(6/6) The Parents

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It’s a bright and sunny day. A car comes to a screeching halt outside their apartment. They look out to see what the fuss is about. They watch me get out. Head to toe in brands I once only dreamed of owning. But now I have the money. I am the Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi after all. I can afford the little things that bring me joy. Their anger fades knowing I’m okay. My father is still a little upset but he’ll come around. That’s how parents are, aren’t they?! They’re happy I got what I wanted because they know if I’d waited for them to give it to me, the timing wouldn’t have worked out the way it did. It was right to run away from them when I did…

I can’t tell you the number of times I laid on that bed I shared with my mom and my sister, dreaming about this over and over again. You see, I lack what my mother has in abundance – Patience – and what my father always tells me to keep within – Hope. So my solution was a world where I ran away. I’m old enough. I can do this. They’ll know it was the right thing to do. We children can be really stupid sometimes, you know?

My parents had an arranged marriage. They did what they were expected to do as human beings that live in my society. They created a home. Dad earned. Mom cooked. They had two daughters. Their life was pretty much every other life there ever was. Except, my dad didn’t work 9 to 5. He owned his dream company. “I was fascinated that I could talk to a machine and it would respond.” So he made it respond in different manners to keep users like you and me safe from the evils on the internet. Mom created a home for us to live in. She got us ready for school. Made us our favourite lunch on Sunday. Ensured we stayed away from junk food (I didn’t).

A lot happened in their lives before they got married and a lot happened after. Their personal problems turned my family dysfunctional and I grew up with an inability to trust and anxiety that hurt. I blamed them, of course. When I rebelled, when I made bad choices, when my life took a turn for the worst – I waited with the words, “This is all your fault.”

We don’t really yell at our Dad in this house like we yell at our Mom. There’s the fear of hurting him. So it was my relationship with my mother that became too complicated as I grew up. I wasn’t surprised.

I’ve always been the closest to him. Daddy’s little girl. He fed into my fantasies of expensive things like an American education, branded things, big houses. They owed me that much. They ruined my life by making me so complicated. It’s the least they can do. I mentioned how kids are stupid, right?!

So I got the American education. For six months. Six months in a world where I had to do for myself what my mother does for us everyday of her life and I came running back into her arms. The distance I’d created at 15 vanished the moment I knew I was home and she would be with me. But I was still angry.

Parents often forget the effect a fight or an argument between themselves can have on their children. You think we don’t hear you screaming shit in the middle of the night? We do. And then you go pretend everything’s fine in the morning and maybe it is, but we can’t tell the difference. And so we begin wondering and fearing. Your ten day split may be a speed bump in your marriage. To us, it’s ten days where a parent chose to live away from us. I wasn’t enough to make him stay. I wasn’t important enough to stop and second guess his decision to leave. He left.

You may forget the drama. But we don’t. I’ll never stop wondering if I’m going to wake up and be dumped. Because when a parent can leave, so can a stranger you met at work. I never stop second guessing my decisions. My insecurity began when I was 8-years-old. Today, it’s something I’ve accepted because I’ve lost the war against it.

I saw friends with functional families have so much hope and I didn’t. I didn’t know how to care. I don’t know how to turn on emotions. I also don’t know how to turn them off.

And it has created so much chaos. When I thought I’d lost everything I loved, I yelled at my father. I screamed. I spewed hateful words. It didn’t hit me that – I wasn’t the only one who lost something. So had he. And if he could fix it, if he thought there was a way he could give my dream back to me, he would have.

Today, when I’m writing this, I remember my father mention how he woke up one morning with tears because he’d dreamt a Tsunami where he couldn’t save me. The tears my mother cried when she thought she hadn’t given us enough time. But that depressed girl didn’t remember this version of them. She didn’t remember two parents who had given up so much to keep their two girls safe. I didn’t pause to think. I didn’t know how to. And I repeated to myself, It’s all your fault.

I’ve graduated now. I’m going after everything I’ve ever dreamt about, for the second time. He’s given me my dream again. But I can never take back the words I said. I can apologize but I can’t change the hurt it caused. Someone told me recently, “You have to let go off of the guilt. Children act without thought sometimes. Your parents know.” But I can’t.

Because, back in an apartment with a view I’d missed so much, I remembered a conversation from 6 years ago. With a man I’d loved. He wanted to know why I kept repeating, “Promise you won’t leave me?” And so I explained. He did, too.

