I’m Depressed

There. I’ve said it. It’s not the first time. But I don’t want to say it again.

I’m depressed.

Not your milennial kind. Sitting at a cafe, rolling my eyes at the girl I don’t like and complaining about singledom, “Ohmygod! I’m so depressed!” No. Not that kind.

The real one. The emotional kind that people tend to treat lightly because they don’t understand how serious it can possibly be. So, welcome to my world.

I’m not an actress. My life isn’t a Bollywood movie. I’m not sitting by the window, staring into space and nothingness. I don’t have a single tear running down my face as I lose sight of what’s happening around me. I’m not snapped back to reality. A hug isn’t going to heal me. A boyfriend cannot fix me.

This is real.

I’m right beside you. I’m not in hiding. I’m everywhere I need to be. I’m talking to you when you’re talking to me. I sound like I do everyday but I care a lot less. You just can’t tell. I show up to the event, dressed like a dream. You can’t tell it took me effort to put it all on. Not physical. Emotional. To get out of bed and prepare myself to smile with a world I can’t connect to anymore.

I can’t tell you I’d rather be at home. Not listening to you talk about problems that don’t affect me and having to give you comforting advice when I can’t even think. I can’t tell you I’m two seconds away from breaking apart even when I seem to be laughing.

You help me. Sitting across the table, as a best friend. You help me. Knocking on my door for a small conversation. You help me. A distraction for a few seconds. But you can’t take it away.

I want to confide. To tell you how I spiral. To tell you how this is all too much. I think I’ve taken on more than I can chew. My overthinking has taken me by my hand and led me back to my dark place. I was depressed a few years ago. I think it’s back for me. Or maybe it never stopped at all.

I wake up every morning. I walk out the door, that takes a lot of effort. I look through my checklist, ticking off things that pay my bills. I eat my lunch to Netflix. I come back home, turn the lights on, find my corner of the bed and suddenly I’m lost. I switch between streaming platforms. I grab my phone and get on Instagram. There’s nothing to watch. Nobody to see. I don’t care about any of it. But I have to. Because if I’m not watching Mike Ross fight with Harvey Specter or Lorelai and Rory Gilmore fast talk their way through Luke’s coffee, I’d want to slam my head against the wall, crying.

I ask myself everyday. Is it the end of my relationship? Is it the amount of work? Is it the personal woes? The inability to give back to the people who gave me everything? Is it the drowning debt? My answer is the same every time. No.

Someone once asked me what depression feels like. “Is it a state of mind? Can’t you change your state of mind?” I tried to tell her.

It’s like an empty room that hasn’t been lived in for decades. It’s hollow, your voice echoes multifold. So your worries echo multifold. It’s dirty, not the sexy kind. It’s broken windows and rusty doors. It’s haunting without the ghosts. It’s a feeling of sinking. Like something bad is always going to happen. But it’s not. You know it’s not. Yet you feel like it just did. You feel like you’ve lost. Maybe it’s the loss of life in that room. Or the loss of happiness. The loss of light. It’s a dark room. Maybe there’s light. All it takes is the flick of a switch. But you’re stuck. You can’t get up and turn it on.

She asked me why. I didn’t have an answer.

My depression doesn’t need a reason to cling on to. My emotions don’t have to explain themselves for sinking again. I can’t write down why I’m not okay. But it’s the truth. I’m not okay.

How do you ask for help when you don’t know what you need help with? What do I say?

“Hey, I’m depressed. I don’t know why. I don’t know the fix. But help me?”

What do they go on with? What solution do they give to a problem I can’t describe?

So I try what I always have. To smile. Maybe if I smile enough, the happiness will become real. I try to giggle. Perhaps the silliness will help lighten up my heart. I try to create. Art helped me once, so it should again? I try to live. But as I sat there at that boardwalk, staring at fireworks, my sister turned to me, “Are you crying?”

