The Three Mistakes Of My Thirties

Today is the last day of The Thirty Diaries, a series I started a little over a decade ago. Tomorrow, I turn 40, a number that brings its share of weight in the form of platitudes and stereotypes, some of which I’ve already encountered and battled. I am not sure if there will be a Forty Diaries. For starters, I don’t know how long I will continue to blog and in this manner. I don’t know if anybody else will be interested in the ruminations of an over-40 single woman. I’m not sure that journaling my ageing is going to serve the same purpose it did when I was in my 20s or 30s. And most of all, I don’t see any reason to start a new decade with references of the past.

It has certainly been a hard decade. It only became clear to me in the last few weeks that the past ten years of my life have been marked and influenced by three major relationships – one romantic, one friendship, one professional. All three of them were toxic in exactly the same way. They all started with people who were seemingly enamoured with me suddenly and dramatically. People who did not have a pattern of such behaviour (or claimed they did not). The attention, affection, adulation was heady. It turned my head every time.

In the second phase of this pattern, I fell headlong into some kind of close involvement with the person. Every one of these people told me about what a strong person I was, how they admired/looked up to me. And in every one of those cases, I let that adulation lull me into letting them drive the other parts of my life. I let go of other people because they didn’t like them. I changed my appearance, my dating habits, my ideologies, even my health regime to please them. And some part of me still struggles to see these as bad – don’t we all do things like these for the people we love? Maybe I do it too much and for too long. I am aware of that and how that gets labelled toxic. The thing is nobody is able to tell me at exactly what point it stops being accommodating and starts becoming toxic.

The reason these three relationships stand out as a pattern to me is because of how they ended. Every single one of them involved a violent and sudden betrayal by the other person. Certifiable abuse, lying, exploitation and in one case, physical violence.

The first relationship started when I was probably in the best place in my life till that time. I was 30, financially independent, had quit a successful corporate career and had ventured out into something I felt a lot of passion for. I was also single and not joint at the hip to any friendship the way a lot of women are, being that the one person that might have happened with had got married and moved to another continent. This one I’ve analysed over and over again and I conclude that I fell prey to a carefully planned trap by somebody whose only intention was to exploit me – specifically my gender to keep away social pressures. The plan worked well – charm, isolate, gaslight, control, violate and finally exploit. I guess it wasn’t really that sudden after all if the intent was always to go down this path.

I guess I was primed for another exploitative person who definitely saw me as a trophy. This one was interesting because it made it clearer how a toxic woman operates differently from a toxic man. First the mirroring that made me think we had a lot more in common than we actually did – ideologies and interests. Then the subtle(r) transition into controlling my actions – people and activities. Suddenly there was no one who remembered me from before I met this person, because they had all been distanced. And everyone who I was in constant contact with, had been introduced into my life by this person. They had been chosen for how quickly they’d turn on me with complete control by this person – or perhaps they were also being similarly ‘managed’. I never had a whiff of how I was being manipulated. I can’t believe how completely I was fooled. For instance, this person made astrology a daily part of our conversations, referring to people in conversations as ‘You know, that Taurus thing’ or ‘Typical Scorpio behaviour’ or ‘Piscean? Has to be terrible’. This person’s own sign is known for manipulation and lies and still I went along, semi-indulgently and perhaps because it felt comfortable and easy to do so. I feel like an idiot and a lazy one at that. It really only struck me when during this person’s exit, one of their attacks was “Everything has to be astrology for you. Get over that and take responsibility for your own life.” Libra sure knows how to gift-wrap deceit and spray perfume atop callousness.

My third mistake even warned me that they were going to hurt me. Mental illness is the latest buzzword the way gay rights was about a decade ago. Make no mistake, I believe there is a need for each of these causes to exist. I’m aware (as I was ten years ago) that misinformation and co-opting larger causes for personal agenda are par for the course. And it is still true that there will be people who use their existence in the cause to justify their terrible behaviour. A decade ago, someone stalked and harassed me (including suggesting that I’d change my mind about being straight if I spent a night with them) and when I said no, they put it out that I was a homophobe and lost me some friendships and work. Most recently, I’ve been called insensitive to mentally ill people, systematically harassed out of a space that I introduced the above person to and had strangers sicced on to me claiming that I’m saying terrible things about them. The reason this relationship makes it to this list is that this one also followed the adulation-mirroring-identification-control-attack model.