“So your parents made a mistake. They had a fight. Adults fight. They were trying to figure out life like you will, too. Parents don’t have to know everything. They’re not superhuman. You have to forgive them for whatever you think their fault was. You can’t blame your entire life on them. Your choices were, as you always say, a choice. You made them. You can stop making them. Look at them, Poornima, and see them for what they are – human beings”

And I cried. Like a baby. Because after 23 years of life, I’d understood what an asshole I’d been. Why do we always look at our parents as some sort of hero? Why do we never truly see how they’re just like you and me?

I’ll say it today – My parents aren’t the greatest of parents. They don’t always know how to express their love. They’ve made plenty of mistakes. But they’re some of the nicest human beings I’ve ever known. They gave up so much to ensure we had food on our plates and a comfortable lifestyle. When they struggled, we still lived like princesses. When they were out there fighting one battle after another, we complained like spoilt children.

No. They’re not the greatest. But I wouldn’t wish for anyone else. Because for everything I’ve done, no two people will continue to love me with as much intensity as they do. No parent will still sit me down and ask me what I want so they can ensure I have it the way they do.

And someday, I’ll muster the courage to go stand in front of them and truly apologize for all that I’ve put them through since I was a teenager. But today, I’ll stick to my Thank You.

Thank You for never giving up on me. Thank You for allowing me to choose, even if you didn’t always approve. Thank You for working so hard to give me everything I ever wanted. I know these two words will never be enough, but…

THANK YOU.

Never running away from you,

Me.

“Is it me?”

My silence was not a sign of enjoyment. It was one of helplessness..jpg

I was at the tailor yesterday. He had to take measurements and yet again, his hands were where it shouldn’t be. They always were but with my mother not around, it was more obvious now. I walked out wondering why he felt like he could. Maybe I should’ve panicked. I should’ve screamed and said “What are you doing?” But I was silent. I had told myself it’s part of life as a woman. Maybe I look like someone he could take advantage of. Maybe it’s not his fault that he feels entitled. Maybe it’s.. me. Is it me?

I told my mother later that day, “If this man was bad at his job, he’d be in jail for molestation already.” She shrugged and told me it’s who he is. She asked me why I couldn’t find another tailor. That sounded like a normal question to which I responded that not everyone can stitch well for fat people with slender shoulders. This one does. So I have no choice. Maybe if my body was different, I could avoid this. Or maybe it’s because I’m fat and my boobs are too, he feels the need to. Is it me?

But this wasn’t the only man. If I had to list down  similar experiences, I could go on forever. Like the guy in the flower market who casually pressed himself to my back and I blamed myself for shopping when it’s crowded. The old man at a temple who casually touched my butt and I cursed myself for not knowing it’s a mistake and thinking bad of an aged person. The married man on my right running his hands along my legs when his wife is sitting to my left and I knew I shouldn’t have worn those shorts on a Saturday night. Oh! How could I forget the stinking man who pressed my boob flat while he walked past me making me shiver with disgust for days and I shouldn’t have worn that damned kurti when I knew it was a little tight. If so many felt so comfortable over a decade, it couldn’t have always been them. It is me, isn’t it?

But then I remembered the man who asked me to kiss him when he thought he’d gotten me alone.. at 12 years old! I wore a middle school uniform and ran for my life. That wasn’t me. I didn’t know men could behave like that. I didn’t have big boobs, I didn’t wear tight clothes and it wasn’t an accident.

I suddenly realised I was wrong. When I answered my mother’s question, I was wrong. I was focusing on the wrong part of what she’d said. When she’d asked me why I still went to this man when I knew he was like that, I shouldn’t have given her a reason. I should have asked her why he was forgiven.

Why have we accepted the fact that he is who he is and come to terms with it? Why are our questions always turned towards ourselves and not the other person?

Why did you wear that dress? Why did you go out that night? Why did you smile at him? Why didn’t you ask for help? Why didn’t you scream at him? Why did you?

Why did I what?

Wear a dress I’d loved and bought with money I worked hard for? Go out of my house to unwind after a day of chaos with friends who just wanted a laugh and a fun night out? Smile at a stranger who was older than my father out of courtesy because I was taught to be kind and never harsh? Scream at a man that was invading my private space in a very disturbing manner knowing he could kill me and my Government will tell you its my fault?

Why did you?

Why did you raise a son who thought he could have it all? Why did you tell him he can abuse me and walk away because it’s his birthright to be an asshole? Why did you shame the girl who talked about it instead of applauding her for being brave enough to relive that experience over and over again with every word she spoke? Why did you bring a nation’s culture and values into behaviour that should be punishable?

It’s not me. It’s you.

