Anxiety

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I try to explain to her,

“Nothing scares me, nothing at all.

But from the moment I’m awake till the moment my eyes close,

I’m afraid of everything around me.

The things that could go so right and those that will go wrong.”

She laughs. She doesn’t understand. “How could you be so afraid?”

I want to tell her how this works.

I want to show her all my thoughts.

Instead I explain with a lot of words.

“I fly a lot, don’t I? I’ll tell you how this goes.

I’m packing at home. I’m terrified of leaving Mom.

I worry my dogs will die again. This time I won’t be around.

I worry I’ll leave a medicine. I worry I’ll leave my passport.

I worry I’ll miss my flight. I worry of getting caught.”

“Caught for what?” Her cluelessness makes me smile.

“If I knew, I’d be careful. But I don’t.

And that’s just where this all begins.”

She shakes her head with a smirk.

I don’t blame her.

I sound insane, even to myself.

But how else can I explain?

“I’m afraid of sitting next to a stranger.

I’m afraid he’ll be drunk.

I’m afraid the flight will face turbulence.

I’m afraid we won’t reach at all.

I’m afraid our parents will find out.

I’m afraid I might land safe.

I’m afraid that I won’t have a place to stay.

I know I booked that great space,

But what if it’s a scam? What if they had issues?

What if I’ve lost our money on something that doesn’t exist?

What if my trip sucks?

What if I get mugged?

What if you find me dead?

My life revolves around a series of what-ifs

And I’m at a point where I don’t know how to tell

If what I’m feeling is an instinct or just plain ol’ anxious.”

 

“You sound stupid. You should be like me.

Not a care in the world. Things will happen as they should.”

 

I want to tell her that’s my biggest fear.

“What if it all goes wrong and I can’t stop it?

It’s out of control and my life goes to shit?

How will I survive in the middle of chaos?”

I hear his words from a recent memory,

You can do this, darling. I believe in you.”

I smile a little.

His words calm my racing heart, if only for a minute.

 

But then it starts all over again.

And I sit on a train, clenching my fists, holding my tears,

“Oh God, please. Not again.”

She’s lost, yet right next to me.

She has no idea how fast my mind was running

We were headed to sign a contract,

Another thing that makes me cry.

 

Not just tears rolling down my face

Like a yesteryear actor and a bottle of glycerin.

I cry like a baby does in the middle of the night

Loud, breathless, arms at my side.

Unable to speak,

Unable to move,

Unable to breathe.

I cry hysteria but I sit where I am.

“Because I can’t move.”

“Why not?”

“Because it will be the death of me.”

“Says who?”

“Me. A dark version of me.

A deep voice inside of me.

I can’t move.”

One hand on my chest, I remain as I am.

Waiting for it to end.

Waiting to breathe again.

“Until the next time

I go through it all over again.”

 

She tells me she doesn’t understand.

I’m now afraid to explain.

Life goes on..

Today, May 4, is the birthday of someone very very close to me. “Happy Birthday bro..” It’s been a while since I met him and when he saw me he said, “You look bright. Full of hope. It’s nice to see you like this again.”

Last year I had to give up almost everything I had. My plans changed, my life changed. I spent the entire year in depression. Everything made me cry. There was a point when I believed things will never change. That my life was over and all I have to do is sit and just let the end come when it may. Now when I say it, I realize how over-dramatic that sounds. But at that point in my life it seemed like the most logical thought process one can ever have at a time like that.

It’s funny how when something bad happens, we believe that it’s the end. I’m not talking about a fatal sickness or an accident but rather just incidents. When you quit / get expelled from university, when you get fired, when you break up with your loved one, when someone close to you passes away or even when you fail an exam or miss your dream university by 2 points. It seems like a life or death situation. I mean, I get that it possibly is very life altering but it’s never the end.

