I am a collector.
Not a collector of any sort – a holistic collector. A wide-eyed, novelty-seeking collector.
While a collector might mean to you someone who desires something to fit in with the theme she worships, then religiously seeks it until it’s found, then frames it in a glass case to look upon sometimes, that is not me.
I am not an antique collector. I am not a Star Wars figurine collector. I am not an obsess-er. The way I collect is I view my life as an enormous jig saw puzzle, and the pieces aren’t provided for me. It didn’t come in a box with an example print of how it should look when it’s complete. I have small groups of pieces that fit together here and there, and maybe one side is lined up properly, but since I don’t know what it’s supposed to look like, I am guessing.
The pieces are not like ordinary pieces, either. Some are large, some a miniscule. Some are perfectly round or square, some have specifically scalloped edges and peculiar shapes. Some are one shade, some are masterpieces. Some are long and some are short. The only constant is that they will belong to me.
You see, the task of putting these together may sound daunting, but I don’t view it as a task. I see it as inevitable. I am living, therefore pieces will come to me unless I do absolutely nothing. Though at some points in my life the pieces may fit, another piece may come along that fits better, or requires a place in my puzzle and won’t fit if a certain other piece is still there. It is a constant, conscious ebb and flow of ideas. The pacifying and comforting fact – that is also the one constant in this puzzle – is that all the pieces are part of me. When I remember that, it is no longer a task, but a journey.
It stops being about everyone else, and becomes about an intangible, gratifying purpose pertaining to me. It stops being complicated, and becomes simple. It stops being huge, and becomes fascinating. It stops being daunting, and becomes electrifying.
There is a bit of a catch, too.
Each puzzle piece tends to be a puzzle within itself. There is not a limit to the depth of something in my life. Some pieces clicked into place by hap, and I didn’t expect extraordinary things from them, but they bloomed exorbitantly and have become a new search by themselves. The excitement in this comes from the simple fun one experiences when tracing a deep conversation with someone. When one asks, “How did we get here?” and they playfully peer back into the history of their chat. Only magnify that 1000 times. Past puzzle pieces leave a trace, too. It’s called memory.
This changes my view of other people. I used to view friendship as a necessary aspect of life, something to work for, and maintain, and polish, and something I couldn’t fully grasp because of my emotionally shy nature. Once I view myself as a beautifully capricious puzzle, friendship becomes another piece of myself. I assume a more holistic view of a relationship rather than a two-person give-and-take. Believe me, I love the “dance” metaphor often used with relationships – it is somewhat a dance, if you think about it. But the most accurate view of relating to another person is portal to knowledge. A union of ideas. A connection. You collect puzzle pieces from a friend, too.
There is no telling where pieces come from. Sometimes they are stuck to the bottom of my shoe, following me around like a shadow for months before I notice it. There are some that I removed and they came back with a new shape, trying to fit in again. Other times, I forge a space for something that I feel is important, but hasn’t naturally come yet.
This kind of comes back to the age-old idea that life is one take. You can’t reshoot it. One really never knows what will happen – no matter how much and to what level of prediction one acquires. It’s no certainty. What I know right now is that blogging is one of my puzzle pieces; I don’t even try to make it fit. It’s not going anywhere. I always come back to it naturally.
I have many new, new pieces that I am juggling now, trying to make fit. Like trumpet. Like new friends. Like bass. Like a vegan diet. Like my extra-curriculars. Like reading (one that has never left, but has been put off to the side in favor of other time-consuming things).
I find the puzzle view is a more accepting view. It also has a bit of a pun, now that I think on it; our future is ambiguous, yet we are always begging for certainty. The only thing we know for sure is that we don’t know for sure.
Isn’t that ever so puzzling?