We’re all perfectly flawed mortals
In search of enlightenment.
That we are. We have dents. We have bruises a-plenty. There are chinks in our armour and cracks in our wall. And I’m quite certain most of us have used up a lifetime’s worth of metaphorical band-aids trying to patch those cuts. Yet whilst our flaws and imperfections are what make us, us, they don’t define us. Neither do they determine the paths we choose. The quote above? I overheard it from an episode of Madam Secretary, and it struck such a chord with me. So much that I thought I might share a little of my personal life choices, and how they’ve shaped me (for better or for worse).
At the end of it, I hope you’ll come to see just how utterly flawed I am, and yet, still stitched
held (if somewhat tenuously) together by nothing but the best and purest of intentions.
PERFECTLY FLAWED MORTALS IN SEARCH OF ENLIGHTENMENT
I grew up in a very strict environment. Irrationally so because, at the time, my Dad was suffering from hyperthyroidism and during the early to mid 80s, it wasn’t as commonly known in Borneo as it is throughout the world today. As such, his was an undiagnosed condition which everyone attributed to a cantankerous and moody temperament (sorry, Dad). Back to the strict bits. As in, we couldn’t watch comedies (because we wouldn’t take life seriously), we couldn’t learn how to swim (we might drown), we couldn’t hang out with our friends at the mall (someone might bomb it and we’d die). No phone calls after 7pm and if we were allowed to go to parties, we had to be home by 8pm, of the same day. If you’d guessed that my teenage life was rather lonely and boring, you’d be right.
Things came to a head one evening. After a particularly loud argument, I ran away.
I really did.
That wasn’t the worst of it though. I ran away, met a guy at a pub and then checked into a hotel room with him, and his friend. So gullible and innocent, I thought nothing of it save that we’d hang out and “chat“. I’ve no idea how and why but angels were on my side that night. I’d just turned 16 and I came that close to being gang-raped. Somehow, I managed to talk my way out of the scariest situation of my life. Literally. To this day, I think it was because I kept talking, spewing out as many bombastic words as I knew, they had absolutely no idea what to do with me. I kept talking and talking until one started yawning which triggered the other, and after a bit, the two guys fell asleep.
Ran to the nearest payphone, called my aunt. She showed up 15 minutes later, with my Dad, and I went home. We never spoke of that day again. The silver lining? My brother and I were allowed to watch sitcoms, we got to go to the mall, and our curfew was extended to midnight. We still weren’t allowed to go swimming though.
I can hear many of you stating the obvious, as in how stupid I was. To go into a hotel with someone I’d only just met. How naive. I don’t blame you but I really didn’t think anything of it. I honestly envisaged a nice chat in the quiet solitude of a room, and that was it. Never in my wildest dreams did I think the guys had ulterior motives #stupidsheela
As a parent myself now, I understand how petrified my parents must have been when I ran away. How cruel it was of me to “punish” them.
It hit close to home when several months ago, Eve and I had a huge row at the mall, over something completely ridiculous (after a movie, she got both of us lost trying to get out of the cinema, and that pissed me off, I know). I kept yelling at her, and when we reached the public bathrooms, she ducked into one, to get away from me. I waited outside. And waited. And waited. And waited some more. After 10 minutes and still no sign of Eve, I started panicking. I was crying, positive someone had taken her or, worse, she’d run away from me because she hated me. I couldn’t breathe. Imagine how my parents reacted when they thought they’d lost me.
WHAT A BITCH I WAS TO THEM. THEY DESERVED FAR BETTER.
Incidentally, if what I’ve written today reads somewhat disjointed and garbled, it’s because I’m writing under the influence of a high fever paired with an Angioedema flare-up so bear with me, please🙂
Again, what do all these have to do with the concept of being a perfectly flawed mortal?
Mistakes are cyclical. Age and perceived maturity count for naught when it comes to the follies of our nature. We commit the same sin over and over and over again, under different scenarios perhaps, but the crux of the issue is one and the same. We are but neverending works-in-progress. Like moths to the flame, we err, our judgement may often be impaired and we hurt those we love. Yet that is the heart of being human.
Simply put, we have to make mistakes in order to learn from them, and move on, and make new mistakes, and learn from those too. That’s what makes us human, perfectly flawed, always in search of that moment of enlightenment.
I know I am. Perfectly flawed, that is. In pursuit of even a mere modicum of wisdom.
p/s photos by Sofia Touassa
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