Living in a world of choice: A little memoir
I think I found out while I was pretty young that I could disappear. I could evolve into nothingness in quick succession: from being fully present to being in a world where I was completely on my own. Part of why I learned to disappear was to survive. I figured out that the world was unfriendly in a few years’ time. So, to live in this unfriendly world, I had to create a world within the world. In my own mind, there was a world. I could retreat to that world and stay there for as long as it was safe.
Over time, the need to retreat became a way of life. I would sit in a room, and I still do, and simply sail away.
‘Come sail away, come sail away with me …’
Well into my second decade, I found out that the safe haven, the vast world I had learned to escape to was also crumbling. What was once a pure, neat, clean and steady world was now a wilderness. There were animals in it, dust, wind, everything just like its counterpart jungle — the real world I had left behind.
In my naivety, I had assumed that this second world was completely removed from the real one. That is to say, I could carry the madness of one world into the next without polluting it. I naively believed that the world of my mind would never torment me or let me down. That did not stay so. I managed to have that world just as poisoned as the real one. It became an angry world, with lots of fears and anxieties. I could be let down in that world, I was let down in that world. My safe retreat became a verily dramatized version of the first world. Over time it also accumulated endless fears, problems and dead end situations. It was the river too poisoned to drink. And between my two worlds, I needed a third one.
It came in the form of depression. In this world, neither world was real or dependable. They were all poisoned rivers, too awry to drink. So, the third world justified the non-belief in either and the failure to choose any. This world forgot hope, let go of the concept of rest, day and night, and chose to have no excitement with existences in either of the two worlds. Eventually too, the river became deadly — too poisoned to drink. All too catastrophic a world — unsustainable, dark and bereft.
At that point, the idea of another world didn’t come by. I just wanted to go back to some world. The real or the imagined — the second or the first. Something had to give, but the two worlds were locked. None wanted me back in. I had deserted, and traitors deserve to die. I felt too unprepared to die. However much the verdict sounded right, I kept begging for re-admission. That didn’t happen for a long time.
Finally as the curtains threatened to come down, a door opened. The little door of my childhood.
It took me back to zero as a daring starter.
Day by day, I began to choose again. I was not tied. The memory of my childhood, a chance to re-live it many years later became the long awaited lifeline. The bubble of childhood dilemmas bloomed again, and for a full month, in the hill country where I had learned the music of the 1990s kids, I remembered how to live beautifully again. The magic that had been lost came back; seeping through rocks. The fact that I could decide which world to belong to became the infinite wonder of the whole month.
I learned once again I was a creature of choice. That’s the world a stable mind could afford to live in.
What had bewildered me was the idea/suppression that I was becoming a creature of subjections, no longer able to choose red or brown, pink or yellow. The burden that it brought! That insanely disoriented my mind. But, I, am, a creature of choice.
That’s my other world. It’s the real and beautiful world.