Chauduri’s thoughts on the four windows of the soul come to mind: No matter how open we are, we all have - and must have - a private space, a secret garden, to call our own.
And no matter how closed we might be, we all can - and must - have that capacity to open up to the Other when the situation arises. - Farish Noor.
Any form of elusive (or so I thought) barbed-wire fence I put up to contain these secrets or the metaphorical paint of lies I tell to contain the swagger of the persona I stage. This persona cannot be eternal nor can it be forever to keep the Other close.
There are times I let my guard down, and people see right through me, some people react, some still stick close by and help me through thick and thin.
There are also times I wonder to myself, that is this ‘persona’ what I really wish myself to be? But I know now that it isn’t. I truly wish for my existence to be neither superficial nor fiction. I experimenting different things to decide what I really prefer, what I fancy, what I really am.
I learn that through this, I was actually never good at keeping something things about myself hidden, or covering them with a glossy & powdered disguise that is all but sturdy. I definitely can’t keep it away forever. Nor can I adopt another identity that I constantly feel empty in.
I cannot read a book I dislike, nor can I pretend that I’m really gungho about bringing a revolution nor can I pretend that I didn’t enjoy the life provided for me by my corporate-slave parents nor can I denounce my own passions just to keep them talking to me.
It is unfair for me to complicate my relationship with myself and renouncing it’s actual worth just to compliment another person.
This private space I’ve so carefully reserved for myself perhaps isn’t that private after all because people can tell and can know my deepest fears, desires, sins and weaknesses. People can easily read my conscience.
I think to this day, this is my biggest sin to date. And it too has taught me the most valuable lesson thus far.
This quote above still sends shudders down my spine because all the sense of abandonment I lived through is partially caused by my own failure to open up ‘honestly’ in the first place.
I thought I was true to myself when all I did was paint a portrait the other might like instead of just being nonchalant. If the other truly enjoys my company, it’s a keeper. Those who never stick around for long just aren’t worth that much effort.
I will not be afraid to concede defeat in the next literary confrontation I face.