Wednesday, August 12, 2009


An article I read a while ago began with an analysis of a particular person (whose name and job, alas, I do not remember), and described his greatest trait as adapting himself to bend to other people's tastes. That sounds rather odious, perhaps, almost like a salesman, but the way it was expressed was stronger, and definitely positive. I instinctively understood the sentiment, but on reflection it seems his gift must have come in his nuances, because I'm sure we all engage in this sort of camouflage in varying degrees. Interactions with family are vastly different to those with friends, for example. But I wonder whether, in my case, I have gone too far. I've been aware of this for a while of course, but when it struck me again that everyone only knows a small part of me, I felt the shock much more than usual. The full me, the "true" me, is well hidden except to myself. And quite baldly, I don't know if that's common or instead cause for deep concern. One would think that at least a few people would have a broad view of the person I consider myself, so why is that not the case? Am I simply too complex to be pinned down easily? I'd like to think that I have some depth and breadth, sure. But am I sure it's not because of the way I act? No. And hence my worry.

I should address what I'm assuming to be obvious, namely, whether this state is bad. At the very least, at moments like these it makes me feel quite isolated. I sometimes think to myself that personal realizations are in the same ballpark as human interaction in terms of importance, and while I'm not too fussed about the former (though we could discuss that point forever), simply ignoring the latter seems dangerous. Implicit in "human interaction" is the qualifier "deep": being merely content with the facile, playful ones (though they are essential and very fun) is not enough, I think. So it comes down to the question: how can we call a relationship deep? Does it require the other party to know more than a snapshot of me, however detailed that particular snapshot may be? If that is the case, then every relationship I have ever had has been an utter failure.

As much as I like ending with such a bang, let me offer this bit of consolation. For one, I think I can do better, that I can open up on occasion and let a discerning soul know a bit more about me. Even more optimistically, I think the answer I offered in the last para might be wrong, or at least incomplete. Perhaps another mark of a deep relationship is me learning something about the other party. It would fit in with my nascent belief that a lot of my personal crises can be assuaged, if not resolved, by moving focus from the self to the other. Solipsism to humanism, I'd like to say. With this point of view, let me rephrase my (still pending) concern: is it just emotional insularity on my part that most of my relationships are forged and essentially based upon a niche passion of mine? I will have to ponder on this.

Big questions being thought out loud in post-form. You'd think it was 2004 all over again.

No comments: