Embracing Our Complexity

Embracing Our Complexity

Do you ever feel constrained by society? Do you ever feel trapped inside one box that you can’t ever get out of? Do you ever feel like there is so much more you want to explore and are interested in but you can’t? Chances are, you are not alone in feeling this.

Society has a way of ensuring that you stay in one lane or path for a very long time, and diverging from it can cause some strong reactions both from those around you and society in general.

There are so many things that we are constrained by, and I never understood why. From a personal standpoint, I feel as if I cannot like makeup and also be a woman who argues about politics. I feel like I can’t enjoy baking and be someone who loves to study history and read books. It’s as if anytime I try to break out from the one box or thing I am suddenly faced with a heavy dose of criticism. The truth of the matter is society has not yet evolved to understand this idea that we are more than the one thing they label us as.

The only conclusion I can render as to why society functions that way is because it’s simpler. It’s simpler to see someone and immediately be able to categorize them into one box, even though there isn’t a single human on this planet who is that simple.

So, I am here to remind you that you can love more than one thing. You can love sports and makeup. You can enjoy dancing and be an electrician. You can enjoy the piano and still attend rock concerts. You can be multifaceted.

Categorizing people under this one thing harms the beauty and complexity of what it means to be human. It strips us of this ability to embrace the different aspects of ourselves and trains us not to see that complexity in others.

However, things don’t have to be this way. We don’t have to just love one thing or fit it into one box. We were never meant to be on one path and only do that one thing; We were meant to grow, change, learn and explore anything and everything that piques our interest.

It’s okay to love more than one thing. To be interested in more than one thing should be seen as an opportunity, not something to be looked down upon because it might require a few extra seconds to wrap your mind around it.

For a long time, I thought I couldn’t blog about life, organization and motivation because I was studying political science. I thought I could not love makeup because I loved to read; I believed I couldn’t care about my appearance because I was a feminist. But the truth is, you can do everything and anything you want. I came to understand that in this world, I could blog, study politics, care about my appearance, be a feminist and still spend hours watching makeup videos for fun. I have come to understand that life is so much more complex than society makes it out to be and that you are allowed to be as complex as you want to be. It is not up to anyone else to constrain you to one thing you can love everything and anything – it seems complicated but choosing to embrace every part of who you are is one of the most relieving and beautiful things you can ever do.

Reflecting on the End of a Chapter

After much journaling, self-care and just a boatload of reflection, I have slowly come to understand why I am so terrified of what’s to come. Not only what’s to come in 2021, but just for the rest of my life. As I have probably mentioned before, I am nearing the end of my bachelor’s degree and it is not sitting well with me.

It’s not just that I am finishing my education, it feels as though I am finishing a much bigger chapter of my life. My young adulthood is wrapping up, my childhood is officially ending and what is to come feels like a dark empty hole.

But over the past few months, I have been wondering why I am feeling this way. Why was I so scared of the unknown? Why was I freaking out about having a plan? What was I going to do after this? I have always told myself that at the end of the day I could rely on myself – that I would always be there, and I would always get through the ups and downs of life. But for some reason, that thought has not been comforting enough these past few months. After a lot of reflection, I came to understand why I was so scared of moving on, into the next chapter of my life and I would like to share it with you all.

I was and still am the type of person who has made academics an integral part of their life. When people are asked to describe me, one of the first things that come up is how studious I am. Since high school, I have prioritized and applied myself academically. Mostly because I did love learning, and by extension of that I loved school. But seeing as how I am coming to the end of that path, it scared me to think that I wouldn’t be in that environment anymore. I am very much someone who grows through learning, and it feels like if I take away to school then I am not going to learn, and then I am never going to grow and then someone that will equate to me being stuck in the same spot forever. Now a part of me knows this is not how life works, but the irrational part of my brain has been repeating this over and over in my head. I also became scared that once I was out of school, I would somehow lose an integral part of my personality. As if the only thing that makes me who I am is school – which could not be further from the truth.

With the help of journaling, talking with my friends and honestly reflecting late at night I came to realize a few things I think people need to remember more often.

One, you are not the work you do, the job you have or the career you have found yourself in. Let me explain. Those things are a part of you, they are a small building block of who you are and perhaps they take over a good chunk of your life, but they are not the end-all-be-all of who you are. You are so much more than the titles assigned by society; your personality is not your job or what you produce. For a long time, I believed that once you took away school, you took away who I was because I loved some of the things I was learning in school. I felt that by taking away school, you were taking away my passion for politics, history and helping others. But those aspects, or passions of mine are not linked to school. Did I discover them through school? Yes, but that in no way means once I leave school those parts of my personality leave with it. They are a fundamental part of who I am, and for that, they will always be a part of me. All this to say that the work you do, the function you have is not an accurate portrayal of who you truly are. You are so much more than what you do.

