This is one of those few opinion pieces on the blog that have no researched factual backing. Stay with me though. For a long time, I worried about the concept of fitting in and being constrained in a box and it has not only been an evident struggle in almost every facet of my life, it has overtime spiraled into a latent fear of the unknown. If I’m doing it right or if I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing – whatever it is I’m doing.
I remember wanting to write a book about my varying and possibly inconsistent personalities or characters. My zodiac sign is Gemini, so I luckily have a good reason to be two-faced, hypocritical, or chameleonic. But, I’m not most of those things – I think. I have always tried to fit myself into this box of good or bad; genius or not quite; fine or not-so-fine; wild or conservative, emotional or unemotional, and the rest of its brothers and sisters. And it does get messy. (The quest for consistency of character)
Yesterday, a friend of mine pointed out how my Twitter account wasn’t consistent with its message. In his words, “I can see two different personalities in your tweets. You’re philosophical/spiritual in one and pop culture oriented in another.” He went on explaining why I should reduce the pop culture tweets so that I could be known for something like most intellectuals and thought leaders. Trust me when I say I see the sense in every bit of what he said. (The quest for consistency in the way we are perceived)
Starting off from the point of social media, thought leaders are known predominantly for one thing. At the end of the day, we really are eventually known for a few interwoven things. However, the challenge is the conscious effort to “brand” ourselves to fit this image. I had, in time past, also tried to create this image. If you’re active on Instagram, you’ll know the need for your pictures to follow a certain alignment and have a theme or a bunch of overly edited sharp photos, so you’ll seem important. Now, I struggled with that. Reason being that it just seemed too artificial.
I completely understand the need for branding, but maybe I’m allowed to be human too. Where my reality becomes as sharp as the quality of those photos and I always look smart and organized, then, by all means, there should be a corresponding organic display of that on social media. But where I must maintain a theme colour for my highlights and look a certain way or post a certain kind of content alone, then I’m just not sure. Again, no research has gone into this post. So, there’s probably some sophisticated explanation for branding.
Beyond branding, lies being. I see myself morph from being one thing to a series of sometimes incoherent things. Am I supposed to be doing this? Was I supposed to have reacted like that? What kind of writer am I? It is okay to have goals, but should I define all the possible outcomes of my future? By how much do I really need to fit into ideal standards or to perceptions people have made of me based on incomplete glimpses of me they have come across? It’s a constant struggle. One I’m still on. (Who the heaven am I?)
On Freeing Your Inhibitions
It is easy to opt for total freedom and ensure that we don’t stay in tiny boxes. But there probably needs to be a level of structure or control in our lives. Ultimately, we are products of culture, our environments, and what we’ve learned and unlearned over time. Some of these things have placed inherent limitations on us and made certain things seem evil or foreign. So, when there is a sudden misalignment with how we have been trained with what we see ourselves doing, there’s cognitive dissonance. What I try to tell myself daily is to take on opportunities and try to be myself – whatever it means in any given situation and in whatever form it comes. This usually means me reacting in my true natural form. However, because even ‘nature’ in this context is learned, there is a need to protect our minds and feed it with things that will yield only gold. While I probably don’t completely believe this, I’d say we should free our inhibitions. That we should not constrain ourselves at least for the few of us that are too restless to stay put.
You can be everything. Allow yourself morph and be inconsistent if you need to be. I don’t think saying one thing now and saying the complete opposite later is hypocritical or bipolar because nothing is finite – especially knowledge. If it is just, doesn’t cause harm to anyone, and is your truth in any situation, it should be good enough. You can be all colors of the rainbow… or I could be completely wrong.