I am still trying to learn and unlearn so much about myself. It’s almost arresting how little I know – I don’t even know if I could say I know my immediate family; I don’t think I even know what I did yesterday.
I’m still coming to terms with what love means for me. Love is all around and completely unavoidable; I’ve learnt that much, but I can’t help but feel as though I never received profound outstanding advice from a mysterious authoritative figure, as seen in the few tales I let myself indulge in. It’s everywhere, it’s in the power couples you crown in secondary school and it’s in your parent’s divorce, it’s in your mind while your head rests upon their shoulder in any context and vice versa. These themes and ideas are present in everything, they’re told in stories in old photographs, and they’re debated in politics, sometimes discovered hiding in silence and buried in each other’s tears. And yet knowing all this, I am still left completely clueless on what love means to me -or rather what I want it to mean to me. I think even when I tried to unlearn what love meant to me a few months ago it came straight for me all over again in a completely new form.
I’m still trying to unlearn all of the habits I fell into around the same time, in fact I set out a clinical process and sought professional help in order to remove them, granted, its still in the works. When in conversation with said therapist he told me that this is exactly what this procedure stands for, learning and unlearning the various mechanisms around cognitive behaviour- however, I’m not entirely sure I’ve changed much; especially when I’m trying to unlearn the culture in which these habits thrive, and simultaneously trying to learn more about that half of my nationality. I want to actively unlearn all of these ‘unhealthy coping mechanisms’, and I want to be able to say, confidently, one day, I’ll be able to take advice from myself and never fall upon this repetitive story again. But I can safely say I’ve learned who I am in the process.
I would like to emphasise that none of this is unheard of and is entirely human, arguably isolating and confusing but I’m working on finding comfort in that. A way in which I’ve been finding said comfort is by imagining that I am the authoritative figure, and I hope that my younger self is listening to the advice I give. I hope that she come to terms with the boundaries she wants, and that she continues to learn more about herself with every passing day because every single second of education can be daunting regardless of whether its being taught in a classroom environment or not; especially when its not curriculum based and you’re trying to make sense of the world around you. While writing this, a woman walked past me with a baby in a pushchair and she smiled at me, and I hope that she thinks I’m writing something others can find comfort in, as well as myself; maybe she even sees herself in me.