I guess my emotional nature is strange. I would not like to use the term ‘deficient’, which is why I chose ‘strange’. However, I have been that person who fell into and out of relationships at surprising speed, and managed to function all right when they went kaput. I have also noticed that the more I get content, the less emotionally dependent I get on anyone – any single person, woman, man, friend, accomplice – to the point that I am most happy being left completely alone, or only debating abstract ideas with random people. I am well nigh horrible at being emotionally supportive a lot of the time, and one of the first things that draw me to the people I find attractive are whether they are smarter than me or can argue a point in a way that transcends my intelligence and therefore ends up expanding it. I rarely ever wonder about the kind of person they are, at least initially, and have much less emotional than intellectual connect over the duration of the relationship, as well.
‘Stone’ and ‘robotic’ and ‘awkward’ are not pretty terms to associate with oneself, but they are better than ‘cruel’ and ‘manipulative’, all of which are adjectives that have been applied in my context. Those applications were completely devoid neither of reason nor logic, but I believe a lot came down to my being unable to have any real emotional sticking power over the course of my life.
Society tells one that must be very, very bad – after all, to love is to live – but what if some people prove society wrong, left right and centre? What if loving was okay, only till one could take it?
Because I have found strange joy in letting go of attachment. It is almost a feeling like no other. I am at a relatively stable point in my life, which means I am internally not very troubled too. I went out on a drive last night, a long one by car which spread over several hours – mostly around the areas I grew up in. I am going to be leaving my hometown soon, or as soon as the pandemic permits, and wanted to soak in the sights a few last times. So, the car drove thru along the street in front of my school, a favourite childhood riverside relaxation haunt, some apartment buildings my friends lived in, and along very familiar roads and alleyways in general.
I’ve never particularly fancied living in the same place for too long, and had therefore, in a way, always wanted to ‘escape’ where I was born – 20+ years in one place will be way too much for me, in whatever circumstance, and this end-of-the-world suburb largely lacked most of the things I craved as a child and continue to. Therefore, whenever I went on reminiscing drives like these in the past, just before anytime I was to relocate somewhere else because I have done that a few times over the course of my education, there was a sense of elation. I was finally free.
However, last night, something different happened which impressed me. I felt nothing at all when I drove past these places with a lot of seeming emotional context for my life. On my mind was just a sense of relief at a hectic period of time having ended, and several emotionally unclouded and rational observations about the current state of those buildings. Nothing emotionally positive or negative, at all.
This lack of feeling was very, very liberating and happiness-inducing to me. I will explain how. Life, being the complex train of events that it is, leaves nothing in absolutes of black and white. Even when places remind you of all things pleasant, there will be that one ruined birthday party or failed exam that will come back to haunt you. You are lucky if the ruined birthday was ruined only due to things going wrong on the surface. As most people will agree, not all unpleasant things were ruined due to minor offences – some things can ruin your entire childhood, some visions or words or days, or your entire adolescence or life. And most of us have been privy to some of those – which is why we had to grow up, in the first place. Some of us were lucky, our bad memories were not particularly bad. The rest of us, not quite so. And for those of us who have had really bitter experiences with most of our growing-up years, it is not difficult to understand the kind of elation that would come when we realize we are emotionally untouchable by our childhood and bedside monsters, after all. It’s not difficult to comprehend – even if vicariously.
So in letting go of attachment, one lets go of everything that made them vulnerable and then exploited that vulnerability. Sure, they let go of good parts too – but assuming that some of their lives are left, there is a tabula rasa on which new good things can be inscribed. And this time, as the popular saying goes, these people will be starting from experience and not scratch – when it comes to identifying what makes them happy.
And maybe, just maybe, some people are built to be lifelong wanderers. They aren’t necessarily sad, or broken from a past. They just like variety. When words and images from the outside world enter their head, those get a little blurry – they take their time processing these inputs, and are courageous enough to form their own interpretations of everything they see. They are at the receiving end of brickbats often enough from the mainstream which believes that these mavericks distorted their “truth”, but the mavericks are the happiest because they dance to a song that only they can hear. It takes courage to be alone. It takes courage to be weird. Weird often comes from not being in tune with the emotions of your surroundings.
If this is you, my friend, welcome to the club.