人生之钥
Identity/身份

Identity/身份
这是一个我从未期待自己会出现的地方:在色雷斯首都——古城菲利普波利斯,一个保存完好的剧场,在清晨的金色阳光下静谧地矗立着。
我独自张望,一列列同心圆形状的石头圆环被分成了等分,一圈圈地向外延伸,有些延展到了无限的远处,而另一些则被横向的台阶拦截住……
光和影交错成了一幅混合着成长、现实与潜在的平衡画面。


止步于中心圆环附近,我试图解释为何这一切看起来如此熟悉,像是重新回到了属于自己的土地上。尽管我知道,前世和今生从未到过色雷斯。
不,这不是一个地点,这是一种时空交错的组合,是几何构想造就了剧场,整幅画面是结构和戏剧以希腊式婚姻的方式完美组合的结果。
这是它第一次闯入我的意识中来,或许曾经也出现过。它是指引我的星辰,是我一直渴望的完美景象,是我对目标的定义——建筑、剧院、占星术——符合我写过的每一种元素。
我的脑海中在想象着这样一幅三维画面,构建着这样一个圆形剧场,这让我花了很长时间,不过,它值得我如此地期待。
我是一个移民,与那些背井离乡的人一样,我们牺牲了出生地带来的与生俱来的安全感,放弃了原有的背景和教育所带来的明确身份。
这一切,皆是为了追寻一个重新的开始所带来的神秘乐趣,一个不附加任何条件的、没有任何阻碍的新生活,赤裸得如同你刚出生一般。即使要为此被打入社会的底层重新开始,也在所不惜。每一个人——即使是沦落街头的乞丐——如果他是身处自己的国家中,都比刚移民来的外国人更有优势。
最开始,你挣扎着,对那些别人早已习以为常的规矩毫不知情,结结巴巴地说着错误百出的外语,无法为自己辩护,甚至无意中就会触犯条例和规矩。你表现得像个智力有缺陷的人一样,别人待你也是如此。尊重和礼貌对你来讲简直是奢侈品。
如果你是个聪明的移民,你很快会应对那些挑战,尽自己全力去吸收当地的一切,迅速而疯狂地打拼着,直到你的新伙伴们认不出你“不是他们中的一员”。但是,这真的就是你想要的吗?终其一生将自己伪装成一个根本不是真实自己的人,而且永远也无法成为“他们中的一员”,这难道就是你想要的吗?
移民,其最重要的吸引力在于它所带来的美妙的自由,这一点超越了它带来的一切苦难。它允许你拥有不顺从任何一种环境的权利;让你享受着属于任何一种或是不属于任何一种文化的权利;也赋予你去挑选你所经历过的最好的文化、而同时又在内心深处保有自己真我的自由。
我们都喜欢那些偶像似的人物,生活对他们而言就像是一个舞台,而他们的角色是那么容易被大家理解,并且赢得了众人的尊重和效仿。
他们中的一些人甚至成了人们顶礼膜拜的对象:詹姆斯·迪恩(James Dean)、肯尼迪、猫王、戴安娜……很多很多。同时,还有很多默默无闻的人,在追寻着低调的、具有象征意义的生活。
在你的周围,也一定有这样一群人,他们成功地“创造”了他们自己:安居于精致房子里的主妇,穿着剪裁合体的套装坐在会议室里的商人,留着胡须的吉卜赛人,严谨的知识分子,挂着甜美微笑的女人……所有这些独特的标签,都在帮助我们解读人性的神秘。
我年轻时,很崇拜这样一些人,他们把自己培养成某一类人,某一类与他们自己本来的面目完全不同的人,成为别人期待的样子。
或许,这也是为什么他们都英年早逝的原因?
我看不出二者的联系。怀着对这些逝去的偶像的哀悼,我努力地在追随着他们的步伐。直到有一天,一位智者告诉我:
“小姑娘,不要期望像偶像一样生活,那是个过于危险的游戏。要在这个世界上生存,你需要一些实实在在的东西,而偶像只不过是如梦一般的虚幻。”
你是否记得听有些人这样叹道:“那些日子啊。”说这话的人,是不是位穿着少女衣服的中年女人,嘴里念叨着她最爱的“那个时候的好东西”?或者是位饱经风霜的留着长发的男人,依旧在说着20年前的流行用语?再或者,你听到的是自己的声音?
很有可能,你也像很多人一样,停在了时光隧道的某一处,仍旧保留着旧式的风格。就好像,在某一个时刻,你体内的那个时钟突然停止了,而你身边的一切都与你渐行渐远。
我们都或多或少有这样的迹象,它拖住了时间的脚步。这或许是由于对永恒青春的渴望,或是想抓紧某样即将逝去的东西,抑或是要力图阻止生命谢幕那一刻的到来。
还有一些人,他们紧紧抱着过去不放,因为那是他们唯一相信的东西。他们似乎害怕成熟和成长,认为每经历一件事都会带来新的、不确定的东西。
这种恐惧的背后,潜藏了怎样的不安感啊?在曾经的岁月中,他们是否经历过哪怕一次的鲜活的生命?是否曾感觉到,自己终于尝到了作为一个人而赢得的爱与珍视?
不管是什么原因,不争的事实是,生命始终在变化着、成长着。现在的你,跟刚刚读到这句话时的那个你已经有所不同。

