Tag Archives: Psychology

6: Forward

6 Jan

I’ve never experienced a bigger black hole than overthinking. I’m an expert at it, by virtue, and because I have so much time at hand. One of the main reasons I left my very lucrative job as a counsellor was because it mandated me to think not just for myself but for the other party too. I loved it, and I still do; counselling i.e. It came naturally to me, academically and practically, until I came head on with this mountain which I couldn’t conquer. How could I possibly help someone else if I didn’t know the art and skill of disconnection? My family urges me to take counselling on again, because it’s such a lucrative business to have. But I know it goes beyond just that at so, so many levels. Maybe someday, once I’ve figured how to summit this one out, if at all, to be realistic.

I find myself falling into this excruciating trap of thinking and overthinking more often than not. As much as I once proudly considered myself to have intellectual tendencies, I firmly steer clear of them and that thought today…because there’s nothing more degenerative to a moment than breaking it down till it stops making sense anymore. Nothing. I refrain from meeting or speaking with people who intellectualize. And very actively so. It has led to a drastic metamorphosis of many a relationship, but one’s got to look out for themselves, as selfish as that sounds. This world does have too much negativity, armchairism, and labelling to go around amply.

I’m a believer in reason, action, hard work, and learning. I’m a believer in things happening for a reason. I think love, laughter, and hugs have indescribable powers. I believe in magic wholeheartedly, I seek it and incorporate it in my worldviews. I think kisses are pathways for so much of the unsaid to be transferred and shared. Hard work is compulsory, in my understanding of things. I also have a very skewed understanding of the hard work relationships require to exist, forget thrive. And I think I live in an ideal world hugely inspired by movies, and everything unreal. I’ll let you imagine what the consequences of that perspective do to me on a regular basis. It isn’t pleasant or exciting, to say the least. The disappointment is most hard-hitting and painful, when it strikes.

But I’m learning, I’m clasping on to any rope of help and support that keeping overthinking at bay throws my way. I’m mostly underwater and breathing in painful amounts of chaos. But I haven’t drowned yet. I think I’ve learnt to stay afloat a little better from where I was last year. And that’s all I need, to move forward. That’s all I need.

Advertisements

Learning About Love

16 Jun

It looks like I’m in the mood to write today. There is a tonne of work to be done and it’s not much of a surprise that it’s been kept aside, yet again. It’s a fact that I’m a procrastinator and that working under pressure seems to be the fuel I need to finish a task and to achieve a goal. But how much pressure now feels uncertain given how I’ve wasted my time away instead of doing the things that need to be done. And I’m not even talking about that pile of clothes which needs folding and hasn’t been approached/tackled since forever. It’s good to not care sometimes, because you want your spouse to help out with some of the housework before you end up doing it all without leaving any for them to do. But at the moment, it’s more about not caring than about implementing spousal domestication – haha – because I’m stuck at that ‘thy mug brimmeth over’ feeling since yesterday, which I wrote in my previous post.

I actually came here to write about this love business because I guess it’s a good time to tap into this aspect of life when one is feeling peachy and rosy and unperturbed by that pile of laundry, unwashed vessels and other more important tasks at hand. It’s a good time to forget about priorities and talk about love, because the pessimist in me used to firmly believe that love is for fools and that love makes us weak and foolish. No, I’m not judging anyone for being in love or for showing/feeling love…I’m just a very normal pessimist who prefers to prepare for that dark cloud rather than bask in the glory of some golden sunshine, happy honeybees and chirping birds, as it were. It’s no surprise who the fool here is, but never mind.

But, because that coffee from yesterday has been so elevating (ahem), I only see blossoming roses, chirpy birds and that stray honeybee today. It has also brought me to write this post and so I shall begin…sorry for the massive digression and thank you for your patience if you still are reading this post.

I’m no expert in love and never have been, as you’ve read and gauged so far. But over the course of the last few months, I’ve learnt the following about love and about learning to love. Of course, the journey of discovery and enlightenment continues and I have a long, long, long way to go. But here’s what I’ve figured, so far.

*********************

Love is when you’re bloody pissed off with the person but still manage to do the things you know will make them happy without hitting them on their head.

Love is being able to express your feelings, thoughts and emotions without being judgemental or without judging.

Love is frayed hair, bushy eyebrows, forested hands and legs and no makeup that elicit responses and actions that make you feel normal.

Love is also having to state how funny, terrible, not presentable the other is looking when required.

Love is being able to fall asleep to that snore you found too loud to begin with, unless of course you’re too tired to care.

