Monday, June 21, 2010

Who am I?

Its that time of the year, again! As I 'grow' another year older in age, emotion, and wisdom (hopefully), I've found myself reflecting on my existence. I've been often told to carry out this exercise in the past, but introspection has eluded my attention (as limited as it is), probably for the simple reason: why would I want to dwell on all my faults, idiosyncrasies, weaknesses, fears, or for that matter even my strengths; when they are on blatant display for all who know me? But for the last year or more I've noticed myself change from the kind of person i used to be...hoping for better results, but probably not even coming close. So, the question...Who am I?

I am a lot of things to a lot of people. I am like any other woman, a daughter, wife, daughter in law, mother, sister, a counselor, a listener, a talker, a fighter, and yes a cry baby (when the occasion calls for it). But sometime along that path I think I've lost sight of who I am to myself. I am still the confident woman I started out as, but that has translated into a growing fear that I'm incapable of doing things I used to be able to and things that are new to me.  Being able to learn a new task or skill used to be effortless, but as the age has crept on I find I'm stuck in sometimes mundane tasks, without the urge of learning newer skills. My learning curve over the years has taken a nose dive, of which I'm not proud, and plan to rectify.

Efficiency was my middle name, until I changed my address, then it just became 'lump'. I've often been complained about...(nothing new to the complainers) that I used to be able to do everything and still had time for fun. Now, fun is getting into bed at 10.30pm and passing out. In retrospect, I agree with most of my critics, I no longer have the same panache, the boldness and possibly, exuberance as I did at 18, but way back then, I never had the kind of understanding, maturity and determination I do today. So i think I'm kinda evened out over the years.

But the biggest personality trait I seem to have an issue with is my attitude, which, from what I've been told, hasn't changed at all. After all the psychoanalysis and free therapy sessions I've had over the years, the consensus has been more or less the same...I have colossal ego problems that project my attitude as a snob, don't care what people think, superiority complex that makes it near impossible for me to deal with people who I deem not at par with me (which would be nearly everyone). But the fact are actually different. I'm not a snob. I have an innate fear of people. Human beings are the only unpredictable creatures on this planet, who for no apparent reason could turn against the ones they love. I fear that I would be the hurter as much as the hurtee if I let my overtly enthusiastic personality take rampage. As for the don't give a shit what people think, is, I believe, an extension of the fear of people. Use of negative psychology as a defense mechanism: if I don't care what they (general public) think; they wont be able to affect my life negatively. 

As for the superiority complex thing, I gotta agree! I'm good at the things I do (however limited), and not really good at taking advice from anyone, unless they have an established track record of doing the same thing better than me (even then I'm usually skeptical). I don't easily relinquish my authority to anyone without having confidence that whatever damage may occur can be handled with ease. I admit this has lately been my greatest stress factor, which I have to learn to handle better. The only visible solution is to give up my crown and let someone else be a part of the situations I face on a day to day basis. 

I have finally come to terms with the fact that I am as vulnerable as the next person. The facade of being superwoman is just that, an act. I am confused as to which direction I'm heading, if I'm moving at all....a possible extension of my driving skills. But most of all, as with every human, I find I crave acknowledgement, however small, in the things I do from the people who matter.

 I am still the bold, daring, caring, mostly eccentric person from eons ago, with a dash of forthrightness, temperamental rudeness, tougher than steel stance and a tongue that could pierce armor. But over the years I have managed to figure out that i am what I am, and who I am is a person loved.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hookies & Salsa

All of us have fond memories from our pasts, no matter how uninteresting we thought they were back then. But not many memories are made without other people being a part of them, at least not for me. When I reminisce about my pre-college, or college days, a flood of faces follows, each one reminding me of a crazy incidence or conversation that took place in a certain time and space in the past. Those memories came gushing back last weekend as I made a long awaited, much anticipated trip to Bangalore, after 14 years, to catch up with a select few memory makers of my life past.

The last 14 years have been a whirlwind for me, moving from one place to the next, meeting new people, doing newer and more exciting things. Through this all I've always wondered how my friends, who shared some of the most precious moments in my life, were doing? A part of me also wanted to know if life had treated them as kindly as it had treated me so far, how much had these women (i was in an all girls college) changed from what I remember? Would we be the same as we used to be together? I think when we picture reunions, a little part in everyone wants to know if the others in the group are still the same physically as they used to be ( the vanity demon strikes!!)

I met a number of friends from where I used to live and from college. My weekend was doused in alcohol, and filled with infectious laughter, unrestricted swearing, not always fond recollections of things done in the past (some that would never be done again), pouring over pictures that reminded us all of a carefree time we made full use of (some more than others), and some much needed tears for the things done or left unsaid back then. But the key fact i realized from the weekend was that the last 14 years had changed us all. Yes, some of us have gotten fatter! (I can say that without the fear of prosecution.) But the overall change I saw was awesome. Here were some of my closest girl friends, who had emerged from the cocooned life we all lived in our teenage years, to be beautiful, strong, resilient women. I met women who were no longer naive in their view of life, who had experienced the real joys and pangs of what life had to offer us, who had now grown into forces in their own right.

The two days left me dehydrated, and high, but most of all proud that I had known these people and called them my friends. It's rare to find people who think the way you do and even if they don't, give you the unconditional support to do your own thing and be your own person. The funny part was I felt exactly the same after all these years with these ladies, and knew it would be the same for a long time to come. I just hope the next time we all meet is before we hit menopause. I would not want to be a fly on the wall during a meeting of hormonally challenged middled aged women!

So with a happy, hopeful heart I say to my old friends; I loved meeting you all after such a long time, and promise we'll make the next time even better and just a bit longer.