This week I have been in strange place- not physically, just in my mind. The best way I can describe it is that I’ve been very hyperaware of my existence. This hasn’t appeared from nowhere, I think it is a combination of the void after a very discombobulating term, reading Virginia Woolf, and watching a 6 part ‘what verges on conspiracy theory’ documentary series about how messed up the world is.
One of the things that has been playing on my mind alot ( basically since my first term at university in winter) is how I come across to people. I have had another self revelatory breakthrough this week- surprise surprise: I try to define myself in relation to others- no matter how hard I have tried to reject that I do that in the past. This sense of being ‘weird’, ‘uncool’ or a ‘misfit’ is all relative to what I perceive is the ‘fit’, the norm- the latter associated with positive connotations and the former more negative in my head which in itself is fallacious but that is a whole other blog post.
“To be myself (I note) I need the illumination of other people’s eyes, and therefore cannot be entirely sure what is my self.”Virginia Woolf
There is a kind of mainstream ‘misfit’, the indie or hipster that has a certain aura of ‘coolness’ about them that I can’t identify with. I guess what I mean by coolness, is a projected self assuredness. And I wonder why I can’t project that same aura: the conclusion I’ve come to is that I am a product of my circumstances and the life experiences and people I’ve met thus far on my journey- but this is not to say that becoming more comfortable with myself and my less mainstream attributes isn’t impossible. An artist I’m really into at the moment is Grimes. Watching her interviews from before she got big really resonated with me, with her having the microphone thrust in her face and just *having* to speak her mind- with a kind of consciousness that people will think of her as different ( I could be projecting here but I guess its what I take from experiance which is important for me). However her later interviews exude that kind of self assured hipster vibe, and the jittery,science nerd Claire Boucher of her college days, though the essence is still there, is the same but different. She grew into herself and I would say in a very *cool* way, I hope I do that as well. What will the Aatqa of 10 years be like? I hope she isn’t a boring bum.
So I’ve decided to ban calling myself weird or uncool for a while- using the alien emoji will be allowed (but in measured doses)- until I can stop apologising or knocking myself down for being me. I have this thing about being an honest version of myself to those around me, willing to have my words or ideas ‘bruised’ if I put them out there, and but I think perhaps a distinction needs to be made between vocalising self damaging truths and ideas that are important to you.
On a slight tangent now, today the only way I was going to motivate myself out of my slump to exercise was to listen to a podcast, and it was COOL BEANS. On of the things it talked about was how young people these days are consuming Art and not recreating it, and how modern ideas of individualism and originality condemn us to a very superficial engagement with Art and the metaphysical ( this podcast was discussing it in the context of Islam). I think I am a victim of this to some extent, because I find that I struggle to reread books or write extensively on things that move me deeply- in a way engaging with Art has been a way to accumulate data for me moving from one thing to the next without really making it ‘mine’. Whilst I don’t completely disregard this approach, I think it was very beneficial personally having grown up in an environment where these sorts of things aren’t discussed much at all, I can resonate with the sentiment behind the analysis that we need to hold these ideas and experiences in our hands to mould our own soul- a phrase that the speaker used was Art as necessary for ‘the cultivation of the soul’. Note how ‘cultivation’ is a prolonged, slow, nurturing process, one which is liable to setbacks and failures. The word echoes a steadfastness that one could argue that in the modern western society we live in it is hard to cultivate with constant stimulation and distraction.
So on my run which turned into a walk- you know how it is by now- I thought about my blog and how in my own little way I’m trying to recreate the ideas and words of others into my own tune. It is nowhere as technically proficient as calligraphy masters, or giants of world literature- but little by little I’m carving myself out and recreating the experiences of others through my words. If that makes me ‘weird’ or ‘uncool’ then so be it- I hope to re-appropriate those labels to mean something much more fuller to me in the coming months