Love is about learning when to let go and when to hold on.

Love lies in communication.

Love is about acknowledging the small things we do.

Love is a big fat argument or fight that settles down in a calm and practical conversation.

Love is comfortable silence.

Love is grilled chicken and vegetables and love is certainly a well-made sandwich that is savoured in silence.

Love lies in honesty, no matter how hurtful it can be.

Love is a tight hug that you may or may not have asked for.

Love can sometimes be found in irritating the other. Sometimes.

Love lies in acceptance.

Love also lies in constructive feedback and sometimes, criticism.

Love is about being blatant.

Love is about being no-nonsense.

Love is about being firm.

Love lies in kindness.

Love is a talk you really needed.

Love can be found at the end of a scream, if you care to listen.

Love can also be found in the voice of silence.

Love definitely lies in insurance policy nominations.

Love sometimes lies in unforeseen possession.

Love is a walk like none other.

The One On Validation

7 Jun

Today seems a bit different from what yesterday was like. Starkly different, actually. The past few months after my moving cities and shifting base have been nothing short of consuming on every single front. It’s been an emotional ride to not just pack up and leave but to also try and find some sort of footing in my new surroundings where I have no friends, no acquaintances, just nobody except my family and my husband; which in itself, is a lot and something I’m extremely thankful for. A lot of us never even get that much when we move.

It took a long, long time to accept this newness. When I was leaving Bangalore, I was advised by many to hold on to my job; the one thing that would be constant, a factor that would give me something to fall back on in this sea of unfamiliarity. Sometimes I wish I had listened to them and I find their imaginary I told you so fingers dancing in front of my face. But that wasn’t to be and like I’ve always said, a lot, if not the whole of me, believes that things happen for a reason.

However, I followed my heart and came to this new city armed without a job and far more suitcases than any airline permits for a domestic transfer. It was actually the longest check-in of my life what with 80 kgs in tow? Talk about baggage, I’ve got some serious issues. Puns and digressions aside, I arrived armed with not just that amount of luggage but with some unaccounted amount of courage, bravery and faith. It takes a lot for someone like me to accept change of such a magnitude. I wish I were more daring and fearless…I hope to be, some day. And so I gathered whatever I could and took the plunge.

When I look back at yesterday, it was raw. It consumed a lot out of me to acknowledge and understand what was going on. It took me a long while to figure it out after the many patient, healing and evocative conversations I had with my mother and my self. I spent so many days wondering what it was that I needed to do just so I could feel like I had a purpose, some sort of consolation prize I could walk back with and look at to feel like I was doing something. I remember writing about validation here, here, here, here, here, here, and here way back in 2011! Talk about wanting and needing to feel validated!!

And then I came across this sound clip from a friend of mine where she spoke about the need to validate one’s feelings as she recounted her experience in the labour room and post the delivery of her lovely daughter V. This helped add to what I have been experiencing off late and to help express all that I’ve been thinking about over the past few days. The difference between yesterday and today is stark, like I said. And here’s why.

Yesterday was filled with rawness, newness, of not knowing, of feeling directionless. Yesterday felt like I was stuck in an opacity where my purpose was hidden, unseen, unclear. Yesterday felt like I was useless, not valid, not living up to my dreams and ideals. Yesterday was rife with frustration, uneasiness and a lack of understanding, clarity and everything which makes you want to get up in the morning and go on with your day well stocked with that sense of resolve and justification, you know? It wasn’t as bad as it sounds; however I do vividly recall the days when I felt like the sea around me was too choppy to even try and keep afloat. For someone who always has had a routine and had something to do, it was a very strange place to be in.

It’s not like today is very different from yesterday in terms of a lot. But what makes it different is the presence of self-awareness, acceptance, patience and a lot of validation. In her sound clip, A speaks up about acknowledging and accepting one’s own feelings…of addressing them, most importantly. That’s the difference between yesterday and today, which also hit the spot when I heard her sound byte over the weekend. It’s the understanding and awareness of one’s own feelings which, when addressed, is half the job done.

Today I feel more secure, more in control, more aware, more cognizant of my current state of affairs. Today I’m far more capable of putting myself and my feelings under the spotlight when the need arises. There’s a sense of comfort because I know I have an outlet to hear my own self out. Sometimes it feels like everything’s out of control, that the world has suddenly become too big and too cumbersome to handle and that everything’s just a whistle away from bursting at its seams. It’s at times like these when I deal that we need to talk card to myself. Because when was the last time we addressed ourselves, put ourselves on priority, woke up and cradled our feelings?

