Updated: Nov 26, 2022
'You know those warnings saying 'Do not try this at home'? I always wondered what kind of people it was aimed at, until I met you' - Sonam Butani, my friend.
The two questions I asked myself daily as well as during this project:
Am I being kind?
Am I having fun?
I always thought I was an ever changing combination of things. That I didn't have a set personality and I didn't find myself fitting into categories. This year, studying metacognition and declaring my positionality, I had time to reflect on the kind of person I am and how I came to be this person.
I am Sri Lankan, raised in Sri Lanka for majority of my life. I did live in Germany, New Zealand, and England for brief periods of my life, and they have shaped a bit of my world view of being friends with different walks of life.
I was raised in Buddhist temples, catholic churches, and Hindu kovils. If my mother could have taken me to a mosque, she probably would have. The long Civil War which panned for 26 years between the Tamil terrorists and the rest of the country was considered a ‘war between bad terrorists and Sri Lankans’ in our household.
I think my father was Chaotic Good. The easiest way to think of him as Indiana Jones. He worked at the Ceylon Tourist Board, but his passion was in history, wildlife, and adventure. He spoke languages such as Brahmi, Pali, Sanskrit, and some dead language from Sri Lanka. He could read ruines, and recognise any bird from the sound they make. I spent most of my childhood in jungles, visiting other countries, and understanding that 'short cuts' are not meant to make the travel time less, but to take you off the beaten path.
My mother was a banker, and did things the 'right' way. She worked hard so we can have a better life. While my father was about blowing his salary on one week of a crazy holiday, my mother was the sane part of the family making sure my brother and I had a good education, that we took part in extra-curricular activities, and never once complained about late nights and early morning because I had to get up for swimming training at 4am.
My brother is quiet. He doesn't talk much to anyone...except me. Even within the family, it's the two of us that quietly whisper inside jokes, and it's true even to today. There's a seven year gap between us, but I was his partner in crime when it came to gaming. So I got introduced to it before Windows, when DOS games was a thing. We played late into the night, with my mom's only rule being 'Do whatever you want, but wake up in the morning'. We are the rational minds. My brother and I have a connection that our family members would label as 'cheating'. Playing board games with us as a team was never fair on others. However, I can see how it would be similar as my gaming side was raised by him.
When it came to my lecturing days, I was inspired by the movies, Freedom Writers (2007), Dangerous Minds (1995), Dead Poet's Society (1989), and The Breakfast Club (1985). Watching these movies, I realised how much of a difference a teacher can make, and provide a safe space outside the family unit. The first year itself, I learnt to control my temper, to not let my biases determine their lives, and that there is the possibility of them have problems at home so I should always be alert and kind.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
I got into Buffy because my best friend said she'll only make me a cheese toastie if I watch one episode of this TV show that she loves. I was hooked. Throughout the years, I realised how much Buffy speaks to me. To see the big picture, to do what's kind by the world, to protect those we love, to break the rules to do the 'kind' thing, to be strong in the face of adversity, that it's okay to lose myself, but I shouldn't stay lost, and that things will not always work out great, but you have all the control to do what's next.
“Bottom line is, even if you see 'em coming, you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So what are we, helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come. You can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's when you find out who you are.”
“Dawn, the hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Be brave. Live…for me.”
“Strong is fighting. It’s hard and it’s painful and it’s every day. It’s what we have to do, and we can do it together, but if you’re too much of a coward for that, then burn.”
Angelus: “Now that's everything, huh? No weapons...No friends...No hope.
Take all that away... and what's left?”
This^ is something that has stayed with me for all the years. As long as I can make myself strong - physically, mentally, academically, experience - then it doesn't really matter what the world does, because I can always adapt, and I can always make my place.
During this project, I also realised Buffy is Chaotic Good too...which brings me to:
Chaotic Good, ADHD, and Sagittarius
There is a reason these three work together. I can try isolating them, but the lines are a bit blurred here.
I knew about DnD and had a party I played with when I was 19. As a serial daydreamer, it was a whole new experience for me to choose my path out loud and actually saying it to someone. I absolutely loved building stories and the fact that it was up to me to choose what I wanted to but still for the betterment of my party. I didn't associate myself with Chaotic Good until the fact that I was Sagittarius came into play.
Sri Lanka has a star sign system where it depends on the time and place you were born, and I am a Cancer in that system. I never could relate to the Western way doing my start sign, I couldn't understand how an entire group of people fit into one category. In the last three or four years, I realised that I now relate very much to the Sagittarius. However, my best friends, who were also Sagittarius, were not relating or very different to me. The main difference was the happiness level. While I was quite happy with my life, there were certain big problems in my friends lives. I hypothesised that the star sign is not telling you who you are, but who you should be to be happy. My life had taken a turn where I was single for a long time, I was travelling more, and I was acting more on impulse than saying 'later' to fun things. I got more into reading up on what a Sagittarius is supposed to be, and I started accepting myself more - not changing, but accepting.
In the last year, I also realised I have ADHD. I was diagnosed during therapy, and suddenly I wasn't sure what was ADHD and who I would be without it, and that my daydreaming is a case of Maladaptive Daydreaming. So being a Sagittarius catered to my ADHD impulses, and Chaotic Good came into play as it works with both of them on acting on impulses.
However, while I started to associate Chaotic Good in the last six or seven years after doing my moral alignment test, this year on this course, I established that my filter for all my interactions is kindness. Analysing my teaching methods and how I am with my peers, I realised that my bluntness, my sarcasm, my humour, the craving for adventure, and my love have became synonymous with my name. I was always known for these qualities, I was just not aware of it.
I am still an ever changing combination of things, but now I understand that at my Samadhi state, with my ADHD, being a Sagittarius, my upbringing, and my filter of kindness, I am everything Chaotic Good.