I yearn for pieces of my past – perhaps because they are pieces of me. Something as simple as eating my rice with my hands while sitting cross-legged on the couch – I love it.
These things never had this much importance to me. I certainly didn’t eat with my hands every day in Pakistan. But there’s something about it – something nostalgic that transcends experience. I find that I feel a greater desire to live stereotypes – to fulfill every expectation of the displaced immigrant, pining for home. I become that person. I choose to become him.
Everyone has their aspirations. Everyone wishes they were different in some way, whether for better or for worse. And there comes a time, or we can make it come, when we are faced with a choice to live that person. In many ways it really just comes down to that, a choice. Some people make it. They dress as if from another world, or act like they are from another time. They live and breathe a persona that they themselves invented, and eventually chose to live. They become that persona, that character.
I’ve never quite understood those people. The people who cut a path apart from everyone else. But I see the method in it. I too make choices that comprise who I am – we all do. Sometimes I even shape my surroundings with the hope that somehow they will bring me to be the person I want to be. That perhaps surrounding myself with books will make me read them, and that putting notebooks on my shelves, I will be forced to write in them.
Ultimately everyone makes choices of who they are. In many ways we are shaped by the world around us, but in many ways we are really shaped by the choices we make – the things we let in, and the things we leave out. I don’t have the flame-red hair, the 20s wardrobe, or piercings all over my face, but perhaps that just makes me who I am as well. I am a simple guy. I like books, and sometimes I read them. I keep a lot of notebooks, and sometimes I write in them. I like chai, rice and I eat pie for birthdays. I like international relations, cultures and colours. I serve a great God and I don’t belong in this world. I live because of something I had no control over, an act of incomprehensible grace – but I made a choice, and I live each day in the grace of that choice.