Slice: Quest to find thyself

Sunday morning epiphanies are always good for bargaining with your truths. Surely it has to do with the redemptive quality religion has attached to this day. Anyway, it feels as though the Sundays in my 20s are loaded with lessons thick and fast and not enough hot shoes, great sex and the no parents telling you what to do.

I am not sure how I believed I’d have life figured out in my 20s. Or myself. I am starting to believe it was a side effect of Oprah afternoons, Iyanla’s books and the quietness that refuses to settle in my head. All I know is I am not the only one with a minor OCD complex to tightly thread my life and feel an unwavering sense of control and certainty.

The business of living is never really “easy like a Sunday morning”. Growing pains simply will not allow it. But a quick reflection reminded me that I am in the second semester of a postgrad degree I am passionate about. Life next year is promising to be pretty dandy. So really, what is up with the tightness in the centre of my chest? The quarter-life crisis of the modern day homo sapien is what’s happening. Anxiety is our biggest enemy and so is the pop psychology that is constantly urging us to “find ourselves”.

There is nothing wrong with waking up every morning interrogating your own existence, choosing the kind of life that is constantly asking the hard questions; attempting to find yourself at every trajectory life calls a lesson. It is necessary, in fact, it’s exactly the kind of living we ought to be doing. But goodness gracious, can we try a little tenderness? Tracee Ellis Ross said: “I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me.”

So why are we a generation saturated with so much angst? We are so uncomfortable with the necessary pauses. The moments when you don’t know, when you fail, when you make a mistake. We ride the highs too high and the lows too low – too much intensity, not enough patience. Of course the proverbial question of “who I am?” was never going to find a definition this soon. At the very most, my living has to open me up. Existential complexes can be really vain. But that’s mainly because the world has drilled an aspiration of perfect facades in our brains.

There are Sunday mornings where I miss Amy Winehouse. To me, she was every woman and every man. Her talent was condensed in her flawed humanness. She was authentic about how heavily she loved, how much pain she’d seen, the reality of finding who she was. All of this through the gift of lyrics. For me, Amy always sang the truths that I was sometimes embarrassed to think to myself. I don’t mean to romanticise her fall, but the grey-area person in me saw the light in the frailty of her druggie days. I think the more attractive thing was that she was unapologetic – when your mistakes are evident to the world, modesty can be pathetic.

I’m learning that audacity is a principle of survival. Sure, I don’t know it all and neither am I all that. But when peeling the layers of who you are – sometimes winging it as you go along is the only real way to fly.

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