Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Esse Quam Videri

lac d'Aubert (Aubert lake) in Massif de Néouvielle, Hautes-Pyrénées, France

For what it's worth: it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be.
There's no time limit, stop whenever you want.

You can change or stay the same;
there are no rules to this thing.
We can make the best or the worst of it.
I hope you make the best of it.
And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before.
I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of.
If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.
-Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button
in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Some people I’ve known in the past may not recognize me now. Oh, I’m still me. Only different from what I used to be. It’s like the earth in its evolution --- with the cooling of hot air masses a livable atmosphere has been created; the folding and faulting of rock beds have formed mountains and valleys; the surfacing of molten lava has given birth to a lone or string of islands; the melting of glaciers and icebergs has turned into rivers, lakes and seas. You recognize it; yet it’s somehow different, not altogether the same.

I am different now. Or rather I feel different now. I might seem the same from the outside (aside from a wrinkle here, new lines around my eyes, new strands of white hair showing unbidden to my dismay *sigh*) … but I see things differently now. There’s a part of me that has disappeared or died completely allowing for things I’ve long unconsciously buried or never even knew existed to resurface and shaped me (and still continue to mold me) into a different person. It’s like wandering through an old mountain trail you used to take, with old rivers coursing through it gone dry but is boasting now of several springs that created new waterfalls and streams; seeing stumps or branches of once-flourishing trees replaced by young plants of a different kind brought by the wind or a flock of migrating birds; old huge rocks that used to stand as sentinels along the track are now small pebbles or coarse soil but a little farther you see new boulders chipped from the mountain side by weathering and erosion. One trail has become both an old and a new one. And you couldn’t say it’s only new on the outside because some fundamental characteristics have changed. And still no one could claim it to be exactly the same good old path.

Maybe the difference I see in me are just all in my head. It’s like attending a school reunion and you notice how different everybody is now. But after the initial shock of seeing them after a very long time has worn off, you realized they haven’t really changed at all. And sometimes it could be the other way around. People still see you as the same and treat you as if nothing has changed. (It’s ok if one used to be the Prom King and MVP (most valuable player) to boot; or Ms. Brains and Beauty and voted most likely to succeed; or the life of the party that everybody wants to hang around with. But those "branded" as a geek, a flirt, an airhead or simply Mr. Invisible (as nobody notices you) are definitely going to have a hard time. Old images of someone have a way of sticking to our minds like glue and we tend not to see him for who he is now, or at least notice that there’s more to him than those bygone memories.)

But whether my metamorphosis is visible or not, trivial or important, imaginary or real, one thing I’m sure of is that I like who I am now... a lot better than before. I may neither be successful nor popular (and I would never turn into a swan *smiles*), but I am happy and more at ease and at peace with myself. I used to think I have to be like" them", be one of "them" --- which, at the end of the day, makes me feel rather empty. But as they say, with age comes wisdom. I have learned how to look inside myself in search of who I am. And in the process, I have begun to reconcile parts of me that I either thought I don’t want or need --- which are in essence the necessary fragments of my being.

Oh, there are still gaps and spaces, but I’m starting to see and to be who I really am. I have shed my old skin and those others I’ve tried on that are part of a youth’s search for identity (which can go beyond the teenage years). I have learned to make the fabric that would contain the core of my being with bits and pieces of experiences that had opened my eyes to what I can forsake and what I cannot give up; of beliefs that sound true to my mind and heart; of what and who I love and hold most dear. I am now making my own pattern with my own thread spun from my own loom at my own rhythm.

And if somewhere along the way, I found out that what I’m weaving is not really who I am, then I’ll take Benjamin Button’s advice. I fervently hope I’ll have the courage to stop and start anew for life is not only about finding what makes you happy, what makes you whole and why you are here; it is also finding who you really are.


Unknown said...

It's good that you like who you are now! I think it's always good when we pause to reevaluate and make changes where necessary. :)

I love all the photos! The lake and the flowers with butterflies! And the butterflies seem real appropriate to changes inside us. :)

Unknown said...

I am enjoying your metamorphosis very much. And your blog is beautiful. It was very nice before but it has also moved into another realm.
You seem younger at heart even though a bit depressed about the winter (aren't we all!). Great days lie ahead for us all. Spring is coming soon!

lareine said...

to lisa: thanks a lot! i love this lake, it's so peaceful there... wish i could be a more "colorful" butterfly, but then, that won't be me... and they say, we have to love ourselves a little so that we will have love to give others... and besides, if we don't like who we are, nobody will :)...

to davidlind: that's very encouraging! thank you very much... i hope i can maintain both the change in the "tone" of the blog and the new "music" of my life that i'm dancing to... and yep, age is in the heart, not in the mind so here's to younger hearts and spring! cheers!

Jaden Paige said...

Wow, what a wonderful post! I love how you used nature as a metaphor of the changes you have gone through throughout the post. I am flattered that my post in some way helped you get this one out :)

Life is really about trying to find ourselves and come to terms with where our own happiness lies... I'm so glad you are happy with your place right now.

Have a wonderful weekend!

lareine said...

to jaiden page: and i thank you for giving me the idea... being finally able to at least get a hold of who you are is like being able to finally breath on you own...

i wish you a great weekend, too!

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