I was sitting in my favorite corner of the balcony when suddenly a thought hit me. It occurred to me that I am often entertained by the symbols that most of us choose to cling to as proof of our importance or uniqueness in the universe. Almost all of us have those certain things that we hold dear to us and that we use for defining a place for ourselves in this world. They are our personal symbols.
It could be anything. Professors who insist on being called “Doctor” at all times, by all beings who are lower on the educational scale than themselves or teachers who are quick to give that rude look of disapproval and disgust if somebody “lowly” asks them to explain something in understandable form or in plain English without heavy usage of typical scientific terms and phrases.
Then there are men who pose by their cars and motorcycles, for example, and it would be safe to say that such men cover 60% of their species. Another 15% post pictures of their abs. No face, not much profile, just abs. It is not just men, though. You will always find women who post pictures of cleavage or pose in front of the bathroom mirror, holding their phone sideways and pouting.
There will be present in plenty, people who would stick to a wound that they might have received at some point in their lives instead of forgetting and moving forward. They cling to it hard and make it their identity adopting the scar as if it were an indispensable blob of dirt that could not be done without.
Most of this stuff is not funny, I am deeply aware of that. It is not meant for entertainment purposes. It is a sad reality. Nothing more.
We are a bunch of people who are caving for praise and the need to be complimented on every small of accomplishment, over and over again. It doesn’t make any sense to us if someone were to come up to us and tell us that that true approval is not that which we earn from around us, but one which is earned inside the self. We do not understand this or if I may, we do not want to understand this. We would rather maneuver and manipulate, wasting hours of our time and everyone else’s time and energy in order to feed the hunger for validation. Not that this helps us achieve the feeling of validation, mind you. What we fail to recognize is that the emptiness that exists within us doesn’t go away no matter how much praise is shoveled down the well. The well has no bottom.
Do not misunderstand me. Needing praise is not all that vain in its entirety. It serves as a motivational factor at times. Needing it now and then is fine whereas living off it is not.
Now that we are at it, I wouldn’t be fair if I escaped the spotlight. Time to turn the pointing finger to myself and my own symbols-
Once I had to pick a personal symbol and give it up. It was an exercise in letting go of illusion and the thing I picked had to be intimate and important to me. It came down to two things – my hair and a ring that I had picked off of a random street in Shimla once. I wasn’t courageous enough to cut my hair off. So it had to be the ring.
The ring was a silver band with a little red stone in the middle. I would wear it at all times, even while in the shower or when I would be sleeping. It had become a part of me. When you invest in a symbol, it becomes powerful, a talisman.
Since I had to give it away, I chose to give it to me to my younger sister. And I’d like to tell you that I let go. But I grieved and missed it for a while. I thought of it for months. I felt vulnerable without it. Which was the whole point of the exercise, I suppose – to let of an attachment that is virtual and has only been desired and pushed into becoming something indispensable, leading into a false identity of the self.
I have attached myself to being empathetic, to writing, to being “artistic,” to sometimes acting a bit younger than I am, to feeling different from others, To enjoying my solitude, to being proud of my practicality and ability to look after myself, to my wardrobe that I am so possessive about and to random articles and souvenirs collected from various places. I have attached myself to being thin and tall, to being right at times and wrong at others, to being honest and kind and fair mostly. I have attached myself to being a good human.
I am the woman who is good and evil. I am bother hilarious and heart-breaking. I have traits that define me, that help me grow and traits that don’t let me evolve.
If you had to give something up that mattered, what would it be?