“One million faces but the one I knew
Were all a masquerade”
~Anette Olzon – One Million Faces
This is in a way, connected to my earlier post. In that post, I talked about the misguided direction I was taking with regards to my music, and that it was beginning to hold me down from music that is truly my expression and not merely a product of pressure and expectations from certain genres and styles, as well as people aside from myself.
Recent interactions had also gotten me to not just reconsider my direction in music, but also the things I hold in high regard — things I hold closely and dearly. A number of things come to mind but in general, one of the things I hold closest, is simply the idea of my own person. If I were asked to talk about myself to somebody, there is already a predefined template for me to go with, explaining the things that I personally feel would make me stand out and be unique.
Running along a similar line of questioning, I thought to myself: these things that I say about me, the things I define myself by — are they really who I am? Granted, it’s impossible to enumerate every single detail of the human person, for if I were to reference Gabriel Marcel on this, the lived human experience is much too rich to be captured in any way or form other than experiencing it itself. Realistically, we can only speak of ourselves to a certain extent. This is actually the catalyst to my true concern.
Through the passage of time, are the things we seem to define ourselves by, going to stay that way forever? Maybe if we were to look at our childhood the answer would be so much simpler, ’cause we have yet to know much more about the world in order to make a judgment that will last close to a lifetime. However, as I grew older and experienced more of the world, I started to have the impression that we’ll be able to make such judgments so accurate that we would wrap our lives around them.
The unfortunate thing here is, when you have that kind of thinking, there’s a tendency to go overboard on it. In a sense, you’re so wrapped around it that you start to close your mind to the billions of possibilities life has to offer you. Being close-minded can be a pretty dangerous thing because too much of it may leave no room for you to grow. In that case, all we have to do is open our mind to everything and it’s all going to be alright, right?
If only it were that easy. Being too open can also lead you to lose yourself and your sense of individuality as a person. Opening yourself too wide for the world could possibly turn you into an empty canvas wherein you have no control whatsoever of the brushes that paint you. You become as you are according not to you, but to them.
I suppose at the tail-end of these chopped-up paragraphs of thoughts, and most likely in a predictable manner too, we really just have to strike a balance between being able to retain your personality and also be open enough to understand and accommodate the personalities of others. However, I must include an addendum.
More important than striking any such balance, be true to yourself. There are things that you do want to be forever and keep forever as you go through life. There are also things that you can afford to let go in order to grow in other newer, fresher and more genuine ways that can leave you truly satisfied with less regrets. Never lie to yourself, and if you find yourself unsure, all you have to do is test none other than yourself — how you react will surely be a hint to how you really feel.
Drop the mask.
Potatoes saved Europe from famine.