I'm not writing with a purpose today I am just writing because I want to. I have to say, one of the major remnants of mormonism in me, which may have been an innate personal characteristic regardless of religious inculcation, is my absolute love of learning. I find that when I am not reading a book, or learning something new, I feel much less like myself. I have created a sort of public persona that really goes along with it too. For most of my life, I have felt some amount of pressure to live up to this persona; to always be learning a language, reading a dense book, or visiting an interesting country.
As a form of self-exploration I have, over the last few years, taken some time off from such lofty pursuits. I have spent quite a bit of time watching VERY delectable VERY trashy television (flavor of love 1, 2, AND 3-- nuff said), and have allowed myself a respite from my usual language studies. I haven't learned any weird alphabets and I haven't impressed co-workers by rereading "Heart of Darkness". I did, however, spend some time last Halloween speaking Russian to a random cab driver while dressed like Taylor from the Rachel Zoe Project. My cast mates were duly impressed, but I have to admit I was resting on the laurels of past linguistic pursuits. To illustrate, I was NOT speaking Hindi withe cab driver on the way home or even discussing the 5 Ks of Sikhism with him. And that haunts me to this day.
But truthfully, after this self allowed cocoon from a persona greatly tied to my upbringing I have emerged the best butterfly I can be right now in my life. I have realized 2 wonderful things about myself: 1) that I feel most alive and most healthy emotionally and spiritually speaking when I am in the process of learning something exhilarating and fascinating and 2) I don't have to be doing it all the time to be a valid, whole, and happy human being. The "self" has no actual need for such rigidity after all! I think we are all expansive enough to realize and ACCEPT that we can be flexible with ourselves; even our own image of ourselves, and still be US. Not studying language did not take away my Clarkness. I didn't know that before, but now that I do, I can let my reading and studying and learning enhance my Clarkness instead of define it.