Syraj Syed

Syraj Syed

"

'Tis emptied, yet it loses not its power...

"
Gainesville, FL
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About Me

A friend lost her husband recently…she had given herself over to an idea of who she thought she was, rather than a true knowledge of self...she had also frozen herself in time and not let herself grow...we talked about this paradigm shift in her life...how it has impacted me as well...and the road ahead. I shared that my life had also been existentially dubious and that the doors of perception had been opened to me as I spoke to her husband during his last days. He really wanted to keep living...regretting not being able to do the things he had not yet even thought of...and I marveled at this and began to dwell on all the things I have done to date...and I found a nagging, relentless...something.

I've had a difficult time...in finding my bliss nor having the courage to do what I knew I should, regardless of how that went against the tides of socialization that broke against my fragile consciousness since I was a young boy being conditioned to follow paths not my own.

I tried the traditional academic pathway for a while, but found that the things I had romanticized about scholarship...they weren’t really what I had imagined. There was no clear statement of greater intellectual good...no overarching technocratic revolution to which we all aspired...

Then I read Faulkner recently: "The writer's only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one. He has a dream. It anguishes him so much he must get rid of it. He has no peace until then. Everything goes by the board: honor, pride, decency, security, happiness, all, to get the book written." That's when it all consolidated...such clarity...I've spent too much time complaining about aspirations others value and have strived for...but I don't value them...it's as though I wore someone else's well-made suit and wore it ragged…and then threw it back at them saying it never really fit me that well...

This is what I've been trying to work out and communicate in recent months...it's all well and good, but I've tried too long (as qualitative methodologists tend to do) to analyze the themes in what others are saying and then try to build a unified theory out of these concepts...but in this case, it wasn't a theory...it was my life. I've been an observer so long that I think I forgot how to listen to my own driving impulse...but it has always been there.

Until now, I've put in a lot of time and work to help serve at-risk and underserved populations...lend voice to those that don't know how to communicate their contexts or don't have the necessary tools to articulate their indignation...but it has all been like trying to run with one hand tied behind my back...never quite flowing in the way I knew it could. There is also the issue of communicating to the professional domain versus the social domain. I realize, even in my academic work, I have always been a populist...that is, I have never much cared about solidifying identity among my peers...instead, I wanted to have my work make a difference in tangible and measurable ways...but that's not the end game I have found within the academy.

So, I look at my son and see my best and my worst...my inquiry and my anger...and there is an ocean of possibility before him...I see him stand at a shore line and stare out at the horizon as I once did...and I know that I can't really guide him well just yet...it would be disingenuous...as I have not yet grasped my own life by the balls. I've come to really value self-knowledge…that enables the individual to take wild risks…I've lived my life thus far with what many would call great confidence...but it's an act...I've always been good at lying...to the world and to myself…never really baring my soul...fearless in exposing life’s complexity...on the most intrapersonal and cosmological levels simultaneously...