You are the reason I had to walk away silent. You are the reason his wandering hands and his filthy mind are forgiven. You are the reason I feel unsure writing about my experience.

Because what if they read? All those men who have grazed and touched like I belong to them just because I’m walking past. They’ve made me used and worthless. What if the man I will someday marry read this? Because YOU have taught and preached to him that a woman is only good if she is pure and untouched. But then you went and told him he could. Now what about me?

You don’t have to answer to me. I’m nobody to you. But your daughter, your wife, your best friend, your future family will need to know why you, in your need to make your son feel important and manly, have tarnished her safety and way of life. Will you tell her it’s her fault? Will you tell her she should’ve known better?

When she asks you, “Is it me?”

Will you still say “Yes?” Or hang your head in shame?

Because we both know, it’s not her.

It’s not me.

It’s You.

Rock Bottom

“We all get stuck there at some point in our lives. You can’t help it. You just have to learn to swim through it. Like in Finding Nemo, ‘Just keep swimming’. It’s the only option.”

When you were a kid, you had a dream. A vision of who you were meant to be. You were too naive to figure out who you were at that moment, but you had a vision for your future – a famous actress, a pilot, a doctor, a model – and as a child, you never knew the struggle it takes to make it to the top. An actress was famous because she was an actress, not because she struggled for years to get there, audition after audition.

I had a million of those visions, changing every other day. But there’s something that stayed constant – I’m going to change something in this world. I’m not meant for a regular job and a regular life. My life has a bigger purpose. I was not born to be normal. There will be something different about me. When I die, someone that isn’t bound to me by blood or marriage will cry their heart out.

This feeling stuck with me for years.

When I read Steve Jobs’ quote – “The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – I didn’t just feel inspired. I related. I knew what he meant, I just didn’t know why or how.

The older I got, the more I realized how difficult this path I’m trying to tread might be. But that just motivated me. Everytime someone mocked me, I thought to myself, someday you’ll be sucking up to me. It was an arrogance that I didn’t understand but couldn’t help but possess. Life had probably had enough of it because I finally got a reality check one day.

I was sitting by the window in my parents’ house and I felt it crash through me. Writers often define the feeling of heartbreak as someone shoving a hand inside your ribs and dragging your heart out just so they can rip it apart. But this felt worse. The only change I will ever make in this world is the one to my parents’ bank account as I empty it by living off of them.

I didn’t know how to express what I felt. I was afraid to cry. Afraid that if I let it fall, it’d never stop.

I told someone, “It’s like nothing I’ve ever felt. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do to stop feeling like this. I don’t even know what this feeling is.”

She replied, “We all get stuck there at some point in our lives. You can’t help it. You just have to learn to swim through it. Like in Finding Nemo, ‘Just keep swimming’. It’s the only option.”

I couldn’t take it. I’m not everyone. I can’t just get through it. I was different. How could I have gotten here?!

Six months later, I put up a post – “I Feel Like A Failure

The day I wrote it, something shifted in me.

For the first time in two years, I felt motivated to change something. So I did. I changed the way I looked at it. I stopped listening to the rest of the world telling me to get through it. I always knew I was different. So why be normal now?

Why sit and wait for something around me to change while telling myself “I’m getting through it”?

Funnily, I still haven’t figured out what the great purpose to my life is. But I’m a lot closer to figuring it out than I was.

Because here’s the thing about hitting rock bottom. There’s only one way out of it..

🙂

Those Little Eyes

In a world where everyone’s asking you what you’ve achieved, what you’ve done with your life, it feels so easy to lose track of what’s important. When everything around you costs money. When you wake up one day and realize your bills are sky high and your bank account’s buried under the ground, it’s normal to feel the need to lock yourself up at work. When your partner’s fighting with you, when that silly little thing they do becomes the last thing you need that day and you end up screaming your head off and storming out, it’s almost impossible to want to go back home.

But I want you to. I want you to walk around the streets, take as many deep breaths as you need and go back inside that home. Because you know what your struggles are. You know why you’re angry, why you’re upset. But there’s a pair of little eyes watching from a half closed door that doesn’t. And it’s your duty to ensure they never do.

My mother often says, “A child should know the suffering of a parent or they’ll never understand how much we go through just to keep a roof over their head and food on their plate, day after day.”

I know so many people that agree with her, but I don’t.

My theory is as simple as this – If you, as an adult, cannot fix this, there is no way that your child can. And if you, as an adult, cannot handle the emotional turmoil that comes with this problem, what makes you think your child can?

“But they have to understand that we cannot afford everything they want.”

