Jessica and Silas talk about living the questions and moving past the identities given into the identities chosen
Jessica: It really does. I think there's the idea of otherness and then there's the idea of living the questions of life and when you sit down and you're like, Okay, these are all the questions that I have, and I'm just going to be okay with those questions and I'm going to go ahead and do them anyway because for me, growing up in a conservative household, there's chapters in the Old Testament about modifying your body and how it is also a sin and all that and I was like, well, is it really a sin? Because there's a mixed doctrine on it, and then growing up and kind of becoming my own person. I don't have questions for myself and I realize that I don't think so like you know, and that otherness actually became a family, and I think that advice I would give anyone who's listening to this, is that that otherness is you, is that part of yourself that you're afraid to explore almost and by opening yourself up to those questions and being okay, and giving you permission to live those questions, you'll actually probably find a lot of freedom.
Silas: Yeah and I think also what you said about even just attempting to answer those questions for yourself is so powerful, because so much is just handed down to us and we just accept and really, what would it look like for you to just decide, well, here's what I actually think and no one's going to come in, no one's going to appear out of nowhere and be like, you're wrong, actually. No one can take that decision away from you or what you decide is right for yourself and it's such a subtle thing, such a small thing that can be overlooked.
Jessica: It's true. And as you start living those questions, you start asking more questions because it's almost like it gets the ball moving and the snowball gets bigger and bigger and you're like, Okay, well now I have more questions, and then you realize that you're asking questions that people you looked up to might never have asked for themselves and they also don't know the answer and it kind of breaks that barrier of authority on what is and isn't right, for a person.
Jessica: Or to like, Okay, well, if you don't know the answer, and you basically your word is my law, then maybe I should make my own rules.
Silas: Yeah. I also think there's just so much power and being like, I don't know, I don't know why we're so afraid to just say we don't know things, you know what I mean?
Silas: And it's something I run into with myself on a daily basis, and it's possible if you're like are you familiar with this or whatever and we're all like, oh, kind of even though most of the time I'm No, you know what I mean? To these larger questions of about life or God or being modified or your gender. Again, with the authority of like, I think when other people ask us a question and some sort of authority dynamic kicks in we want to give an answer but I think the best answer you can give is often something, I don't know enough to have an answer to this, or I just can't give you one and again, just like kind of reimagining for ourselves what life can look like to just exist outside of these things we thought were definable or definitive.
Jessica: Yeah, exactly. And also, when you release that need to have an answer for everything, it also releases your societal need to have an opinion for everything too. It's a lot easier to get along with everybody because you're no longer forced to come up with these opinions on things that you don't even understand.
Silas: Yeah, definitely and also understanding that, I know it changed all my relationship dynamics too, realizing I don't need to know the answers or have answers to everything and like, I'm with other people or I'm having a hard time articulating this but yeah, I guess just going off of what you said, especially with strangers that I don't know, too, or when you meet someone, they're kind of hostile or whatever, and really just reminding yourself we're all just existing in this giant, chaotic scramble that is this universe, and none of us really know anything. I have a lot more patience.
Jessica: I have a lot more patience and I think I was picking up maybe with where you're going with the friends concept is my friendships have gotten stronger because when they come to me for advice, it's no longer lecturing because we learn relationship from our parents, and our first major relationship, whether it's a [inaudible 29:42] one is with your parental figure, and that involves some sort of lecturing, and one way or the other and so as you're building social connections with friends, and they're like, should I do this, you're like, no, you can't do this because this is wrong, or yes, you can do this because this is the right thing because my mom said and releasing that need, what I found is my friends will come to me and they're like, I did this thing and I'm like, Okay, how do you feel about it? And that's a huge shift that I've seen just becoming 24.
Silas: Yeah, right! Going from a feeling place first or being like, I think that's the best question. Anyone listening, you take a piece of advice from this at all in all relationships when they talk about anything. I really think of the first question is just how are you feeling about it? That's the best advice I could offer anyone ever, no matter what relationship dynamic it is, and especially right now, in the current state of the world where everything is so scary, I think the best thing we can do is just try to get more in touch with our emotions. That's the best I've been able to do and I'm trying to do in all of this and yeah, same for everyone else. You're so right, though. That's exactly what I was trying to say with the parent and then the friend thing like -
Jessica: [inaudible 31:00] picking up what your brain cannot. That's something that we're in a similar stage of life being in our early 20s socially, sociologically speaking, psychologically speaking, I am like thinking the stages of development.
Jessica: I am like that's definitely a big one I've noticed is that shift from, I don't want to call it condescending, but this shift from black and white, so okay, there's a lot more gray in the world and there's more perspectives than I thought and a lot of validity in everyone's opinion, and so just kind of honoring that and especially in light of COVID when there's so many feelings about it, and it's just like, hey, if you're upset about it, that's okay. If you're afraid, that's okay. If you're indifferent, that's okay, all that matters is that I guess the best thing you can do for anyone who's coming to you with a problem is help them identify their own feelings and giving them a safe space to identify those.
Silas: Yeah, I agree and that's a really powerful, beautiful tool and also to try to do that for yourself.
Silas: I am assuming I am realizing in the context of COVID is , I'm much better doing that for others than I am for myself and what it can mean to treat yourself like you're your own best friend, and sit in those questions and those feelings. Just in the past few weeks, I've really been like, wow, emotions are so powerful and truly are going to be what save the universe and it's just a wild thing to realize and sit with and realizing we're all in---I mean, I'm sure not everyone is thinking about this right now but in theory, we're all going through this right now and realizing this together and being forced to confront our feelings together.
Jessica: Yeah, it's felt a very one worldness. Before it was like, Oh, these celebrities doing this and yes, there's some of that still, but a lot of it is like the politicians, they don't know what they're doing, the doctors, they don't know what they're doing.
Silas: Yeah -
Jessica: Celebrities like Madonna's, I'm gonna go outside and breathe the COVID air and I'm like, okay, good for you. Nobody knows any more than anybody else and that's a very refreshing thing to see in the world that I hope is taken forward past the pandemic. Status has definitely been stripped away. We're all unemployed. The jobs that we thought were like, jobs that you get, if you can't be successful in a business office are now the wipe blood of the world.
Silas: They deserve so much more.
Jessica: I'm like, I hope when this is all over that everyone treats them with the respect that they deserve as fellow humans really, and for keeping us together during this time.
Silas: Well, that's what's like. I mean, obviously, I'm hesitant to use the word exciting in this time but what is exciting about all this is the I get that we can really reimagine a lot going forward and as scary as that is, and the more time we spend in it, the more opportunity for reinvention we have and I hope that it can be something that's more people-oriented and communal oriented or aware of these shared experiences and feelings. Also especially because this has kind of affected time in a crazy way of no one can plan. We all had things we planned, we all had a vision of where we thought this year was going and now everyone's like, I guess I'll see you what tomorrow is and then tomorrow comes in, it's the same thing over and over again which I've never felt so present and it's painful a lot of days, but it's also really exciting.
Jessica: It's true. It really is. It's really true. I like that aspect that we're living every day in the moment and I think, I can't speak to every country but in America, the culture is very much distraction, distraction, like, temporary fix, temporary fix, and there's no temporary fix and -
Jessica: There's so much distraction and at my apartment complex, I'm seeing parents hanging out with their kids that you know, I've been living there for a little bit now. I've never seen that.
Silas: So sweet.
Jessica: It's so sweet, but it's speaking I think too the culture changing as a whole because the distraction and the urgency and the need to reach the definition of success is having the most hours, put in the most money in the bank and the most status amongst your peers.
Jessica: It all stripped away.