That’s the difference between yesterday and today, for me. I’m better able to really enjoy this time I’ve gotten for myself. I’m more comfortable with giving myself that leeway without being harsh or too punitive on my own self. Today is still filled with those odd frustrations, irritations and unwanted thoughts and feelings. But in listening to them, validating them and knowing where they stem from makes it a far more easy task to handle with grace and face. Time, they say, is the biggest healer; and I’ve got to find the person who said this and embrace them.

Validation. I believe many an answer lie in that one act.

Here, There And Everywhere

11 May

I’m quite certain that at least some aspects or parts of the education we receive, stick on by, especially when one feels as lost and at sea as does happen to all of us from time to time…that when the time comes, we activate and put to use our capacities and apply the many lessons we’ve learnt, from life and its incidents or from theories (as some part of this post will elucidate) or from whatever else it is that teaches us the multitude of things we learn every single day. That’s the hope, at least.

It’s not rare for me to turn to my subject of interest and academic choice to help understand and answer the circumstance and questions that arise when they do. Psychology has, and always will be more than just a textbook subject to me given how much I love it and how much sense it makes to me; but not over and above the absolute fact that it allows me to help apply it to my life on a daily basis. On one hand it sort of sucks to be aware of the motive behind a particular behaviour or action displayed by xyz, thereby automatically changing your own response to the situation, as annoying and different from a regular response it becomes. However, the satisfaction in knowing and being equipped with the faculties to dissect a situation takes the cake, if you ask me. By saying this, I, in no way imply that all students of psychology are mind readers or that all psychologists are sane/perceptive or even understanding, for that matter. The takeaway here is the idea that we are constantly learning and that what we learn (usually) aides us when we feel like we know nothing at all.

And so, for me, I’ve always found great meaning and depth in the classical theories of psychology, especially the psycho-analytic/dynamic and psychosocial set of them. To me, the principles of development spoken widely about by Erik Erikson hit the spot at so many levels; and therefore it is no surprise that I turn to this theory when I have innumerable questions about my life, my purpose and most importantly, my identity. There are theories by the plentiful, but this simple one somehow stayed back and perhaps that’s why they’re classified under the umbrella of classical theories. And going by Erikson’s theory, I’m clearly STILL at stage adolescence, in some sort of warped psychosocial moratorium (a break from my responsibilities, very simply), if I may diagnose myself so.

There are so many days when I feel stuck, inert, clueless, aimless and just wedged in some sort of sticky haze that I cannot see past. The opacity of this screen that shrouds every possible opportunity to find light and move forward is beyond believable. It’s at times like these when I turn back to these theories and wonder where I’m stuck at or what conflict lies unresolved in order for me to take a step ahead. I distinctly remember sitting in class, engrossed in these theories as lectures glided past us, bell after bell. And I remember acknowledging just how much sense they made. It’s not like I have the answers or like it’s all spelled out, even. But the hope that it’s not new and that I’m not the only one makes half the challenge easier to conquer.

I’m at a point where I’m caught in a conflict between saying no because I want to and saying yes because I have to at the cost of mental peace and guiltlessness. This is primarily because I’ve no certain idea about what I really want or what I think my purpose here is. The struggle’s real and a constant one at that…

To not know where I stand or what my standing really even is… to be clueless about my whatnext or my wherenow… to be shrouded in one’s own whatifs and thenwhats… to look at the mirror and not know who’s looking back… to retrospect and realize that clues to the future still lay camouflaged… to basically not know where one’s going is a blindfold game that’s beyond stressful and discouraging. It almost feels like I’m swimming against a powerful current that takes me back to square one all over again.

Don’t get me wrong, my life or my surroundings are not this bleak or threatening; it’s just that when the ‘what am I here for’ wave comes my way, I almost always find myself washed back ashore with the sign ‘a ship in a harbour is safe, but that’t not what ships are built for’ flashing right in front of my face.

Ugh.

Identity crises are just the worst, aren’t they?

*shirks responsibility and grabs some ice cream*

Learning To Unlearn And Relearn

29 Mar

Isn’t that what moving forward is all about anyway? It’s astounding how these simple concepts are gems we store for later, more intellectual conversations and situations, oftentimes overlooking their importance in being applied to life every single day. I’ll speak for myself at least. I cannot remember a time when the necessity to unlearn and relearn something wasn’t used and just what a life saver the flexibility to do so, is.