And here’s the thing. Have you seen a shopaholic? The girl in the big city with a flashy card that buys everything she will ever want? She always looks like she has the perfect life. Shopping all the time. Must feel fantastic to be able to afford all that. Here’s the perspective you don’t see. When we have an entire week off, besides resting, we try to spend some time with our family and friends. The people we love. If we had all the money in the world, we’d be taking them on a vacation.

When your child is looking for anything and everything money can buy, I want you to stop and look at something bigger than that tantrum. That shopaholic may be filling an emotional void with materialistic things and your child is no different. The kid in the park playing with his parents isn’t giggling because they bought him a park. He doesn’t understand real-estate value. He understands the hand holding and the push on a swing.

Sometimes, the best birthday present you can ever give to your child is, “I’m going to spend the entire day with you. What do you say we go on a hike and grab some ice cream on the way home?” It’s an inexpensive plan. But it’s the most precious thing in the world because you’re giving them something money will never buy – your time.

You have a million things to deal with in your life. And though we all wish it to be different, there is a very high possibility that when the time comes your child will go through them as well. So don’t rush them into it. If they can’t fix it, they don’t have to know.

Because your child loves you. They were born loving you. When you tell them your problem, they want to fix it for you. When they know they can’t, it turns them into a mess. Always remember, your child is a mirror. They reflect what they see in you. Don’t you want to raise a happy and loving child?

I’m 22 now. I went to university, I have friends, I have a life of my own. There is nothing I wouldn’t give to spend a day watching TV with my mom, laughing and gossiping about nothing. Or go sit at the beach with my dad and talk about old stories and philosophical nothings. We may grow up and take on the world. We may live this whole, busy life that consumes us every minute of the day. But the moment we look at you, we go back to being that same little kid, with our nose stuck to the window, waiting for you to come home.

You may fight with them. Life may come between you more times than one. But those little eyes watching through a half closed door, all they ever want is for you to turn and say “I love you.”

So go pick up that phone and say it.

#ReactWithKindness

“It was a bright morning. I turned to smile at the person who made life feel like a dream come true. It was a tough year so far and all our money had gone towards mom’s medical bills. Me losing my job didn’t help and with the scarcity of opportunities for someone with average education, it had been challenging. Some days were better than others. Today was one of those better days. My kid had Autism. Therapy was a little expensive but worth it. We were going to participate in a local event. As a family. We hadn’t done anything, the three of us together, in a really long time. I was excited.

We figured too much breakfast might not help us during the day and stuck with juice. The house was abuzz with laughter. Hope was just beginning to resurface. We held hands as we walked to the venue.

The crowd gathered and the little one sighed with impatience. Finally, we heard the voice say, “3.. 2.. 1.. Go !” And we began to run. As fast as we could, laughing and giggling. We almost looked like the perfect family and my heart swelled for I had a very rough and unstable upbringing. But here we were. A new wave of energy took over me and it felt amazing. It was almost as if this was an indication that we were going to move forward. Not just in this race but in life. We were going to run through it with smiling faces just like this. The good times were here. I turned to my left and grinned.

*…………………………*

I’m lying on the ground. I feel suffocated. I hear voices but I can’t make out what they’re saying. I hear a cry but I don’t know where it’s coming from. I want to get up but I feel like I’m tied down. I can’t speak. My kid..My little baby.. I can’t think as pain takes over every part of my body. I want to see what’s around me and I will myself to get up. I struggle as I push myself up and almost instantly regret it. I’m surrounded by smoke, blood, death and tears. I find the point of pain in my body. I see the bone poking out of my right leg. Fear washes over me. My family.. Where’s my family.. I have to find my family.. I look around like a mad person, screaming their names. I’m starting to feel frantic. Panic is the only emotion I feel. Tears run down my face. I try hard to focus on every voice I hear to see if I can hear theirs. I turn around trying to spot them and I almost missed it. Sometimes, I wish I had. Because there, lying beneath a pile of people and a lot of blood, is the love of my life holding on to my child. I went numb. This can’t be.. It can’t happen.. It’s not them.. It shouldn’t be them..”

They say “a certain group has taken responsibility for the incident that led to the death of so many innocent people.” I hate it when they do. They’re shedding light on a bunch of people that shouldn’t be acknowledged as human beings.

This post is a struggle to write as I constantly battle between rage and logic.

