I used to think it was normal to bring one part of myself to a relationship, or a conversation, or an interaction. I don’t think there are many instances where I brought every part of myself to the table. And I know that sounds like a strange thing to say (I mean Anu, are you saying you had your spleen extracted as a kid or something and you’re missing body parts?) It’s more parts of me that I wouldn’t feel comfortable with, that in certain situations I would downplay, or maybe exaggerate.
A very concrete example: I didn’t think serious tech startup entrepreneurs cared how they looked, or liked shopping, or liked being that sort of creative. Because I was trying to be what I saw out there, the sure path to success. I usually use this blog to write out what I think I should be doing, but sometimes it takes a lot longer for me to really be convinced, not just with my mind, but with my whole self. Because I know I’ve written about it a few times, but I couldn’t consolidate that with my dreams of making it big in the tech startup space. Which is why for the longest time, I didn’t appreciate the fact that man, I love shopping, I love dressing up, I love fashion, I love all that stuff. It makes me happy. I mean I DID acknowledge it, but I didn’t think I could practice that every day. Only on vacations, only when I went back to the US, only in certain situations. Places where it would be more normal, or I felt like it was a more normal thing. I don’t know, it’s kind of hard to explain, but in my head it made perfect sense. And really, I was dying a bit inside every day, killing a little bit more of that part of me.
Which is weird to think about. What parts of you are dying inside because they don’t get to be expressed on a daily basis? And why don’t we feel like we can bring that to the table? And if it’s really important to us, maybe we need to do something about it.
I think it really hit me when I realized people can tell something is wrong, and I wasn’t bringing my whole self to the conversation. In fact, it makes people a little wary because if they talk to you at different times, or in different geographies, or in different situations, you may seem like a different person. And that could be a little bit scary, even make you seem a bit disingenuous. Which is what really shook me up and made me take notice. It was another painful session with Ruth of course, but still. I’m glad it happened.
I thought about why people really like home- however they define it. Maybe home is home, less because of what exists, but more because we feel like we have permission to express and be every part of ourselves, and be loved in the process, just for being us. We have freedom to be what we want to be.
And maybe, in order to be a global soul, and make the world our home, we need to have the courage to bring our whole selves to the table, no matter what the situation, wherever in the world we may be, regardless of how it is received. For the simple reason that that is who we are.
And if home is where the heart is, how do you locate where your heart lives? Does it really have to live in one place?