But I admit, I never imagined the need to do the same to other more crucial facets of my life, my functioning, my relationships, my perceptions, and my wellbeing altogether. Perhaps it was the luxury of living with family all my life which made me so ignorant, until now, when I’m not living under the same roof as them, and have a lot of my shit to figure out on my own. Where did this shit land up from anyway, I wonder, because the last time I checked, all was dandy, all was fine, all was the opposite of sandpapery, if I may.

I haven’t been hitched too long, but it has taken me faster than I fathomed to figure out that – not everything will go your way or as you’ve been used to, and you’d be foolish to expect it. So here I am, trying to unlearn and relearn a lot that I had conveniently assumed I was a master at. How presumptuous of me.

To be more specific, here are some things I’m currently learning, unlearning and relearning:

Not all close relationships are the same and therefore not all close relationships can be handled the same way. You may want to say du-h! at this point in time, and perhaps you should, because I thought otherwise.

Nobody, no matter how close to you, is the same as anybody else…so responses from x are very highly likely to be different from y, even though you behaved the same way with both parties, at the same time, in the same place and under the same circumstances.

In connection with the previous point, time plays a major factor, as do priorities. To elucidate, person y may not necessarily be forgiving to you for stealing a slice of bacon from their plate the second or third time around, unlike earlier times when they didn’t really care about bacon as much. Perhaps they’re really in the mood for bacon and don’t feel like sharing, perhaps they love bacon unlike their previous preference, perhaps they’re saving it for somebody else, perhaps their bacon sharing priorities have changed – always give room for consideration. Also, point to note – it doesn’t really mean you’re loved any less. It just means that time and priorities change everything sometimes.

(Fine example, Babska. Fine one, indeed!)

Not getting a reply, especially via SMS, especially when you’re used to this form of instantaneous gratification in that category, does not mean you are not loved or cared for anymore. (Big learning!) This may make you want to run back and thank all those lovely people who actually make the effort to respond to you when you want them to, which is usually instantly, right?

Responses to a situation which you imagine are natural and instinctual even, may not really be natural to the actual person whom you’re expecting that said response from. I always imagine my husband to respond to certain things in ways that I am used to because that is how my family responds to me in those situations…but seldom are they the same, or rarely is there a match in these responses. If it matters that much, and as hard as it may be for one’s ego, it does help to spell out how you expect a response to be rather than let the waterworks flow some more and still not get what you want. It’s true.

Your comfort food or ideas of comfort food may not be comforting (at all) to somebody else. Be prepared to compromise on that sort of thing or make two meals or eat alone – whichever is worth battling over. Yes, the heartbreak on learning that my husband doesn’t really care about khichdi too much was a hard one to take.

Again, your idea of cleanliness is definitely never going to be the same as anyone else’s. I think that’s a universal law of absolute crappiness, if you ask me. If you’re used to things being xyz, somebody else may be used to abc, while another person may not be used to the concept of cleanliness at all. Who can say? It’s a tough one.

I guess the basic premise of all this unlearning and relearning is the fact that A LOT of what you imagine or expect or even plan in your head has a 99.90% chance of not being the way you want it to be. I’ve fought many a battle (only to sound dramatic) because when you are so removed from what is known to you, or away from the norm of how things are done, or even disconnected from a certain routine, the friction can sometimes be too painful. Sometimes things go our way, and a lot of the times, they don’t.

Which brings me to this main point:

Learning how to not be so much of a control freak, especially in the many areas I can afford to let go off without much heartburn or effort. It’s some nasty business for a control freak to be at a point where no control can be claimed for a lot of things. And I think it comes with these fundamental building blocks of sanity:

Letting go
Acceptance
COMPROMISE
Being selective of the battles you pick
Demolishing one’s EGO

I reckon anybody who can do even one, if not all of the above, is definitely headed down the road of peace.

Before leaving Bangalore to get married, I went about meeting people who really matter to my family and me – many friends, family friends and some acquaintances. Through these many meetings, I sponged off of them as much as I could – their learning, their thoughts, their advice, their words of wisdom. The most humbling and soulful piece of advice I was given was from an acquaintance whose words still ripple on my consciousness every time it feels like I know nothing at all. Dear reader, his pearls of wisdom are as follows:

Learn to be like water which can flow even around the biggest boulders and seep through the tiniest gap…be like water which can meander, bend, take any shape and form…be like water – life-giving, thirst-ridding, sustaining… be like water who doesn’t speak but whose presence is always felt, forever needed… be like water who when she wants, can make her voice heard the loudest and still be calming. Learn to be like water and you will always bear fruit.

