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A gift

"People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants.  But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.  A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. (Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love)

I am writing as a gift — for a soul mate of mine. 

This soul mate was in fact a gift to me, in the first place — from a random seatmate on a plane from India to Germany. Life works in surprising ways.

When I took that flight in January of 2007, I was in a really good place — at peace, and happy. As far as I could tell, I had been living a life that was blessed beyond belief… filled to the brim with variety of experience, learning, brilliant inspiring friends, fantastic opportunities of so many kinds. I had been living this life for 27 years, and bits and pieces of me were all over the place, in many different people. I was, and still am, a chameleon, a changer, a morpher. Always a work in progress, and drawn toward newness like a crow toward shiny objects. In the words of someone else who said it best.. 

"I am a mover of in betweens. I slip among classifications like water in cupped palms, leaving bits of myself behind. I am quick and deft… I am a chameleon. And the best chameleon has no center, no truer sense of self than what he is in the instant." (Andrew Pham, Catfish and Mandala)

But this soulmate of mine is a rock, rooted, in the soil of his place in a way that I have never been. He has kept his hands cupped so tight that my bits and pieces haven’t been able to slip away. He just keeps collecting them all, and now I find myself in a bit of a bath. Trying to sort through all the various pieces, seeing things about myself that I haven’t thought about or looked at in at least five years — many of which I didn’t even know were there.

One of the things that I have seen is this:

If you had asked me, on that flight, I would have said that I am courageous, and free, and bold. Not at all afraid to take personal risks. I love spending time alone, I left my home when I was younger than most, I spent a full year traveling alone taking in the world as intensely as I could, and I can think of no thrill greater than arriving in a new place that I have never seen and will never see again, knowing I have just one day to soak up as much of it as I possibly can, meeting whomever I will meet, learning whatever I will learn.

But it turns out that there is something that as a newness-seeking chameleon, I am in fact quite afraid of. I am afraid of committing, of being boxed in. Afraid of making major personal decisions. Afraid of closing doors. Afraid of belonging to only one place, one role, only one identity. Afraid of ever stopping and freezing. Afraid of being limited, in any way, by what I was, did, or thought a week ago, a month ago, a year ago — wanting my life to be a permanent white canvas. Afraid in particular, and fittingly, of being recorded  along the way — wanting the liberty to re-remember my past in whatever way suits me best now, wanting to present myself to the people in my life in the way that *I* want to at any given moment, unconstrained, the complete author of my own momentary identity. *Definitely* afraid of anything like a so-called “blog” (of which I had not read a single one until this past year, incidentally). Recording random thoughts on a regular basis, that will just sit out there, forming a permanent, constraining, only partially representative record of who I supposedly “am”? No thanks. 

But this soulmate of mine has been pushing me for months to at least give it a try, to push myself on this core fear, to stretch myself. And I have always said that I want the kind of people in my life who are worthy of grand gestures, worthy of actions that express caring louder than words alone can.

So this is a gesture, a gift from me to a soulmate… I might be blogging.

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