Edited by Aruna Nidamarthy
[Artwork by Delphine Cauly]
Crowded food courts. Noisy buses. Chaotic classrooms.
The sheer magnitude of humankind can be seen in the most obvious places. I look at the simple gestures of strangers and I learn something new. A thought that never occurred to me before suddenly strikes. Families crowded together on a table that’s too small for them. A young woman giving her seat to an older man. Classmates discussing last night’s game in the middle of marketing class.
We are such a peculiar species. It’s amazing how we’ve decided to coexist.
There’s an element of security involved with existing around others. It’s for the same reason some people choose to live in apartment complexes, even though they can afford their own independent house. They are surrounded by more people. They feel safer. Comfort obtained from other beings. The comfort of being included, being accepted and being a part of something. The comfort of fitting in. Whether you deny it or not, there is a sense of relief when you belong. It reassures you.
The concept of security is something that I’ve been thinking about lately. Before, I used to visualise it as a blanket. Something that can be laid on top of you and it provides you with comfort and warmth. But now, this representation has changed. Now, I see it as a box. It is a box that you are placed in. So once you’re inside it, nothing from the outside can harm you. You are safe. But, it also means that you can’t leave. You are cut off. You closed in from the outside.
Being closed in was something I thought I would be okay with, but now I’ve realised that I’m not. And no one should be okay with it. You shouldn’t be afraid of what’s out there. You shouldn’t be afraid to look. You shouldn’t be afraid to step out. Even if that means losing your sense of security.
Of course, this is said easier than done.
In reality, you don’t know when it’s closed in on you. You need to say yes, but only at the right time. So how do you know when it’s time to ditch the crate and move ahead?
I don’t have an answer for that. But lucky for us, neither does anyone else. Everyone is just as blind to their boundaries. We’re all just trying to see a little bit clearer. Like I said, it’s amazing how we’ve decided to coexist.