Alazia: The Fear That You're No Longer Able to Change
After so many years wondering what kind of person you were going to become one day, somewhere you forgot that this question actually has an answer, and that 'one day' will eventually arrive. If it hasn't already.
From Turkish god Alaz Khan, a fire deity in Turkic mythology. Alaz was an old man with a torch in his hand, who wore a cloak of fire.
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Of all the different ways we reassure ourselves, the least comforting is this: "it's already too late."
When you were born, you could have been anybody. So quick and malleable, your parents could look at your face and see a future president. They tried to mold you as you grew, but they could only work with what they had. And when their tools stopped working, they slowly handed off to you, asking, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"
There's a certain art to becoming who you are. A teenage personality is a delicate medium, its emotions are almost too heavy to handle. You have to keep yourself together, and tease out the good parts without stretching yourself too thin. You can never stop moving for too long, or focus on just one side of your personality, or you'll fall out of balance, and never stand on your own two feet. You can't ignore your flaws-you see them so clearly-but you can't just fix them either, and force yourself to change. And you need to make it look effortless, even if you keep getting burned.
But the toughest thing to master is the sense that your personality is hardening over time. That the fire that kept you flexible all these years is dimming, and you're becoming set in your ways.
You can still recall the heat of youth, that once kept you warm on a dingy couch, or a night in the wilderness, or a wandering summer. At any given time you remained untouchable, because you were 'not yourself today.' You knew that you weren't just you, you were also the person you will one day become, finding comfort in the lines, "I am not I. I am the one walking beside me...who stays calm and silent while I talk, and forgives, gently, when I hate, who walks where I am not, who will remain standing when I die." [Juan Ramon Jimenez]
But now it's hard to deny that you are anyone but yourself; you are who you are, for better or for worse. For all your wondering what kind of person you were going to become, somewhere you forgot that that question actually has an answer, and that 'one day' will soon arrive, if it hasn't already. Now you wonder if you can change, even if you wanted to. If you have enough fire in the belly to surprise yourself. Or if you're too tough and cynical to stretch without shattering.
Of course, maybe who you are is just fine, and dreaming of being someone else would only keep you from being your best self. Or maybe that doesn't really matter. Maybe it's already too late.