I often relay the story to those who are willing to listen that my first word was "self." As soon as I begin this very short story, I usually assume that the other person(s) will immediately interpret that truth to mean that I have been a self-consumed personality since I was able to utilize my vocal apparatus intelligibly.
So, I immediately interject with more commentary, like, "But it's not what you think. I used that word to mean 'I can do it myself' or 'Let me do it myself,' rather than in exemplification of the Freudian theory that youngsters learn in their early years." Yes, sometimes I use the word "exemplification" out loud in real life — because all the words have the right to be played with sometimes.
From inner meanderings to your voice
I've always channeled my voice through words in my ever-present thirst to reveal the inner meanderings of my mind. I was that child with an overactive imagination, pretending my bike was a pony, bringing along my invisible friend to parties and the beach, and making up stories to teach the "classroom" of stuffed animals in my bedroom.
I wanted to put my thoughts down on paper in order to make them more permanent, and also to give them life — even if I was the only soul to know they were alive. I worried that if they stayed in my head, how would I be contributing to the world at large, and how could I possibly connect to the fellow human beings near and far? I have always contemplated the nature of humanity and the potential that exists for accomplishments, small and large, and worthy of marveling.
I believe that our humanity — the very essence of having found ourselves with a life we did not request or prepare for — compels us to use our resources wisely to seek balance in every aspect of our lives. Yet this aspirational balance always seems one step away from becoming attainable, and so the elusive pursuit consumes our existence.
So, while a lifetime does not seem an adequate temporal ram in which to balance that which satisfies our goals of fulfillment, teetering between the personal, intellectual, and spiritual tenets of our being, we still attempt the impossible anyway during the long days and very short years, as they say.
Fulfullment via deliberate expression
Our lives are tangled webs of opposing forces and circumstances, executed only in hopes of ascertaining truths, much like history's most prolific thinkers did before us. We devise a plan of action to reach happiness with unwillingness to accept that we may not have the capacity for absolute morality or intuition regarding matters of fulfillment.
In wrestling with these issues, I have always wanted to be deliberate in my delivery, whether expressed with my voice, written word, or action. The holistic nature of being human affords us the abilities and rights to represent our multi-dimensional beings in a multitude of ways.
I have always found this fascinating, and the Gemini in me has taken my diverse and often seemingly in-congruent personal characteristics and attempted to look at the circumference of every situation. There is no black and white lens through which to look at this world or the lives that live in it. For those that do choose this lens, I believe there is a certain blindness that will persist, thereby making it difficult for me and them to ever truly relate.
Pathways and gateways to the mind
In my sharing these personal sentiments, I am also sharing a critical part of the path that was created for me at birth to write. I may have uttered "self" at an early age, but I also accepted both the right and responsibility to look beyond myself and assist others in their journeys to self-fulfillment as they edit and re-write their stories around who they are, what's important to them, what outcomes they seek to drive, and how their days could be better if only they were seen more or better understood.
As Noam Chomsky called language a gateway to the mind, I, too, see the various components of language a means to express that which is forever unseen and truly translatable in real time. We spend our days conjuring and processing our own thoughts, and, insodoing we get to know ourselves better. But, in language, we find an ever present partner in sharing, unlocking, and deciphering those most intimate and complex thoughts.
Photo credit: Christa M. Thomas