*Written for the Introduction to Writing Course held at Northpoint, Khandala for advertising students.*
“Aww! He’s learned to walk!”
“Oh my god! He’s grown so tall!”
“If I would have met you in the streets, I would not have recognized you at all! The last I saw you, you were a baby!”
Time and again, as we grow from a child to a teenager to a young adult, people around us, of course, except immediate family, notice how we have grown, how much we have changed. As a person standing inside the gigantic footprint of Godzilla, we keep looking at the ground and around, failing to see where it is.
“I want to get into client servicing!”
“I am so good at drawing, I will become an artist!”
“I can’t do maths! I am not going to take science!”
As we grow up, along the path, we keep stepping into chewing gum. Chewing gum of who we think we are, who others think we are, who we should be.
“But, boys should not wear nail paint!”
“All girls are mean!”
“I am who I am!”
And you know what happens when you step into chewing gum. It doesn’t go off! Imagine your entire body being covered in the chewing gum of what you think you are. And now imagine all sorts of dirty things sticking on to that. Runaway hair, flying sticky wrappers, dust, pebbles…eww! I wouldn’t want to be you!
Yet, we keep insisting we are what we are. By the time we are just about exiting our teen ages, most of our ideas have been formed for life. What you like, what you dislike, what you think you are capable of, how you think the world and people function. These ideas also shape how open we are to learning new things. And barring a few lucky individuals who go through ‘life changing’ incidences, we take these young ideas to our graves.
Except, when you leave markers all along your life path. Like photographs of the inside you. When you write. Maybe a poem. Maybe a story. Maybe just a daily or weekly diary. Something that pegs you down to who you were when you did that. Because writing is like that. A blog, a notebook, the back of your bus ticket, the notes on your phone, wherever you are writing, you are leaving an imprint of you for you to look back at 2, 10, 20, 40 years down the line.
And when you look back, you would be amazed to see how much you have grown, how much you have changed! You might even be embarrassed about how immature you were! This is true even of when you are writing as a 40 year old and reading 20 years later as a 60 year old!
But don’t be embarrassed. See the chewing gum for what it was. Get into the habit of cleaning it off regularly. Fall in love with the you who wrote what you are reading now. Because really, you are not who you are. You are much more. Just leave some milestones in writing to look back at. Because nothing else can capture the real you. The changing you.
Follow me on twitter @squareandfair