Don’t be a Definite

Last week I went for a fascinating session to listen to Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche talk about the Wheel of Life. He discussed many things: that time is a monster born out of ignorance, fear, and desire; that good or bad karmas are both futile; that we can experience heaven and hell within a day. The biggest misconception he said, is to see everything as a whole.”Your hand for instance, you assume it’s the same you’re born with, but it changes every day. The moisturiser you apply on your hand is proof that it changes every day.” (I really do love a monk who talks beauty.)

But it brings me to the question…Why are we are so attached to our identities?

A friend always makes fun of me asking “Vasu, what’s your status?”. By this he doesn’t mean single or attached, but vegetarian or non-vegetarian. I don’t like to label myself, I just go with what feels right. If I I don’t want to eat meat, I won’t, but that doesn’t mean that I have to be labelled for my preferences. From a makeup perspective, I was very in kohl five years back, then I loved bronzer, then red lipstick. These days everyone tells me that red lipstick is ‘so you’. I love that it suits me, but it’s not me. So I find myself drawn to retro eyeliner instead.

In today’s world we are both blessed and cursed to be ourselves. Blessed because it gives us the freedom of expression, but cursed because we are boxed in by what we think is our personality. I see it all around me: I’m intellectual, I’m bohemian, I’m vintage, I’m androgynous, I’m goth, I’m vegan…the list just goes on. In my mind we are many things at once.

The Goth chick must really want to try pink lipstick at some point but her identity holds her back. Ditto for the feminine girl who wants, but is hesitant to try on a man’s suit. The strong one has her sweet moments and the sweetheart can have balls of steel. Most often these personalities are given to us by others instead of ourselves.

My suggestion would be not go for a lipstick or outfit because it is ‘so you.’ Enjoy dressing, wearing makeup, and doing your hair depending on what you like that very day. Learn to be fluid. Because life is constant change, enjoy being an absolute nothing.

Image: Still from the movie Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs

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