For the next writing challenge that I have with theremainingdaemon and dreamspinnerextraordinaire, theremainingdaemon suggested that we write a piece about someone we know personally. To quote, she actually texted me that the piece should be about someone we ‘really’ know.
As this blog is called reflections and ruminations, I’ve decided to take it literally and reflect on how little we know the people around us, as well as delve into what is more important than knowing, understanding and being understood by that other person.
One of the reasons I actually started this blog is for a journal of sorts. Rather than keeping it personal, I decided to make it a little public since, as I see it, a person does not exactly exist in isolation, is the sum of their inherent qualities and their interaction with their environment. One of the central questions is, “Who am I?”
From the start, I cannot even claim to know myself, so how can I ‘really’ know someone else. It would be presumptuous in the extreme to do so. Well, since I still have to write with this topic, I’ve chosen to write the piece on someone whom I’ve known and who knows me for the duration of my lifespan. Yeah, I’m talking about my mom. I know it sounds like I’m picking a safe subject, but, please, just bear with me for a bit. Well, more than a bit.
One of my earliest memories is waiting. Waiting for Her to get back home. When I was around 3-years-old, my mother worked someplace around 2 to 3 hours away from where we lived so she came home around dinner time and sometimes a bit after. I remember feeling excited when it’s nearly time for Her to go back. And when she finally arrives, I was really glad to see her. If I were asked what adoration felt like, the call back to these moments.
Over the years, things changed. Slowly, I realized that Mother was not perfect after all. It may sound strange, but a child’s mind can be a strange place. Rather than sympathize, I felt that she was being fake. I’d hate to admit it, but I judged her, thinking her weak and spoiled, and hence our predicament. To be human — to be flawed — is not a crime, but the way I viewed her then, it might as well have been the case.
Fast forward to the present, are my next lines about understanding her better?
I can’t really say.
Having outgrown my youthful sense of entitlement and my overall inexperience with Life, all I can say is that Life and Living is Complicated. Life cannot be reduced to a series of logic puzzles where if A then B. It’s so messed up, there really aren’t enough characters in the alphabet to account for all it’s twists and turns. It is only natural then for people to make mistakes.
It’s really one thing to judge how people do when you’re sitting comfortably on the sidelines. You get to see everything and yet feel nothing of what it’s really like to take the pounding. I think that the point is made here.
You have to care.
Back then, spoiled little me just thought of how much better my life could be had things been done a little differently. As the years go by, I think less and less like this. It probably helps that I only meet my mother around once a year or even less. The effect of how much age is taking their toll on her becomes more apparent in such circumstances. I get to see her getting older and older, making me think of the inevitability of death.
Faced with the though of losing her, I have grown into the mindset that instead of seeing her as a puzzle to be solved, she really should just be someone I should cherish. No I don’t really know her, I do not understand her, but I love her. I accept her knowns and her unknowns, and I am willing to stand by her when these and the world conspires to make a mess of things.
So, about ‘really’ knowing or understanding someone. I think it’s more like really caring or not caring about someone. In my 32 years of life, I’ve long since outgrown the need for someone who just ‘gets’ me. If two people really care, they will be willing to meet each other half-way.
That’s the real lesson in family where you’re kind of stuck with each other. You meet each other half-way, and the world is a whole lot saner for it.
To answer this post’s title: No, there is no one I really know. Not even my mom who I’ve known the longest. There are just people I care about, and that’s it.