…An eighty-year-old in the body of a sixteen-year-old – Ibukun.
“Part 5: The Words”
Although I am an old soul my sources of inspiration are most certainly not limited to those of fellow eighty-year-old souls. I seek inspiration from everywhere – any person, country or generation.
There are a number of things that have inspired my lifestyle choices from books to experiences to quotes; I am very eclectic in that sense. That being said, Plato’s account of Socrates, “I know that I know nothing,” has most greatly impacted my mindset in relation to learning as I am able to find a sense of serenity in the fact that there is nothing in this world that I currently or ever will know completely. The Socratic Paradox brings with it a sense of peace due to my acute awareness that I am generally not the smartest person in the room because it diminishes the anxiety I felt about having to act as such. In the least self-deprecating sense, I am not the brightest bulb in the box but I most certainly do have other talents which were, and continue to be, disregarded when I felt the need to fit into the role of the most intelligent person in the room. Simply put, that mold, if made to fit anyone, was certainly not made for me and the Socratic Paradox has allowed me to accept this notion.
Along with bringing about a sense of confidence in my role, or lack thereof, within intellectual spaces the account also inspires a sense of confidence that generally everyone is experiencing the same uncertainty (give or take a few IQ points). It makes me feel a little bit less idiotic when I ask a Stupid™ question because I understand that there has been and will point in everyone’s timeline where they too have asked a dumb or seemingly obvious question; moreover, they survived the embarrassment of asking. This thought makes me feel a little bit less alone.
That being said, it does not allow me to become complacent or comfortable in my ignorance. It encourages me to continue my pursuit of enlightenment and knowledge from all parts of the world and from any point in history. Further, it motivates me to do so with grace as knowing that I know nothing greatly promotes humility because there have been and most certainly will be times where I know absolutely nothing about a topic – avoidance of cockiness now may spare me some severe humiliation later on.
One of my queens, Maya Angelou, has encouraged me to attempt leave as positive of an impression on people as possible through her very famous words, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Her iconic words leave me with a desire to always treat people, regardless of what walk of life they may be from, the best way I know how to. Moreover, it encourages me to improve people’s experience of life as long as I may have an impact on it, not necessarily just their day.
Along with inspiring me to treat people wonderfully, Maya Angelou’s words encourage frequent, necessary analysis of my relationships along with the discontinuation of toxic ones as although I may not always remember what the people in my life may say to/ about me (due to my horrible memory), I most certainly recall the emotion they evoke within me. In the past, it has been very easy for me to choose to remain in relationships due to the need to uphold a duration or because I felt that I needed the other person for validation (or vice versa); however, Angelou reminds me that it is okay to cut ties with someone if they make you feel lesser than. Toxic relationships aren’t necessary under any circumstance and this quote really solidifies that notion for me when I may stray from it.
Although I seek artistic inspiration from every aspect of life and death, the book Little Bee (which I still will not shut up about), film Ruby Sparks and poet Olivia Gatwood have most greatly inspired the content of my pieces. They, and pieces of the sort, all worked together to inspire me to write about the undesirable, difficult parts of the human existence without being prestigious or pedantic. That may come off as a bit harsh but I’ve never really found great inspiration in important pieces of literature that tried very hard to be important pieces of literature as opposed to just being good literature. Olivia Gatwood’s poems, Ruby Sparks and Little Bee all had the commonality that they were not written, seemingly, to be inspiring, earth-shattering, revolutionary pieces but rather were well-composed pieces first and their importance in my eyes quickly followed. That is the type of work I want to put into the world. What I create never has to be an important piece to anyone but me – this mindset has taken a lot of pressure off of the process of creating and has allowed me to love my writing for what it is.
So, that’s me – for the time being, until I have another evolution or something of that nature. I really love change.
((C.S Lewis is a marvellous author (from what I’ve heard from my enthusiastic fan of a father) and his sayings have helped and healed me in my personal and spiritual life. ♥))