the third place
3 min readSep 1, 2021


I have a love hate relationship with writing — which basically means that I love the idea of writing but hate anything I write. Or I rather conclude prematurely that I will hate my writing and therefore should not bother to try. But here’s another attempt that hopefully doesn’t turn into more self loathing.

I’ve noticed I spend a lot of time in reflection, about the self and the other and the world at large. But I have stopped dreaming — not the kind you get in your sleep, because I get plenty of those — vivid and twisted ones too. I’m talking of dreams about the unforeseen. About possibilities, about what I can truly amount to if I allowed myself to be fearless. About what the world has to offer, other than the dystopia that we have all come to accept as the future.

But instead I’ve chosen to take the backseat in my own life car, and let the situations drive me places. In a Milan Kundera’s book that I recently started reading, one of the characters describes experiencing a type of vertigo. The fear of falling but also secretly desiring the emptiness underneath that beckons one. And sadly, I could relate. What is it that makes some of us so drawn to the emptiness and what is it if not perpetual self hatred.

But the problem with fear, no matter where it is, is that it prevents one from taking action. It is the classic freeze response that I truly believe I would be a poster child for. But this piece is not about analyzing the fears because like I said, I have reflected on this plenty. What needs to happen now is dreaming. And that’s what this entire whole rant was leading upto.

So what do I want to be when I grow up? — I am 25 for context, and believe that adulthood is just around the horizon but way beyond my immediate reach. That’s probably why I refuse to get in the driver’s seat — because of my fear of growing up (This may also relate to the concept of the Peter Pan syndrome, which I will talk about another time). And funnily, I also cannot get into the driver’s seat of an actual car because of my (not unwarranted) fear of driving into objects.

I guess I am at that point where I need to decide if this whole persona that I have described thus far is truly representative of me. Because if this is who I am and I decide that this is who I will always be in some way or the other, then I will make all my life choices and decisions within this boundary. But if I decide I am not this person, and that I am malleable then there are possibilities and the boundary is more fluid. And for far too long I have tried to exist within those bounds and honestly I am just fucking bored. The bounds became so limiting that I am starting to feel stuck and suffocated. Basically identity has been largely oversimplified by society to limit our decision making capabilities. I am who I want to be, and I am constantly evolving.

EDIT: On further reflection, I think the issue is that most of us misunderstand identity. And we hold on to labels too hard, because they give us a sense of meaning. A lens through which to see the world. But the problem unfortunately is that sometimes the lens and the labels hold us back from evolving beyond a point. And that’s what happened in my case. This idea of who I was as a person held me back from being or doing. (More on this expanded exploration in the next piece).

And so we come back to dreams. I want to for the rest of my life, ask myself “who do I want to be when I grow up”, because growth and change is the only thing that will make me feel like me — whatever the fuck that means.




the third place

Reflections and perceptions of a singular experience