Who are we

You’ve seen her – the uncaring, almost cold individual you work or live with. But then one day, when you pull up in the park, you see her buckling her child into his car-seat, smiling tenderly, talking gently to him. You don’t really want to look at that persona: it’s confusing. Who is she? Is she the kind, tender, considerate person in this moment, or is she the unpleasant, harsh person she is to almost everyone else?

We’d rather deal with the simple, one-dimensional estimation of the nasty person, because otherwise, how do I conceptualize the world, if it is all uncertain, if it is all still in process, or indeed, perishing and coming into being every moment?

You’ve read about criminals, murderers even, who will turn into blubbering sentimental idiots when they speak of their mothers, or their children, or their beloved. They exhibit great self-sacrifice, almost self-forgetfulness, vis-a-vis these loved ones. So who are they, really? Is the real self manifested in those moments that they connect with or speak or think of their loved one/s? Or is the real self really manifested in those other, many moments of cruelty and selfishness? Or is the real self the good, self-sacrificing one, and it is blocked from growing – like a stunted vine – over into other connections?

Who are YOU, really? Are you the charming, sweet, kindly person who helps little old ladies cross the street? Or are you the cold, selfish person who wouldn’t let the other car pass just because? Are you the generous, giving soul or are you the envious, angry heart? Are you both? Which are you more? Which one tips the scale? Why doesn’t the kindly person grow through like a vine into the selfish driver? What are you in your everyday persona, and what are you in bud, or in potential and promise?

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4 Replies to “Who are we”

  1. interesting that you said, “which one tips the scale?”… i think that sums it up. each one of us is inevitably a mix, but the question is which side outweighs the other… now, and knowing that when we no longer have choices about it, that weight will determine eternal destiny…

    on a more personal note, i really thought i had this all figured out in, like, college 🙂 now, i have no idea and i’m terrified of what the truth is…

  2. Hi,

    Just read your beautiful poems. Tears rolled down my cheeks when I was reading “immigrant Eid”. Now I’m back in Lahore but I’ve lived in the U.S for 6 years and understand exactly how you feel.

    May your mother’s home and the homes of all mothers in Pakistan be safe.

    Keep writing and best wishes.

    Shazia Hussain

  3. Dear Koonj,

    My first 3 years of working in USA were as confusing as you described….

    now I feel, I behave same as all others after getting burned few times at work…its not a good feeling.

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