Once upon a time, long long ago. I lived in the far away Land of "Or". This land was black and white, and we lived in little perfectly cut out boxes. The rule of the land demanded that I could either be tomboyish "or" feminine. I could either be logical "or" emotional. I could be either demure "or" aggressive. None of us could be this and that, and if we did....oh, Heaven forbid! To live without conforming, oh the horror! You had to pick, you had to choose, you had to decide what was you and toss everything aside. You see, in the Land of "Or" we constantly measured one thing against the other all the time. If I wanted to be this, I had to let go of that, if I had to be this, I had to let go of that. No reading and partying, no pretty and sporty, no biker and banker.
It worried me...why couldn't I be? I was greedy, I wanted this "&" that. I walked along the straight line along the pavement, looking wistfully at the little pebbles I wanted to kick but couldn't. Thats when I saw a strange black little thing lying in front of me.
"Hello, what's this", I wondered aloud as I bent down and ran my finger along the curled line. It looked simple enough and yet, so beautiful. Was that possible? My "or" sensibility said that it could be simple or beautiful; so there was something wrong. I picked it up and looked at it a little more closely. Thats when it spoke.
"Hello, I'm '&'. "
"Would you like to go on a little trip with me?", the strange symbol creature asked, lifting one of its two hands.
"Um...", I didn't know what to do. I was curious, of course. But I had to cautious. It was caution or curiosity. I stood there, my mind working hard to pick one. I kept thinking and thinking.
"You could be cautious and curious, you know!"
I gasped again! It could read my mind!
"I....I dont think....", I fumbled.
"Here, take my hand and let me show, said "&" and I hesitantly took the hand it extended towards. We were zapped and I went on the journey of a lifetime...and here's what I saw:
1. Daughter & Son: I was born a daughter to my parents. I was born as the elder daughter who had to take care of things at home and outside in my dad's absence. I was automatically put into the chair of the "responsible one". I would occasionally hear my father remark that I am like a son; ever since "&" came in, I guess I'd just say that I am the docile daughter and the responsible son.
2. Pink and Puzzles: I like pink, I like shopping, I like gossip. I also like reading and solving logical puzzles, I like heated debates on politics and I like a good action thriller. Thank you very much!
3. Tomboyish and feminine: When I was a teenager, I have had one of my friends tell me that "I never considered you a girl!". Ha and a Ha Ha! I am tomboyish, yes, but when I do get out of my grubby jeans and shapeless tunic and clean up good, I can also be one of the pretty looking girls with curves.
4. Quiet and assertive: I am quite, and quite reserved. I do not handle crowds well, and I am awkward in the presence of new people. But that doesn't mean that you can get away with anything with me. When the time comes to say 'no', I will say 'no'.
5. Mother and career woman: Ever since I've had my baby, I've had questions from different quarters about whether I would work. My answer has been and will be, "yes, I will continue to work. I love my baby, and I love myself too. I have a wonderful support system and I enjoy working."
6. I am emotional and I am professional: Yes, I am emotional. I sniff my way through emotional movies and TV ads and I will cry at the drop of a hat. That doesn't mean that I am going to bawl my eyes out at every inopportune moment and work. It also means that I am good at drawing lines between my personal and professional selves and managing both.
7. I am plump and I can dance: I am thickset and more than pleasantly plump. That doesn't mean that that automatically removes me from the dance floor. I enjoy dancing and I am good at it too.
There are so many more "or's" I came across on my little trip with "&" which made me think hard on why I had to choose. By the end of our trip, "&" had showed me that I could be everything I wanted to be, without giving up choice.
"What a journey that was!", I exclaimed as I gave a quick on the blushing "&"'s cheek. I embraced the hands of "&" and promised that we would live happily ever after.
(Yup, I can look normal & be whimsical too!)