“Only those who truly love and who are truly strong can sustain their lives as a dream. You dwell in your own enchantment. Life throws stones at you, but your love and your dream change those stones into the flowers of discovery. Even if you lose, or are defeated by things, your triumph will always be exemplary. And if no one knows it, then there are places that do. People like you enrich the dreams of the worlds, and it is dreams that create history. People like you are unknowing transformers of things, protected by your own fairy-tale, by love.”
― Ben Okri
Today’s blog post is inspired by my three-year old niece who has this ability to sneak up on me when I least expect it and say “I am following you Auntie Jedi”. She doesn’t just say it, she literally follows my every step while watching my every move.
Her statement which she says from a place of innocence and playfulness spreads a smile across my heart and orders my steps in ways that no other human being can. I have to think about where I’m going and what I’m going to do there and if that is a place I would like her to be in with me. It is a huge and humbling experience. But more than the responsibility that comes with it, it makes me joyful and happy. In those private moments I have this insatiable desire to be a better person because I know without a shadow of doubt that she’s following me for real.
It never seizes to amaze me how much power we have as individuals. The realization that I, myself and I just by living my life, minding my own business have the power to influence someone else’ choices without my knowledge is astounding to me. It is incredibly humbling to realize that even then when it seems to you that you are alone, searching for clues on your own in the dark, in reality you are not alone at all. There are eyes watching you. There is an audience which is listening, watching and following you whether you’re aware of it or not. But this is not an audience you choose, prefer, want or know about. It is an audience that chooses you. The audience that decides that you are the person they want to follow and you have no control over it. You can’t say don’t follow me or don’t look up to me. You can’t say, I am not worthy.
LIFE AS A RUBIK-CUBE
I am an 80’s child. And in the years after my birth the world was obsessed with a new game among many other inventions. Solving the Rubik’s Cube. Even though it was an invention created by a Hungarian sculptor and architecture professor in the early 70’s. I think Rubik’s Cube is a perfect analogy for (my) life, because just when I think I got it, I have to start all over again. And it is only in understanding clearly where I have gone wrong, when and where or why I have made all the wrong moves.It is then that I can learn which moves I need to make to solve the puzzle.
So it was during an unguarded moment with my niece this afternoon when she said something which added another piece to the Jedi puzzle when she said, “Jedi, I’m not this person” it is after she uttered these words over and over again that my squares started to align.
I’M NOT THIS PERSON
Is the key to who I am. In the past two weeks I have met with several old friends and had the opportunity to update them on my life so far. And while it has been a whirlwind adventure it has also been an incredibly challenging time for me and with each disappointment, with each experiment I have found myself growing frustrated with the process. Wondering how many times I have to fail before I get it. The answer was with my niece. What I have been doing all along without knowing is an essential process of elimination, and with each elimination I have come closer and closer to finding out what I am not actually. My adventures and experiments have helped me to peel off all the masks I’ve acquired over the years and have gotten me to a place where I can look in the mirror and say. I am this person.
This person that I truly am is completely flawed in all the right ways. When I first took a look at her, all her mistakes popped to the surface. They screamed at me. There’s something missing. You’re all wrong. It’s not working. If your teeth were straight. If you’re hair was longer. If you’re nose was straighter. If you’re skin was baby smooth, caramel, coffee-coloured, dark chocolate, maybe. If your smile was more like this. If your hair was softer, if your voice was deeper, if your English was better, if your French was excellent, if you were more stable, if you didn’t give it up so easily… if. Then everyone starts shouting all the my wrongs back at me.
You’re not what we’re looking for. You don’t have command. You’re too independent. You can’t follow instructions. How’s your maths? You don’t have confidence. You have potential but… You want things the easy way. You don’t have the right mindset. You like doing things your own way. You’re selfish, Self-absorbed. You don’t believe in yourself. Over and over. From all sides until I decided to turn the Rubix cube and discover the answers for myself.
The flaws were still there but with each twist and focused attention on each problem I found that I could eliminate what I was not; a doormat, a slave, ignorant, selfish, inconsiderate, lazy or unmotivated. While doing this I discovered other fun things about myself like the fact that I was playful, easygoing, open, sympathetic, forgiving and kind.
Then I started enjoying the twists and turns. That works, I have this skill, doing this like this makes me happy. Okay maybe this trait doesn’t work well here. But I could use it over there. Then I discovered that no one else but me is tasked with completing my puzzle, they can help me find clues, they can be my sounding board, they can walk some of the way with me, but the responsibility of completing my task is solely mine and mine only.
But the most surprising thing about discovering or exploring the real me is that all the character traits I disliked most about myself, the quirky things which I could have changed already if it was possible are not only what makes me unique and different but they are exactly what I need to complete the puzzle.
So even though this person whom I have always wanted to be, the person I have given my all to be like, to emulate and imitate, is truly beautiful, truly intelligent, charming, sexy and everything I have ever dreamed of being as a woman and human being. Even though she is all wise, alluring, enigmatic, insightful, oozing charm, even though she’s so deep I drown at the sight of her eyes. Even though I will admit that she is quite frankly a genius, a multi-talented can do most things with equal brilliance – type A person. Even though she has been my everything, even though I have tried everything I can to come just an inch of being half the woman she is.
It gives me such a great pleasure to finally say in the most positive way possible that ” I am not this person “- as wonderful and brilliant as she maybe, I am not her and that’s a huge relief. I don’t have to try to be her or like her because only she can be who she is.
This person whom I have always looked up to and wanted to be all my life, this person who I have always wanted to impress, will always be a part of me. But I don’t have to be her. I can admire and love her for the brilliant one of a kind person that she truly is. But I’m not this person. And that is exactly how it is supposed to be.
I am grateful to my niece for telling me who she is not, because it is only through this process that I could find out who I am. And the person that I am at this moment is not so bad after all. She makes me laugh. And that’s enough.