I had to say no because I didn’t want to explain myself. But the truth was… Yes. The fireworks made me cry. I don’t know why. They always make me happy. And I was happy. But something within me made me cry. Because I wasn’t really happy.

How do you explain that?

Things that bring me an abundance of joy cannot lift me out of this dark hole I find myself stuck in over and over again. Maybe we’re all depressed and we just don’t admit it to each other. Maybe as you’re reading this, you’re relating. But you can’t tell anyone either because when they ask, “Your life is amazing. What do you have to be depressed about?” what do you say?

What do I say?

So I shrug my shoulders, look down in guilt and swallow my tears. I look at them, a lump in my throat and softly say,

“I’m not okay.”

 

To The Ones Who Are Afraid

EXHIBITION.jpg

I wanted to be a writer when I wrote the lamest poem I’ve ever known and held it up with pride. I wanted to be a writer when writing a letter I’ll never send to him brought me peace. I wanted to be a writer when I started a blog to shed light on my darkness. I wanted to be a writer before I even knew what it meant. I wanted to be a writer.

It was a late night phone call. He silently sobbed. “I hate my job you know? I can’t sit there anymore. But I have no choice.” It broke my heart.

“Why can’t you quit? Why can’t you go do what you want?”

“It’s not as easy as you believe it to be.”

How many times have you heard that? How many times have you said that? Chasing your dreams is not an easy task. Sometimes, it’s impossible. In my world, it’s exactly what it’s called – A dream.

I find myself laughing at such statements.

Tell me, what is easy?

Learning alphabets wasn’t easy. Learning multiplication wasn’t easy. Passing high school wasn’t easy. University wasn’t easy. Finding a job wasn’t easy. Dealing with your nightmare of a boss wasn’t easy. Marriage. Children. Grandchildren. Old age. Sickness. What is easy?

I’ve woken up in the morning unsure if we’d have something to eat. That wasn’t easy. I’ve studied for an exam while dealing with family drama. That wasn’t easy. I’ve limped my way to classes after my first foot injury. That definitely wasn’t easy.

Nothing in this world that is constantly at each other’s necks is ever easy.

But if there was something that could make those days better, worthier, would you do it?

Because I’ve been where you are. In that moment where it’s all about a choice. There is the road that’s been taken and proven. And then that road nobody knows of. The one you hear stories about. “Her daughter’s friend took the road not taken. She is now a drug addict on seventh street,” or “His son is now homeless at central station because that’s where the road not taken leaves you.”

It is everything your heart desires. It is everything they don’t want for you.

It is everything I hope you’ll choose.

I have to warn you, it’s not all bed of roses. The roads your heart leads you to are filled with thorns. Ones that hurt. Ones that make you bleed. Ones that will make you want to give up.

So is the path he took.

Because nothing in this complicated universe is ever easy. Every path you take has darkness in it. It has chaos. It has drama.

No, it won’t be easy at all.

But that moment when you wake up, knowing in your heart, that in a day filled with things that are meant to drag you down, you are about to go chase the dream they all told you you couldn’t – it will be worth it.

 

quotes-talent-courage-erica-jong-480x480Yes, they’ll tell you differently. “Not everyone who tries makes it. What if you spend the rest of your life living on granola bars and four roommates?”

Tell them, with your head held high and a look of pride, “At least I’ll wake up happy.”

I woke up in the morning, smiling. A sense of satisfaction with no achievements. It wasn’t the world they’d dreamt for me. It wasn’t a world they wanted for me. But it is mine. It was what I chose. It was a dark path that brought me here. But it is mine.

I live with my parents still. No time for a love life. No money for a social one.

But I wanted to be a writer. And so I am. Happily.

 

 

Let’s Talk About This

I’ve been there. So close to the end. So ready to fall. But something always pulled me back. It’s not because I was brave enough to face life. It was because I was terrified of ending it. And nobody really talks about this. But I want to.