Everyone has a past. We all lose loved ones. But we don’t wake up one morning and think to ourselves, “Oh I’m pissed beyond reason. I need to blow up a few buildings and kill a couple of hundred people.” There has to be an underlying reason and an amount of mental instability behind behavior like this that I feel like we’re missing. Everyone is capable of kindness. It’s just a little difficult for some in comparison to others. But no matter what the trigger, revenge is not the answer. Especially if your revenge does not involve the person(s) you’re actually offended by.

If you release this movie, we will bomb the theaters.” – Does this sound normal to you?

I’m not the nicest person in the world. I don’t care if two people hold a grudge and want to slaughter each other’s heads off. Their consequences are theirs to face. But I would like an explanation as to why the world deems it ok to use people who have absolutely nothing to do with the process as bait?

And if that’s not ok, why are we still not doing something about it?

Blood cannot be avenged by blood. I’m not a Gandhi person. I don’t believe that if someone slaps you, you show them the other cheek. I also don’t believe that I can only come to peace with it by slapping them back. Because if you do exactly what they did, you lose the ability to pinpoint, for at that moment, you’re simply staring at a mirror.

The one way to combat the sad and terrible things we see is to bring just a little bit of kindness into the world”

– Ben Affleck, PCA 2015

I might not have the perfect definition for what kindness is but I do know it does not involve ruining a stranger’s life. No matter how bad it gets, there’s always someone willing to listen, willing to help.

You will never stop an explosion by creating another one.

And to the ones that walk away without caring because you believe that it will never be you, I’m sure there was someone out there who thought that too. Until the fiction written above became their reality.

#ReactWithKindness

Inspired by Rebekah Gregory, Boston Marathon Bombing survivor.

Make Sure It’s Worth It

I make New Year resolutions just like everyone else. I don’t always keep them up just like everyone else. And if you’ve been around for a while, you would’ve noticed my post about how ‘I feel like a failure‘. Though there were so many kind and motivational comments, I felt like something was missing. Something I desperately needed to hear. The last push. I just didn’t know what it was. I wanted to find out before I started 2015.

On Tuesday, I was looking through Pinterest when I came across this picture :

Pinterest quote picture

I fell in love with this. It made sense. Some thing spoke to me on a very deep and emotional level. That was the first time I felt it. Like that missing part had been found. Like life finally made sense. I knew what the future needed to be. And then it happened again the very next day.

If you’ve heard of South Indian cinema, you’ve probably heard of Super Star Rajinikanth. The man has the mass going crazy about the smallest of dialogues and gestures. He makes blockbusters out of nothing. It’s crazy to think, at one point, he was just a bus conductor and was spotted and introduced to the world of cinema by a directorial genius named K. Balachander – commonly known as KB. A director who has made the most brilliant forward-thinking movies, discovered some of the best names in the industry and was an inspiration to anyone with a dream. Unfortunately, the world saw the last of him on a live funeral this Wednesday. The stars and the crowd that gathered and cried for him was visual proof of the kind of man he was. He changed cinema in a way one cannot imagine. But the only thought I had as I saw that legend one last time was this :

We are born from nothing. We end up as nothing. Centuries later, we would be long forgotten. Everything about us would be irrelevant. Today, he is mourned and missed because his life had meaning. He changed the lives of so many. He made stars out of common men. South Indian cinema wouldn’t have been the same without this man. His life’s purpose was to better movies and bring to the spotlight talented people. History will forever hold his name. So what is the purpose of my life?!

This was the second time I felt it. The first time, the picture was a movie theatre. The second time, was the death of a man who made cinema what it is today. Maybe it’s just coincidence. Maybe it was meant to be but KB gave me the spark I needed to move forward.

I will live to, maybe, 60? If not, less. Then I’d be gone. Burnt to ashes and thrown into the ocean. Few generations down, my own family will suffer to remember who “that grandmother’s grandmother” was. This is pretty much half the world. And yet we sit around, we gossip, we surround ourselves with so much negativity, we judge others based on what we see and not what we understand, we spread rumors, we fight, we cry, we get heartbroken and we finally wither away. What is the point of this life?

When you’re breathing your very last, will it matter that you knew her boobs were fake? Will it matter that you were right about the neighbor’s affair? Will it matter that you thought the woman in a sexy dress on the street at midnight was a “total slut” even though she might have just been a mother trying to make some money to feed 4 kids after their father died at war? Or will it matter that you’ve done something worthwhile and brought some happiness to yourself and others around you?

Life isn’t about the success or failures. It’s not about how much money you’ve made or how big your house was. When I die, if there is one person that feels as shattered as the thousands that stood by KB’s corpse, I know I have lived a life worth living.

