We live with the meaning of “living” defined. We live up to that meaning, following similar or different paths that lead to common goals set by societies long ago. And I wouldn’t say we hate change or fear it. I’d say that we rarely think about it. Rarely do we notice alternatives. Rarely do we open our dictionaries and realize that words have plenty of hands fit to hold multiple definitions. Rarely do we open thesauruses and realize that limiting ourselves to certain words is absurd, for every word has tens that carry similar meanings to it. And this ruins our writings. It turns them to bland pieces of common-use words and figures that have lost their ring long ago.
It ruins our lives.
The following is a beautiful piece of writing by Maya Al Ajam, a close friend of mine, on the subject of limiting ourselves, and in specific, our happiness, to definitions. Enjoy:
I have pixelated a breath of darkness in the ever-bright illuminations of my mind. The darkness of definitions. I’ve been regurgitating the same album of quotes telling me about happiness whenever I blink the illusions I see on the inner side of my eye-lids into reality. The quotes got me started and now I’m giving them the permission to define me so I’d act upon them.
Well, I was. Now, I’m not. I don’t regret that though. I’m content I climbed an extra step that tempted me to write this. As Oscar Wilde put it, “to define is to limit.” I can’t limit myself. I don’t want to limit my experiences or my emotions.
Tonight I live my thoughts for we both agree we are one. We agree that we’re the conversations we exchange, the emotions we feed, the conclusions we trace, both sides of an argument. Our existence and the hidden pieces we are, yet blended in other existences. We agree that we can’t keep rereading the definitions. We agree that happiness, is not. Telling myself to smile won’t work. Happiness must feel shame when it realizes how bad people want it.
Life is not meant to flourish on definitions. Life is feeling, taking turn.
Wait! See that! That’s a definition. Mine, not yours. You, yourself, are a dictionary ripped apart and thrown to the ripples of the ocean. Question that.
Today, today the smiles in my being find comfort in transparent cups of tea and mint leaves seductively floating in the water. I find comfort in making my nephews crowns out of paper , and reading, and manually looking up words in the dictionary, and writing. Yesterday, I found the smiles while talking with my closest friends, feeling what we’ve shared as beautiful song of a kid learning to play the guitar. Tomorrow, what is a happy tomorrow? How is a happy tomorrow? I’ll find out, tomorrow. I’m too busy to pixelate a fake definition of a happy tomorrow within me.
As I stand midst this road and look back at the fraction of my life stumbling as it dances, I mumble, “happiness.” It whispers, “don’t chase it.”