And I’ll do what nobody else does. I’ll talk in favor of the ones who take the plunge. The ones who fall. I’ll justify it. But know that I don’t support their choices. I don’t support their courage. I don’t believe the end is truly the answer. But let’s just imagine this. Imagine being in their shoes. Imagine those moments.

Your parents yelled. Your loved one passed away. Life got too difficult. And you’re there. Sitting on a chair in a home you’ve loved. But you’re not home. You’re not seated in the middle of the room you decorated yourself. You’re in a corner. A dark one. An unfamiliar one. You’re struggling to breathe. Something hurts. You don’t know if it’s emotional. You don’t know if it’s physical. But the pain exists. You can’t identify it. You can’t fix it. And it’s getting worse. With every passing moment. You feel it more. You cringe. You wrap your arms around your knees and will it away. But it doesn’t vanish. You cry. You scream. You yell. But nothing changes. It’s there. Unavoidable. Indestructible.

You curl yourself into a ball. You shake with fear. With disappointment. With emotions you can’t control. With a pain that feels like a million knives stabbing you all at once. Your jaw clenches. And you tell yourself, I’ll do anything it takes to stop this pain. Anything it takes to feel normal again. 

Your body listens to the desperation in your heart. Your body gets up. And it walks. And your mind is suddenly clear because you believe deep in your soul that you’ve found the cure to the pain. That you now know how to end this suffering. It is to fall. So you fall.

Too far. Too deep. With no return. You’re no longer in pain. You’re no longer suffering. But the ones who love you are.

This is what suicide is. It is your body listening to your desperation and reacting without thinking. It is getting rid of your pain in the easiest way possible.

How often have you heard the phrase, “Suicide is for the cowardly” ? They’re wrong. Suicide isn’t for the weak hearted. Suicide isn’t for the cowards. The cowards wouldn’t get up from that corner in the fear of enduring more pain if they did. The cowards wouldn’t walk into nothingness. The cowards would never fall. The strong ones do. The selfish ones do. They find a way to fix their problem and go after it. They forget the ones who love them. They forget the ones who care. They forget the opportunities that life has to offer.

They focus on ending the moment’s pain. They walk. They fall.

I lost a friend when I was young. Her parents yelled at her about school and she hung herself. I’ve wondered what drove her there. I’ve been depressed. I’ve wanted to end it all. But I always imagine my parents and my sister after. I imagine my mother finding me dead in a corner. I imagine her face. I imagine her falling to the floor with shock and tears. The way their lives would change. How they’d never forgive themselves for not knowing my pain. How it would affect my sister’s life. How I will make things worse for the people I care about.

Surely people think about these things when they consider the end. But something pushes them still. Something drives them to take that last step. Why isn’t what’s stopping me, stopping them?

Why is the person strong enough to fall not strong enough to face the wrath and find a way through it?!

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Everyone noticed Robin Williams’ jokes. Nobody noticed Robin Williams. Do you ever wonder, if instead of asking him to tell them a joke, someone had just taken the time to talk to him, he would still be here?

No one person in this world is born with the will to end their life. No one person is raised believing the answer to a problem is suicide.

Something drives them there. Something makes them believe that nobody cares about them. That they’re alone in this. That they have to end their life to survive the pain. And if I told you you could help, would you?

Because you can. You can save a life. All it takes is just one sentence.

“Let’s talk about this.”

_____________________________________

If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out:

India – http://www.suicide.org/hotlines/international/india-suicide-hotlines.html

US – http://www.suicide.org/suicide-hotlines.html

International – http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html

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

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..

Life Choices : Choose Happiness

My friend and I were just having a very heated argument about life choices. The guy I have the world’s biggest crush on works at a giant corporate and gets paid a pretty decent amount. He can ask the company to send him a cab every morning to take him to work and back, he gets a bonus for every holiday, health insurance – pretty much the whole package. Here’s the catch : He hates his job ! He always talks about how every minute he spends there he feels like he’s going insane. So why on Earth can he not quit his job and do something he loves? “The money it pays.”

