Ayan Allwan - Authorayan.email@example.com
Anna Pavliashvili - Photographeranna.firstname.lastname@example.org
Sometimes we intertwine the expectations we have on ourselves with our identity. We find comfort in thinking we know who we are based on our experiences. But knowing what you are is not the same as knowing who you are, because that little security blanket that you call self-awareness is nothing short of an illusion that will crumble the second you get hit with the truth/reality: you ain’t shit.
That's right. Somebody had to say it, because you would NEVER. It is highly dangerous to come from a trail of triumph. And all I can say is that I have come to the conclusion that nothing you think really matters. Think of yourself as a clean slate meant to learn and evolve. And whatever you think defines you, will only stand in the way of you being you: none. You are energy. An identity wavering.
This was something that I failed to realize I was put on Earth for. Instead I believed I was invincible. I thought my spot at university was something I had earned, not necessarily because of my previous accomplishments, but more so because I was supposed to be here. At that point, the personality I had curated relied on me being solidly “good”. However, I had no idea of what I was getting into and subsequently completely lacked humility and modesty over the accomplishment. I was essentially going full speed with my head in the clouds.
The walls came quickly. One after one. I thought I knew math. I thought I could work part time and study full time. I thought I could manage weekly seminars and laboratories. I thought it was a great idea to study my program because of its breadth. I thought I could do so many things and that I knew how to manage it all.
I felt overwhelmed when I couldn’t. I felt like I was a disappointment to myself and to the world and to all of my accomplishments and to my family and to my childhood self who read herself to sleep and dreamt of living in peace. I had let her down. She would not have let this fly! She would think I was lazy, and she would do what needed to be done instead. She would manage it all, and she was the superhero I thought I still was. I couldn’t meet the expectations I had set on my life, and I couldn't bear the reality of it. And with the pandemic entering the chat and self-isolation being the gift that kept on giving, digging myself deeper and deeper into my pretty pit of depression was now the most comforting thing I knew.
Through applying the “just dont think about it”-philosophy and reconnecting with the ones I trust and love the most, I got over this most self-centered of confusions. I learned with time that if you want to lead a life where you are in control of your happiness, you have to burn the box of conditions that dictate who you are - because that has nothing to do with who you are.
For me, that meant an academic restart, a change of attitude, and a whole lot of adventure. I met new people, went to places I had never seen before, and did things I didn’t know I could do! I exposed myself to unknown things, so that I wouldn’t know who I was anymore, and made myself at home in that space.
Today, I am writing my story here. Hopefully someone will find it helpful and feel a little less alone in their “vain war”. Don’t confuse your expectations of yourself with your identity. Detach – or else, this royal institute will knock you out!