Choose your battles wisely

Choose your battles wisely

Caught between the ultimate self-identity crisis and society, Veruschka Pandey tells teenagers to refrain from falling into the usual stereotype traps and instead stay true to themselves

I have a propensity to become sad easily. A reason might be how I have always been told depression is hereditary, and I have assumed that I fall under the category of the affected, and taken it as a cripple. What fools may come to say such a statement, especially to a child you might wonder. But a fool becomes a mastermind when the tongue enunciates as its usual self, but the voice, or rather the mind, decide to put forth universal lies boldly. Every child is goaded to speak with confidence by their parents, when they should be rather taught content, along with which confidence is a default outcome. But contentless confidence is essentially teaching your kids to be liars or rather not to feel. To be liars, as if a kid approaches class blurting out “Honey is sour” with the highest level of confidence, when they know that they are uncertain about it. They are essentially changing their skin to opaque. Something which we as humans aren’t meant to be.

So I’ve taken it to my head to speak with confidence when I filter my content and know it. My dramatic, hyperbolic sadness has always been fuelled by the justification of hereditary. But this justification is just a label. Labels are convenient to be utilised. But I’m not an object and neither is everyone else, so I hope one day this human race will quit this habit. If I’m a girl I can lift weights, if I’m a boy I can dress up, the society needs to stop suffocating and chaining people up for its convenience. When I was in grade three and saw how girls had to wear skirts and boys trousers I was perplexed by the idea. Us girls had to take the torment to run in skirts uncomfortably or bring an extra change. Why did we have to go through this, and what if someone wasn’t comfortable and didn’t feel right wearing this? So I questioned the teacher and she told me: “What an impertinent question to ask. Obviously to identify who is who.” I took it to my head to not back answer and timidly walked away, nodding my head as I pursed my lips together. Why do you need to identify? Why do you need to know? Why does there have to be such a classification? Why do people not just ask us? My head was clouded with questions. Next time someone tries to label you to justify your actions, do not lend ears. The last thing you need as a human, an animal, a dweller or a survivor is someone to justify your failure and your wrong-doings. You are responsible for yourself, your work, your life and essentially you. The world is passive, a library, your stage, and your accepter. This is all you need in life, two things — yourself and the world, to conquer. 

I have been told to ‘be myself’ in life. But I would like to ask everyone, who am I? A sad wanderer set forth to pursue a goal or a sad wanderer set forth to change lives. Either way, I’m sad, and I do not have knowledge of what other qualities come by with it. Be myself? When all my life I have been changing personalities to be likeable. I’m a girl who must be very talented, for I’m playing all the roles from the loving best friend, goofy friend, popular friend, ambitious daughter/sister/granddaughter/niece and even the sad girl.

To myself. I question myself, for I do not know answers and I don’t know which one I truly am. My mother told me I am all, all of these are parts that come along with me. But I have been fearing something all my life. Maybe, under all this powder of pretence, I am just a bland, boring girl. I do not want to be myself if it is so. What’s the sweet irony? The worst part about all this is that I was the one who loathed labels, now I’m the one trying to solve this puzzle and get my label. You only notice other’s bad qualities if they are truly yours. I understand the true meaning now of “the real pilgrimage of life is to find out who you are.” I had a dream, where I cracked the code, unlocked the answer, got the key.

I knew who I was after million lifetimes served as a learner. But all I remember is haze, I remember the truth being too hard to be looked at, I was too overwhelmed, burdened and I busted into a flame and I remember seeing my ashes. Dark. All colours blend to form dark. An impure colour that is so deep and hard to decipher. Dark is the colour of truth, and the truth I foresaw was my death. I woke up with a start and I knew all. Everything might be an illusion, and we need to find our way out of it. But no, we don’t have to. We are creating ripples in this wonderful sea we call life and taking away the experience. But this experience… It will keep repeating itself, I will keep sinking in this sea until I throw a stone.

Hence, I set forth on the journey to find out ‘who I am, and I suggest the same for others. We all have many identities and personas, let’s all aboard our ships and set out on this journey we call ‘life’. 

(The writer is a 12-year-old poet who
captures the emotions and thoughts
of a tweenager.)