“I don’t want to be anything or anyone I wasn’t meant to be. I am who I am, and to be anything different isn’t being true to myself.”
It’s these words that bring me out of my half-dazed state in Rutherford Lounge. I shake my head, what does that even mean?
Tell me, when did humanity become so static? When did timeless Change suddenly decide that human nature was exempt? Since when were we just one person? One set of invariable and inert characteristics? Never.
I turn to my friend, drawing her gaze until I have her attention.
From the time we’re conceived, brought kicking and screaming into this world, we change. Time changes everything, second by second, day by day and year by year. To be so naive and self-consumed that we are one, stable being and character unaffected by Time’s eternal and inescapable grasp is a fool’s notion and is better abandoned than strived for.
She sighs, unconvinced, we are only as capable as the world around us allows us to be, operating within a set of limitations and boundaries. I shake my head.
Granted, we are small beings, but with immeasurable power over our own lives and others, our smallest actions reverberate through a world connected through emotions and feelings, thoughts and ideas. Not only do our own actions change others, but in so doing, change ourselves as well.
She rolls her eyes: it’s the fight for our beliefs against the accepted dogma that allow us to preserve ourselves. I nod: but does that fight not define you? Make you stronger? Make you more confident?
Why not embrace it and let it change you? Change can be beautiful too - you just have to change yourself to see it, accept it with new eyes. We build who we are over time, build character, integrity, courage, honour, trust, temperance, fortitude, prudence and justice. Trying to avoid it is futile; it is natural, it is all-consuming, it is beautiful. It takes so many diverse forms that we cannot even begin to understand how far it stretches, over boundaries, both physical and psychological. From the beat of the smallest butterfly in India, to the chaos of the largest hurricane in Mexico. From the most insignificant, fleeting wink, to the three most powerful words on the planet.
She raises an eyebrow and begins to actively listen, as I grin and continue.
We grow. We learn. We live. We love. We take risks, make choices, lay it on the line. All of these things change. Yeah, each choice is based on the way we think, but each choice in-turn changes how we think thereafter, influencing future decisions for years to come. Change is not biased, nor is it limited. It can act microscopically and macroscopically, changing everything and anything. The more we try to avoid it, the more we become slaves to it, letting it control our actions regardless; all done in a fruitless and barren attempt to keep it from touching us.
She taps her fingers unconsciously on the worn plastic table before us: But I’m no quantum physicist, Alex. I could sure as hell try, but I’d be a useless wreck. That’s who I am. I chuckle awkwardly, yeah alright, but there’s a difference between ability or potential and enjoyment. You might not be in place to enjoy quantum physics right now, maybe never, but who says you can’t do it?
People often say that they can't help who they are, that they can't escape it. It's your bloody choice to walk away and accept difficulty, to give in, to submit. Don't try. It's just an intention to fail. You choose from the very beginning to be overwhelmed. The human mind is capable of more than many of us can dream. It was once unthinkable to amass $1,000,000,000. Enter John D. Rockefeller. Human flight was a fairy tale. Thank the Wright Brothers. The very idea of a black president was a joke not even worth mentioning over dinner. Barack Obama challenged it. ALL of it has changed. Why? Because people believed that things could change. People can be selfish, can be cruel, can be wicked. But they can also be selfless, good and benevolent.
Blinking repeatedly, she ponders what I’ve said and the recognition shows in her sea green eyes.
You can sit on your ass and blame the world for your predicament, but quite frankly, it’s on you to change. It’s nobody’s fault but our own that we find ourselves where we are. A good friend of mine has managed to turn full-circle: 360-bloody-degrees. From a life he despised, from a past he was once ashamed of and from a future he saw as nothing but bleak and hopeless - he found change. He found choice and he realized it. He found happiness and he hangs onto it, clinging on to it with everything that he is; because he knows he deserves it.
I pat the same on the shoulder as he chokes on an Italian BLT, swearing at me through a mouthful of lettuce.
We trade youth for wisdom, opening our eyes and seeing a world we only strolled through and couldn’t/wouldn’t/didn’t understand. It’s these individual changes that shape us, mould us, make us. You never lose sight of who you are, nor do you become someone else. You’re still you, just more so with time. Time changes, and so do you.
So who are you? You decide. You don’t find yourself. You create yourself. You don’t know yourself. You understand yourself. Your very choices -from when to get up each morning, to which drug to take from a shady black guy with bad teeth and a wicked leather coat - shape who you are.
Every choice sets off another completely different set of decisions you can make, the lineup changing with each and every subsequent choice you make... each “encounter could create a time paradox, the result of which could cause a chain reaction that would unravel the very fabric of the space-time continuum and destroy the entire universe!... Granted that’s a worst case scenario.”
And though every choice is immortal, it's effect isn't. You choose to act on it, change it or keep it.
The table goes silent. Done with his sandwich, my friend’s eyes dart from person to person before decidedly ninja-ing the white-macadamia nut cookie sitting in front of me. Shoveling it down hungrily, he looks to each of us. What? I was hungry. You weren’t hungry enough. Cookie’s mine. So sue me.
Funny, I can’t remember him being such a goddamn fat-ass.
Everything begins with Choice.
Welcome to Evolution at its best, at its most microscopic and detailed level.
Welcome to Metamorphosis.