The second thing I came to realize was that a job or career cannot be the only source of joy I have in life. I have always been the type of person who wanted a big career, and I was prepared to put all my eggs into that basket for the sake of what exactly? I have no idea — I was just told that in life I need to get a good job. You do not need to have the perfect career to have a happy life. But it is worth mentioning that a job you do not like, will certainly not make your life better. I was caught between these two ideas and I feared either one of them. So, I decided on a happy compromise, which is forewarned has never been tested outside my brain so might not pan out (will keep you updated on that). But one thing I came to realize about myself was that I did not care so much about the actual job title that I held, but what I did care about was two things. I want my job to help people in some way, really it could in a lot of ways but at the core, I want to help people in any way I can. And second, I need to learn in my job. I cannot have a job with no learning or a small learning curve. I thrive in new experiences that require me to learn new things, but once the learning ends, I start hating the work I am doing. I don’t even care if my job is not related to the field I studied in – but to be happy in a job, I know from past experiences, that I need to be helping people and continuously learning throughout the job.

Understanding how I felt about the next chapter of my life was not easy. It took months for me to realize that I thought school was who I was, but that could not be further from the truth. It also took months for me to realize that the uncertainty I was feeling about the next chapter of my life, and getting a job, stemmed from the fact that I did not know what I wanted. And truth be told, I still have no idea what I want to do. But I know that when I am evaluating job posting or going to interviews, I will think to myself, will I be able to help someone with this job? Is there room to learn and grow? And just having that foundation calms me down a bit.

What I hope you take away from this, is that you are not the work you do nor are you the career you choose. You are so much more than that. It took me a long time to come to these realizations of what I potentially could want from life and what I was scared of leaving behind, I encourage you to take a few moments to reflect on where you’re at. Always remember that you can start over, and that a new chapter of your life can begin today if you need it to. New chapters don’t only start when we end a big moment, they start every single day.

Learning Over Knowing

Our society has created this notion that we should know everything, and reprimands us when we don’t know everything. There is more emphasis put on knowing things than learning.

All around us, people expect that we know everything, and we expect others to know everything as well. We expect our leaders to know what’s best for us. We expect our teachers to have all the answers.  We expect our parents to know what to do in every possible situation. But the part that affects us the most, and that affects our own personal growth is the idea that we expect ourselves to know everything. I am sure that we have all been in those situations where we think to ourselves, “why didn’t I know that? I should have known that”. Society has created this expectation and this pressure that makes us blame ourselves for not knowing something. Why does this pressure exist? Why do we get reprimanded by society for not knowing? One could point to the idea of “cancel culture”, and although I do disagree with that concept, it’s the underlying idea that’s what I want to examine. The concept underlying cancel culture is the idea of being politically incorrect. If there is one thing that the millennial and Gen Z will be known for its our emphasis and significance that we put on being politically correct. Please do not take this as me saying we shouldn’t be politically correct; I do believe we should. But what I have a problem with is the thing behind it that says that if you say something politically incorrect then that’s it, you have been “excommunicated” from society. Truthfully, that is not the type of society I want to live in. If someone says something wrong (within reason and limits), why don’t we educate them instead? If I say or do something wrong I would rather someone tell me, help me understand and acknowledge what I did wrong and what can be done to fix it or what can I learn from it. But our society praises the fact that we know. We get this high from knowing more than other people and calling out those who don’t know. That is not healthy and nor is it how we should be continuing to live.

Essentially, we have developed a culture where you are expected to know everything. But how does one even come to know anything? We have to learn it. Not knowing has become synonymous with the idea that we are lazy, uneducated or simply don’t care, when in reality we just might not know. We do not need to have all the answers, we are not meant to have all the answers. Our lives are meant to be able learning and uncovering things and trying to understand what the heck is going on – we should not have to know everything from day one.

We need to change how society views the idea of learning, learning is about communication and re-adjusting what you thought was possible. Learning is about questioning, exploring and taking time with concepts and ideas. We can’t know everything, and we shouldn’t be shamed for not knowing everything. Its time that society changes how we react and act with people, we need to change the culture to one of learning and turn away from a culture of knowing. A culture of knowing only destroys great ideas and innovations, while a culture of learning can spark that. Life should be about learning, and society needs to one that emphasizes learning experiences rather than knowing everything.