Learning: The treasury of wisdom comes from constantly learning.

The Dark Side

18 Aug

There are days when your spirit, your willpower, your positivism and everything else that makes you feel invincible against the darker forces of an idle and cynical mind surround you in this safe, positive, indestructible haven. It’s that time when you feel absolutely untouchable in a powerful, god-like way. You feel like you can actually step right out of your zone and conquer the world, stretch those long folded wings and fly wherever the hell you really wish to fly to. It all seems possible. Even for us cynics, yes. Isn’t that just the.best.feeling.ever? I envy positive people because I presume they see the world like this all.the.time. Nothing is insurmountable, no one is too extraordinary and impossible to emulate should you be one to go by others’ standards, and life looks totally livable; roses and all. I’m sure optimists have roses and rainbows and achievable goals.

So being a self-proclaimed cynic makes feeling positive an alien concept a lot of the times. It’s not about being self-loathing or low on self-esteem as it were. They’re not really connected, I think. However, I see more instances of forecasting the absolute worst just so you feel you’re a step ahead and in control instead of just being able to let go and genuinely feel happy for your own self. It’s not that cynics don’t feel happy. It’s just that I guess we do not know how to feel happy should our worst fears come true and that happiness be taken away from us before we open those doors and let the magic in.

FullSizeRender

As usual, I come across these when the moment seems just perfect. Call it selective perception if you may. However, this happened to come my way because I’m trying to walk on to the darker side – the happier side. There is no doubt about the amount of happiness there is all around and the sheer number of stimuli just waiting to trigger bouts of happiness at the slightest approach. It seems all too much of a waste to watch it all wither away once the moment is lost very well knowing you chose to sit in your scared corner not having experienced happiness at all.

It’s like that saying of holding on to grains of sand so hard that they eventually escape your grasp. That’s the same concept I’m talking about here; it’s astounding how we’ve become so afraid to let go and just live, fall, get hurt and heal. Apply the same to relationships and just why we’re so wary of opening those gates to what lies inside. I wonder what part of this generational spoke has us by our collar so bad that we’re losing, if we haven’t already lost the ability to live free and with the same amount of abandon as the posts we splash all over social media about life and its experiences. And I digress, but it looks like we now live our life vicariously through these rather magnanimous, if I may, posts we produce with great diligence. Magnanimous because suddenly real experiences of life now equate a rather exotic solo travel or a hot air balloon ride or even a trip abroad, at that. Whatever happened to regular, small, meaningful moments which also do contribute to life just as much, if not more? Of course I use the term exotic not to denote extravagance in any way.

That is another post to ponder over for later. While on the topic of happiness, actually being able to experience the feeling for what it is without the worry of it vanishing is something I’ve to deal with too. Being cynical about everything comes at such huge costs, not to forget the price you end up paying for being just so stupid, really. It’s needless to say that this goes hand-in-hand with the absolute inability to not overthink every single thing. Overthinking + aroused fears = a perfect combination for a cynic. Of course we’re so caught up in feeling cynical that whatever happy moments do come our way are lost or misread into being something we do not deserve.

And isn’t that the most dangerous thing; to believe you don’t deserve happiness? Things to think, and not overthink about, because our happy moments are always right in front of us. Always. Hopefully we’ll be able to tell ourselves that we’re just as deserving; that exhibiting and celebrating happiness has nothing to do with selfishness.

FullSizeRender_1

I’ll let this speak for itself.

Let’s hop over to the dark side, cynics!

And Then Some

10 Mar

I’m happy I made no promises to write regularly because it would throw me into that pit of disappointment which creates itself when expectations aren’t met. There is, as usual, a lot to write about and there is also, as usual, a lot of work that’s taking up 89349% of my hours in front of the laptop, which as usual, doesn’t give me the warm fuzzy feeling to stare at the laptop screen any more than I necessarily have to. Of course, I’m here at this moment because whilst work beckons, I figured I’d take that extra time off and just write…because there’s so much to write…because there’s so much going on…and because I was more irked than anything else which, I guess, was the final push. I realize that it takes a strongish feeling off-late to come here and just let go.

And so, before I begin, I find the need to be explicit when I say that today’s post expresses my thoughts and opinions and should it stir feelings in you that you don’t wish to feel, then please do feel free to close this window and do whatever it is that makes you happier.

