Writing has always been something I have loved doing. I mostly use it as a coping tool in my life since I was young and over the last several years I have strayed from it. One of my dreams has always been to write a novel, not publish though. I just want the satisfaction of having written one but do not want anyone to actually read it. I am always afraid of letting people into my mind, not for fear of what is in my mind, rather, fear of giving parts of myself away. I decided that I am tired of not doing something I love out of fear of others thoughts because there is nothing I can do about that and I am only holding myself back. At the age of 32 I have finally decided to not let something I love only be a part of the negativity in my life because there is no logic in that. I anticipate most of my writing will be depressive but for me that is good. It is the only way I know how to heal from my pain no matter how much it may be in my head. It is the only way that I know how to free myself from my depression, anxiety and general frustrations of life because, lets be honest, life is not easy for anybody. We all have pain and we all struggle with something and it is all relative to our own life. This is how I know how to heal and continue in a forward motion. I am excited for the new journey I am taking and hope to one day actually write a book. Maybe I will even publish but at this point I am happy with the baby steps I am taking, with Biopage being the first. I created my first public writing a moment ago and it was for the writing contest. The moment I submitted I felt such pride in myself and excitement for what that represented for me. I have no fantasy of winning or even of anybody reading it but the fact that I even did it has made me feel so good. I currently have zero followers and am following nobody but I am here and I am proud. I never would have thought I would actually have the courage to write publicly and right now I don't even care if it is any good. I should have been asleep hours ago because I do have a toddler and work in the morning but I wanted to make sure I documented this pride in myself because it has been a while since I have felt any pride in myself outside of being a mother. That is not to say being a mother is not the best thing I have ever done but only to say I have to remember I am also an individual outside of my beautiful family. I am something outside of work and cooking dinners and running a household. I am worth the time to myself to use my desk that has been sitting here gathering dust and I will make myself proud. My family deserves the best from me and I am not at my best when I not writing.
It's hard to pinpoint the exact moment I started having issues with my body image or self esteem, because those struggles are typically culminations of years of negative experiences, self-doubt or blatant insults regarding one's physical appearance. I have had people tell me I am ‘skinny', I have had people my own age and older point out love handles and cellulite, I have also had people grow frustrated and angry at my struggle with seeing myself on camera. People's negative words stubbornly lived in my mind, while compliments I would receive from friends and family were just them “being nice”. When I started allowing the opinions of others to dictate my own view of myself I can't remember, but I can remember when I first started slipping into extremely dangerous, harmful and unhealthy habits. Comparison- we all fall victim to it in some form or another. Whether we are comparing looks, financial status, career or success, we are inadvertently telling ourselves that we are lacking something- that we are not measuring up in some (or all) categories. I first started comparing myself to my friends in middle school. I went to private school, and most of my friends lived in nice houses and were well off. I did not and my family was not. So, there was that. I also realized I was a lot less calm and cool than my friends, louder and, in many people's eyes, just annoying. I remember a boy in my 6th grade class telling me, in front of a group of other kids that, “nobody likes you.” It was a real vote of confidence. I was still lucky, though, because I did have a small group of really supportive friends. Unfortunately, I could not understand why they wanted to be my friends, and I compared myself to them, too. There was a time when I wanted to take pictures with my friends; I even wanted to take pictures of myself. Sure, I had my negative thoughts about not being as pretty as my friends, or pretty enough for the boys in my grade, but I owned who I was and had not yet been infected by the idea that because I didn't look perfect, I was inferior. So one night in 2012, my little 11 year old self posted a picture of myself on the then relatively new instagram. I remember getting hyped up by some of my really sweet friends, but my gratitude quickly disappeared when three boys, simultaneously (they were all friends, and apparently couldn't do anything alone?) commented “ugly”. These boys- who were a very bland spectacle- were popular, well-liked and put on a pedestal by me and other girls. Whether they were ‘joking' or not is unknown and honestly irrelevant, but I was not in on the joke, I was the butt of it. I think I deleted the picture shortly after. While I battled my fair share of self-doubt in middle school, I graduated from 8th grade relatively unscathed and with a decent amount of self-love left. High school was a whole other animal. Again, I had some really good friends, but they couldn't always be there. I definitely looked on the outside how I felt on the inside- nervous, vulnerable and uncomfortable in my own body. And I think some people preyed on that. I was never physically