“人无法两次踏进同一条河流,因为一切皆动。”
6岁那年,怀着巨大的悲伤,我生平第一次离开了自己的家,而且知道将不再回去。
在那些日子里,将痛苦遗忘被认为是个明智的选择。永远不要回首,尽可能地用你现有的东西去构建一个光明的未来。
在我成长的岁月中,始终怀着一种怅惘:一种我始终无法理解的惆怅。在回到家乡以前,我以为它一直就在心里的某个地方,已经成为了我的一部分。
河中间的那片土地看起来还是老样子,河的这一边,金黄色的芦苇的表面结上了霜,在阳光的照射下闪耀着,被厚厚的积雪压着的树投下了长长的影子。这就是我们儿时的四季游乐场,童年平静时光的天堂。
而河的另一边,是黑色森林的入口,深而暗的河水伸向了我们无从所知的另一头,充满着危险,却也显得那般强大而神秘。至于那陡峭的河岸,那曾是孩子们的禁地,对我们充满危险的吸引力。
我的个性和对世界的认识正是在这二者中间形成、发展起来的。这曾经是我的摇篮,是我从未走出过的摇篮,尽管我们一直在否定它。
随着我内心的创伤在逐渐痊愈,我的眼中充满了泪水。40年来的第一次,我体会到了什么叫完整。


