A Road to Honesty

Image Via Tania Rahman

There’s a bitter cup of truth that is difficult to swallow, no matter how strong or impervious we are to its taste. Even if we are people that champions honesty and are used to its telling, the closer it is to us and the more we keep it, the harder it hits.

I don’t think anyone is honest enough, least of all myself. We’re all honest with the easy things, like not letting your best friend leave the house with that mismatched splattered pants and flowery top combination, or telling your ‘bro’ what you really think about his new girl, but there are the increasingly difficult truths, like the things we really want, or the ones we think are too pathetic to share, or too afraid because it shows all our weaknesses.

When the mood strikes and at the off chance honest people decide to speak, we learn the very real aspects of the human condition. Mostly that there are always reasons behind why we do what we do, and then there are the underlying reasons. I have a friend who played the bass, and we always assumed he picked it up because well, he loved music. It wasn’t any simpler than that. Then one day, in one of our heart to hearts, he let slip that the real reason he picked up the bass was just because it was easier than the guitar, and he wanted to look cool in a band. Deeper into that, all this was mainly so that girls would like him. For him, and many people, the drive for intimacy was greater than the actual love for the instrument, and more than anything, he wanted the love more than he wanted the music.

What we do when we think our looks or personalities aren’t enough, when our strengths aren’t enough, when we just, aren’t, enough, speaks as a very real response of a life so far removed from our creator that we’re in constant repair. The leaks need to be filled, taking the form of many covers- Some uglier than others. Some speak louder, some retreat within themselves, some bend until they break. Have you ever wondered, what we’ll really listen to when no one’s watching? What will we truly love reading, when we didn’t have to answer to anyone? For example, I think hipsters dance pants-less to Justin Bieber and Mariah Carey just like the rest of us do.

Maybe I, too, need to be painfully honest for this to stick. If I could speak of everything I’ve ever done, it wasn’t so much because I loved it, but it was more because I loved being known for loving it. I wanted to be like the people I thought were “cool”, so I’ve lived the greater part of my life trying to be “cool”. I sang, dance, spoke, and wrote partially because I had a natural affinity for it, but also partially because I wanted the admiration. I took on art, football, politics and music, because I wanted to connect with the people that had these as their identities too. I wanted to inspire, like those who have inspired me.

Then I lived for a few more years till the first lights of today, and realized how stuck I was, and how pathetic a life I would lead if it were always at the mercy of someone else’s reality. Who would I have been if I had lived as a hermit, and had no one to recommend all these great bands, movies or videos? Would I have been vastly different? If at all? Was there anything I truly discovered for myself? and is it possible to discover anything by “ourselves” anyway?

On this road to honesty, I looked to my childhood, where my likes and dislikes were the most undiplomatic, the most biased towards myself, and where I was at my most original version. I remember I would color and paint all day, make art, and cut colored paper. I hated dresses, and wore Kikilala tee shirts and knee-length shorts. I only liked the rubber-made boy slippers that would always tear within months, and played ‘masak-masak’ in the garden all day with weeds and flowers. I devoured Roald Dahl novels, Archie Comics and watched Muzzy in Gondoland. I also used to watch Robin Hood on repeat, till the whistling tune of its characters drove my mom crazy. I used to play with these colorful German-made, mobile toys too. Dad brought them home from his business trip that one time, and encouraged me to build abstract structures with it before I even knew the meaning of ‘abstractions’.

So today, I’m going back to the beginning to discover what I truly like, even if I end up finding out that I would still like the same things if I had a life to live over. At least then, I know I liked it for myself, not for any cute boy. When they say truth leads to freedom, no one had any idea how true that is. Freedom feels too good, especially when you realized how much of a prison you’ve built around yourself.  Freedom comes from being real, with most importantly, yourself, and being “yourself” is to say what you think, saying what you feel, and meaning what you say. Whether or not you like cheese, or Transformers, or whether or not you want to go to that hang out on Friday. So that’s why I started writing this. I think five year old Jowee would look at present-day Jowee and not recognize her at all, for all her flaws and mistakes, and for all the good she’s made for herself too. Today, and for the rest of my days, I’m going back to the root of things, and let honesty make me.

Image Via Raffithngphotography

Made of cell and bones, fanciful thoughts and desperation,

I’m starting by listening to some good Michael Jackson,

because he was my very first introduction

to what it means to have epic music.

I really love “Pretty Young Thing”.

C’est fin.



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