the other girl". Each of us have our own blueprint which does not alter in essence but only in application. (as you mentioned).

Neeraja said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Suvasini. Change is indeed the only constant in life, and we are always in some state of metamorphosis, but it's still hard to point at "perceivable", "measurable" quantifiers of the constant thread in us.

Thanks Srishti. Never ever try to compare your inner "you" with any measure of normalcy! There is no such measure nor definition of normalcy. It's complicated enough to figure yourself out, why muddle it with such self-imposed yardsticks on normalcy? :). I can tell you this - You ARE as normal as normal can be :)

Anonymous said...

Just stumbled into your posts...and read a couple of them.. they are lovely :)

Neeraja said...

Thanks Anonymous, for your visit and kind comment :)