Sunday, June 27, 2010

Finding Andromache

Leaving the familiar to go into the unknown is as alluring as it is daunting. The thought of my loved ones not being a short train or plane ride away scares the shit out of me. Alone at bed at night, sometimes I am filled with doubt and am convinced I should stay in the U.S. and "settle down". After all, I have opportunities here that a lot of people could only dream about. American Privilege. Sometimes I start to believe other people who say that I am a smart woman who has made a foolish decision to move to Turkey for an indeterminate amount of time for no reason other than answering "a call from deep within". It is an adventure, but an uncertainty nonetheless. 

And yet despite these doubts and looks of disappointment, I cannot give in to fear and doubts. I can no longer continually try to fulfill expectations that people have of how I should be. I cannot fall into the trap of complacency and safety. I need to let go…have and want to let go of these safety nets that weigh down my wings. I need to fall—or at the very least experience the sensations of falling—so that I can pull myself up and fly. I need to live and not just go through the motions of living. I need to live for myself instead of be a vessel for other people to live out their dreams. I have to make my own mistakes and not spend a lifetime trying to avoid making the mistakes that others have…mistakes that have defined them into the people that they are now. This lifetime is short enough to spend it worrying about reliving other people’s past, and it is long enough to spend it defined by regrets.

At times I feel like I’m too old for this “finding myself” bit; after all, I did it for a couple of years after high school. But logically, I know that it cannot be true, for since the dawn of time, people have struggled to find themselves. Some have spent a lifetime doing so. Age is irrelevant, as “self” itself doesn’t truly age. 

The hardest part about trying to live up to legacies is that in so doing, you could easily lose track of who you are. To follow in other people’s footsteps more often than not entails setting aside your wants until you just wake up one day and realize that you don’t know what you want. You’ve felt it for so long that somehow, you now believe that your wants have ceased to matter. 

Who am I without my so-called intelligence? Would I still be me? Would I be less of myself had I been more acquainted with the letter grade C than A? Would I still be the golden (grand)child had I chosen writing over game theory, and creativity over pragmatism? What if I believed in kindness and in humanity more than I do in prestige and profits? 

Maybe at the end of this journey and adventure, I'll come back to where it all began. Maybe I already have whatever it is I'm searching for--whatever I feel is missing in my life but have yet to be able to name. Or maybe, just maybe, whatever I'm looking for is on the other side of the world...waiting to be explored. Perhaps in searching for Hector, I'll end up finding Andromache. 

So I'll keep walking, no matter how hesitant my steps. No matter how many times I falter or fall, I will get up and keep walking. I can feel the sun even as I feel uncertainty. I just gotta keep facing forward. 

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We must never permit the voice of humanity
within us to be silenced. It is Man's sympathy with all creatures that first makes him a Man.

--Albert Schweitzer

Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

--Viktor E. Frankl