All my life I have lived to love someone. 'Worship' I learned to call it. Struggling to worship a God that never was, praying that he exists. Him with a capital H. Even though I have been never been religious, in this regard I was the unrivaled, the alpha devotee. Or at least wanted to be. My savior he was to be. My 'tree' I would call him metaphorically. An abundant, grand, grandiose tree, in all its wooden splendor and life, to cover my whole being like a divine umbrella. A living monument of man, under which I wanted to simply exist, 'pick flowers', if you like. Yearning to be a nobody in comparison. Pining to become a speck as he would reign over me. Me the kingdom, he the King; me the devotee he the God, me a mere abstraction, he the very creation! And nothing less would satisfy me. Such brazen hunger for worship did not hurt my ego in the slightest. It did not because in my mind he knew it was I who needed to coronate him for myself! Oh! How important that he should not care! He would have known it was my need and may be nothing more. It was this understanding that was to mark our love. Alas, it never happened. And thank god it never happened.
Adding flavor to my delusion, I always had this beautiful imagery of a little girl sitting pretty on green grass, under that tree, her flower-printed pinafore and a little brooch in place. She sits unmindful of the world, of her own existence, save that the tree is her home and as long as she is under it no harm could befall her. I never knew what she feared, but she would keep plucking at the lush green grass near her knees and now and then fiddle with her basket. Her face had calm contentment writ all over it. This girl was me.
Never did I pay heed that this girl had no books by her side. Books that I so love to read. She wanted nothing from life except to barely exist under the shadow of the man-tree, all she wanted was to feel safe even as no eminent danger was in sight. This safety was her idyll, her ultimate salvation. She had no ink, no pen, no paper. You see, she needs nothing from him! Just his presence around, as if to co-exist in his time was the reason she had taken birth.
Today I see the horror of such a dream. I dread what would happen to her if she were trapped in such condescending paradise. What good is the man-tree except for his banal presence? Doesn't she realize that it's her books, her pen and her paper that make up her life and have been her solace all these years? Doesn't she know the rest can be built and destroyed only to fall like a pack of cards and that all that really happens happens only in our minds?! Why have I been so afraid of being a writer? Afraid of being a 'failure' even before I learned to spell the word? Deep down I have always known I loved writing, but deeper still was buried my reluctance to accept it. The enormity of the thought, the responsibility of calling oneself a 'writer', added to it my ruthless criticism of myself stopped me short. Not only did it play a hindrance, it actually made me hand wave my own belief in myself.
The thing is I have always been afraid to fail. So much so that I didn't even want to acknowledge to myself that I have a dream. To want to see my name on the spine of a book - and even more than the name - I have always wanted to express . To me there exists no word more beautiful than the word 'write' and yet I have been so stingy with saying it out aloud. I still believe one has to earn whatever one calls oneself. Nothing is ever ours unless we earn it with our sweat. (I feel even less of a lawyer, than my degrees will have you believe). I didn't allow myself the chance. To accept that this was what I do and it is okay even if I am not able to prove it! My life is not being lived on a stage. If there was anyone I loved more, wanted to protect more, wrap my arms around - it is me. If there is anyone in whose stretched palm I would like to place something beautiful and for life - it would be a pen and that hand would be mine.
As I write this, I want to close the curtain on the imagery I have nurtured for as long as I can remember. I am not the kind you'd find plucking grass, sitting pretty and under a tree all her life. Maybe I was never that girl, maybe I no longer want to be.