I’ve spent the first half of this year allowing myself to sit in the wreckage left behind by these people. I have been afraid to speak to anyone or even write because each of those brought on a fresh assaulter in the past ten years. But seeing them in a pattern gives me courage. Patterns have always felt like a safe space to me. This is going to sound odd but recently I’ve been involved in a discussion about how mathematics is perceived and communicated. It made me reflect on what about the subject appealed to me. And it is part of what let me tap into something that I’ve always been good at, something that has given me a profession and an emotional bedrock through things that would have killed me – patterns.

I don’t necessarily know how to break a pattern once I’ve spotted it. But maybe plugging the gaps where a toxic person like this finds a way to get in, is a start. I don’t trust adulation anymore, which probably explains why I’m not as interested in going on stage these days. The trouble is it’s difficult to separate adulation from simple admiration or even affection. It took me long enough to break the terrible pattern of love = insults (no thank you, years of gaslighting Hollywood and rape culture Bollywood). So…I don’t know. But that’s okay because it just means I still have work to do. Maybe accepting that is part of owning being 40.

It occurs to me that there is a cheesy kind of symmetry in there being three major mistakes in the third decade of my life. I also wonder what my life would have looked like without these people. I did a lot of things in this decade but all of these things are inextricably linked to these people – because they participated in these, because they pushed me to these or because I took these on to escape/heal from these people. I suppose there is a lesson there about how they happened for a reason but I don’t want to glorify the existence of toxicity. I am done doing that and I deserve to be happy and successful without having to deal with abuse, manipulation or violence to be so. I guess I’ll never know. Can someone invent time travel already? Maybe by 2029.

Image via Pixabay

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You Don’t Know Me

We’ve spoken. You’ve looked at me and I, at you. You probably thought of me later. Weeks or months later, remembering, wondering why you remembered. If that thought made you smile, and I think it did, yes, I’m that one. And if it worried you, don’t anymore. It was just my perfume, a light scent that you barely notice but it lingers. Just like me.

We’ve had a conversation. We both listened. We both heard. Except you were listening to a recording. And I was listening for the raw, rough notes of being human. I found it in your breaths that were too loud and the sighs that weren’t. I know how to do that. What you heard was just the white noise before a song begins and then you don’t notice it anymore. The song you wanted to sing, that you were always going to sing and I let you. I spoke a lot but I never said a thing.

We’ve touched in ways minor and dramatic. We’ve collided. We’ve danced. But you won’t catch my fingerprints anywhere in your life. Only inside your mind and maybe not even that. You never looked at my hands.

You may think this entails an understanding between us. That’s partly true. You see, I understand you. I wanted to. But you never dived beneath the surface, never peeled back a smile layer or listened beyond my words to my pauses. You don’t know me. You don’t know me at all. 

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YOU DON'T KNOW ME We've spoken. You've looked at me and I, at you. You probably thought of me later. Weeks or months later, remembering, wondering why you remembered. If that thought made you smile, and I think it did, yes, I'm that one. And if it worried you, don't anymore. It was just my perfume, a light scent that you barely notice but it lingers. Just like me. We've had a conversation. We both listened. We both heard. Except you were listening to a recording. And I was listening for the raw, rough notes of being human. I found it in your breaths that were too loud and the sighs that weren't. I know how to do that. What you heard was just the white noise before a song begins and then you don't notice it anymore. The song you wanted to sing, that you were always going to sing and I let you. I spoke a lot but I never said a thing. We've touched in ways minor and dramatic. We've collided. We've danced. But you won't catch my fingerprints anywhere in your life. Only inside your mind and maybe not even that. You never looked at my hands. You may think this entails an understanding between us. That's partly true. You see, I understand you. I wanted to. But you never dived beneath the surface, never peeled back a smile layer or listened beyond my words to my pauses. You don't know me. You don't know me at all. 📸: @unstable_elemnt 🎶: YOU DON'T KNOW ME – Cindy Walker 1964 #theideasmithy #city #cityliving #citylife #Urbanliving #urbanperspectives #lonelycity #identity #intimacy #loneliness #lonelygirl #solitude #defencemechanism #emotional #emotions #relating #relationships #people #introspection #life #living

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Where I Lay My Hands, Is Home

Much gets said about the frenzied pace of a metropolis and its coldness. But every big city is an organism of parallel layers, bubbles even, that jostle along, seemingly oblivious to the others’ presence. My city is Tinsel Town, it’s the financial capital, it’s the safest city, it’s a port, a tropical island, an organised crime base, a place starved for time and space and a mental border between South and North India. I inhabit a few of these bubbles and only occasionally, with great effort, do I cross over to the others. Because they are all Mumbai and anything that is Mumbai is mine to witness, to touch and experience and love.