hurt, but rude and personal comments, along with snickers as I would pass by certain people in the hallway were enough to cut through what I had once thought was thick skin. Even with my loving friends and family, my anxiety and essential lack of confidence started to prevail. Somewhere around the end of freshman year, I started to eat. A lot. I was depressed, hurt and empty. In a time where most people my age were savoring youth through football games, and school sports/clubs, I was tucked away in my room, because I truly reached the point where I wanted to stay there. I missed school a lot because of this, and my lovely, incredibly strong mom did not completely understand, but offered endless love and support. This love and support led to me finally seeing a professional about my issues when I was a sophomore, and I did find a lot of peace in that. However, I still had deep rooted issues that I was not addressing. Around the beginning of senior year, things had picked up in terms of socializing, but I had found a new enemy: myself. Once I would get my eating habits on the right track, I would have a bad day and fall right back into my old ways; it wasn't simply physical, it was mental. Eventually, I started making myself vomit, and I would abuse laxatives. I was hurting my mind and my body. This went on for about two years, until I finally reached the point where I couldn't do it to myself anymore. Who am I doing this for?, I asked myself. The answer: not me. I had been so caught up in making sure I was living up to what I thought others wanted, that I had neglected the 11 year old girl inside of me who felt ugly and needed love. I don't think I could do that to her again- I love her too much. This is me closing that door once and for all. I still have struggles, but I know one thing now: I am enough, and I always have been.
I made mistakes and bad choices. I made poor decisions in life. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and reverse my actions. I have been stubborn, selfish, hard-headed, indecisive. I took so many risks without considering the risks at all. I love too much and fall so hard. I do my best at work and get so little in return. I trust so much and get hurt too often. I enjoy the company of others and the comfort of solitude. I make my friends smile and laugh yet I can't even make myself happy. I can give hard-core advice but I can't even solve my own dilemmas. I am a living irony. My world is my stage. And it seems like everyone's enjoying the show. Except me. Maybe in my next lifetime, I'll be the woman that I dreamed to be. Maybe I'll find closure to all the hanging questions in my head. Maybe. For now, I'll just live in irony.
" I am a writer." I awakened to this thought floating through my mind. I laid there thinking about the revelation of that statement and how it has transformed my life... I remember that just two years ago "being a writer" was just a strong desire that I had. I remember sitting each morning and writing a statement affirming that I would become a world-renowned author. I had a strong desire to be able to sit and write for hours as words flowed from my mind to the paper with ease and continuity. Now I awaken with ideas and can sit so long that my hips and knees lock in the seated position. This strong desire has been with me since I was a ten years-old... I remember escaping the fear of my father's presence on the tear-stained pages of many notebooks... I wrote of how the sound of his footsteps coming down the hall towards my room terrorized my soul. Tears fill my eyes as I think of those dreadful encounters.... I wrote of how I I wanted to die - to literally cease to exist. I found peace in the mere thought of it! I wrote about what it would be like to be away from that deceptive life of abuse...to be freed from my the bondage of the dysfunctionalism in my home that made loneliness my brother and despair my sister. Yes, I prayed for death to come for me- to just tip-toe through the night and deliver me from that plight- and, I prayed, that my mother be spared from the pain it would cause. She was so fragile - a sincere woman whose devotion to an abusive, narcissistic womanizer siphoned her essence and swallowed her within his shadow... I wrote of the times I had to pick her up from the floor after she'd fallen during the episodes of mini seizures she'd have each evening while she drank. I wrote to keep myself awake so I could help her when the next ones would hit... I wrote about the bullies - the mean girls who cornered me and cussed me out because my mother failed them in P.E. class and my father pissed off their mothers... I wrote about when I plunged into depression. My father's response was to hide the gun he kept in the top drawer of his nightstand. My mother bought me packs of slightly scented pink writing paper with purple (my favorite color) lines because she knew... Yes, she knew that writing was my safe place... She knew that it was the pen and paper that allowed me to escape the hell they'd created... What she didn't know was that a simple hug and a bit of her attention should have been my safe place that would have allowed writing to be the blissful place for the creative musings of a child! Alas, I digress and consider the fact that I now write with the strength of an eagle mounting up and the grace of its' glide through the sky. ****** The sun has just broken the skyline and is shining over my shoulder. With its' rising there is the powerful dawning of the recognition within my soul: I AM A WRITER! In my minds' eye, I see myself stepping out of the darkness and embracing that little girl still clutching the packs of pink paper. I gently kiss her forehead and whisper, "We no longer write to be free. Now we write because we are free!"
