Monday, January 25, 2016

More or Less

As a kid, there would always be someone, be it parents, role model, the neighbour’s cool kid or your teacher, who told you to be more. More than just an average Joe, more than a good student, or a passable singer. More than just a good human being, more than loving. You always needed to be more than where you were, or what you were. Success, would be scaled on how many mores you climbed, or how many such levels you crossed. Social, academics, spiritual or emotional. Hence, growing up, you never rested with just 90% in your grades, or just one friend or a degree. There was so much more outside your window.
However, after 27 years of being alive in a world full of mores, I have realised how we forget to tell our children to draw the line somewhere. That sometimes, being lesser works for the best. Works better for him. We don’t tell him that with all the mores that you accumulate in your hat, you are pushed farther away from others and from the normality defined by our skewed society. We don’t teach him how to separate the mores that are accepted by people as good, wanted, and those that just make him weird or too much to handle.
You cannot be too good, too sweet. You cannot be too open or too strong. Too talented, or an over achiever. Not to the extent that people around you feel uncomfortable. For being normal, in the banal definition of the world, the standards of more are defined as well, and the moment we exceed that, the red lights of “Outlier” flashes on our heads.
We don’t tell him that somewhere down the line, in 20 years, people with lesser range of emotions, lesser range of achievements, somehow end up happier. Content. We don’t tell him that at the end, being happy is all that matters.
So, after a mindless struggle of conforming to nonsensical rules, and being torn apart by others’ expectations and our own responsibilities and desire, we reach at a point to wonder, was it worth it at all? It isn’t enough to be more. It isn’t enough to want to know more, be more, and learn more. Explore or feel more. You have to eventually garner the strength to tolerate isolation. As this is the breed that is never satisfied with the mundane normal levels. They look up to the sky and feel the need to fly. To travel to a thousand worlds on an imaginary ship made of shells. Or paint pictures of the sea on the sand with a permanent dye. Intensity and passion is what their blood is made of. Their minds are beyond cages of normalcy. Yet, such a thing is dangerous. So many levels, so many layers to a person is exhausting, it is a thing of fear. It doesn’t excite people to take the pleasure of peeling such layers off that person, to know a different version every day, every night.
To know that today she is the lamb, tomorrow the vixen.
That today, he is my saviour, and tomorrow my destruction.
In a world that is over simplified with science and technology, with intelligence and detachment, why would such a wondrous task not fill us with enthusiasm, the joy to look forward to learn of more such dimensions, to tear through till we reach the core, and hold his/her beating heart on our skin to warm our own. What is the point of extending our reach to more than just three dimensions in reality, if, in life, all we are up for is dealing with one dimensional humanity?
No, don’t get me wrong. I have no objections to simplicity – in liking just one flavour of ice cream, or just one movie. Having read just one book end to end. Or being simply nice. Or completely evil. I am not advocating to complicate your life just for the sake of it. For the sake of being more. The thin line separating those two existences, of why we don’t fully grasp the concept of accepting it as it is, worries me. Simple. Complicated. Circle. Square. Hideous. Fresh. Straight. Jumbled. It just is.
So, I would tell my children, that it isn’t enough being more. That there is a clear choice in being different and being accepted. I would tell her to have the strength in order to be a misfit. In order to be complicated. If she likes both blue and green, it presents a problem to the concept of simplicity. If she wants to be nice and slutty. If she enjoys parties and her isolation. These questions, these mere thoughts cause confusion, a hassle to people, as loving her would be exhausting, and require so much efforts to just know her all. I would tell her, to be prepared to be alone, or to bear the pain of breaking her bones to fit in the box. I would tell her to not look beyond the simply sweet girl for a friend, to only be reliant on make-up hobbies but not to cherish a monster truck fetish along with it as well. I will tell her to reduce the number of dimensions she adds to herself, as it makes her exotic – a thing worthy of a 10 minute discussion, or jealous whispers, but never a cherished possession, or wanted company. Very few would dare to delve into her depths, or find joy in the layers she adds to the diurnal mundane walks of life. I will tell her, not to be too much. Too much to be herself and be rejected. Or be rejected, and yet find that happy bubble of self-worth to keep her life afloat, even when I am not around anymore. I will tell her, the world is only ready to walk on moon, and understand the core of the earth. That the world wants to fight over God and be moved when animals are slaughtered. But they are yet to understand their own need for acceptance, an insane desire of being a part of the society when most of them are misfits. They are yet to overcome the fear of isolation, of being associated with that weird kid in their class. Of being responsible of understanding and embracing the many layers within them and others.
Simplicity is a treasure to enjoy, and cherish. Of course. But were we made to be simple, at all? With 206 bones, and the inexplicable lines on our palms, with the grey and white matter both, and an appendix that can be removed with no visible harm to the body functions. If nature designed us to be a complex jumble of sweat, blood and bones, of emotions and wisdom, why do we settle for lesser, why do we force unwilling participants to join an abysmal race of normality? Where is this book of normality anyway? Who wrote it? Why do we adhere to it with such fear and vigour?

Why do we always aim to fit in the box, when we could fly to the stars and conquer our dreams? Why reduce the purpose of being alive to commit to the rote of monotone, when it was to enjoy and bask in the wonders of the world? Until our wings fall off, or we are burnt away to cinders. Until there is so much love connecting us, that no one is left alone. Until we stop defining the mores and lessers.


  1. While I agree that our society has succeeded in simultaneously forcing us to seek to be different while still ensuring that "the different" are shunned, I do think we often forget to see that in fact, everyone has a lot of layers. Even the quite mousy person who never raises his head away from the corner he sits in. We are all guilty of choosing to ignore these layers if they do not fit our concept of "interesting". A sweet person often comes across as boring, an introvert as snotty or a simpleton as insipid just as a quirky person may be labelled as weird or an ambitious person as greedy. If we box them out, automatically we box ourselves in! It is a human condition to seek his own kind. It is also human nature to seek more, always more, anything more.
    Wanting more acceptance is still, wanting "more".

  2. I don't know where the book of normality is but if I do find it, I would burn it! I dont know who built the box for us to fit in.. but we keep doing it anyways.. But I guess hope still exists for misfits. Its just that you require more strength and courage to be one. But in the end it is worth it

    From one weirdo to another!
    I love you.. Keep writing more & more!