“Where you tend a rose, my lad, a thistle cannot grow.”
— Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
[Not that thistles are ugly or undesirable; not to offend all Scottish folk (the thistle is their ‘national flower’). But… you get the point, I hope]
So much of it, in truth, is ‘relative’. Our definitions; our modes of being. They are not set in stone: they are, for the most part, fluid. Heavily contingent on: whom we are with, at the time; what our accepted roles are, there; the parts of ourselves that are realised, in those moments. And the parts of ourselves that might slip back into latency.
We, in relation to great spinning Earth, and even to entire galaxies, at large. To billions of other souls, replete with their own collections of experience, walking alongside us, atop this planet.
It is all relative! To whom they are; what you actually know, of them. To where they have come from, and where Allah knows that they are going. And everything they had to do, or face, or overcome, to get to here. Relative to different people:
How we come to define ourselves, in line with what others have thought, and/or said. It all depends on the criteria that different people come to value, with regard to different things. I could come to view someone as being the most… intelligent, or cool, or hilarious, person in the world. And another person could look upon the very same individual, through their own eyes – their own lenses through which they view the world – and decide that, no, this person is dull and inconspicuous.
Who is more correct? Well… both, and… neither.
Varying perspectives and opinions on the very same thing at hand. Truly, it depends on where people are coming from. Some people despise the taste of chocolate, while others (like me!) cannot live (contentedly) without the stuff!
The practice of reframing things is important. There really is a ‘bright side’ to everything, I think, and we just have to look for it. Refusing to take things at face value: the (often-involuntary) art of choice of we ‘over-thinkers’.
Little – and big – happenings, and wins, and losses, and every single thing in-between. A conscious reframing, while considering Purpose, and the fundamentally existent ‘Bright Side’.
For example, I used to (secretly) take little comments that people would make, about me, to heart. The wealth of ‘good things’ people have said: they are there. But often, it feels easier to just focus on that one little wolfish statement, which threatens to blow the whole house down.
“I find you really intimidating.”
Oh no! Am I not smiling enough? Do I have a really stern expression on my face?
Or: (internally,) …Okay.
[Some people seem to consider me to be the very opposite, so…….. who’s right?]
I probably said something so strange. What if I’m being really… alien-like?
Or: Ahem. “Normality is a paved road. It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow.” Vincent Van Gogh.
“Do you even know how to have fun?”
Crud cakes. I’m probably coming across as being the most ‘boring’ person ever right now!
Or: Yeah. We probably just have different personal ideas on what constitutes ‘fun’. And… that’s okay!
[Also, you really do not have to be a ray of sunshine all of the time and with everybody, in order to be an acceptable human being on this Earth.]
Our individual minds perceive certain things in certain ways: we are not meant to agree with one another on everything. We don’t; we can’t.
Many people may have differing ideas and opinions, on the same things. It is virtually impossible to escape the ‘downsides’ of things, isn’t it? The dream job, perhaps, and the stress that you might experience, because you care about it very much. The seasons you love the most, and their necessary downsides. The memories you love, deeply, in retrospect. But they’re over, and they will never come back, and nostalgia – among all other forms of idealism, actually – is a liar.
The dream family, and the wailing children and sleepless nights. The amazing friend, and the times when you do not see eye-to-eye.
Trying to eat healthier. And, gosh darn it, you now have to eat less fried chicken.
Every person, and place, and time, and moment of being. From the smallest of household tasks, to the slip-ups, the rays of sunshine, the redirections, and more. Strengths, and weaknesses. Pros and cons. Upsides, downsides. (Our choices, too, in light of this knowledge).
And… today! Is a brand. New. Day!
There is Khayr that just waits to be uncovered, in almost everything.
With Salaam, Sadia, 2021.