In every life there comes a time when all the people we meet are strangers. At work, on the streets, in the cafes, on the planes.
We talk, because people often do, we tell them things. It doesn’t matter what we say, because they don’t care. They are strangers we won’t see anymore.
It’s such a fascinating opportunity to create a new person of ourselves. We don’t have to lie. We just have to not say certain things. We omit mistakes, family members, years spent doing things that are not important anymore.
It makes me wonder, of all the people I meet and talk with, how many are doing the same thing as I am? How many are showing just a polished shiny side of them? They are like icebergs; they look different if you move a step to the right, different if you take a step closer. Different under the sunlight, and different in the fog.
Iceberg is such a cold word. People are like diamonds.Shiny, multifaceted, and beautiful and cuttingly sharp if you come too close. Impossible to see them all at once. Impossible to know them all at once.
There is a certain relief in the fact that no one will know me as well.
I used to think that I know myself. I had a fairly good recollection of my teenage years. I thought I remembered well what has happened and how I have felt.
That was until the moment I went home, after the passing of my father, and started reading through my diaries.
They were written in a time without global technologies, when I couldn’t always speak to people when I needed it. There were evenings I had come home, in my room, bursting with thoughts and feelings, and no one to speak to. My diaries were my best friends.
They were hidden in deep inside the drawers of my old desk, which was my sister’s desk before that. While flipping through pages, a cold realisation dawned on me.
I have been a very different person from what I thought I was. I was seeing myself through the rose-tinted glasses of years, glasses we all put on when we look back. The blunt ink of the diary pages forced me to take them off.
The stories inside played like a familiar movie, but the scenes were subtly different. It had the director’s cut, and it was rough.
At one time I have been a sweet teenage girl, full of questions and dreams. I found the notebook with my poems and started comparing the dates. Somewhere around the age of 16 I had somehow grown fangs. The diaries showed me rash, and impulsive, quick to take offense and shout, convinced that the world is black and white, and nothing else. If time could bend and I could go back, I would probably spend hours with my then-self, trying to warn of what could happen, what will happen… Sitting on the floor by the desk, I tore away pages, filled with angry scribbles, that needed to be thrown away. Words that screamed with rage, words I had written with the sole purpose to hurt. If I could meet my then-self then, it would have been a stranger. A diamond with way too many sharp ends.
And my friends at that time… There were details, recorded on the pages, that I had missed to notice really. Things my friends had said, or done, things, that would have gotten a different reaction now. Things that seemed so painfully clear today, and yet had remained unseen by the oblivious teenage me, even while I had been writing them on the paper.
I had grown up, maybe. I have changed, surely. I had become a stranger to myself. And if I do not write down the thoughts and problems, reflections and excitements of the days, how will I know if I am changing again? Will there come a day, when I will sit down in a quiet moment, and will not remember how I have been 10 years ago. How I have really been. Photos will show my taste in clothing and my hairstyle, but will I really know what had been inside?
The things we say on paper are revealing the strangers we become with time.