a few too many, asking questions, be curious, changes, conditioned by society, constant, defense mechanism, duality, finding yourself, friends from college, introspection, know yourself, life, socially acceptable, take down walls, the night
5AM and I can hear the birds singing like there’s nothing else to worry about in the Universe except for the coming dawn. A few too many for some of us. A cocktail glass abandoned on the sidewalk by some merrymaker who’s in fact anything but merry.
I’ve been getting the best introspective questions from dudes recently. To me, this is very surprising given the extent to which men are conditioned by society to bury their feelings and act as if emotional depth is something not suited for ‘manly men’, rather reserved to ‘fragile women’.
I told you I love the night and what it does to us humans. Defenses go down like domino tiles, one after the other in the precise order in which we secretly wish others would break through them. Add a few drinks to the intoxicating mix of a spring night smelling of raindrops and you’ve got the recipe for some potentially intense exchanges of thoughts and self reflection.
You might find yourself sitting next to someone you’ve literally known for years, but who you don’t know much about (now read that again). In between nonsense and changing topics every 30 seconds, a couple of points somehow mange to hit the mark:
First: ‘You don’t know about me because you never asked, and I don’t share these things (voluntarily).’ Raise your hand if you identify with some version of this.
Second: ‘Who are you really and what do you want from life?’ To which I fall silent, sort of surprised by this silence myself because I was so sure I had the answers to these questions sorted out in my head. I had been certain up until that point that if I were ever asked, I would be able to verbalize the answers like the most natural thing in the world. Big ol’ nope. So after a minute of trying to conjure up the ‘true me’, I resort to ‘I’m still trying to figure those things out’. Dude sees right through my cheap trick and is not impressed, accusing me of presenting him with the ‘standard and socially acceptable answer’. Well, well, well, that’s what I called being served! Lucky for me the topic changes completely a mere 10 seconds later.
Not to completely evade the tricky question I got asked though, more on that in a future episode just in time for my upcoming b’day. So stay tuned (if you’re still curious).
A different side of the story: ‘You haven’t changed a bit, you look the same as you did in college,’ I’m told by a former colleague I haven’t seen in a decade. Beside the moment of amazement at how fast time slipped by, I’m amused by this assessment. I see a completely different face in the mirror. My gaze will hold yours more confidently, my smile has got a bit of mischief in it if you look carefully, I’ve got more kindness in my eyes towards myself and more understanding towards others. I’m more genuinely curious and willing to get to know and understand the person standing in front of me, even when chances are I’ll stumble upon sides of them that can shock, upset or disappoint in the first instance.
You’d probably never guess it, but moral of the story is: we’re all changing as experiences flow through us and over us, but there’s also a certain constant core that never wavers and to which we’ll keep returning however much we’d like to deny it at times and chisel it into something else entirely. We must accept this contradictory duality if we want to avoid becoming fractured individuals always wondering which version of ourselves is the real one.