So this year, I’m not going to make a resolution to lose twenty pounds. I’m not going to tell myself that I can eat healthy all through the year. I’m not going to set unrealistic financial goals so I can take a trip around the world. Here is my 2015 resolution :

This life that I was either blessed or cursed with, I am going to make worth my while. I am going to walk away from negativity and I will surround myself with the ones I love and the ones who love me. I may not be able to change the world, but I can change at least one person’s life for the better and I will. Besides..

New Year 2015

I hope you have an incredible day and year ahead. Happy New Year 2015 <3

I Feel Like A Failure

There. I’ve said it. I’ve said the words I’ve been afraid to say for weeks, months now. This is what I feared. This emotion that I do not know how to process. This emotion that I do not know how to rise from. This emotion that I can’t make go away. This emotion that consumes me from the moment I wake up. The one that keeps me from sleeping at night.

We all make plans. Long term plans. I made a five-years’ plan. I was going to graduate university, get a job at an advertising agency and work my way up to one day be the Creative Director. Get my own apartment. Call my mom when I missed her food. Have this life that was so perfect and filled with flaws that were sprinkled all over it like tiny little snowflakes. I was moving forward and there came a point when I could see everything I ever wanted right there in front of me. All I had to do was grab it with both hands and never let go and I almost did. But then..

..The Universe happened.

I can be naive and childish about a lot of things but the very big decisions, I put a lot of thought into and I insist about sleeping on it because I believe you always see things more clearly after a good night’s rest. So that’s what I did. After a lot of thought, I made the decision to drop out, not because it was the right thing to do for myself but because it was the right thing to do for my family. I told myself it was a temporary situation. What I’d forgotten was that my five-years’ plan didn’t have enough wiggle room for that break. Because when I made that plan, I told myself it was all or nothing. I aimed for All. Life gave me Nothing.

In two months, it’ll be two years since my life stood still. When everything around me came to a screeching halt.

I’ve written five versions of this post. Nothing sums up what I’m feeling. I have no words to explain this thin line I’m standing on. This feeling where the smallest of pushes will turn me into a crying mess. I have lived all my life with insecurities that I locked deep inside me and some time over these past few months, they’ve been set free. I avoid conversations. I ignore successful people. I refuse to acknowledge happiness. Not because I’m jealous or negative. But because I long for that. Because it was so close and now it feels like a faraway dream that I might never have. I am the Titanic right after it hit the iceberg. Filled with chaos. Falling apart.

The most success I’ve had today is that I swallowed my tears. I didn’t let myself cry like I wanted to. And that’s not ok. Not by a long shot. This cannot be my life. I have made so many mistakes but the biggest one so far was the moment I let myself sink.

When talking to my father about a potential groom, I always said – “He has to be the kind of person that started his life from scratch. He can have the smallest apartment and we could be saving not more than $10 a month and I will still be proud of him because everything he has came from his hard work. I will remind him everyday that he’s worth it. Because he is all that matters.”

This was the mistake. I had so much encouragement and pride towards someone I’ve never met and yet, I didn’t have it for myself. I didn’t tell myself it’s ok to fall. I didn’t take pride in having the strength to live through that. I didn’t encourage myself enough to want to rise from this and make a life for myself. I didn’t value my life enough to do something about it. I just let myself go.

When I started this post, it was going to end right here. But as I pour these thoughts out, I’m starting to see things with clarity.

And now when I look back, I feel like I’ve paved the way to my own depression and I’m afraid that if I don’t do something about it, this will be the rest of my life.

So this is where I will start. Today, right this moment I take an oath to myself that I’m going to turn this around. I’m going to pick myself up and dust myself off. I’m going to find a Plan B and leave enough wiggle room for a Plan C. My cousin is getting married in March. When that wedding comes, I will not hide behind a fake smile. I will not avoid conversations. I will not find excuses to not go. Because right now…

I feel like a failure. But it’s not who I am and I won’t let it be.

Failure J.K Rowling

Because I’m Happy

Happiness. That’s the ultimate goal. We all want to be happy. The moment we throw our heads back and laugh without a care for the world. When we cry with joy and sigh with contentment. When everything feels calm. When life feels serene. Sounds so perfect, doesn’t it?

So what does that for you? What makes you happy?

My mother’s friend was planning on sending her son to university in a foreign country. Unfortunate for them, the plan was cancelled last minute and he got stuck here. During a fight about the whole situation, he said “I cannot live here. This place does not make me happy. I need to go there to be happy.”

Do you remember a time in your life when you were so happy that it was undescribable? When nothing you will ever say could sum up what you felt at that very moment? Was it the place? Was it the people? Was it you?