I’ve been having my tug-of-war with social media, primarily Facebook (since that’s what I use most), for a while now. Those who know me, do also know of my so called disappearing sprees, becauseohmygodthey’reablessing. I haven’t figured out what it is about social media yet that’s taken over the entirety of our species but somehow, as annoying and horrible and homogenized and sheep-mentality-esque as it is, we’re still on it and still using it. That’s the part I haven’t figured out because I loathe it but need it and I cannot, for the life of me, understand exactly fucking why. It feels liberating to use fuck in your writing once in a while. I digress by saying so, but yeah, I had to say it because it breaks the rules of writing I have inside my head but I couldn’t care about rules today.

It’s this nasty ability for a medium to take over the way we think and feel and express and have eventually become that is so, so frustrating, annoying, destructive, saddening and scary all in one. Because we wake up with a phenomenon one fine day and it takes over our lives and how we ought to think, feel and express ourselves for that period of time, without which, our so called progressive species, cannot really function. Or so it really does look like. Because said phenomenon elicits reactions and counter-reactions and arguments and opinions and what have you. Because really, I believe we’re slowly unable to think for ourselves anymore. Because we follow the rut of talking about what’s being talked about and surely feeling what’s being felt about.

I happened to go on to Facebook a while back only to chance upon this latest scoop (as I’m sure the news channel would see it as), where the boy present with the girl India calls Nirbhaya, supposedly labels the documentary as fake. Keeping aside the (obvious) fact that the said news channel scooped this up and out for the world to see, it was just a matter of time before this came out. And I’m glad it did. While I haven’t watched the documentary yet and haven’t really felt inclined to so far, I did watch the panel discussion held by another news channel which had the film maker and other female panelists present. I did see snippets of the defence lawyers’ clips and I did watch the parents speak. I did watch Kiran Bedi try and salvage her failed electoral standpoint with bitter gusto and I did watch the women panelists bring up some rather interesting points that steered the discussion every which way. I did. But the documentary…there’s something off-putting about the name itself. And I say this with no disrespect to the seriousness of the casualty or to those affected directly. I just believe that what we saw was, in perhaps all actuality, the tip of the iceberg in a society that has some very deep-rooted issues, to put it mildly.

All that keeps oscillating in my mind is the motive behind this movie and its creation, because really, I don’t doubt that our country was not shaken up or that every single person in this country doesn’t live in at least a little fear for their safety. All that comes to my mind is the ignition of hardcore anger and hatred multiplied by the phenomenon brought about by the power of social media. All I see is pure white anger. How that has helped understand us as a society that perpetrates this in-bred mentality of inequality is something I don’t know. Where that has led us since the documentary came out, I leave for you to figure. How have we changed the way we look at each other and respect each other is unknown. Of course I’m not delusional to think one documentary by a foreigner who fast-tracked her way into our judicial, societal, emotional and psychological window as a third person would change our system and/or thinking. All I’m saying is that it takes much, much more than that to come here, sensationalize (for the lack of a better word) a horrific event and label someone as India’s Daughter. It goes deeper than being an outsider giving an insider’s perspective; it goes further than telling a story that wasn’t yours to tell, and expecting a change in mindsets. Because really, where does all this hate and anger lead people to? Do we begin to see the opposite sex as we ought to or have we just put yet another roadblock into understanding why we have become the way we have?

I’m not here to armchair-philosophize. Perhaps this is just a rant. But when you’re here to talk about something as disturbing as the inability to respect a person’s space, thinking, beliefs and even the person themselves, I find it difficult to watch just one country being targeted. And it almost feels like a mockery because we Indians are at our own throats, provoked by an outsider, as always. Because rather than thinking about and working at larger issues such as dealing with our problems at hand, we wait for the world to come and tell us something we should’ve seen all along, because we live in it, cultivate it and spread it. And that’s what I find hard and sad to digest. Because we needed someone else to come and spread anger and hate rather than for us to use our own faculties and start even at the smallest level; to begin by simply respecting ourselves and each other, or at least trying to. Because that’s where it really, really begins. And matters.

On Identities

17 Oct

Hi You,

I guess when they say there’s a time for everything, they really really meant it. I suppose it’s the most tried and tested philosophy, or phenomenon rather, to fall back on… one that I’ve realized is the best to start believing in. The sooner, the better, at that.

And in this whole cycle of twists and turns that we attribute to life or fate or whatever your beliefs may be, there comes a time when all you can do is to find mirrors. Mirrors that have perhaps always been there but mirrors we possibly overlooked or ignored. Mirrors that give us no choice but to look right into them. Mirrors that make you see the things you need to see, accept and move on with.