It took me one and half years of moping around before I decided that I have to change things. ONE AND HALF YEARS ! You know how much I could’ve done in one day? Let alone 500 days ! 500 days before I realized it’s not the end because it’s not happy. That in fact, all I had to do was accept that things have changed. Because the only thing constant in our lives is change and the best I can do is to make use of all that I’ve got. I mean, I’m sure I could’ve sat around another year and half dreaming of what could’ve been but that’s just another 500 days that I won’t get back.

In my life, I’ve learnt that there’s nothing better than dreaming big. Dream what nobody dares to dream of. Dream to fly. Like Peter Pan. To just take off to Neverland. But that’s impossible if you never put your feet on the ground. Even a flight has to hit the runway, move forward and only then can it fly. Sitting idle and wondering about would-be’s and could-have-been’s will never get you anywhere. You have to put one foot in front of the other and walk forward.

I’m not a settler. I’ve missed what many would call “incredible opportunities.” When my previous dream crashed, I had to get a new one. I wasn’t, and I’m still not, mentally prepared to create a big dream again. I’m afraid that it’ll crash too. So I set my goals a little lower. Instead of a big future plan, I set my eyes on simpler things. Things that are more NOW than five to ten years from now – A company that’s not really easy to get into. A publisher that probably won’t even take a second look at my manuscript. I told myself that I won’t take anything besides this. I will get into that company if it’s the last thing I did. I will send the publisher every story I will ever write and at some point, I’m going to write something they will publish.

Think back the years you’ve lived through. How many moments have you had where you thought it’s the end of the world and it wasn’t? No, I’m not talking about December 22, 2012. I mean, you’ve lived through tough times. You’ve moved forward when you thought you wouldn’t. You’re alive and present. When you think about it you’ll realize that all those bad experiences have only made you stronger. Brave. Never weak.

Two years ago, I had it all. I didn’t work as hard as I could have. I didn’t make use of the opportunities. Now I can’t go back. I have to look ahead and I feel stronger than I ever did. Positive that if I could live through that, then I’m sure I can live through the next disaster and the next and the next. Because.. Have you ever sat in front of the ocean and stared at it? You know how beautiful and mentally soothing a view like that is? The way the waves move and hit the shore. The salty smell that comes from it.. Now, imagine sitting in front of the same ocean but this time, it’s still. No waves, no sea salt smell. Just still water. It’s not as beautiful, is it?! That’s life too. It has to have its ups and downs. I promise every wave has something incredible to give to you. A life lesson, a person, a memory.. And when you look at it as a whole, it’s beautiful.

No matter sunny or rainy, draught or storms, the waves in the ocean never stops.. The way, no matter how hard it gets, no matter how many times you tell yourself it’s over, life goes on..

Accepting Yourself

This is something I struggled with for years. We all have those things about us that we wish were different. I had a million.

After I wrote that above statement, I stopped. For an entire day. I didn’t know what to say. The concept of accepting who I am, no matter what, is still new to me.

I grew up around people who were prettier and smarter than I can ever imagine being. All of them following a set of rules their societies, culture and families had created for them. And I didn’t belong. I felt lost. Sometimes, alienated. I found reasons to explain what was wrong with me. I was defensive about everything.

Recently, I posted a blog about understanding the fact that we’re all different and how we should accept each other for who we are. Sure, it’s tough to do that. But there’s only one thing that’s tougher. Accepting our own individuality. Taking pride in who we are. Even the ones we think are absolutely perfect and flawless have a problem with this. They all have things they want to hide or change about themselves. And I don’t get it. Imagine if we could just accept ourselves for who we are. Our positives and our negatives. If we wore our flaws with pride and say “Yeah. I’m like that. It’s what makes me different and unique.”

For instance, a kid walking through the hallways at school when a bully looks at him and goes “Hey shorty!” What he really expects from that kid is for him to cringe about his height and hang his head. But instead, if the kid looks right back at the bully and says “Yeah, I’m short. What about it?!” I’m sure the expression on that bully’s face would be priceless. People always expect your weakness to be the one thing that sets you apart. But I believe that it’s what makes you different. It makes you you. And that’s not a flaw. That’s your strength. There is a power that comes with accepting that.

