I like to teach myself. It is a great way to live life.
I have taught myself a lot of things since I stopped growing vertically (and that was a very long time ago). First, with a little help from my mom, I taught myself cooking. It was around the time when I was twelve.Risking the big revelation about my age, fourteen years down the line, I am still learning. :)
Then I learnt to feel good about myself. That's true, I did!
It is not easy to feel good about yourself in a rational world. The moment you step out you are given a million magnified images of all the little things that are wrong with you. This is not because I am cynical. This is true. In different contexts, different people see what you don't have. Sometimes, they put it across by excessively praising what you have. At others, they mumble and fumble and kind of blurt it out. Some are really direct. So they wait all morning to meet you, picking the juiciest adjectives they could embellish it with. Then, when they see you, you can see the splendour of a thousand sunrises on their face. If you have to, you take it. If you can't, which is a rare situation, you just fume and leave the room.
But when you sit down later, with a mug of hot chocolate (forsaking the marshmallow as a sign of mourning for the self respect you have just killed) you know, somewhere inside, that you are good. :) I have come to love that feeling. Only because I taught myself how to feel that way. You see, that feeling should not come draped in anger, or as a stilt for a dwindling ego, or as an equal and opposite reaction. It should be there. Like the very last, unnoticed mango in a crate full of hay. It is not easy. Feeling (really) good about yourself is a very difficult thing.
As years pass by, "feeling good" changes so many faces.So many strong winds carve tiny lines on the faces that want to feel good. I hope that voice inside does not get tired. I have a funny feeling it won't either.
I also learnt to learn. Sometimes, all of a sudden, you start feeling like you are all cooked and ready to be served. Then if someone tries to check you with a fork, it hurts! Precisely because you are not cooked yet. There was a time when I wanted to be cooked right away and not being able to step out of the oven made me really angry. Now I see it. God really prefers slow cooking and we should let him do it his way. Even if we oppose, it is not like a chicken can really get up and march towards the plate with angry slogans. :)
So even though I feel good, I never really let myself think that I am the best I could be. This is hard too, especially when you have learnt to feel good. It takes a while to get that balance. Needless to say that you topple and trip over many situations you would rather not live again.
Plus every new situation has many small situations hidden in it. So you never really know where you are going to trip. It is best to have a past. It keeps on accumulating anyway. I guess miles and miles of trudging through present is wisdom after all. :)
One of the most difficult thing to teach myself was to wait. I don't think I have done it successfully even now. You know how when you are in a long line, right at the end and someone jumps the queue in the front. There is so much learning to do from the time you start swearing in that situation to the point where you just change the music to a happier track when that happens. You learn to wait for things that you cannot help. Also for things, that would get much better if you wait. To make words wait until anger has left. To wait for rain for weeks and still find things you could cheer yourself up with. To wait for friends to understand what you meant when they got upset. To wait for a lot of things that could be done right away if you want but you know they must wait for you too!
One of the most useful things I have learnt is to be regular. Do something everyday. It gives your life a pace.Then retarding forces can slow you down only a little. Even if it is just watering the chili or running by the river or even cleaning the stove before you go to bed. :) It often gives you certainty that is many times absent from larger things.
Most importantly though, I have learnt not to stop dancing. You never really stop dancing even if you try. You just lose the audience..and then it gets better than you ever thought it would!
For as long as the music is in your ears, you should dance. Does not matter if it's the kitchen, the bathroom, the walk-in freezer or a deserted bus stop. :)