Monday, January 23, 2012

About Me

I never know how to fill the About Me sections in social networks. I still fill them up, but most of the time it embarrasses me later. As probably will this one

Dear Self,

I’ve always considered my tendency to admire traits in people so instantly and intensely as a weakness. It doesn’t sound healthy to constantly harp on in your mind about one person’s integrity, another person’s straightforwardness, another’s free spiritedness, and yet another’s genuine don’t-give-a-rat’s-ass-ity, does it? What’s confusing is diagnosing this condition. Is it even admiration at all? It could very well be envy (How can they be this perfect?) or perhaps insecurity, a kind of defense mechanism (I can’t be them, so I look up to them), maybe it’s simply the easy-to-please nature of my character (I like everybody) or maybe it’s harmless perennial infatuations. Each of those explanations is progressively less appealing than the last.

Maybe it doesn’t have to be just one of those. Different circumstances call for different theories. Take All India Radio jockey for example, back in high school. He was clearly a teenage infatuation. On the other hand, in the uncle(s)’ case it’s the kind of admiration that is strong enough and real enough to make me try to be like them. But with that arbitrary boy/girl in college who you barely even know but feel an inexplicable pang of respect for, that’s when it gets tricky. How do you justify reverence by observation? Simply reading someone’s writing, following their tweets, listening to their music and looking at their arty Facebook photos sometimes instill in me an unwarranted awe.

It could be that this is a positive way to channel envy. Instead of childishly feeling resentful to someone who’s got something that you want really badly, it makes more sense to make the competition your ally.

If I’m easy to please, then I think that too need not necessarily be a bad thing, as long as it does not cross the fine line to naiveté. I’ve never been overly competitive or ambitious and I guess that has its perks. It makes it easier for me to appreciate the good in most people. I can get real critical; those who know me really well should be able to vouch for that, but my wariness for an individual is often easy to ignore when there’s some amount of good stuff in them.

See, I’m a fiercely guarded person. People who’ve been on the receiving end of my infinite supply of fart jokes, over-active virtual life, and verbal diarrhoea may scoff, and I understand. But most of what I talk about myself is the bits I don’t care about. I don’t care about being ladylike, in my pursuit of making people laugh. I don’t care about people branding me an exhibitionist, my virtual life is the easiest way for me to communicate with the world and I need to communicate.

With this comfortable distance between me and pretty much every person I meet, it becomes easy to bring a degree of subjectivity to personal relations. It’s easier to respect, easier to take it easy, and easier to not be disappointed when you realize the person in question isn’t all you made him or her out to be. In my case, this reality check is most often accompanied by a sense of closure; there’s some sort of relief in realizing even that person is only human. I don’t mean it to be sadistic, but truth is that I feel more at peace once I know their human side.

Depending on the nature of the so called ‘human’ quality, I either like them more, or feel myself falling out of awe with them. Clinginess is one human quality I find myself unwittingly shying away from. Vulnerability makes me feel fonder. Kind of contradictory, but that’s just the way I can articulate the situation, for now.


Image from New Yorker

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