I spent a major part of my life wishing I was someone else. I’ve prayed and begged for a different life. A better body, a better family, a better home. I believed that I had a horrible life. Then I met people who had it worse. People who would give anything to have what I have. To live the way I live. To look the way I do. I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve had days when I had no idea why. Why would someone want to look like ME? Want this life? But this is the truth. It’s difficult to accept but there are people who have a whole lot less than you and I do. People, to whom, having an education and the ability to read what I’ve written, feels like a privilege they will never have. And I stopped comparing myself to the ones who had it better. When I felt ugly, I remembered the scarred. When I wished for a different home, I remembered the homeless. I started to feel fortunate. To feel lucky. But those are still just external factors. No matter how hard I tried, the inability to accept who I am as a person never went away.

Until a few weeks ago.

When I think about it now, I want to laugh at the number of years I’ve spent feeling like there’s something wrong with me. In a world filled with people who followed a set of rules their societies, culture and families had created for them, I always felt like I didn’t belong. I felt lost. Sometimes, alienated. I tried to find reasons to explain what was wrong with me. I was always defensive about everything. Never, in all those years, did I think for even a moment that there wasn’t anything wrong. I was just different. I wanted different things. And all I needed to do, was accept that.

I read somewhere –

 “There is a magnificent, beautiful, wonderful painting in front of you! It is intricate, detailed, a painstaking labor of devotion and love! The colors are like no other, they swim and leap, they trickle and embellish! And yet you choose to fixate your eyes on the small fly which has landed on it! Why do you do such a thing?” 
― C. JoyBell C.

I believe that painting is simply you in a mirror. That image of perfection is who we are. And when you accept that person, the world will fall into place. Yes, it’s difficult. But it’s not impossible. It takes time and patience. Just like accepting a partner in a relationship. Forgive your mistakes. Forget the criticism. Embrace who you are as a person. Believe me when I say, there is a beauty in a person who has the confidence to show off who he truly is. Yeah, there will still be those few bullies who try to “fix” you. Honestly, they’re not worth your time or energy.

You are your life, your experiences, your emotions, your love, your battles, your scars, your heartbreaks, your talent, your wins, your loss, your looks, your world, your struggles and above all, you are YOU. And always remember, the best thing you can do at the worst moment of your life is to just simply ..

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Doodle Artist : ME 🙂

Understanding the Differences

In a world of over-achievers, I’m a mediocre. I live my life in a way that I see fit and not everyone understands or approves of it. But that’s every one of us, isn’t it?!

My brother has a book coming out called Ketchup & Curry. As he explained to me the concept of the book, I started thinking – We live in a world that is unbelievably diverse. What I saw in Los Angeles,  I can never imagine seeing in my city and it works the other way around as well. So what happens when one of us decides to go and live in a place that is filled with people who couldn’t be more different than you are?! How do you live in a foreign country surrounded by people who are unlike you and still live peacefully and happily?

I’ve travelled quite a bit. My passion is to learn and understand different cultures and someday, write about it all. I need to be the most nonjudgmental human being on the planet to pursue a career out of that. Like I’ve mentioned before, my parents raised me saying “thou shall not chill with a man who is not your brother, father, family or betrothed.” When I first moved to a foreign country, the first couple I saw making out on the street were both women. Here’s the culture shock – you don’t kiss people in public. If you’re older than 20, your own father will flinch when you try to kiss his cheek in public. Then comes “OMG ! THAT’S TWO WOMEN !” But I thought that was the most beautiful thing. The freedom to be who they are and not having to hide. I lived there for about four months. When I left, I no longer had the need to judge people for the choices they make out of love. That was the first thing most people didn’t understand.

