Hello Self-doubt, my old friend! Your sheer constancy absolutely amazes me. Most people, within rather short acquaintance, become quite sure that they have had all that they want of me for a life-time. Why, I have even see people ducking into stinking lanes merely to avoid me. You, though, never leave my side - not even for a moment.
Of course, you are silent for more time than you used to be. I really cannot remember whether you started operations when I was a baby - you may have but, since I knew no language then and, maybe, nor did you, your presence did not register. All I remember is that you really were at your peak when I was in my teens. Not a moment passed when you were not whispering, "Ah! Really? You think you can really do something productive?", "Yeah! Right! You are some sort of Adonis, are you not? Which girl would look at you twice even if she can stand the first sight?", "Friends? You really think anyone would think of you as worth befriending?" and things like that. Nag, nag, nag all the time but I must say that you never abandoned me.
You are very pragmatic, though. The moment you see that your message gets disproved by what happens in life, you switch tracks and move on to a new thing. Of course, for your message to be disproved, I should try out the very things that you assured me to be beyond my capabilities AND succeed. If the success is known only because others praise my efforts, you have a standby of saying, "They do not really mean it. They are saying it only to please you." It is only when the issue is placed beyond all doubt that you give up. If, perchance, I do not succeed, you can continue harping on the same thing till I stop even thinking of doing it.
So, yes, the older I got, the more silent you became, since most of the things I was doing or was thinking of doing were things that I had proved myself capable of doing. It would have been nice if, like most other people, I had stuck to doing the same things over and over again. I quit my job, started thinking of trekking and back you were at the same stand harping away, "You? Trek? You can hardly walk two steps without tripping over your bootlaces." You made me sorry for having badly misjudged you by thinking that you had abandoned me.
But, jeez, I never realized how energetic you would get when I started writing. If there is one thing that you love, it is inhabiting someone doing something creative. Taking up something creative is like inviting you in, rolling out the red carpet, seating you reverently on the best arm-chair, handing you a glass of Scotch and begging you to have a go.
Unlike other things, where the doer can, by himself, judge how well he is doing (like, you do not need a certificate from someone to know that you completed a trek), creative pursuits always need the external world to say how well you are doing. The external world, being what it is, often offers valuable hints on how you can do better but is strategically silent on how good or bad you already are (OR, of course, it can overwhelm you with praise and make you feel that it likes you so much that it transfers the liking to your work). More so when, like me, you are of an age when they can assume that you already know how good you are (as you should, if you are pursuing the same thing since the age of 25, instead of taking up a new one at 50) and take their responsibilities to keep down your hubris very seriously. Boy! You, my good old friend, are really having a ball now! Now I know why most people my age just refuse to take up anything new.
I must be glad, though, that you skipped some classes when you were being trained. Every now and then, you do say things like, "You cannot even boil water without burning your fingers. You are absolutely useless. It is a wonder that your parents still suffer your presence at home" but, most of the time, you totally forget to make me feel worthless even when you make me think that I would be useless at doing something. Otherwise, you would have been drumming in the message, "Nobody cares for you", every hour on the hour. Maybe that is why I could live alone - otherwise, I might have had to surround myself with people whose chatter would drown out your voice. It is quite another thing that, some times, those very people may end up reinforcing your voice rather than drown it out.
You have a point, though. Like with most people, I concentrate only on the bad things in those who surround me and totally fail to see the good. So, I am also being unjust to you. Were it not for your nagging, I could well assume that I knew everything and, thus, stop learning and stagnate. As long as I can just let you out only on Sundays and keep you muzzled the rest of the time, I should be able to benefit from you. So, do not abandon me, just yet.
There you go again - "You putting this up? Do you really think anyone is interested in reading this muck?" To which, all I can say is, "If I do not put it up, no-one is going to read it anyway. So, what have I got to lose?"
Well - this is a Sunday, my old friend, and you have had your say. Wear that muzzle like a good chap and stay off my back till the next. Au Revoir!
This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.