I’m an intern at an advertising agency. I don’t get paid at all. But I find a reason to wake up every morning and show up here because I love what I do. Isn’t that what life is supposed to be like? Doesn’t every person deserve the right to happiness? Should money really dictate his life? That was my side of the argument when my friend fired back at me, “What about his family crisis? What if they need the money he makes?” I did not have an answer to that. So I paused as I ran that idea through my mind. My parents don’t expect my money. So I can make a choice that makes me happy. But can everyone afford to do that? Can everyone choose to be selfish when in fact, maybe his parents have been waiting for him to graduate so he can contribute to the income in his household? How can I suggest that he stop doing that?

Here’s how. Sure, they need the money. But parents who have waited for four years for him to complete his university, can wait a few more for him to make this kind of money again. Except, this time around, he’ll make that money happily. My friend got a job that he loves. But he can’t take it. I asked him why and he told me that his dad had made a comment : “When you’re getting your sister married, you expect the guy to have triple degrees. What’s to say that the girl who marries you won’t expect the same of you? You have to study more.” (This is in accordance to the Indian arranged marriage system) But shouldn’t the girl he’s with care that her husband is someone that is mentally happy and peaceful? Should she just look at his bank account? Should he marry someone like that?

My crush isn’t the only person I’ve known to complain of these things. My friends who work in similar companies pretty much all hate their jobs. “I have to work weekends.” “I have to work night shifts.” “I don’t get a holiday for New Year.” But why? If majority of the employees feel this way, why can’t the companies make a difference? What are the organizations doing that keeps their employees so mentally depressed and stressed? Why aren’t the employees (who are in majority) taking a stand against it and saying “I CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY !” ?

My dad’s friend was talking about how his son had quit Harvard Law to pursue music, about how much he hated his son for giving up what so many other kids in this world would kill for. But in the end, he understood that his son is now happy. He smiled at his happiness. He said “Isn’t that what we parents want in the end? A happy child?!” I assure you three quarters of the parents in this world are no different to this one. They might be furious in the beginning, but in the end, they’ll be happy that you’re happy. So why is it so difficult for us to make this choice?

Why do we fail to see thirty years into the future? You need the money now. Sure. You’re unhappy now, but you earn enough to save for the future. What future? You’re not going to quit when you’re forty and take a trip around the world. You’re stuck in a job you hate already and thirty years from now, you’re still going to be stuck in a job you hate. Only then, you’ll be taking your stress and depression home and instead of depressing only yourself, you’re going to be depressing your entire family.

So think wisely now. Make life choices not based on financials or current situation, but plan them for what your life would be like ten or fifteen years from now. Choose to be happy rather than rich. When you’re working out of your mind with no time for anyone, you’re not living. But even if you don’t make enough money and don’t live in a fancy beach side duplex, when you’re happy, you’ll attract people and those people will always be there for you. You’ll have all the love in the world. Isn’t that what life’s all about anyway?!

Cancer and the Battle | World Cancer Day 2014

A couple of days ago, I read the book “The Fault in our Stars” by John Green. Though it may sound overdramatic, I’m simply being honest when I say, that book killed a part of me. To lose someone you love is tragic. But to lose someone you love for no fault of his/hers is unfair. It’s also the definition of Cancer. Every day you hear stories about it. Our parents, our well-wishers inform us about the vaccines that prevent it and advise us to get it done immediately. If we have lost someone in our family to Cancer, we live in fear that we might end up having to battle with it someday.

I lost two granddads and a grandmother to Cancer. Last year, I also lost an aunt to Cancer. I can never say I lost them because of Cancer. They didn’t die because of cancer. They fought a battle. A war, even. But they lost. They lost to a disease that seems to be affecting more and more people all around us every single day.