When I started university, my classes were only a few hours a day. I had plenty of free time on my hands and I spent three quarters of them on YouTube. Have you ever been so bored that you started out with a music video but a few hours later, found yourself in that weird part of youtube? That happened to me. I was watching Paradise by Coldplay and somehow ended up watching videos of people with Gender Identity Disorder and videos of Transgenders and their everyday struggles. In my city, the only kinds of transgenders I’d encountered were the ones who usually come and ask for money. When you say no, they try to bully you into giving them money or whatever it is that you have. So whenever I saw them, I’d get scared and try to walk away. But those videos forever changed my idea of them. I never realized how incredibly nice they can be if you just understand them and accept them. You know when you’re the black sheep in the family and everyone’s giving you the cold shoulder and you just look at them thinking “My friends understand. Why can’t you? Come on ! A little acceptance would be nice!” Imagine living life like that every day. But you’re not just asking your family. You’re asking the entire human race (with the exclusion of a few people here and there) to understand you and accept you. I might not be their best friend, but I stopped running away. I chose to stop and give them an answer when they asked me something. Sure there are some of them that are thieves and cheaters. Tell me a time when a man or woman you trusted wasn’t a thief or a cheater? We’re all human beings and the least we can do is treat each other the way we’d like to be treated. In a society that already lived like that, I learnt to accept them and live in peace. That’s the second thing most people don’t understand.

I still meet people who are completely different from who I am. I meet people who make choices I can never imagine making for myself. “She had six boyfriends in the past” is a statement that is approved in one culture while looked down on in another. Judging the people who disapprove of it isn’t going to make my life any better. But that doesn’t mean I have to change who I am. Every person is entitled to their own opinions. I can’t control my thoughts about things. Similarly, the other person’s thoughts are his own.

I can be cheesy here and say “Please let us love one another.” But that’s a statement that won’t ever work. We can’t all love everything. So let me tell you what I’ve learnt in my life – “Yes, we’re all different. We may not all have the ability to accept our differences and love each other. But the least we can do is to keep the hate to ourselves. Stop the stupid fights on comment sections. Stop comparing. Stop name calling. You do your thing and let them do theirs. If you don’t like something, walk away. It is not your place or in your right to judge someone who likes it. You can go ahead and live your life the way you want to. But the next person’s life is theirs. It’s their choices. It’s their interests and if they screw up, it’s their consequences. Unless you’re asked, don’t give your opinions. It’s as simple as that. Remember, who you are is insignificant when you’re gone. It’s the words you say and the actions you do that you leave behind..”

In a world of over-achievers, I’m a mediocre. I live my life in a way that I see fit and not everyone understands or approves of it. But nobody gets to judge it. Nobody but me.

And that’s the only thing I wish people would understand.

21 Life Lessons I’ve Learnt in 21 Years

Life has a million things to teach you, everyday. But only some of those lessons make a huge impact on you. These are 21 life lessons I learnt in the past 21 years of my life.

1 – Respect Your Family – They might not be the best set of people out there but they picked up your shit and the least you can do is put up with theirs.

 

2 – Do Not Believe Your Math Teacher – Even if you end up working in Wall Street, you only use simple math. Not :

2xy+345x*375y/234xy=xy*2 -> Prove.

3 – YOLO – Doesn’t particularly mean get drunk, get a tramp stamp and wake up with a stranger. It means make the best of today. A modern “swag” way of saying Carpe Diem !

4 – Enjoy What The World Has To Offer To You – The thing is, your future generation might not have these experiences and it will make for incredible stories someday.

 

5 – Is She The Meanest Teacher You’ve Ever Known? Say Thank You ! – She has given you a whole new list of stories to laugh about in all your class re-unions for the next fifty years to come.

 

6 – The Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side – That boy/girl in the next class is always hotter or cuter than the ones in yours. The possibility is, it works vice versa. Your classmates are probably the cutest people the kids in their class have seen !

 

7 – Responsibility Doesn’t Come By Yelling Or Screaming At A Person – When someone keeps losing their stuff or doesn’t help around the house, yelling doesn’t help. Every person needs their time to grow up and become responsible. For some people (coughs *me* coughs) it just takes 21 years.

 

8 – College Is Not A Field Trip – They make it sound like “Oh you’re going to college? You’re going to have so much fun !” NO. Not even a little. Not at all. Sure, you laugh and you joke around but ultimately the definition of college is – brain frying. Nothing will ever beat your school days ! EVER !

