For some strange reason, words seem to flow out of me better at night, which is why I reserve most of my heart-to-heart chats for after sundown. Last night for instance, His Royal Highness had a tete-a-tete about what I want out of life. Even to my husband, of all people, I seem utterly directionless.
“And don’t tell me it’s about your writing,” he said.
“But it is,” I insisted.
I write for pleasure and as such, can rework a tract or an entire piece countless times until it pleases me to stop. I love the freedom inherent in creating something from scratch. Actually, I just love freedom, period. It is the singularly most cherished attribute of my entire existence and anyone who tries to rob me of it, I take offence with.
My need to protect my right to determine my own path, has seen me verbally duel with family, friends, well-meaning or simply obnoxious acquaintances. Strangers can’t care less what you want to do with your life. Maybe because they know that whatever they say won’t impact your decision anyway. People who know you make two mistakes: firstly, they think your choice is a reflection of the values they share with you and as such, if your choice is supposedly a bad one, it therefore reflects poorly on them. Secondly, they think you must be myopic in some way to think, act, feel or espouse the values you do. They think you haven’t considered all the facts. That your a dreamer, utopian or perhaps just plain crazy.
For the first, I itch to refer them to this poem I found at 18, on the first page of Please Understand Me 2 by David Kiersey, which reads:
If I do not want what you want, please try not to tell me that my want is wrong.
Or if I believe other than you, at least pause before you correct my view.
Or if my emotion is less than yours, or more, given the same circumstances,
try not to ask me to feel more strongly or weakly.
Or yet if I act, or fail to act, in the manner of your design for action, let me be.
I do not, for the moment at least, ask you to understand me.
That will come only when you are willing to give up changing me into
a copy of you.
I may be your spouse, your parent, your offspring, your friend, or your colleague.
If you allow me any of my own wants, or beliefs, or actions, then you open your-
self, so that someday these wants of mine might not seem so wrong, and might
finally appear to you as right – for me.
To put up with me is the first step in understanding me. Not that you embrace
my ways as right for you, but that you are no longer irritated or disappointed
with me for my seeming waywardness.
And in understanding me you might come to prize my differences from
you, and far from seeking to change me, preserve and even nurture those
For the second, I also refer them to this poem.
His Royal Highness and I went on to talk about what freedom means to me and why I am willing to go to any lengths to protect mine; even going so far as to cut off anyone who threatens it.
This may be the wrong place to talk about it, but my love of freedom, can be seen in my birth chart. I have Uranus, planet of freedom, rebellion, sudden changes, earthquakes and all manner of disruption situated on my ascendant, the image I project to the world, aspecting, or in relationship with all my personal planets. So even though I am no Aquarian, I am Uranian through and through. Mine is the song the multitudes sang when they stormed the Bastille in 1789 and when they broke through the Berlin Wall in 1989, 200 years later.
“I feel suffocated by the imposition of other people’s expectations on me,” I told HRH.
Most Asians take this imposition quietly. They are ideal children, then ideal spouses, then ideal relatives to their in-laws. Me? I was purportedly a difficult child (refer to story about my cousin), have been labelled a child by my spouse and don’t give a flying fuck about my in-laws. Lack of physical space I can deal with but I feel stifled when I have to conform to all the should and should nots propounded by someone else. That’s why I also reject religion. I think it’s all the years of doing things I don’t want to do: ten years of piano, four years of accounting, being dragged all around the country after marriage.
I don’t think it shows a weak-will, rather the opposite; it’s by having an extremely strong will that I’ve managed to subordinate my countless urges to do other things. I’ve made myself do the things I have no interest in. Now I only want to what I want to do. How can you call yourself a free man or woman otherwise? If you allow your thoughts and actions to be dictated by someone else, then you are no freer than a jailbird.