Here is an apparently condemnable confession for a woman: I always, always, always do exactly what I want to do. It’s one of my defining characteristics – as unchanging and relentless as my regenerative strength and perceptive and intuitive nature. I take the lead and control my world. What does that imply? I can’t be swayed, brainwashed, gaslighted into doing or being anything I don’t want. I reject anything that doesn’t align with my views and values, that doesn’t resonate with me. There are, indeed, parts of my personality and identity that are quite fluid, in the sense that I am quite open to exploring new territories, new experiences, new sources of rapture. The point is I dare to live according to my own rules, system of values, ideas of happiness (which can fluctuate in time), and strategies to reach higher mental/emotional/psychological states, as opposed to emulating someone else’s. Despite all this, I don’t expect everyone to find happiness or fulfilment in the same places I do, or be moved by the same experiences I find ineffably exquisite, or appreciate the same flavours of this multitudinous universe. Because of all of this, something that acutely irks me is whenever someone has the audacity to tell me I’m wrong in my ways, that my perception is distorted and I must be unhappy because I don’t adhere to a cookie-cutter approach to lifestyle, as dictated by others. I can understand that clashes between different sets of values and world views are inevitable; what I find laughable and obnoxious, however, is whenever someone tries to convert you to their conceptual world and deny the validity of anything else, ignoring the possibility that anyone can choose to live based on their own concepts of happiness. I think I am more justified in my view that this tendency to invalidate and criticise a different lifestyle chosen by someone you don’t resonate with is more indicative of unhappiness and discontent than the lifestyle itself. You are perhaps afraid of the unknown, seeing it as a threat because it makes you reassess your own life choices, the possibility that you could be living differently and you’d probably try if you weren’t afraid or trapped in a cage of your own making. You don’t want others to remind you of that, so you try to invalidate their narrative.