What do you do when you’re made to look, by force or by circumstance? What do you do when you’re bang in front of the person you thought you knew and were so sure of only to realize the existence of facets that weren’t visible before?

Have you ever looked looked at yourself in a mirror? Have you ever looked into your eyes and beyond? Someone once asked me a long time ago if I did do that apart from just that passing glance we give the person in the mirror. Of course, at first it seemed like the most absurd question because who doesn’t, or who hasn’t ever looked at themselves in a mirror? But I never really looked.

I ask because when the time came (and still continues to come), irrespective of where life’s path may have led us to, questions I thought I never needed to think about or answer, came by me. In waves. In storms. In ripples. But they came nonetheless. And I needed answers. I still do. Like I said in my previous post, the answers could be infinite, fortunately or unfortunately. But there comes a time when you stop and have to look into those mirrors because when I ask myself who I am, I almost never seem to have the answer.

I look back at my pages to see, sometimes in desperation, and grasp all that I think I’m made up of; all that I think i could be made up of. But there’s never one answer, if at all. And there definitely isn’t one direction. It’s challenging to come face to face with the fact that maybe I don’t know who I am and what my identity is all about. It happens. But it’s normal, I reckon. The theorists call this growing up, as well. And I thought I was done with the hard part.

But there really isn’t just one hard part, is there?

Taking things a day at a time makes sense. Feeling happy for today and living in it, knowing I can feel happy for myself, suffices. Knowing that happiness isn’t permanent, like everything else, also suffices. Because how can you ever read through the best book of life if you skip pages, mostly still unwritten and waiting to be written?

Identity is a big word. A bigger constellation. A bigger universe, still.

And the fact that no one’s got the universe figured out makes it all okay in the end.

I guess as long as there are endless roads, bottomless oceans and horizon-less skies, there will be boundless, unexplored and enigmatic parts of our soul that will remain pristine; untouched and a bit more magical than we may ever know. Or so I’d like to believe.

Sometimes mystery is what we need and sometimes hope isn’t always a bad thing.

And maybe that’s where the answer lies; that’s what the eyes of the person in the mirror need to be told – that it really is okay. That at the end of the day, you’ve walked the steps you wanted to walk and that they’ve been added to the constellation we’ve been trying so hard to put together. As long as the stars shine, it should all be okay. :)

 

4.5 Or Even 2.

1 May

I think I had an epiphany which is why I left what I was doing and have come here to write. That’s the thing with mid-week holidays… it’s a holiday but whilst it’s so close to the weekend, it doesn’t feel like we’re there yet because there’s so much work to get done. So while I was in the middle of finishing off some stuff, I came here because that light bulb came on.

Call it the wave of inspiration or something cooler, if you want to, but I think I’m surfing that wave because I continue to feel inspired at the most random times. It’s an amazing feeling really. It’s such an instant pick-me-up from the actual shambles my life could possibly be that it makes me not care. And while riding this wave, it hit me that I feel so good about my self and my capabilities and life, in general, because I’m surrounded by people who make me feel this way. There is absolutely no ambiguity in the way I feel and the causes to my feeling so, so good.

And when I tried digging deeper into what this existential adrenaline shot was, I almost instantly figured it was the people I chose to watch, listen to, be around who made me feel what I still do. Is that an eye-opener or is that an eye-opener? Have I been surrounding myself with the wrong kind of people all this while?

I do not mean to say that these inspirational people have spot on lives that click magically like clockwork. We’re, in fact, all in the same boat. But there is a difference. Also, this does not automatically imply that the people I’ve been surrounded by aren’t worth it. It’s just that I guess we need to have different people in our life at the times we do. It really needs to happen. There’s a reason we ought to move out of the nest and do our own thing. There’s a reason why these phases of our lives have been written down in the pages of time and apply to each and every generation that walks the walk of life. There’s a reason why theories of human development have become classical theories of development; because they really do apply to us all at so many levels. I do believe, like how these theorists believe, that every phase needs its resolution before a new one comes by. The fact that I’m still living so many phases unresolved aside, I think there’s a time for everything. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it.

Talking about feeling inspired, I don’t know if there’s a particular feeling one’s supposed to feel or a certain set of things one is supposed to do. All I do know right now is that maybe this sense of moving forward (or wherever) stems from taking a step away from where I’m standing at present. Because given everything that’s going on and how I ought to do xyz at this phase of my life, I’m slowly but quite surely beginning to not care. I wouldn’t term it as rebellion because I’m not doing this in order to get something from somebody else. I’m beginning to not care because I need to not care anymore and I need to not care to move in whichever direction I please.