In 2009, the BMC, Mumbai’s civic body invited citizens to come paint the walls of an arterial road abutting the railway track. I jumped at the opportunity to splash paint and spend a day on the streets. A lot of friendships were made that day that we spent whitewashing, priming and rendering street art on the rough wall of Tulsi Pipe Road.

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WHERE I LAY MY HANDS, IS HOME Much gets said about the frenzied pace of a metropolis and its coldness. But every big city is an organism of parallel layers, bubbles even, that jostle along, seemingly oblivious to the others' presence. My city is Tinsel Town, it's the financial capital, it's the safest city, it's a port, a tropical island, an organised crime base, a place starved for time and space and a mental border between South and North India. I inhabit a few of these bubbles and only occasionally, with great effort, do I cross over to the others. Because they are all Mumbai and anything that is Mumbai is mine to witness, to touch and experience and love. In 2009, the BMC, Mumbai's civic body invited citizens to come paint the walls of an arterial road abutting the railway track. I jumped at the opportunity to splash paint and spend a day on the streets. A lot of friendships were made that day that we spent whitewashing, priming and rendering street art on the rough wall of Tulsi Pipe Road. The paint has since worn away and been covered and recovered with other such wall projects. The pavement dwellers who were displaced for this day of fun for the more affluent, have eked out their homes again too. Bollywood posters come up now and then and in the past year, election campaigns as well. The city grows and breathes with every newcomer here. I just got to lay my handprint on it for a day. Even if it lies buried under layers of others, the city and I communed that day in September. 📷: @wanderblah 🎶: MA REWA – Indian Ocean #theideasmithy

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The paint has since worn away and been covered and recovered with other such wall projects. The pavement dwellers who were displaced for this day of fun for the more affluent, have eked out their homes again too. Bollywood posters come up now and then and in the past year, election campaigns as well.

The city grows and breathes with every newcomer here. I just got to lay my handprint on it for a day. Even if it lies buried under layers of others, the city and I communed that day in September.

Featured image picture credit: Shirley Dcosta

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Transactions Of Hope

Do you say all the things to the world that you wish somebody would say to you? Do you spend your moments putting out what you’ve been told will come back to you, manifold? 

It can feel like a lonely world when you find yourself sole custodian of cheer and hope and joy and good humour. The thing is, people don’t always mean to be exploitative. But we live in a starved world where to see something means to covet it, not be inspired by it.

How do you keep hope in a transactional universe? Even the principle of karma which is about taking control of and responsibility for your own actions, thoughts and feelings has been turned into a debit-and-credit column of good acts and returns owed. How do you find hope in a world that’s unwilling to give it to you? I’ll tell you.

Close your eyes. Close it to the impoverishment of hearts. Close it to the starved souls. Close it to the morally bankrupt, the ethically careless, the selfish and those who would live from fear instead of hope. Close it, pull yourself in for a minute. Pull back all the good sentiment you put out into the universe. Feel it return to you in silvery streaks of caring, in gold threads of loyalty, in star-studded clouds of faith, in bow-tied ribbons of connection. Feel them nourish your soul, feel them bind together the fragmenting pieces of you.

You are good. You are well. You are okay. Your quest for hope and love is not about handing them out to other people, in return for their reciprocal gifts. You are on a journey, not a child’s birthday party. Your lesson is not to find hope. It is to become HOPE.

Close your eyes and feel it become one with every cell of you.

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Walking The Minefield

We glorify anger. We present and consume revenge sagas, hate politics. This is an easy narrative because feeling hard done by is a universal experience and few other things incite people to react as blindly. We justify rage reactions, arguing for the right to be furious and citing catchphrases like ‘tone policing’ and ‘right to expression’. We dramatize and applaud wrath.

We even turn emotionally shut off, violent, abusive people into role models for masculinity and how the ideal human being at the top should be. Behaving the way your oppressors have behaved with you only makes you part of the problem. Yet, we prize anger like it’s a value.

First, there is dealing with your own anger in a healthy, constructive way rather than allowing it to make you a ravening monster. And then there is navigating a world that prizes wrath.

You can’t avoid angry people or situations that make others and you angry. But you can remember that anger is always, ultimately poisonous. And choose, keep choosing not to consume it. When you do, spit it out like any other rotten thing you may have eaten, sneeze it out like that fiery bit of chilli you breathed. Cry a little, wipe your tears and breathe afresh again. You can own your anger.