 

9 – There Is A Big Difference Between Your First Crush And Your First Love – Just because he gives you butterflies does NOT necessarily mean you’re in love with him. So yes, you’ll get over him when you find someone that gives you an extra butterfly.

 

10 – Your First Break Up And Your First Heartbreak – Yes, you’ve broken up. You’re upset. But you’re not heart broken. There’s a BIG DIFFERENCE ! You’ll learn that when you ACTUALLY get heartbroken. So yes, you’ll get over him when you find someone that gives you an extra butterfly.

 

11 – Being Independent Is A Human Right ! – Until you have to touch your own stinky laundry and cook your own crappy food. I’d rather live at home and let Mom and Dad do that until they’ve had enough of me and decide to kick me out.

 

12 – Yes, That Boy Who Just Asked You Out Is Very Very Cute – But don’t say yes. You’ve known him for less than ten minutes. He could be a drug addict or maybe even a supplier. Especially, if you’re in a foreign country. Please don’t take your chances.

 

13 – Don’t Travel Half Way Across The World For A Boy – It might be the worst mistake you ever make. The cherry on top of the cake? Your family will use that story to get people to laugh at every gathering for the rest of your life !

 

14 – All That Glitters Ain’t Gold – Just because he’s Italian and his accent melts your heart doesn’t mean he will too. He could be the one who shows you what heartbreak feels like.

 

15 – The Quotes On Tumblr, Weheartit, Pinterest, Facebook And Instagram Are Not Meant For You – When Steve Jobs said “The people who believe they can change the world are the ones who do,” he didn’t mean you. He meant himself. So let’s not get over excited about it for the next ten minutes. Ok?

 

16 – Don’t Judge People By Their Looks – The prettiest model is the bitchiest human being and the ugliest girl on the block is the nicest woman you’ll ever meet. And maybe, the person you thought was a total loser probably could’ve helped you in more ways than you know.

 

17 – Enjoy Sibling Rivalry – At some point, you’ll go your separate ways. When you see each other again, you’ll just want to hug and talk. So yes, sibling rivalry has an expiry date. Enjoy it while it lasts.

 

18 – Younger Siblings Are Annoying All Over The World – They’re the most vicious, annoying, tattle-tale, I’m-going-to-borrow-your-stuff-and-lose-it kind of human beings on the planet. But if they went on vacation for a month, you’re going to miss them more than Nemo missed the ocean.

 

19 – Read Books – It sounds like an advise but there’s something about losing yourself in a world you don’t know and yet not feeling scared. No, I’m not talking about the time you walked into a dangerous neighborhood with new-found courage because you were too high to fathom the reality of it all.

 

20 – Listen To Your Dad When He Talks – It might be boring, but somewhere in the middle of all those stories, there are life lessons. And useful things that can save your life should you get into an icky situation.

 

21 – I want you to listen to this carefully..

Never Be Afraid To Say Sorry – There are certain relationships that are worth keeping and if a ‘Sorry’ is going to save it, then don’t be afraid and egoistic. But if they’re the kind of person that’s going to keep hurting you and is so totally not worth it, please, save yourself some dignity. Fold all your fingers. Now pop out the middle one and keep walking. Don’t look back.

 

One life lesson I believe needs to be told –

A BEST FRIEND – One day, you will find that person who understands you, accepts you and is willing to put up with your crazy behavior. The one who’ll hit your head when she finds you falling for the wrong boy. The one who’ll take care of your emotions more than you will. The one who’ll laugh with you and cry with you. The one with whom you probably will have more “moments” than you can ever have with your husband or wife. When you find that person, don’t let them go..

I will forever consider myself lucky for I have two such people in my life..

 

🙂

 

 

Fear | What are you afraid of ?

We all have things we’re afraid of : Spiders, Cockroaches, Dogs.. I’m most afraid of lizards and snakes. When I see a lizard around the house, I feel like my worst nightmare has come true. I run from that room. But is that really true? Are lizards, snakes, spiders, cats and dogs really our biggest fear?