I remember, when I was a kid, my grandmother and I used to play cricket with a plastic bat and ball in the living room. There were only two rules. When I held the bat, everything was a winning hit. When she held the bat, she lost in the first play. I was so happy. It was a tiny house with a living room the size of my current bathroom. We didn’t have a lot of money and we didn’t have a lot of things. It was the happiest time of my life.

I feel like, as we grow up, we begin to feel more miserable by the day. What we feel no longer depends on the people who love us or the moments we have. Our happiness starts being defined by the person sitting next to us. She has an iPad. He has a Ferrari. They have a Phd. His family is bigger. They are more in love than we are. I don’t have those things. My life isn’t like theirs. I have nothing. I don’t feel enough. My house is smaller. My car is older. And I won’t be happy until I get that particular iPhone with the slow motion capture or that fancy car with those amazing speakers. I won’t be happy until I am loved as much as he is.

“You wrecked my happiness by not giving me enough !”

That is not right. I do not agree with the concept that I will only be happy when I have what someone else does too. That I can only be happy when I’m loved like someone else is. It’s not how it works.

I’ve had some very unhappy moments. But they came from within, not from the outside. When I’m upset, I can’t blame the next person for it. I will always have more than someone else and if I don’t know how to use the opportunities presented to me, that’s my fault. There is always someone looking at us and thinking “I want what they have so I can be happy.” Instead of gloating in that feeling, wouldn’t it be nice to set an example ?!

And often, people get the feeling of happy and lonely mixed up. They presume that if you’re lonely, you’re depressed. But that’s not true. You can be so utterly happy and yet feel unbelievably lonely because you don’t have someone to share that happiness with.

We don’t need that man, that woman, that mansion, his car, her earrings, their life – because you can have it all and feel absolutely miserable. You can be sitting on top of the world and be the most unhappiest person on the planet. Take a look at a poverty stricken area in your neighborhood. I will assure you there are more people laughing there than in that of a fancy gated community. They are not happy from the money. They are not happy from the fancy phones or cars that they cannot have. They are happy from within.

Any moment of joy you will ever feel has to come from you. Because I can give you the best of the best but know that with time, something better will come along and you will be exactly where you were all over again.

I’ll say it now and I’ll say it always. Life is shitty. It’s miserable for the most part. There’s always the lack of something or someone. If we want to start picking on all the things that are wrong, we will spend the rest of our lives feeling so irrepairably miserable and depressed. There’s never a moment in your life when something is not right. Find that. Hold on to that little positive thought. And choose to smile. Be happy. Not because it’s what’s expected. Not because you’ve got something someone else doesn’t. Not because you’re loved like no one else is.

Be happy because you can be.

P.A.I.N

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Pain. That’s probably one of the most dreaded words on the planet. Pain. The sound of it makes me cringe. It’s emotional. It’s physical. It can numb you from head to toe and take away your ability to think or act rationally. Pain – that’s the word. But what is it really?

The doctors often say, “Rate the pain you’re feeling from 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest.” I have never said 10. Because I know nothing I will ever feel is 10. There’s always something worse right around the corner. It’s like education. The older you get, the worse it becomes. But you also understand that everything in the past was just a preparation for the present. And the present is preparing you for the future.

Because pain is evergrowing.

Like the moment you watch your perfect family crumble and fall. Your world stops and you think the worst has happened, only to realize that it is a permanent fall and can never be rebuilt.

Like feeling hope for the first time in years when someone promises not to walk away and watching that hope crash as you sit on your bed, clutching your phone and sobbing silently.

Like giving up on a dream. Giving up on your five year plan for no fault of yours.

Like heartbreak. You think you’ve figured it out after the first time. You understand what it is. You can handle it. And then the second one happens and it’s ten times more than what you could have ever imagined.

Like the very second after you’ve said “I love you” for the first time and the person on the other end pauses. Your hope sinks with every tick on the clock and yet you feel so unprepared for the “Hmm” that you think you heard in a hallucination but was reality.

Like that little eight year old girl sitting on a couch while her aunt called her “a brave kid” and she grinned – a fake grin – to cover up the stab she felt deep inside her. The need to be anywhere but there. To wake up from the nightmare. To have someone tell her that this is not her life, this is not her childhood.

Pain. When you’re four, you think the scratch on your feet is horrible. Then you get bruised and it leaves a scar. Eventually it becomes ligament tears. And then broken bones. One fine day, you’re struggling to get out of bed because every part of your body hurts. Everything feels painful. But it doesn’t mean the world is over. You don’t give up on school because your classes got harder. Like you don’t stop living because the pain got worse. You go on. You learn to put one foot in front of the other and walk it off.

