Who am I?
All my life, I’ve been plagued by this question. I remember, even as a child of 6 or 7, I used to stand in a corner, look up at the sky and have a conversation with an invisible entity I thought was God. Those conversations were a lot about who I was.
These days, though, the question is followed by another, almost like those after quakes that continue to wreak havoc after a big earthquake—Who do I want to be?
And instead of finding the answer to either or both, I end up gauging and valuing the merit and weight of one question against the other.
Let me give you some context—it’ll explain the connection with Friendship’s Day (celebrated in India on the first Sunday of August)
After 5 long years, I changed my job in April. For me, a lot of my identity is associated with my work. Not my designation or job profile, mind you. I am talking about my work. It consumes me, enthrals me, excites me and fulfils me in a way that few understand. It is one of the most important aspects of my life. And I realised its importance in life only until recently when I reached a cross-point.
Until then, I was a writer, an editor and then, a content strategist—someone who understands content, comes up with ideas, and a plan of action for delivery. But, I was a writer first. It was part of my identity. Words mattered a lot to me. Naturally, my blog too flourished during such a time.
Recently, it’s been a change of sorts. Am I in content? Yes. But is that all I do? No. Is that all I want to do? Am I still a writer first? I don’t know.
I am learning so many things far beyond the purview of ‘content’ or ‘writing’. I am learning so many new facets of my own being. And it’s oh-so-fulfilling!
To learn is to live. To learn and apply is to live an enriching life. To do all this with enough freedom and space is the highlight of my very existence. And luckily for me, I am in an environment that allows me to thrive.
In a lot of ways, it’s completely incomparable to the previous 5 years. Yes, I learnt and learnt and grew over the years. But did I push myself? Only to meet time-bound deadlines and deliveries. What I learnt came naturally to me. It was organic a growth.
Today, though, I completely (and have the thirst to) deep-dive into a world that is fairly alien to me. I want to learn and grow far beyond what I can imagine. And thus, I push—I push myself every day to learn more, do more and grow more. In more ways than one, it’s not organic.
So, I made a conscious choice to keep my social life at bay. I made the choice to have a single-point focus on learning and working. Anything else—dance, music, arts, parties, celebrations—can wait until I emerge from this cocoon, hopefully as a caterpillar-turned-into-a-butterfly.
From 7 in the morning to 10 in the night, I am consumed by work. It’s not always a hectic schedule at work. But I am still inhaling and exhaling work during those slow hours. Weekends go by thinking, planning and number-crunching data (another new-found love!)
The last one week has been a little bit of a break of sorts. And the vortex that used to be my brain thanks to work has turned into a calm sea—the kinds you’d gaze at for hours trying to decipher its depth and meaning. Ergo, the introspection.
Who am I?
Who do I want to be?
Do I really want to be the person who refuses to balance life and work? Who meets friends once in a month or two and turns into a recluse? If being solitary comes so naturally to me, was I always the extroverted social person who enjoyed going out?
What if this is all just a phase? What if my loved ones turn bitter and a huge chasm develops that I can never bridge? What if I come to regret the loss of friendships over the years?
One part of my mind says those who love you have already been through your cycles. They know you and accept you irrespective of your infrequent disappearances.
The other part of my mind says that it’s not just acceptance. It’s consistency that keeps a relationship alive—the shared experiences that thicken a bond over time.
And all this hits a peak at a time when I see friends and family share Friendship Day messages around me.
I can’t bring myself to wish anyone or thank them for their friendship—not when I am aware of how I pushed all this away in the past two-three months; certainly not when I plan to continue doing so for the next few months too. But all said, the pangs strike—to reach out, hug, and convey just how much my loved ones mean to me. Especially when they hold on and continue to love me despite my distance.
Amidst all this, I realise just how much writing has and used to help me.
Earlier, I had built strong, fortified walls around me that stopped me from communicating my heart’s deepest desires. Writing, then, helped me observe, process, and convey what I thought and felt.
Today, I seem to have evolved thanks to the unending conversations with few of my closest peoples (yes, peoples. Plural. They belong to different groups). Today, it’s a lot more ok for me to observe, communicate and rationalise what I feel—verbally, and not in writing. Ergo, I rarely take to writing.
This makes me wonder—was I ever a writer? Was writing merely an outlet? Or did I write because it was who I was—as a person?
Does it mean I am no longer a writer?
Who was I?
Who am I?
And most importantly: Do I want to be that person who is a writer?