|"Solitary Confinement", taken at Vienna Zoo, 31 July 2011. Copyright of OKJ. Click to see higher quality image.|
Monday, May 27, 2013
It's not that I don't have great friends, I do, good friends who I know will be there for me should I need them. It's not that I'm a loner, far from it, I enjoy the company of people, eating, laughing, singing together.
Perhaps alone is not quite the word for it.
I've always been a rather odd one out I know. Friends say I'm a 40 year old living in a 20 year old body. Given my old fashioned taste in music, I can't say I blame them, haha! But it is more than that. I can go crazy, enthusiastic and childlike at times ( ask my younger brother). I can be carefree, funny, and happy-go-lucky when I want to be.
But I don't think that's quite it either.
Rather, I believe it's because of what I believe my life is about. Friends sometimes call me crazy, obsessed or say that I care too much. My mom freaks out everytime I go to some rally or write some article criticising the government. One of my best friends used to say: "Why do you get so upset? It's not even really affecting you." Another unfortunate love interest felt rather neglected when I seemed to love my country and perhaps not pay as much attention to her.
But that's just it. I feel "alone" at times because I feel that so very few people understand what it is to have one's life revolve around the prospect of serving a greater cause. To many, politics, socioeconomic issues and the fates of others are very separate from their own conception of self. But to me, it is everything.
For as long as I can remember, I have always been interested in people. Not gossip or the celebrity stuff, but the happiness, the welfare and the livelihood of people. I started blogging because of the gross injustice I felt that was inherent in the Malaysian education system. I study history and economics because I want to learn as much as I can, so that I can broaden my perspective and look upon today's issues with an eye as to not repeat the terrible past. Heck, I remember how I used to make my birthday wishes and prayers: "May all people be happy. May the cruel be kind and please help them realize there is a better way for all of us."
Looking back at my application essays to the US, my whole application rested on sociopolitical concerns. Even my speech competition was based on a speech I made about racism.
Perhaps that is why I sometimes feel.... not understood. Not misunderstood, no, but just... not understood. I must sound like I'm spewing nonsense now, but it's just that I feel there is this core to me, this core that does not belong to myself but to something bigger than little puny me.
Maybe one day, when I am going to risk my life or getting arrested, I will find someone who will not say: "Are you mad?" But rather understand that, yes, I am mad, I am mad about the injustice, I am mad about the hypocrisy, I am mad about the hunger, the racism, the corruption, the poverty.
Maybe one day I will find someone who instead of holding me back, will simply hold my hand and walk with me.
Until that day, perhaps I will stick to long lonely drives home, listening to my heart beating in the dark.