What about the anger of others? You do not have to be defined or cowed by other people’s wrath stories. Hold your precious self above the world’s reactions. Protect your hard-earned peace of mind, body and spirit from from those who have not yet learnt how to do that for themselves.

There are people who will treat you badly, because they think they’re owed a revenge opportunity against the world. It is not your job to educate them. It is not your place to deny them their life lessons. But it is your job to get out of their way. Maybe that is your life lesson.

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Don’t Call Me TamBram

I am not a Tamilian. I’ve lived in Mumbai my whole life and am the third generation to live outside South India. Tamil is my 5th language, after English, Marathi, Hindi and French. I also understand some Punjabi, Gujarati and Bengali, languages of states I’ve never lived in, so linguistic identity is not a good identifier.

I am also not Brahmin. Not all Tamilians are Brahmin and to assume they are, is to erase the history of Brahminical oppression faced by other castes. Members of my family have faced caste discrimination. Small children have been refused water in the hot summer owing to their caste label. The state of my ancestry has a rich culture (Tamil is one of the world’s origin languages and the only Indian language not derived from Sanskrit) and it also has a history of caste violence. My ancestors were people who opposed that discrimination with their language, their customs and identifiers. The Tamil my family speaks, is distinctly and proudly non-Bramhinical. Our skin colour echoes what is supposed to have been the original Dravidian, unlike the Brahmin fairness (theoretically Aryan descendants). I’m not a Brahmin so stop erasing my history by calling me one.

Let’s come back to state identity. I can’t call myself Maharashtrian because my home state has its own rich culture that I do not adequately represent. I do not embody the silent Maharashtrian identity struggle on the national landscape. Mine are not the pains of the starving farmers, the once glorious Maratha warriors, the ungendered Warli tribal art. Even professionals dealing with population (like researchers) divide this state into Mumbai and ‘Rest of Maharashtra’. I represent the urban, undeniably exploitative corner of this state that is its capital. The corner still struggling to maintain a semblance of connection to the state it leads, amid cultural impact of the neighbor state and interference from the centre. I represent Mumbai and it represents me.

If you must give me a label, call me by the city I love, the one I write and talk about the most, the one I call home. Call me a Mumbaiker.

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DON'T CALL ME TAMBRAM I am not a Tamilian. I've lived in Mumbai my whole life and am the third generation to live outside South India. Tamil is my 5th language, after English, Marathi, Hindi and French. I also understand some Punjabi, Gujarati and Bengali, languages of states I've never lived in, so linguistic identity is not a good identifier. I am also not Brahmin. Not all Tamilians are Brahmin and to assume they are, is to erase the history of Brahminical oppression faced by other castes. Members of my family have faced caste discrimination. Small children have been refused water in the hot summer owing to their caste label. The state of my ancestry has a rich culture (Tamil is one of the world's origin languages and the only Indian language not derived from Sanskrit) and it also has a history of caste violence. My ancestors were people who opposed that discrimination with their language, their customs and identifiers. The Tamil my family speaks, is distinctly and proudly non-Bramhinical. Our skin colour echoes what is supposed to have been the original Dravidian, unlike the Brahmin fairness (theoretically Aryan descendants). I'm not a Brahmin so stop erasing my history by calling me one. Let's come back to state identity. I can't call myself Maharashtrian because my home state has its own rich culture that I do not adequately represent. I do not embody the silent Maharashtrian identity struggle on the national landscape. Mine are not the pains of the starving farmers, the once glorious Maratha warriors, the ungendered Warli tribal art. Even professionals dealing with population (like researchers) divide this state into Mumbai and 'Rest of Maharashtra'. I represent the urban, undeniably exploitative corner of this state that is its capital. The corner still struggling to maintain a semblance of connection to the state it leads, amid cultural impact of the neighbor state and interference from the centre. I represent Mumbai and it represents me. If you must give me a label, call me by the city I love, the one I write and talk about the most, the one I call home. Call me a Mumbaiker. 🎶: MAHAGANAPATHIM – Morning Raga #theideasmithy

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Hey You In The Dark

I’m talking to you. That part of you behind closed eyelids. Inside a deep inhaled breath. Tucked away into a memory so intense, you don’t look at it often so it becomes a secret. Who are you in that darkness?

I think we’re all the same. The same disproportionate halves of a body. The same anxious uncertainty. The same disorganised desires. The same imperfection that makes comfort and poise look like two opposites.