The thing is, if someone dies of a head injury, a drunk and drive accident or even a cardiac arrest, I’d get over it. Maybe not immediately, but at some point I’d accept it and move on. But I can’t seem to do that when I lose someone to Cancer.  Because they didn’t just die. They didn’t just say “Hey, I have Cancer” and fall flat to the ground. The pain, the agony, the screaming and shouting, the mood swings, the humiliation they feel, the loss of self-esteem, the loss of a life they dreamt they’d live, the regret they feel for putting their loved ones through so much pain, hurt and trauma – if this was so upsetting for my aunt who was above 60, imagine what this is like for a 6-year-old. An 8-year-old. A teenager.

Beyond the victims, imagine the trouble their loved ones go through. The mental torture. Every time I think of it, I just want to hug them. Every parent, every child, every husband, every wife and every friend that has had to lose someone they love to Cancer. There’s a part in this book where the mother says to her husband when they think their daughter is about to pass away, “I won’t be a mother anymore.” That broke my heart. It might be a fictional story but I can imagine so many mothers out there having to live with that as a reality. What did she do to deserve that? What did that poor child attached to twenty different tubes do to deserve that?

Especially, to learn that the cancer has been cured in their system, only to go back to the hospital three years later and realize “the Cancer’s back.” I have no words to describe that emotion. I can only hope that the love and the support they find around them gives them the strength to fight and win that battle a second time. In my mother’s friend’s case, a third time.

I would have loved for an opportunity to meet my granddads. The way my nieces/nephews would someday wish to meet their grandmother and I’ll them the story my parents told me. The story of how the vicious and scary ghost of a sickness and my aunt got into a fight. How she lost to it because she didn’t have the love of a very very very adorable little child. They’ll live with that story until they grow old and learn all about Cancer. How all the love in this world couldn’t have saved her. In fact, all the love in this world cannot save anyone battling with Cancer. But it can make the difficult journey a tad bit easier.

So on World Cancer Day, this February 4th, join me along with a million others across the world to raise awareness about that vicious and scary ghost of a sickness. Teach the world to accept and love the ones struggling to fight Cancer.  It might not save them, nothing but their own strength and possibly a cure for cancer can save them, but I assure you, it’ll make their journey a lot easier.

If you or anyone you know wish to give or seek support, there are so many websites and organizations that will connect you to the patients and their families. You can simply Google them.

Last but not least, if you are someone battling with Cancer, I want you to know, you have my love and support and I will be waiting for you at the winner’s lounge. Last round’s on me ‘kay? 🙂

Speak Now , Live Now

Cory Montieth, 31, died in July this year. Paul Walker, 40, died in a car crash on November 30. Someone else I know, 23, is battling for his life for over three months now. It’s sad. It’s depressing. It’s shocking, really. None of them ever thought this would happen to them… Their age makes me think “For all you know, it could be me..” What if it does end up being me?

Before YOLO became the biggest thing on the internet. Before I knew anything about the internet, an incident.. or should I say disaster?.. changed my life, changed the way I live it.

December 26, 2004.. Earthquakes and a Tsunami destroyed lives, destroyed families, destroyed homes..

I was supposed to be at the beach with my father that morning, but I’d overslept. I woke up and jumped with joy about leaving and my parents told me there’d been a Tsunami. I had no idea what it meant but with time, I understood it and I wished I hadn’t..

I’ll never forget what it did to me. I remember the TV ads asking for help. I remember switching channels because I couldn’t listen to that music, couldn’t watch those images. I remember crying under my blankets praying for those lives and those children who just lost their parents.. I remember my mother telling me about this woman who’d killed herself out of depression, a child who’d had a heart attack because the ads were too depressing. I remember wanting to help those kids. I even took a bag of my clothes and went to the beach, to the families living in tents on the streets because their houses were gone. I gave them clothes and in minutes, my car was surrounded by kids asking for food and clothes.. I was terrified, depressed, pissed with the universe..

