Something to call my own

The word ‘mine’ is such a deceptive term, it’s a loaded word whose usage knows no bounds. Humans behave like they are exceptions to reality if allowed everybody would own everything. I’ve hesitated with the word, ‘mine’ knowing that when I use it, I am only partially correct. There is very little today that I can confidently call my own.

If I look back into the past my whole life has been a quest for belonging. I have no guilt or embarrassment in admitting it. Don’t we fight over ownership every day? We say, “Seize the day!”, “Make every day yours,” and so on. It implies ownership, we tell each other casually when we are about to do something, “Own it.” ‘My‘ is such a common word too, we use it in nearly every sentence.

All through our lives, we try to reclaim ownership of ourselves from our parents, society, systems, everything. It’s interesting that nobody wants to own the blame, we’re so eager to claim credit for successes, joy and pleasure but not the tears, the pain, all that is bad is always someone else’s fault and if it can’t be pinned on one person, we allow circumstance to take the blame.

At one point ownership was about being able to afford something, you owned something when you bought it. Ownership has always been about power, it gives you room in the world to have spaces and pockets that are secure. Ownership is an advantage you have over others who don’t own much. Some seek ownership through merit, some through inheritance, some through other people and some by creating their own room in unclaimed spaces.

We hesitate to share ownership, always wanting the upper hand. That’s why when someone calls me “theirs” I am offended, am I really? We grow up wanting to be our own person only to give in to systems and other people. We give them the free pass to dictate our lives, they influence our personalities. We sign contracts, the government controls our freedom, institutions control our knowledge and corporations control our standard of living, our souls are sold to God at birth so that’s not really ours either, our future is owned by destiny and after all this there are those who want to allow another person to own their heart, I mean why?

Governments fight over borders, religions fight over people, people fight over trivial reasons, we’re constantly fighting.  This fight is about power, everybody wants their share of power. We give more power to others than we get. Either we’re forced to give the power up or we give it up without knowing. When we realise it’s too late to take it back. Unfortunately, power can’t be bought and returned on Amazon.

I like to pretend I have power, I vote thinking I will be that one deciding vote that sways the results of the elections. I will write my name on my clothes and belongings hoping people won’t take it. I compete and try to earn money so that I have some purchasing power. I’ll rebel against my parents to feel like I control my life. Nothing much changes though.

When we leave this world, we go with empty hands, but we live life collecting as much as we can, afraid it’ll be stolen, afraid to give and yet giving so much without knowing. We’re constantly saving for a “rainy day” which when it does arrive, we’re still not ready for it. I love those people who say, live like there’s no tomorrow. The ones who only say it when they need an excuse to do what they usually wouldn’t do.

My parents taught me that there’s no such thing as partial responsibility, I had to go the entire mile. They never bought my blame game, or when I blamed my circumstances when I didn’t do well at school. In my life, it’s always been all or nothing. I have struggled with ownership, not wanting others to use my belongings or move any of my stuff without my permission. I was that kid in school who during the lesson on sharing a cookie in Montessori ate the whole cookie instead of offering it to my partner like we were asked to.

I could never lie to my parents or to anybody, I was the kid who went and told the teacher that I cheated on a test in first grade. That was the first time I realised that responsibility and ownership were complex, it wasn’t straightforward. Ownership changed as I grew up, fighting over clothes with my sister, or books, with the promise that I would take care of it and if I didn’t I had to face the music. My parents told me something that stuck with me through all of this, “Things can be lost, stolen or destroyed the only thing nobody can take away from you is your mind and your values.”

Today, I am still conflicted about what is mine and if I can have what I want. This life is perhaps mine, something I need to take responsibility for. So far my parents have taken care of me, they are the only ones who I let to call me “theirs”. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them. I’ve been thinking about what is, ‘mine’ and I can honestly say I don’t yet know.

We lock everything away, hoping no one else gets their hands on the key. We depend on locks for the sake of our fragile sense of security. The more we own, the more we lock away, we’ll build higher fences, install more alarms only to live in the fear that one day it will all be taken away.

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8 thoughts on “Something to call my own

  1. vibeswithin says:

    We are born as a child. A child owns nothing. Then we realize owning chocolates will make us happy and we buy chocolates. We grow up a little and realize aiming at studies will make us happy and we aim for a good grade card. Then we own a good degree. Then we realize a good job will make us happy and we go for it. Then we own a family, cars, houses till everything is snatched all at once.

    The queer thing is, each and every one does the exact same thing. It’s a recursion where you realize you aren’t happy enough and they only way to be so is to own more and more and more…

    What would you call that? Life or stupidity?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Poonacha PG says:

    Beautiful reflections on questions and issues which bother us all the time. People try to own or possess things only to realize sooner or later that nothing can belong to only them any time. Do we get thrown into this world to realize this aspect and develop a better attitude towards life? Keep writing more. “We depend on locks for the sake of our fragile sense of security.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. parikhitdutta says:

    This is another beautiful writing. I know a lot of people will not agree and may dissent but honestly what really is ownership, the sense of putting labels, stamps and proudly claim it is mine. But it is really, truly mine? I keep wondering if the life I lead is mine, if it were so, and adamantly mine shouldn’t I be able to dictate my life but that never happens! It’s baffling right.

    Liked by 1 person

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