Finding Myself Through Conformity

Compliments and praise…receiving it was more difficult then criticism for me. In my twenties if someone complemented me my ego would be fed and there would be a temporary extra pop in my step. In my thirties when someone complimented me it was so difficult to receive that it would result in mini throw ups (this stems from not feeling good enough).

In my mid-twenties I moved out on my own for the first time. Late for the western world, unacceptable in the Eastern world. Eventually I cancelled cable, met my first girlfriend, had my first real travel experience without family, one week which I spent on my own. My girlfriend had gifted me the Alchemist which I still have with me today. Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle and Neale Donald helped me work at dissipating my ego and peeling the layers of shit off that others had draped over me. My second girlfriend, first love and first heart break took me too an entirely different level of feeling. She broke my world and for the better. The relationship made me go inside and look deep within and ask the question WHO AM I? WHO AM I? WHO AM I?

I have no degree, I am half ass at everything. Shit, I don’t even have a high school diploma. No connection with religion, not a criminal, not feeling fully Canadian, Muslim or Indian. If I am non of these things, then WHO THE FUCK AM I?

I had so many social norms to look on to, but none of them fit. Every area in my life I felt like a square peg in a round hole. I didn’t identify with any of the worlds and with the utmost certainty everyone had laid out, as a matter of fact, that this is who I need to be and without it I won’t succeed in life, I won’t reach the heavens and will probably end up as a bum in this life and hell fire the next. So much to fucking look forward too. God was mad at me. Teachers were mad at me. My parents were mad at me.

WHO THE FUCK AM I?

Conforming

Not fully fitting into my religious world , my indian world and the western world resulted in not feeling good enough. So, what do you do when you don’t feel good enough? Conform, conform and conform to all three worlds around me. I was partially religious, not religious, partially Canadian, not Canadian, partially western, not western. I would like to also say partially academic but I am three credits shy of a high school diploma. Those who new I didn’t have it continued to encourage me to go back. From a societal sense and what was acceptable for success I understood, but from the internal sense I didn’t want to go back because I didn’t understand why I needed it to be successful.

I worked in my fathers business, I worked in retail, in warehouses, even a little bit of bussing, selling flowers and telemarketing too. I eventually did a $17, 000 six month IT course which resulted in a $40,000 job at Citibank. The investment definitely paid off for me. I thought this is it! At the age of 25 years old I landed a $40, 000 job a one of the largest banks in the world with no high school diploma. It felt like I hit the jackpot. I moved out, I travelled, I started dating and having sex (I was a little late to the party).

Did I love my job? No. Did I love the people I work with? Hell yeah. They were this new awesome community, that in parts is very much a part of my life today. I grew out of my job quickly. I pretended to love it because I didn’t know who I was. I think many of us don’t know who we are until later in our lives and thats if we are lucky. If you don’t know who you are, don’t worry. Keep chipping away. The only thing that you should not do is sit on your ass. Trust me. I tried it and nothing good or bad comes from it. Life ain’t going to push you to start. You have to push yourself and explore the internal and external worlds. Experiment.

Working at Citibank helped me gain social acceptance. When I was asked the question “where do you work?” I proudly responded with, I am an Operations Analyst with Citibank! Usually the person asking the question would beam with approval. I would be lying if I said it didn’t feel good. I was fitting in for the first time in my life and felt accepted. “Citibank is a great company. Good for you they would say.” My ego and external self enjoyed this approval. I made it. I was apart of the corporate world. I have successfully been accepted into the club of conformity.

Around the third or fourth year of being part of the club of conformity my soul began to get restless and agitated that it would no longer come into the building with me. It would stay outside the revolving door waiting for me to finish my day (or come out for lunch) to reconnect. It was so hard to quit or get another job because I had zero clarity as to what my purpose in this world/lifetime is. It took a good friend and colleague to quit. I felt completely alone at this point. Not long after, I quit as well. I had no job lined up, had a hefty debt, had rent to pay among other expenses, but I was young. I mapped out my worst case scenario and it really wasn’t that bad.

In the end it became so unbearable to the point that staying was more uncomfortable then quitting. If I had stayed, I would have died a very slow death. I didn’t have a plan but it felt so good to quit that shit hole!

Am I ungrateful? So many people in this world would love to have my job. Am I being greedy by asking more for myself?

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