This beauty peeked at me and gave me a glimpse of her She let me feel some of the power she has She let me taste the food she likes She let me smell the flowers in her garden of knowledge She let me hear the beautiful melody of her heart I AM SMITTEN She is one hell of a fighter to have overpowered her flesh But only once the flesh grew tired She was beckoned by a lion who she never seen coming The lion told her she had work to do Diligence and consistency will be there to help When she felt overwhelmed she drew strength from a fellow queen who is decided by Venus. This queen of solidity, emeralds, and this dweller of the feminine earth gave me something I will always handle with love. She took my hand and in a voice that was pure unconditional love said “We will begin this journey of our fusion hand in hand.”
[BUTTERFLY SYMBOLISM: powerful transformation, metamorphosis in ones life or personality; moving through different life cycles; rebirth; elevation from earthly matters, turning into emotional or spiritual] The human experience is tricky. We find ourselves in the worst situations and sometimes the best situations. Sometimes our relatives are our worst enemies. Sometimes our best friends have hidden agendas. Sometimes you meet your soulmate at the age of eight years old and spend the next 50 years with them living happily ever after. Some people never experience any type of trauma. Others experience the death of pets, friends, and family members. It is the way of life yet when the tragedy hits us unexpectedly, we are never prepared for how we feel. I've experienced nearly 22 years of a thunderous life. My journey has not been easy. I know people who have it so easy and sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have it that simple. Comparing journeys is not the best idea, but sometimes I look around and wonder what it would be like to have someone else's life. Opportunities fall into their hands. Relationships blossom gracefully. They have the best life with little to no effort. It's quite amazing how we lead such opposing lives. Last year has brought a significant shift in my consciousness. My eyes have been opened to multiple fresh perspectives. I've outgrown nearly everyone in my life (except my beautiful dog, of course). I've seen people's true colors. The blind fold has been ripped off of my naïve eyes. Yet the blindfold was never truly on. I chose to ignore the signs. I chose to ignore the truth. I kept hoping there would be a change in the negativity that surrounded me. It took me years to understand that there was never going to be a positive change in people. The positive change would be me who would choose to leave relationships and situations that hurt me deeply behind. It's quite terrifying to take the step to end friendships and heal from trauma, but if I can do it, anyone can. When I love, I love hard. I'm all in or not in at all. I see the best in people. I see their potential and that causes me to stay in dangerous territory. People pleasing and being an emotional punching bag has turned me into a strong, independent, and even more empathetic being. I am grateful for everyone who has come into my life because they have awakened in me who I want to be. They reminded me of my own true colors. Though there were times when I was the victim, there were also times where I was the one hurting others. Through this mutual pain, I have found the light. All of my mistakes and all of my experiences have led to be this person now, so full of love. Instead of being full of grief, guilt, self-doubt, extremely low self-esteem, depressed, and full of suicidal thoughts, I am now full of self-love, confidence, compassion, and gratitude. A question that frequently pops into my mind is, “How much pain can I possibly handle?” The answer surprises me to this day. The only issue is once you've experienced trauma, you worry that it'll happen again. Once you've healed, there are still scars. The experiences never evaporate as if they never happened. They are deep within our souls. We carry them forever. There are happy moments, of course, but sometimes the pain creeps in through the light. The light is then attracted to the darkness. The issue is, the darkness takes over the light with minimal effort. The real difficult part is remembering the light inside. It takes a lot to balance the darkness and the light. And that is my journey now. The damage is done. The lessons are learned. Now to mend the light and the dark is the next level. To anyone who's reading this that relates to any of my words – you are worthy of the best life you can imagine for yourself. Always stand up for yourself and never back down. Express yourself freely. If there's any negative relationships in your life (even if they're family members) release them. Take the lessons you learned and move on with your life. It is the most freeing and peaceful feeling you'll ever experience. It's scary to leave your comfort zone, but once you do, you'll seldom crave it. Life is composed of both good and evil and humans are composed of both good and evil. One cannot exist without the other. Light attracts dark and dark attracts light. All that matters is that you learn from your mistakes. Keep on keeping on. The human experience is tough, but you are tougher.