While not caring can sound childish or even immature, I think given the baggage we automatically carry and are bestowed to carry, it just means having to let go and not be enmeshed anymore. Because we’re all more tied down to so, so many things and people and shoulds and musts, that we’re living the needs of others. Think about it. Maybe we’re obligated by good reason. But really, are we? What’s a good reason to be enmeshed with somebody else, so much so that you’re stuck at every step you take because of the way somebody else feels about that step you choose to take?

Somewhere along the way, I’ve begun to stop caring as much and not feel guilty for not caring. I feel less apologetic, guilty and tied down because I needn’t have to. I needn’t have to comply. I needn’t have to go the way somebody wants me to. I just needn’t. And the thought of it is liberating enough. It’s overwhelming to think how bound we really, really are, and subconsciously so. It’s tough to break free of that and I wonder if we ever will be completely free except that’s a wonder too large to accommodate and deal with.

Therefore, the inspiration I guess. Because really, those people who stand out there doing their own thing and living their dream for themselves are quite often the ones who are standing alone unless you’re bloody blessed. It’s a tough call. But it’s inspiring to know that that even if we don’t (get to) go the whole nine yards, that we have the option to go 4.5. Or even 2. And that’s the thought I’m holding on to. Have a lovely week, folks!

Timing

27 Mar

This has been on my mind for most of today. Today was one of those days where all I wanted to do was nothing. I wanted nothing in exchange for thoughts, conversations, quietude and the need to just be. It was one of those days. And I don’t see that as a bad thing. Sometimes you really want nothing in exchange for all that you’ve got, all the baggage you’re carrying, all the thoughts you’re playing on loop in your head. Nothing; that sounds good. Emptiness seems appealing. The need to figure what you’re made up of, what walls comprise you and what binds you becomes more than just a need. Because we carry trash. So much of it. All the time. I don’t know why. I don’t know how.

How is timing connected to all this? It’s because I believe there’s a time for everything. Yes, everybody loves saying that, especially when you’re being placated, but yes, timing is it. There’s a time for every single one of us to shine, to fall apart, to rise, to progress, to take five steps behind…there’s a time for everything. There’s a time when we also realize what we need and what we do not need. There’s a time when we realize we’re more important than we think we are. Because there’s a time when we realize this:

Why does it feel so good to get rid of things? To unload, to let go. Maybe because when we see how little we actually need to survive, it makes us realize how powerful we actually are to strip down to only what we need, to hang on to only what we can’t do without, not just to survive, but to thrive.
Dr. Meredith Grey
Grey’s Anatomy (Throwing it all Away, S10)

There’s also a magic in timing because things come to you when you need them, if not need them the most. And so this came to me today. Because I needed to hear a fictitious television show tell me the truth. I love this show because it has some of the most powerful monologues/dialogues/moments that are real because they feel real and stem from reality. Because if I’m here, writing this, talking about how this makes sense to me at this very moment, then it matters. In fact, it more than just matters.

Letting go, sometimes by force and sometimes by chance, is just one of those things that has to be learned simply because we suck at it. Or let me rephrase that to talk for myself; because I suck at letting go as easily as I would like to. But I’ve tried (and still am) and it’s the best thing ever. It’s the best thing to really, really, not care without vengeance or vindication. It’s liberating to walk on without any strings attached no matter how hard memories and associations pull you back, and repeatedly so. It’s important to break. It’s important to break, to disengage, to move. But, unfortunately or fortunately, it doesn’t come easy. It needs effort. It needs doing to undo. It needs so much hard work.

photo

But it helps to survive. Because when you take in that breath of fresh air, you feel so alive, so independent, so light. And really, the feeling could be addictive. You need that nothing to feel that breath of fresh air. How can we ever breathe if we’re choking? Through this all, the only thing that’s constantly being reaffirmed is the importance of you; your self. If something doesn’t fit even after trying, it’s got to go. Because it’s important to survive and thrive for your own self. And there’s no selfishness in that. There never will be. Even shadows disappear when we throw light on us the right way.

Here’s to timing and the magic it has lying around every corner, because really, every skipped piece of rock you thought was a part of you may have perhaps just been the stepping stone you needed to move and find what you’re really meant to find.

photo (1)

All photographs are courtesy the author.