This is the right of passage into humanhood; strip away the parts true to you and make way for the things you don’t recognize to become who we want you to be. Pliant, mouldable, acceptable. We alone were simply not enough to make us whole. We were told we had to change and chip away parts of us like a sculptor carving a piece of rock so we could become whole—which was impossible because we were already whole before we cut ourselves away—so we could eventually emerge as something new, something valuable, something recognizable. An act of self-murder, a murder of the mind and the soul. Take everything away, then insert something new—something that your soul is unable to recognize—to fill the spaces you have left. What is currently here? Who have you now become?
This is how we live our lives; a death, in the beginning, and if we are lucky enough, a resurrection with the love that gets poured into us. The type that shows us we didn’t need to cover ourselves in layers of falsities and lies so we could fit in. The type that shrouds us in calmness and gives us a place to be who we want to be. To find ourselves—the self we were before we were told to become someone else.
I like to think that in an alternate universe, I am not the one who gets to save the world. I am not the one who is to do great things so that the ones after me feel the desire to do great things too; as my father insists on. If I am great and without mistakes, the path my siblings shall tour will be absent of stones that trip them over. In an alternate universe, I do not exist. And I’m okay with that. Even in this universe, I do not get to save the world. But I get to save myself.
It’s so easy to get lost in the noise. To be carried away trying to be all the things people want us to be. To abandon who we want to be because honestly? Figuring yourself out is a lot of work. To go through a thousand deaths and come alive again till you find the people and things that set your soul on fire. We have to choose to create the life we want around us. Of love, life, peace, and growth. A life where the things that don’t go as we want only serve as fuel to go harder. A life where we rest. A life of ease. We fail to realize that life will happen to us. And we can choose how we want it to happen. We choose our paths even if the road seems too tough to trudge through. I tell my sisters that no matter how far we fall down the hole of despair, we’d always find each other. And that is the life all of us deserve to experience. A life where we’re surrounded with hands and shoulders that let hold us and let us wet them with tears. We don’t have to be great. All we have to be is here. And in our hereness, in our presence, lies the greatness.
DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHO YOU ARE? HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN FOR MORE THAN A LITTLE WHILE?
In this short lifetime we live, many people spend most of the time trying to figure out where they belong. We cover up ourselves in insignificant things, tie our identity to the things that we do; our work, our children, our parents, our religions.
We let ourselves become these things that when they get stripped away, the husk left behind is something we are unable to recognize. Identities are important, yes. But we are more than those things.
Perhaps it’s enough to just be here. To struggle to forget the dread that pushes us to transform into shapes we cannot hold on to. Shapes that we’re desirable outwardly but bent our souls into unrecognizable things. To accept ourselves as we are and let go of the shame that came with not being anything else. Our lives are enough proof of being. Of greatness. We are enough. And when we start to forget who we are, we should remember that we are enough. Here and now. We know who we are. And we will always find ourselves.
We are the ones with dreams that soar. Dreams the world wants to live in. Dreams we’ve tried to hide under years of fear and shame. But we forget that we cannot shame a thing into unexisting. We cannot hide wings so that they may not beat anymore. We know who we are. And we will forget, then we will remember and we will become.