As I put the phone of one of my family friend's down the other day and murmured with a sharp satire, ‘We need to talk', I discovered that I am encountering this phase often and frequently now more than ever. Wonder what had I done to deserve to hear this so often? A lot! I had aged 26 and was not married yet. I was working in one of the biggest international development partner bodies in the country but was only a beginner and not at a stable and secure position and so that is easy to belittle and obviously does not matter. I did not know a thing about cooking, my job with frequent field visits had taken over me maintaining a healthy diet, beautiful skin and the life of a social butterfly. To me, none of these sounds too bad because somewhere lost and caught up with so much expectations of so many people, I sometimes feel that my only true identity is probably this struggling job. I don't really feel sorry for myself for not living up to other people's expectations, I don't kill the peace of my mind over increased weight and hair fall and stressed skin for I knew my inside was stressed from so many things and it is normal to show up on my skin. I pursued a yearlong full-time master's program besides my full-time job and that turned my average days into 14-16 hours a day which equals to two full times. I would leave early morning for my office, would complete my office by the late afternoon and would catch up soon for the evening classes. Coming back to the great family friend story, the phone call was mainly to remind me that I am not aging backwards with the passing time and how I needed to start thinking and expediating the thought and materialization process of getting married but in my own mind and conscience, was I ready for marriage just because I was about what they call past the age for marriage? No, I was not and to be frank that does not matter. It is difficult to explain to your family that how you are of the ‘marriage' age and are still not ready for it? People can get mean on so many levels but one of many beauties of being born as a girl to a south Asian conservative set-up is that ‘mean' means normal and justified and words like ‘considerate' and ‘civic sense' pretty much do not exist. In fact, the dominant conservative south Asian countries are a warehouse of interesting norms. When it comes to the girl in the family, everyone in the family think that they have a right to decide what she should wear- the length of her hair and her dress, what and how much she should eat, what should be her skin color ideally and if it is not that which it is not mostly then how she should achieve that, where and with whom she should go out and with whom she should not and at what time and by what time she should be back and most importantly, when should she get married, have her first child, have her second child and the list goes on. To tell them that they do not actually have the right to decide and more often, their opinions are not welcomed if not asked for, is a sheer audacity and is a sign of questionable upbringing. Not that I ever liked the phase ‘we need to talk' but the frequent encountering the phase made me realize the extent of dislike I possess for this 3-word sentence. I had just turned 26 and was struggling with my new job in the multilateral entity. I was struggling with almost everything and was looking for my breakthrough in the job through the bumpy journey. Wonder how I feel confessing that I was still a beginner at 26 and was struggling with my job instead of having it mastered by this age and heading towards at least a semi managerial position if not managerial? Well, the answer is proud. I feel proud of myself and all small accomplishments of mine. Through the fast paced 25 years of my life, I have learnt that the life we live is indeed very small and so if what we achieve in it are small too, it is alright. Not everyone needs to climb the Everest or make it to the space, the valleys in the countryside hill-stations can make a wonderful escape destination too. Another thing I feel while I write naked confessions of my weaknesses and difficult times and that is carefree and brave. I feel brave because I know from my very short-lived life experiences that not all of us have the courage to admit to our faults and flaws and I feel carefree because I love my flaws and dents as much I love my strengths and stamina. Little do I know that the road to my beauty is paved through my flaws and the road to my power is paved through my fears and insecurities.