There is something in us that is more emotional than those. A fear that only we know. That only we understand. A fear that surfaces every time we try something new. Every time we take a leap of faith. Mine is Rejection & Failure. When I like someone, I want to tell him. When I do, I clench my fists, praying he won’t say no. It’s not that I can’t take it if he does. I can. But somehow, I pray he won’t. I’m afraid of the “No”. I’m afraid to apply for a job and never hear back from them. I’m afraid to apply to university and get a letter that says “Not accepted.” Even though, I can live with it, I fear it. I’m afraid of the first emotion that happens. That moment my heart falls.  And as far as failure goes, I wasn’t the brightest student in school. I hated school. I failed constantly, exam after exam, test after test. It didn’t bother me. I was completely fine with it. But there are certain things I’m afraid of failing in. Like keeping up my bucket list. Not doing all the things I want to do with my life. I am afraid that I might wake up one day and realize, I’ve done nothing with my life. I’ve wasted it. I’ve failed at it. And I don’t like failure.

Sure, there are quotes that make you feel like it isn’t the end of the world. Like the dialogue Rick Castle from the TV series Castle says. “Rejection isn’t failure. Failure is giving up.” It motivates me in that second. It makes me feel like it’s ok. It’s not the end of the world. Ten minutes later, I’m right back to where I was. 

But beyond emotional fear, there’s a fear we have. A fear that is more literal than emotional. A fear of future. Of life. We don’t want certain things in our life. We are afraid of it, every day. It differs with each person. A mother fears her child’s safety. A couple fears separation. A cross-cultured couple fear parents’ approval. A homosexual fears acceptance. A student fears exam results. A patient fears death. Like I said, differs with every person.

My biggest fear for the future, in life : Failed marriage. If there ever came a day when I have to be standing at a divorce court, I know my mind would rather be dead. Every time I think of marriage, I fear a failed one. No matter how safe the guy makes me feel, I know this fear will live on till the end of my life. Our fears of life are usually from our surroundings. We don’t want what we’ve seen happen to someone else. We don’t want our child kidnapped like the one in the paper. We don’t want our parents throwing us out for being gay like the other gay kid’s parents did. We don’t want to fail like that one guy in our class did. So we restrain ourselves. We’re careful with things. We tip-toe around our fears. We give our kids a cell phone to keep track of them at all times. We refuse to come out until we know they can’t do anything about it. We bury ourselves in our books until we know there is no possibility of failure.

Even the most rebellious kid on the block fails to realize – his choices aren’t purely made by him. His choices are dictated by his fears. But what if you faced your fears? What if you dealt with it face-to-face and said “Bring it on!” ?

I had a fear. It was something that scared me to the very depth of my bones. The fear of losing someone I fall in love with. I stayed away from love. I told myself, I’ll keep my heart protected. I’ll put up walls nobody can ever break down. Nothing can happen then right? But then I met someone who tore those walls down. I fell insanely in love with him. A year and few months later, he walked away. I loved and I lost. I remember that day. Standing outside my university campus with my best friend. I couldn’t cry. I was in shock. I felt like a dead person. It was like I had no emotions. When I was finally able to get my thoughts and my emotions back, I felt broken. My fear was here. It had happened. And it sucked. Time passed by.. A year. Two. I was able to breathe again. I lived. My emotions were fine. My heart still bore a scar but it was back to normal. I surrounded myself with people that love me. With friends who cared. I had hope for the future again. I regained my faith in fairytales. I’d had my worst fear come true and I’d lived !

It taught me a lesson. Something I will keep with me for a long time to come. It taught me to face my fears. It taught me that that was, in fact, good for me. It made me stronger. And here’s the bonus : Now I know what it feels like ! The next time I love and lose, I know what to expect ! Coz remember.. Fear is always of the unknown ! 

So, What’s your biggest fear? What are you afraid of ? Face it ! Once you know what it’s about, it can no longer scare you. And if you need someone to hold your hand while you enter that dark room, call me and I’ll jump at the chance..

🙂