Because sometimes, pain is good.

Pain lets you appreciate happiness. It teaches you the value of those small moments in life. It helps you learn the concept of empathy. It brings people with similar battles together. It gives you wisdom. It makes you stronger. And when looked at right – Pain gives purpose to life. Maybe pain was created, not to sink us, but to let us help others who are going through the same thing. Maybe pain was meant to irk a positivity that I have failed to see for a very long time now. It’s the only thing you can do about pain without creating a more traumatic experience for the people who love you. Maybe that’s why the word exists to explain that emotion.

Maybe PAIN is just an abbreviation of – Positive. Attitude. Is. Necessary.

Maybe that’s why, like positivity, pain cannot be killed. Pain cannot be willed away. Pain cannot be destroyed. Pain cannot be ignored.

“Pain Demands To Be Felt”

– John Green

Inspired by the comment by Ceolittle :

“I was feeling down today kinda lost what the real meaning of life is all about through all the pain”

The Bigger Problem

Glossophobia. Do you know what that means? I didn’t. In my first year at university, I stood in front of my entire class and instead of flawlessly explaining the cultural differences, I froze. Two weeks later I wrote a very long paper on that word. Glossophobia – The fear of public speaking.

We humans do this very often. We tend to not notice something until we have the need to do so. There aren’t a lot of things on this planet we learn about willingly.

Unfortunately, the people that aren’t a part of our lives fall under that category.

If you had looked at my History book at the end of an academic year, it would have looked brand new. I hated history. I was very clear – Somebody killed somebody. They’re both dead and I couldn’t care less.

And I know there are a lot of people that agree with me about that but even they cannot deny the fact that though History may be insignificant, the future will always matter. And I don’t want to wait until I am left with no choice again. Because Glossophobia – it is the smallest of our problems. There are bigger problems with fewer support groups that nobody talks about. But I want to talk about it.

Because the fact that my mother wakes up every morning and knows I’m going to be fast asleep and not dead is actually a privilige – That is a problem.

I’ve tried to put this thought into words for a very long time now and luckily someone else did it for me. Because this – this moment when we realize that someone out there could be smarter, better and absolutely amazing at doing exactly what we do but with no means to show it – this is the truth.

“I have never understood why some people are lucky enough to be born with the chance that I had—with this path in life. And why across the world, there’s a woman just like me with the same abilities and the same desires, the same work ethic and love for her family who would most likely make better films and better speeches. Only she sits in a refuge camp, and she has no voice. She worries about what her children will eat, how to keep them safe, and if they’ll ever return home. I don’t know why this is my life and that’s hers…” – Angelina Jolie, Governers Awards Speech

And I have wondered for a long time how it is fair that I get to wake up in the morning and her innocent, darling child didn’t. And the truth is, it’s not and I would love to be the individual that changes that, that changes the world and brings about world peace but I can’t. I can’t do this alone.

I can’t stop poverty alone. I can’t stop wars alone. I can’t save those kids with amazing talent – the ones being shot in war zones, the ones dying of hunger, the ones struggling to jump from one refuge camp to another and the ones that might not wake up tomorrow – and help better their lives.

“She speaks more languages than anyone in the family. Because she plays with all the children in the street.”

This was a quote describing a little kid on Humans of New York. It makes me feel sick that a child has the ability to see something so simple that we as adults have failed to understand. That she has the ability to look at a child and see just that. She doesn’t see where they come from or who their parents are. And if only we could do that.

Do you know about the photographer, Kevin Carter? He killed himself after shooting a picture of a kid in starvation. I can’t count the number of times I’ve looked at my mother and said “I’m going to die of hunger. Feed me now !”

I wanted to put up that picture on this blog but I just can’t bring myself to. I can’t look at it. It may have been taken a long time ago but I assure you, there is still a kid somewhere in this world that looks like that and is going through that. And yes, there are people rallying about it and screaming about it but nobody with a life takes the time to listen and that is a problem.

Because..

Is it fair that we get to whine about not having pizza for dinner? Is it fair that I get pissed with the Universe for not letting me travel the world when some kid out there can’t even travel home? Is it fair that this life that I don’t do much with, some kid would have used to the best of his ability and maybe even cured Cancer with but he’s sitting in a little room made of plastic scraps and wondering where his next meal’s going to come from while struggling to ignore the mental images of his dead parents?

And should we really wait until we are left with no choice but to listen?