November 24, 2005

Guilt

Growing up the way I did during my childhood was not an easy task. From as far as I could remember, the singular theme in my life and everything to do with it always boiled down to guilt. The guilt that I was never good enough for my parents, for them to ever like me enough to grant a kind word out of turn or to simply show, without any particular reason, even by some insignificant means, that I was worthy of being loved. While most kids grew up wanting to be loved, I grew up not wanting any of it, for none was on offer and to look for it was asking for unnecessary trouble and disappointment. A weird form of self-discipline took over. I thrived on constant struggle and loneliness. Gradually, I reached a subliminal existence where I needed and desired very little from life since I was just not good enough. It was my truth.

That struggle more or less ended in 1999 when I finally had had my fill and left home and everything I had known and valued till that point behind for a new life in Delhi. Later, I do not know if it was out a lack of choice, I made my peace with the folks. I was tired of fighting, hiding my happiness with my newfound life and friends because I was paranoid that they would take all of it away. I almost felt guilty that I was happy. They did not have much of a choice either, old age wears down the best of the lot, it wore them down too. In any case, I wanted to reduce the amount of conflicts that surrounded me. The change of bases did take most of the problems away, but the guilt never went away. It stayed on, like a well hidden infection, in my system, affecting everything I saw, did and understood. I should have seen the symptoms, but I did not.

In the years that followed, many relationships -- romantic, friendly or purely sexual -- happened. I gave almost all of myself away in them. It came naturally to me to give and not ask for anything in return. For the outside world it was nothing short of downright perversion. For me it was an effortless continuation, a familiar walk into unknown territories, manifesting in an imagined purpose to a life that deserved nothing. Then there were those who thought differently, that I deserved to get something in return than to just keep giving endlessly. But that was a process that was alien to my system. Not that I did not feel the need for it, every time I did feel it I could not understand it, since I did not consider myself deserving enough to be liked or loved. Every time it came my way, I flinched, I ran and I hid.

It is the fag end of 2005. Till recently I knew I had problems, though I did not know what precisely the problem was. I knew I liked to give and not take, but I never understood why it was so. I just knew I had to 'teach' myself to want for more and in stumbling through that weird education I came across the simple truth, that I never thought of myself as someone who deserved anything at all. For me, my own purpose in life was to always stay behind the scenes, to walk on to the stage when all had left and to strip myself of the gleeful make up in the silent echo of my unwanted thoughts. In this undesirable setting came something in which I had to give little and be in a situation where I was just not used being in. In spite of my best efforts, my system rebelled, threw me off track and locked everyone out. A new trip had already started.

That situation was avoidable and I am guilty of getting it wrong from every point imaginable and I am paying for it in my own weird way. But it is my own personal penance. One that is to be served out far away from any prying eyes. Meanwhile, the trip continues unabated. I am now on a journey of discovery towards the destination of seeing how much of selfishness is possible within my own system. I want to see how it is possible to live a life only taking things and not giving much. In a way I am trying to rid the association that I have of taking, with something undeserving and vile. I am trying to prove myself that the world will comfortably survive even if I don't give it much or take a lot. That I can be liked and loved for even when I am being a totally selfish prick. Maybe that would grant me a semblance of normalcy, make me one with the rest of the pack.

Like I actually believe all that.