Accepting the good, the bad and the ugly

Change is constant it seems. I don’t find any though. I am still struggling to get out of my imaginary cage and fly out in the sky. I know that I have wings and that I can fly but it feels limp. It has been like this for many years. This isolation has brought down the self esteem so low that I can’t stand up now. I was planning to join some class so as to use an opportunity to shake it off and start again. I didn’t go.

Over the years I tried to change many negative beliefs, and sometimes I could see the sunlight grazing beautifully on my skin as I am carried around in ornamental pallequins by loved ones. And once or twice I ventured out myself too. Yet it feels strange because it felt different from how I was years ago. Someone asked me what changed. I didn’t have any answer.

Instagram was my exhibition hall where I showcased my feelings in form of images and less of words assuming that someone or other would understand what I try to convey through random pictures. It was fruitless. How can it be? Unless I verbally spew out what’s in my mind in form of captions or words it’s just another art form. The deep feelings still remain deep, and hidden. I thought I “should” bring them out. The voice of the should became so loud that I forgot that I “can” ignore the “should”. That I can choose what to do. Or what not to do. The should created a picture poster on the wall of my mind with all those people who would see me with their silent eyes and I would be left wondering what those eyes were talking to me. I couldn’t face those thoughts and hence I stopped posting altogether.

Created another Instagram account thinking I would start afresh. The sensible me keeps on scolding me warning me that I was repeating the hideous pattern and urged me to come out clean. I realise now why some people clean out their social media and start afresh. Because it’s easy compared to the real life. And the ability to erase parts of your life is so tempting. But is it needed. Shouldn’t life be a melange of life experiences both positive and negative, all the good, the bad and the ugly?

This post is yet another attempt to bounce back. And bounce back we should, no? And we can…

Shame soothing

Parenting is hard. Teenagers are hard. Everything is hard. What they don’t say is everything becomes easy with communication. Be it with children or teenagers or between spouses. Not sure how much applicable to the society out there. Yesterday there was thunderstorms and lightning and thunder. N was crying because of the sound. The initial response was “what’s there to be afraid of”. Or “why are you being a scary poke”. A normal reaction which we all were raised upon. But not so appropriate if I think back.

I remember being scared in my teens for some different sounds and situations and everywhere it was shaming as a response. I realise now if I had gotten few words of understanding my confidence would not have lost. The power of shame is such that it creeps under our beds and minds unknowingly without us realising it. And then it disturbs our sleep wriggling underneath. We woke up and go about our day but the fatigue remains. It also makes us think not properly when we have to take other decisions. It’s a silent monster lurking like the Onida guy of the 90s smirking at us reminding us of the labelling done in childhood. Just like we get afraid of the darkness monster which we were taught to be afraid of in childhood, we get afraid of this monster too and do many things so as to not get shamed again. Though none would have the time to do the same in our adult years, except for Twitter trolls.

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Power of communities

The era of WhatsApp communities. Young and old are immersed in the chats morning and night forwarding all hyped messages and memes and videos. Took me back to the era when we used to forward emails with images. It was the time when computers were new and internet was expensive. The screeching sound of dialup could be unbearable for the gen Z generation now.

Humans being social animals have been thriving in communities. It could be the neighbourhood, or the school/college friend group, religion based community group as in temple/church groups, sports club etc. When the internet came, it was a boon for people like me who wanted friends but shy away because of starting trouble. The mask behind the computers helped us break away our shyness to interact with strangers and start conversations about deep or weird topics involving Web 2.0. It was the golden era in my life where I explored the world in the comfort of my home. There were offline meets too and I hope some of the friendships formed through those forums still exist.

Then as broadband became cheaper, people kept on exploring through Orkut and then Facebook and Twitter. Youngsters have moved on from these traditional platforms to apps like Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and Bumble. The millennials still rely on the groups formed from Facebook and Twitter to find their tribe. The conversations are then carried over to WhatsApp and Google Hangouts for video calls. In the Covid era these online communities was a saviour for both strangers and real life circles.

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In the silence

In the silence
Between concerned stares
In a house
WhatsApp videos blaring
YouTube gurus preaching
In the heat
Of Kerala apartments

Lots to say though
We speak nothing
Close yet far
Long invisible distance

Vacation is over
Xmas and holidays
Another year beckons

Counting the days
The sun, the moon
And the earth.

The distance prevails
Time let’s out
An evil laugh

And I stand
In the silence
With a heavy heart
In the horror
Of time lapse
Collecting memories…

Photograph

Lush green trees swayed in the breeze of the impending storm as the sun rose to the sky. The clouds were dark and moody. The lone bird looked pensive and sat rooted in its spot on its tree while it’s younger ones squeaked at their loudest huddled close in their nest guarded by their mother.

A painting of this view behind the window bars topped the painting competition years ago and belonged to Nancy, my daughter. I remember watching her proudly as she climbed the podium and received the award.

A photo of that award event, framed, stood on the wall shelf of the living room. It was taken from the box of memories by Nancy when she visited my home last year.

I see this photo from the opposite wall shelf where I have been living inside a photograph of mine, just like how I see both Nancy and her daughter on the sofa today. They are watching the documentary on elephants, as another storm brewed up in the sunset sky. I see my granddaughter checking out the window in fear as the green dark leaves swayed again…

Shame, Fear and Beliefs

There are some aspects of yours which you never reveal in a blog post. The guilty pleasures or the thirst traps you watch ( something I “learned” after watching Koffee with Karan which is one of my guilty pleasures indeed!) or weird habits etc. Or that you have been going to therapy or IVF or visited a doctor to cure that and this.

The major reason for not sharing any of these is the shame we experience around these matters. As if these actions are shameful and that they needed to done discreetly. This is the reason many kids start doing “many things” discreetly hiding from their parents, be it satisfying their curiosity regarding body parts and their workings (the M and P words!) or hiding about crushes or loving someone. We sense we will face embarrassment which we tried to avoid though it should not be an embarrassment. Like we know bra is a common innerwear but there used to be (or still is) so much hullabaloo about the bra straps(or rope?!!) peeking out. Similar hurdles for wearing sleeveless dresses or mini skirts. Why is it a matter of shame that we expose our legs and arms. When did they became “our private parts”?

I have been wanting to write about the shame feeling forever. I feel it’s there in everyone in some form or other. Anger seems to be one of the common blanket wrap for this feeling. Behind every action of anger it seems fear is the root cause. And fear could also be of “fear of being shamed”. Fear of being made fun of. Fear of taunts. Fear of failing in the comparison competition which we start ourselves. Some get stuck in a job which they don’t like because there is a shame in being jobless, some are stuck in relationships because divorce is a shame, and this extends to all the cliches like not marrying or not having kids after age etc.

The first thing we fear when we reveal about therapy is that others won’t understand. Then there is the fear of explaining your whole mental situation and then there is the fear of being judged and then fear of being brainwashed. It’s like a can of fears which gets opened up. Irregular periods? “Get married asap”. Feeling depressed? Go to bhajan gathering or tie a thread.

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