Is it a good thing or a bad thing to be seen away from the light? Is there something slightly magical about the eyes adjusting to darkness even as the mind adjusts to incompleteness? Is it intrusion to be seen in the dark?

I guess that depends on you. Me, I crave being understood. I am terrified of being misunderstood. I fear being miscounted, being left behind or being carried along with a people and to a place I don’t belong. I burn to fit right, to find my tribe, my home, me.

I also know the tricks our minds play on us (before each other). I know about camouflage. About defence mechanisms. About confirmation bias and seeing only what one is looking for. About becoming fluid, chameleon, mercurial and being whatever the eye demands. And I know these are the endless games of living, the repeating charades of relating. Maybe clarity is possible only when a story is over. Or maybe not. Thank the universe for a sun that shines on us all equally.

Hey you, with the bored shadows rising in your eyes. Hey you, fallen into the cracks of your own fractured dreams. Have you looked my way lately? I exist.

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HEY YOU IN THE DARK.. I'm talking to you. That part of you behind closed eyelids. Inside a deep inhaled breath. Tucked away into a memory so intense, you don't look at it often so it becomes a secret. Who are you in that darkness? I think we're all the same. The same disproportionate halves of a body. The same anxious uncertainty. The same disorganised desires. The same imperfection that makes comfort and poise look like two opposites. Is it a good thing or a bad thing to be seen away from the light? Is there something slightly magical about the eyes adjusting to darkness even as the mind adjusts to incompleteness? Is it intrusion to be seen in the dark? I guess that depends on you. Me, I crave being understood. I am terrified of being misunderstood. I fear being miscounted, being left behind or being carried along with a people and to a place I don't belong. I burn to fit right, to find my tribe, my home, me. I also know the tricks our minds play on us (before each other). I know about camouflage. About defence mechanisms. About confirmation bias and seeing only what one is looking for. About becoming fluid, chameleon, mercurial and being whatever the eye demands. And I know these are the endless games of living, the repeating charades of relating. Maybe clarity is possible only when a story is over. Or maybe not. Thank the universe for a sun that shines on us all equally. Hey you, with the bored shadows rising in your eyes. Hey you, fallen into the cracks of your own fractured dreams. Have you looked my way lately? I exist. #theideasmithy 🎶: VIENNA WAITS FOR YOU – Billy Joel

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

The High Road

Have you been hurt badly? Betrayed? Fooled? Discriminated against? Violated? Injured? Destroyed, ruined, shattered? So have I. So has every human being on the planet. 
This doesn’t nullify your pain or mine. It doesn’t make it bigger or worse or more worthy of attention, consideration, empathy, respect. It doesn’t make it easier because contrary to popular belief, misery does not love company. But how you respond to it, is up to you.

If you choose vindication, you let the person who hurt you, be a continued part of your life. If you think revenge, you add to the pettiness, the fear and hate that no doubt, drives the person who violated you. If you hate because of this, you make this hurt your identity rather than one of the many things that happened to you.

And if you lash out and attack those around you, you add to the weight of injustice in the world, except now you are also a perpetrator. You live in this world. This is your home. And you’ve just added to the garbage that someone else dumped in your living room. Who lives with the stink?

I’m not saying ignore your hurt. No, acknowledge it. Give it the respect that profound emotions deserve. Don’t be in a hurry to convert it into bitterness, rage or cynicism. Wars came from hurt but poetry also came from hurt. You get to decide what you want to create with the stone you’ve been given – a weapon or a statue.

Courage/strength are not appendages one is born with. They’re active, conscious, minute-to-minute choices. Not to treat the people who’ve hurt you in the same way. Solutions over one-upmanship. Healing over revenge. Growth over gossip. Being yourself over being toxic. Choosing constantly. It’s tiring too.

The high road is a choice one makes for oneself, regardless of circumstance, background, gender, caste, class, age or any of the things we hide behind. No one else can rescue you or carry you up that road. You don’t do it for moral brownie points. You do it for yourself. 
Walk the high road because that is the path that YOU deserve to walk on.

