I have a lot that I want to pursue, explore, or share in my efforts to unravel or unpack the unanswered questions around me. I think sometimes that I should in fact write that book that many friends, colleagues, and some professional acquaintances often nagged me about, but then I wonder if there is anything new that I can add to the already burgeoning stores of narratives that someone thought was special enough to share. One of the problems with this ease of accessibility to sharing your thoughts is that everything fast becomes clichéd because everyone has a pearl of wisdom to drop all over the place. I wonder then if the new challenge is not to string together meaningful fresh insights, but rather to collate the clichés in a way that brings sanity to the noise, or beauty to the jagged edges of everyone’s desire to be noticed?
My life is less than ordinary. It always has been. I always imagined ordinary to be a normal home, with a normal family, normal parents, with general growing pains and the usual social circles to round it all up. Children that have a healthy dose of sibling rivalry, but a healthier dose of family unity. Parents that each play their own parts equitably so that a vague sense of order and balance resonates through the home. Overall, there’s a general sense of wholesomeness accompanied by an unashamed sense of mediocrity in celebrating the little life stages that each of the kids make it through, while the parents grow content with having put their kids through school, and then maybe college or university, followed by marrying them off into good families to start that entire cycle again.
That’s not my life. Never has been. Improving on that would be extraordinary, but less than that must then be less than ordinary. That would be my life. Less ordinary, and somewhat weird. Part of the weirdness was instilled at an early age when I realised that I was not like my siblings, so seeking affirmation from them for what interested me was never an option. My parents had their own distractions, so seeking out fatherly guidance was not an option either. And so started the troubled journey of finding my own way in life.
There’s a boon that accompanies such a journey, and that is the ability to forge new paths and take the less travelled roads (oh, those damned clichés ). The opportunity to make your own mistakes without having someone around to tell you ‘I told you so’, nor having someone around to constrain your thinking or creativity in line with their fears, or failures. But there’s a burden that accompanies every boon. That burden is the anguish you feel when you’re embarking on something really important, or at least want to, and there’s a room full of no one that you’re able to use as a sounding board. No one that you feel comfortable enough to share that passion with because you know that your reality is very different from theirs. Your frame of reference is different from theirs. Your self-imposed limitations, your fears, your desires, your perspective, is all different. So seeking sanity in their reflections is a futile exercise.
At points like these I wonder if this is what it may feel like, in some small way, to be an orphan. To be without guides, or mentors, or pillars of strength. To instead find yourself to be that pillar of strength, that guide, and that mentor for others, with the means to guide you being not much more than a quirky ability to reflect while indulging, or to observe while acting, coupled with a resilience that can’t be explained. There’s a stubborn obstinacy within me that refuses to give way to convention. When I do fight that stubbornness in an attempt to ‘get along’, I find my health suffering because of the unnatural tension that it causes within me.
The likely delusion in all this is that I seem to think that my circumstance is special. This world appears to be more dysfunctional than wholesome. Our drive for individual instant gratification has already eroded the sense of community that we all long for, but towards which most are not willing to contribute. This is sounding more like a brain dump than a post. Perhaps in that lies the secret of finding my way. Rather than internalising, perhaps there is much to be gained from verbalising my clutter, because once it’s out there in plain language, the sense or stupidity of it all becomes blatantly obvious, making it possible to sift through the muck so that I can find the gems that would lead me on to the next leg of my journey.