Who do I think I am? I ask myself, time and again. Especially after I’ve done something I think is audacious (by my very conservative standards).
I’m small, unnoticeable, unknown. Just who do I think I am trying to be heard above the din? Who do I hope will listen to me? And who is going to understand?
Sometimes the question keeps me up at night. Weaving ghoulish thoughts of failure into a quilt to wrap me up with. It eats into the slices of time that make up my day. Worming it’s way into the sweetest, most delicious thoughts, planting seeds of inadequacy, so they can eat at me from the inside. It lies festering like a germinating pod, quiet, unmoving. And when the moment is ripe, breaks ground to rise above the surface in waves of lush verdant self-doubt. A whole fresh plant of it. Bearing fruits of envy, tendrils of hope and loathing, clinging to anything that will lend some support.
All along, thoughts bubble up like accidents waiting to happen. And when they do, I’m that paranoid bystander fighting that plant that’s taking root in me belly. Lunging forward to gather the broken pieces into my arms and put them all back together again. It’s always a struggle. A beautiful, bittersweet struggle. Picking the right pieces, staining them with glue, finding ways to join unlikely edges together.
Finishing thoughts leave me restless. Like letting go of the string that once anchored a helium balloon to my wrist. I loosened it just so, prodded it ever so gently. And of it went. A small insignificant balloon. A speck in the sky. A dot in the universe. Larger than life to me. My big little balloon. All alone, unattended and wandering about the vast, expansive galaxy.
Just who do I think I am? For piecing that accident together? For letting that little balloon go?
It takes a grey, pre-monsoon evening at sea, watching tiny, new leaves, quivering in a raging wind, to find an ocean of surety.
There is always a storm brewing. Within. Without. All I can do is keep piecing the accidents together. My scars, my funny bones, my laugh lines, my stomach cramps, my joyful fits and starts, my aching knees, my beginnings of muscles, my heaving body, my clouded mind, my alkaline heart, all of it is an accident in the making. And piece every little bit of it together, I must.
I am small, unnoticeable, unknown. And I have the wisdom of that insignificance, tied tight to my wrist. The knowledge of fear and insecurity keep me rooted.
But it takes a grey, pre-monsoon evening at sea, to realise the truth. That the wisdom of insignificant, the knowledge of fear and insecurity are as good a starting point as any.
I am nobody. But I am here now. And today, I’m stripping off a part of me, letting yet another balloon go.