How many people woke up that day with plans? How many had had a fight the previous night and told themselves “Today, I’ll fix it..” but never got the chance to? For one second, forget the dead.. Imagine the ones sitting at home who never got to tell their loved ones “I love you” “I forgive you” “I need you” “I miss you”..  Praying they were the ones dead and not the other person.. Hoping that the people searching the waters find their loved ones’ body so they could go ahead and do what they had to? Imagine waking up late on a Sunday morning, turning on the TV and realizing, your friend, your family, someone you know was probably dead by now. I always imagine someone with a coffee cup turning on the TV and dropping that cup with shock..

I swore to myself, it doesn’t matter if the other person doesn’t want to hear it. I’ll always tell everyone – the ones I like, the ones I love, the ones I hate – how I feel about them. I will never miss an opportunity. I will make the most out of my life. As a teenager, all it did for me was get me into trouble. But with time, experience and a lot of mistakes, I’ve learnt to fine tune that attitude. I’ve learnt what LIVE NOW means to me. What SPEAK NOW means to me.

It may not always mean the same to everyone. But to me, Live Now means doing something with my life. Helping myself and everyone else around me. I’ve learnt that Live Now does not mean I have to go bungee jumping and skydiving as soon as possible. It means I need to help the ones in need. So even if I’m gone, I would’ve made a better life for someone who gets to live.

And as for Speak Now, it doesn’t matter whether it’s my parents, my siblings or just a crush, I have and will continue to tell them what they mean to me. I’ll tell them how much I care and how important they are to me. I’ve learnt to keep the hate to myself though – Because if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything..

So here’s a piece of advise to anyone that’s reading.. Do you have a dying need to do something – for yourself or anyone around you? Do it today. If it’s a long-term plan, start working on it. Do you have a loved one? Tell them today. What if you never get another chance?

Dreamers : The Chasers and The Catchers

Are you a dreamer? Neverland? Wall Street? Unrealistic? Realistic? Do you lose yourself in those dreams and curse anything and anyone that wakes you up from them? You’re not alone. Peter Pan and Neverland have been my biggest dreams. Unrealistic and stupid for a grown up, some would say. But what do they know?

My inspirations, my role models and the people I look up to have always had one thing in common – they dreamt a dream and they chased it. It doesn’t matter if they caught it or not. It matters that they tried. If you know me, if you’ve trusted me with your dream, you know at some point in your life, I’ve pushed you to go after it.  I’ve told you I’ll stand by you no matter what, as long as you’re trying to do something you love.

I was having a conversation with a man who looked to be in his 60’s, on an MRT, about dreams and he told me how his dream was to be an artist. He never pursued it. What kind of a career choice would that be? How would he provide for his wife and kids? “Don’t be an idiot that goes after silly things. Be smart. Have a secure future. Money in the bank, food on the plate. Nothing else matters,” he told me. Is that true? I think there’s more to life than money in the bank. What about waking up every morning and not wanting to whine about your shitty life? Imagine a life where you jump out of bed because you cannot wait to go live your life.. The racing heartbeat, the wide grin.. that feeling where you lose yourself while doing something you love that you forget the rest of the world? Imagine doing that everyday until you’ve had enough..

It’s never too early, it’s never too late. Dreams don’t care how old you are. Like I told him, “You don’t have to be 20 to chase your dreams. You can be 60 and still go join art school and pursue what you love.” And if for some reason your dream doesn’t work out, you can always go back to that secure future. In today’s world, age doesn’t matter. . You can be 49 and still start a secure life. But at least this time, you wont live your life wondering “What if..” You’ll know what happens. You’ll live with the satisfaction that you chased it, even if you didn’t catch it. And for all those who say “I can’t do what I want. It’s not what my parents/ spouse/ partner wants,” I’ve got ten words for you – People who love you will be happy that you’re happy.

So stop finding reasons. Stop finding excuses. Go dream a dream.. and chase it with all you’ve got. If you catch it, good for you.. If you don’t, it’s ok, there’s always the next one.. Just remember, you’ll never get there if you never try..