Be+Ing and Potatoes over Cactus

  • This is a rambling post. Read at your own risk. No offence to anyone intended.   

To be or not to be. Poor old Hamlet’s existential dilema has been churned into so many movies, plays, books and even greeting cards that it is exists now as one of the fastest ways to cull yourself into literary dumbdom. But take a moment to pause that tape in our minds, and forget Shakespeare to just take those two words : to be. We are human beings. I like that. Human Be+ing. We are not just a past form of the verb be. But we are a process. A work in motion. Art in transition. We are always a future progressive. Be+ing.

Very often I am confronted by people who say “accept me as I am.” I am often baffled. It is another one of those sayings that slip into the bloodstream of human consciousness, and then circulates as a cancerous cell, destined to uproot every living thought you have ever had about yourself. Too often, it is used as an excuse to camouflage failings in your own self. I know. I have used it many times myself. “Oh! You think I am rude? Sorry! That’s the way I am! ” (translated : obnoxious I may be, but I have a right to be rude because that is me, see?)

“Oh! I am like this. I am a loner!” (translated : sorry, I really don’t like talking to you much). Of course, I exaggerate, and not all who are loners are people who are avoiding you. But take this further. Take that Pakistani terrorist, Kasab. Ask him. “Who are you?” And what would you do if Kasab says “I am a killer. Accept me as I am.” Would that excuse his obvious cruelty? As over-the-top these examples are, I think this right now because I hear this “accept me as I am” thorn thrown so often these days that I wonder if people ever really sit down to ask themselves – their “self” what is this “I Am” that they so desperately want others to accept? It’s a part of yourself? I agree. But just because something is merely a part of you doesn’t merely mean it was meant to be there, was it?

If life is just about “I Am” and not about “I Am Being….,” then we might as well all die as babies. What is that unknown quality within us that motivates change? That makes want to evolve? It is us! Our self! Our soul! We are born to evolve. Not stagnant into “Amness!” We are a process of Be+Ing. If what you are is that you are a bitching backbiter, then see if it serves your soul’s purpose. Chances are it doesn’t. If what you are is that you are a lost-in-the-woods damsel, then see if it serves your soul’s purpose. Chances are again, that it doesn’t. If so, see if you would like to change it. Change is a beautiful form of existence. The only form of existence. But don’t give me that “accept me as I am” excuse.

These thoughts come to me now on a cloudy day on a Friday at work because I wonder what serves us better : to show the best part of ourselves or the worst? I wage a constant battle within myself. A never ending chaos of confusion. At no time can I call myself a good person. Whatever good may be. Or perhaps I can. That too is a choice. I posed an interesting choice to a colleague here : given that impossible gift, which of the two would you prefer to be? One of the two referred to me. And the other to a friend, also a coworker. The colleague, very sensibly, chose the friend. It was a choice I would have made myself.

But I wondered perhaps : what choices we make are based only on what the other person reveals to us. And the unrevealed is an unspoken connection that is rare and uncommon. What if I were to tell the colleague that yes, no one would choose to be me knowing me, but what if I were to tell the colleague that the friend can also exhibit one of the hardest hearts and be ruthless in ways I could not have imagined? The problem is in the revealing : if I were to be cute and nice, would it hide the worst in me? This has nothing to do with the friend – poor thing, she fully deserves to be what she is considered as – a wonderful person. But she too has a cave, a cavernous darkness. The question is I chose to reveal mine. Hers lies buried. And that is where I think : should I be the potato that grows underground or the cactus that grows above ground?

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