A place where I had never expected to find myself: the ancient city of Philippopolis, capital of Thrace. A well preserved amphitheatre, golden in the morning sun.
All alone, I look around: Row upon row of concentric stone circles divided into equal sectors. Lines radiating – some reaching for infinity, others anchored by the transversal of the stage. Light and shadow playing over a balanced blend of growth, reality and potential.
Hovering somewhere near the centre of the circle, I try to work out why it all seems so familiar. Like being back in my very own landscape. Though I know that I have never been in Thrace before. Not in this life – or any other.
No – it’s not the location; it’s the configuration. The geometric concept that produced the amphitheatre: a Greek marriage of structure and drama, perfectly arranged.
Ever since it first entered my consciousness – whenever that may have been –  this figure has persisted as my guiding star. The ideal I always reached for. Definition of my aims. It led to architecture, theatre, astrology; conditioned every word I wrote.
The essence of my mind in three dimensions, graphically depicted by the amphitheatre. It took a long time to arrive at that picture. But it was worth waiting for.
I am a transnational. One of those people who leave their country of origin, sacrifice the security of birth right, give up an established identity honed by background and education.
All for the dubious pleasure of starting anew, unconditioned, unencumbered, naked as the day you were born; even at the price of being relegated to the bottom rung of the social ladder. Everyone, down to the beggar in the street – provided he is in his own country – is better placed than a recently arrived immigrant.
Initially you struggle along, ignorant of procedures that all others take for granted, stuttering in flawed idioms, unable to assert yourself; unwittingly violating established codes and customs. You behave, and you are treated, like someone mentally and socially deficient. Courtesy and respect are in short supply.
As a clever immigrant you pick up the challenge and do your best to assimilate, fast and furiously, until your new countrymen can no longer tell that you’re not ‘one of them’. But is that really what you want? Go through life masquerading as something you are not, and never will be: ‘one of them’?
The whole point of migrating, which by far outweighs the hardship, is the wonderful freedom it brings. The privilege of not being expected to conform. The advantage of belonging to all cultures and none. Choosing the best from each one you sample but at heart remaining your true unaffected self.
We all love people who represent an image: who take to life as if it were a stage. Acting out impressions we can easily interpret, taking their bow from the rest of us.
Some of them become cult figures: James Dean, Kennedy, Elvis, Grace, Diana – the list is long. But there are also modest examples of people pursuing symbolic lives in relative obscurity.
I’m sure you can think of a few examples of people who have successfully invented themselves: the perfect housewife ensconced in her colour-matched home; the businessman in a tailored suit taking his seat in the board-room. The bearded bohemian, the stern intellectual, the sweet-smiling bimbo, and so on. All helping us decipher the mystery of human nature by labelling themselves unequivocally.
In my younger days I worshipped such people, mistaking for self-realisation masks cultivated by their owners to the point where they lost touch with their own reality.
Perhaps that was the reason why they all died young?
I didn’t see the connection. Mourning my lost idols, I did my best to follow in their footsteps. Until the day when a wise person told me:
“Dear girl, don’t be tempted to live by an image. It’s a much too dangerous game. To survive in this world you need substance. And an image is no more substantial than a dream.”
When did you last hear someone sighing: “Those were the days.” Was it a middle-aged woman in clothes too young for her, humming her favourite golden oldie, or a weathered man who still wears his hair long and speaks in the idiom of twenty years ago? Or – was it your own voice you heard?
You may well be one of many who are caught in a time warp maintaining an old-fashioned style; as if, at some stage, your inner watch had stopped, and everything since passed you by.
We all have traces of it, this urge to halt the passage of time; whether it is a wish for eternal youth, a nostalgic hankering for things gone by, or a vain attempt to defer the final curtain.
But then there are those who cling to an outgrown persona, because it is the only one they trust. They seem to be afraid to mature and develop; accept that each given moment offers and adds something new.
What deep insecurity lies behind such fear? Was there in their past but one occasion, when they came vibrantly alive? When they felt, finally, that they were loved and valued: someone with a right to be?
Whatever the reason, there is no escaping the fact that life is all about change and growth. You are now a somewhat different person from when you started reading this text.
‘No one can bathe in the same river twice.  Because everything flows.’
At six years of age, stunned by grief, I left my first home, not expecting to return.
In those days it was considered healthy to turn your back on pain. Never look back, but build a bright new future with whatever was at hand.
I grew up with a void in my heart: an ever-present sadness that I did not understand. I thought it had always been there. Part of my constitution. Until I went back.
The land between the lakes looked the same: on one side, Little Lee, frosty surface glittering in sunlight within a frame of golden reeds, streaked by long blue shadows from snow-laden trees. This was our playground in winter and summer. A haven of childhood serenity.
To the north, guarded by dark forests, shrouded by purple cloud rising as the ice settled, the vast deep waters of Large Lee stretched into the unknown. Menacing, but at the same time powerful, majestic. The steep shores –  forbidden ground – were dangerously attractive.           
Spanning these two was the space where my character formed, my picture of the world developed. It was my cradle – the cradle we never outgrow, although we often deny it.
Tears filled my eyes, as the wound inside me slowly began to heal. For the first time in forty years I knew the feeling of being whole.

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