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THE HIGH ROAD Have you been hurt badly? Betrayed? Fooled? Discriminated against? Violated? Injured? Destroyed, ruined, shattered? So have I. So has every human being on the planet. This doesn't nullify your pain or mine. It doesn't make it bigger or worse or more worthy of attention, consideration, empathy, respect. It doesn't make it easier because contrary to popular belief, misery does not love company. But how you respond to it, is up to you. If you choose vindication, you let the person who hurt you, be a continued part of your life. If you think revenge, you add to the pettiness, the fear and hate that no doubt, drives the person who violated you. If you hate because of this, you make this hurt your identity rather than one of the many things that happened to you. And if you lash out and attack those around you, you add to the weight of injustice in the world, except now you are also a perpetrator. You live in this world. This is your home. And you've just added to the garbage that someone else dumped in your living room. Who lives with the stink? I'm not saying ignore your hurt. No, acknowledge it. Give it the respect that profound emotions deserve. Don't be in a hurry to convert it into bitterness, rage or cynicism. Wars came from hurt but poetry also came from hurt. You get to decide what you want to create with the stone you've been given – a weapon or a statue. Courage/strength are not appendages one is born with. They're active, conscious, minute-to-minute choices. Not to treat the people who've hurt you in the same way. Solutions over one-upmanship. Healing over revenge. Growth over gossip. Being yourself over being toxic. Choosing constantly. It's tiring too. The high road is a choice one makes for oneself, regardless of circumstance, background, gender, caste, class, age or any of the things we hide behind. No one else can rescue you or carry you up that road. You don't do it for moral brownie points. You do it for yourself. Walk the high road because that is the path that YOU deserve to walk on. ——————————————————————– 📸: @gadbadbaba 🎶: EKLA CHALO RE – Rabindranath Tagore #theideasmithy

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An Any Person

Who are you when there isn’t anyone around to recognise you? Do you know this person? Even if it is but a few brief moments (and it can’t be anything but that because other people have a way of fixing us into specific contexts). Say you’re in a new place, waiting for someone who hasn’t yet shown up. No one knows you. Nobody looks at you or talks to you. You can be and are being ANY PERSON. You start to relax into the ambiguous ether of no labels, no definitions, no judgements, no decisions, no frames, no scripts. Savour that moment. It’s what liberation feels like.

I experienced such a moment three years ago when I was waiting for a friend. I knew the minute she arrived, we’d launch into a vigorous conversation, deep in ideas and rich in nuance. We’d play out dramas and they’d all be great. I paused, taking in a slow breath I realised I may not remember to, once she was in the picture. And I noticed the bird on the wall. And that it matched the flowers on my top. That friend isn’t in the picture anymore and neither are the things we used to bond on. But this moment has stayed.

I’ve played with identities my whole life, most recently and deeply as IdeaSmith, a largely online and occasionally onstage avatar. Each time it began in a place of ANY PERSON. My first blog was even called “A faceless voice. Just a statistic.” Much came from this. Sometimes I find myself weighed down, trapped by the burdens of identity. Then I remember I’ve always got wings. I just need a minute outside the labels. 

The universe makes room for us in so many ways we never even notice. It recognises us before our identifiers and our stories. It’s all good. There’s room for you even if you don’t know who you are.

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AN ANY PERSON Who are you when there isn't anyone around to recognise you? Do you know this person? Even if it is but a few brief moments (and it can't be anything but that because other people have a way of fixing us into specific contexts). Say you're in a new place, waiting for someone who hasn't yet shown up. No one knows you. Nobody looks at you or talks to you. You can be and are being ANY PERSON. You start to relax into the ambiguous ether of no labels, no definitions, no judgements, no decisions, no frames, no scripts. Savour that moment. It's what liberation feels like. I experienced such a moment three years ago when I was waiting for a friend. I knew the minute she arrived, we'd launch into a vigorous conversation, deep in ideas and rich in nuance. We'd play out dramas and they'd all be great. I paused, taking in a slow breath I realised I may not remember to, once she was in the picture. And I noticed the bird on the wall. And that it matched the flowers on my top. That friend isn't in the picture anymore and neither are the things we used to bond on. But this moment has stayed. I've played with identities my whole life, most recently and deeply as IdeaSmith, a largely online and occasionally onstage avatar. Each time it began in a place of ANY PERSON. My first blog was even called "A faceless voice. Just a statistic." Much came from this. Sometimes I find myself weighed down, trapped by the burdens of identity. Then I remember I've always got wings. I just need a minute outside the labels. The universe makes room for us in so many ways we never even notice. It recognises us before our identifiers and our stories. It's all good. There's room for you even if you don't know who you are. ———————————————————————————– 🎶: TAKE FIVE -Dave Brubeck #theideasmithy #identity #anonymous #freedom #liberate #free #beyourself #you #thisisme #thoughtoftheday #meaningful #lifelessons #living #existence #alonebutnotlonely #socialising #standalone #loner

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