Self expression has become such a task these days. Writing, a form of self-expression, has not been my greatest friend in the last couple of months; and that is not a very well kept secret. This blog, that now lies barren, I am scared will turn into nothing more than an epitaph of the person I used to be, once upon a time. And everywhere I look, I find it difficult to find something that says what I feel inside.
I was talking to someone elder to me sometime ago and I told her about my problem. I told her it was getting increasingly difficult for me to get out of the box and write. To come out of that invisible fence I created around me. I was getting much more conscious of what I was writing and saying; I told her. She told me that I was maturing with my writing, I was looking back at what I was saying, and therefore growing as a writer. I listened to her and mulled over it. I also wrote an article on what, in my opinion, has happened to me and my writing. After writing that article, for some reason, I thought I was getting more restrictive, and not more mature. I was drawing more lines, and not living in a free space. I sense that I am “thinking” way too much. More often about things that at one point of time I never gave a thought about. The growing up process, I believe, doesn’t actually help you “grow up” in the colloquial sense of the term; it stunts your growth. It makes you stagnate, it makes you build walls around yourself, it gives you ideas that you will stick to no matter what because everyone around you is giving you their two pence. I think, when you grow up, you stop growing up. You have no acceptance and unconditional love anymore, you have more walls than you ever did, and to add to the frills you have a long list of rules. Growing up takes faith out of you. You begin to question everything; right from how one should dress at 26 to what is the right thing to say to your boyfriend/girlfriend. And that is what I think is happening with me. I am beginning to fall into that clogged sewage. I am beginning to look, and re-look and question. What’s worse is that while I am trying to save myself, I don’t see how I will. I guess that is also what happened to my writing, I started analyzing it way too much; rather I started “defining” what I needed to say. Definition—a norm that the “grown ups” seem to abide by; and mind you each “grown up” has got one of their own!
I would prefer an uninhibited life, if that is on the menu. Somehow that suits my palate just as well. However, it seems to be very highly priced; and I earn only so much, you see! A friend tells me intermittently these days, “Sameen, let go. Forgive.” Well, I’d much rather do that than draw boundaries and coin definitions. I am not sure if maturing means caging yourself in such a manner so as to constrict your free breathing; and honestly, I care two hoots about being a grown up if it strangulates my means of self-expression! Have you seen how a child paints? Ignorant of what a perfect circle looks like. Unmindful of whether a sun is golden or pink. Oblivious to whether the painting appealing to an audience. Children express because they want to and not because someone is waiting to see it.
I used to be an athlete way back in school. Running, I maintain, is the best thing I have done with myself in all my life. For me, sprinting was more passionate than my most torrid love affair. We used to spend a whole month prior to D-day practicing. It was a different high altogether. For me, it was never about medals. It was always about being free. About running for myself. I confess, I never once cared about who was watching. I always ran, because the wind in my hair and the ground at my feet made me feel free. As I write this, I can still see my school’s field dressed up on the occasion of Sports Day—white curved lines on a brown earth, and the four house flags fluttering on an electric afternoon. And as I descended on the field in my sports attire, it felt like coming home. Lining up on the tracks and waiting for the gun to go off, all while fixing my gaze only on the finish line. I could manage a 100m in somewhere close to 15 seconds. And the irony is that after all these years, I still think those 15 seconds were my best form of self-expression! I still remember one of the best compliments I received after a race. One of my teachers told me, “Sameen you ran like there was no tomorrow.” Running was always about running. Running was never about winning. And I guess, that’s why I almost always, won! When I expressed myself, it was about expression and not expectation. I wonder why don’t we live like that anymore—like there is no tomorrow and without expectation. Well, for most parts of our life we try and then? Then, we grow up!
I haven’t looked back at this post to reconsider what I have written, to judge whether it is appropriate for an audience, and even for the placement of commas. I just proof read it for typos. Similarly, I wish I could bring down those boundaries. I wish I could forgive. I wish I could paint for myself. I wish I could run again.