*The title of this post is referring to this -
I am not confused as to where I am in my life.
Still, there are contradictory pulsations reverberating around me.
I am well aware of the fact that I’m twenty-two. I seem to be the only one who is aware of said fact.
We’re sitting in our regular, Punjabi-run eatery. I’m about to pop a gol gappe in my mouth after saying the following:
Me: “I think about these things because I’m at that age.”
“You’re still a baby though -”
My gol gappe is held in mid-air and I can feel the shell about to give way under the onus that is the pani, or water, inside the shell.
The gol gappe was mimicking my own self; my composure was about to give way under the onus of the contradiction of being an adult who is also a baby.
When will I no longer be a baby? Do I have to be a complete and total rebel to be considered an adult? Do I have to remain outside of the house, like during college, to be permitted to think about future plans? Do I have to be able to cook up raw vegetables and meat, that also taste flavorful, in order to enter the toddler phase that has the one-up over the baby phase?
Am I just reading too much into this?
Most definitely, yes, I am reading too much into this.
“She’s confused”, you’re saying.
I am not. I have my plans. I am well aware of my habit of living in the future context instead of the present.
There is a fine line between what can be considered a habit that once again, goes uncontrolled, and what is a necessary action to be carried out that also just happens to be the aforementioned habit.
I live in the future now because the context of life warrants it.
I am older than how old my mother was when she got married.
Therefore, it is OK for me to plan out the degrees I want to earn, the week of wedding festivities I want to have, and the extracurricular I want to enroll my kid(s) in, is it not?
When I walk around my neighborhood on a day off from interning, I would avoid the morning hours and afternoon hours that coincide with the start and end of school days for 1st-graders, 12th-graders, and the in between.
I do not want to be mistaken for my past self.
When I walk around my neighborhood, as I had mentioned in a previous post, I do so as a form of exercise. As a result, I wear sneakers and sweats, (as much as I would love to sport a dress while working out, it’s just not practical), have my hair up in either a messy bun or side braid, and have on 1 of my 2 hands-free backpacks.
Mind you, 1 backpack is vintage brown leather with a large flapped-buckle that epitomizes equestrian-chic, inherited from my incredibly classy aunt who, like my entire maternal side, is a New Yorker to the core.
The other bag is a plum (dark/royal -purple) colored, distressed-leather, Andrew Marc that my mother saw me cast a loving gaze upon before senior year at Penn.
Outside of the city, Manhattan, or outside of UPenn’s Locust Walk, lined with students distributing the university-run fashion magazine, I am suddenly sporting the infantile look.
In my neighborhood, my backpacks are seen as the equivalents to the Jansport that I and the rest of America’s school-going children, used to possess in middle school.
Walking outside at the avoided times described above is to put myself in a position where I regress in time.
Indeed, I become a baby.
I become a backpack-wearing, headphone-imposed-deafening, side-braid/bun styling, baby.
I’m not a baby though. My university sweatshirt can attest to that.
I’m not a baby. My walking at a jogging pace while listening to music that is at a volume where people other than me cannot hear it, attests to that.
I’m not a baby. My coveted opinion at family dinners, attests to that.
I’m not a baby. My being in charge of keeping an eye on my new cousins attests to that.
I’m the baby for my parents, I suppose.
There - I have worked through the confusion that may have existed.
Me: “Here’s the type of embroidery I want for my wedding dupatta, mom and dad. I have to think about these things. I don’t want to get married after I’m 30!”
Of course not! It’s beautiful, Reshmi. We’ll go to Chandigarh and…
I am an adult. My God, I am an adult…. and I’m the baby.
What a lovely juxtaposition, no?
Well I’ll be!
It seems that what I may have thought was a contradiction was a juxtaposition all along.