Blog

Dear departing best friend,

Image

Dear departing best friend,

I do not know where exactly I fell in love with you but somewhere along the way I decided that this rambling, long-haired-Rapunzel with a crooked tooth and hot dance moves is worth keeping. At that same instant I decided- I’ll keep her.

I think our friendship might have begun- and even deepened- because of the dance floor. You’ll always make a great dance partner no matter who you are paired up with. So make sure to send me vids of you twirling and hip-hopping and caring-not-who-is-nearby. Even if you do this alone in your room.

I’ve told you before, too, and I’ll tell you once again- you have a gift at connecting with people. In reaching out.

I’ve always been taken by how you ask people questions about what they are doing and how they are going about it with genuine interest and then come up with a story or opinion of your own to share. Keep that with you always. People need genuine curiosity and questions and someone who would listen.

You’re going. And there’s one part of me who’s brushing away this reality with arguments like- of course it isn’t a big deal. She’ll come back. It’ll all pan out well.

And there’s another part which is looking with eyes filled with a shadow of despair. Who’s gonna be there to discuss stories with?! Who’s gonna ask you questions now?! Who will you excitedly plan to meet up over milkshakes in Mohali?!

The second part is winning, of course.

You’re leaving. To a new place with new people to begin a new chapter of awesomeness and struggles. It is a big deal for you. Hence, it is for me, too.

I am a big believer in telling people I love them in as many ways as I can. Perfection is a failed standard so I cant promise I succeed every time, but I do my damndest hard to not miss an opportunity and I hope I have been able to communicate through words and actions how much you mean to me.

Nevertheless, as you head out on this next adventure, there are a few things I’d like to tell you that I wouldn’t have been able to fluently articulate had I spoken them. I hope they comfort you on some dreary day when you’re feeling down and out:

  • You are beautiful and capable and strong. I have a photo open of you (the one at the top) right now as I write this and looking at you, I cant imagine for a moment why you would ever question this. So don’t. Ever. (Froggie will back me up here).
  • Life has plans for you. For me, for us. We are too young and inexperienced to know what they are. In fact, we will always be young and inexperienced this way. But we are still wise enough to know that there is a plan. I want you to remember this on the days it all feels meaningless. We are going to bump against those days. But remember this is adding up to something. You are taken care of.
  • We gotta play our part in our plan, though. As my favorite author (not blogger. Also, this one is blonde and not blue-haired) Elizabeth Gilbert said:
    “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
  • Participate relentlessly in bringing your blessings to life. You know those blessings, right? The dreams you told me. Keep them alive. Even if it’s just with a tiny step. Make that step every day. I know you can do it. Keep your mind open to this. Before you test your dream against what’s logical and rational, allow it to speak to you and tell you who it really is. Even if it’s with a fun food blog on Instagram, promise me you won’t turn your back away from what you really want.
  • You will look around and see people chasing things. Their things. You can chase things, too. So long as you know why you are going after them and if they truly, truly matter to you. Always listen to them and even try what they say but wrap it up with: ‘Is this for me? Is this who I am?’ Too often I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking something is for me only to be proved wrong later. I am trying to figure out my thing, knowing it wont look like anyone else’s. Yours won’t either. Let’s chase it anyway.
  • People will tell you that you decided wrong. Oh, I hear this one already. You made a mistake. You made these 5 mistakes to be exact. You should have done this-and-this-and-definitely-this. No shoulds, baby. You are free to decide wrong. You are free to make a mistake. And you are free to learn from them, too. I tell myself this every single day. We must be smart about providing for ourselves financially and materialistically, but never to the point where we demand ourselves to make the best decision always. We’ll mess up so many times but we’ll clean them up, too, I know.
  • People want only surface details. They want to know you fit their stories and constructs. But not everyone, no. There will be a few who’ll care about the tsunamis of your heart. They’ll want to know the ebbs and the tides. And you’ll know who they are by the way they listen and talk and the tone they use and how you feel with them. And you’ll know that you gotta keep these people. Lets keep them with us.
  • I am trying just as you are. I am not perfect at any of what I wrote above, hell big big no! but I know the kind of person I want to end up being and somewhere I know you do, too, even though the details might be hazy. Know I am trying here with you. So, let’s try together.
  • At the end of the day, no matter who stays and who leaves, you are going to be a constant in your life, the one who knows your most intimate thoughts and dreams. Seek to satisfy yourself before anyone else. People’s opinions change in the blink of an eye. You tell them you are unemployed today and then next year you tell them about your 12 lakh package- their opinion will change faster than you can breathe in. Sharma ji ki beti to ABCD jagah lagi hai, 1234L kamaati hai. Waow, Bittu beta, grow up to be like her. But you’ll know the truth about yourself. Bittu won’t and his mother won’t. You’ll know why you did and did not do something and at what cost. You’ll be answerable to yourself at the end of the day. Make sure you are ready.

Also, there are too many noises around, too many voices who speak like they- know-it-all. No one knows it all, though. No one will. Least of all me. And I don’t want you to question yourself because of them. So I wrote this for both of us. Because we both need this right now.

As I live this (real uncertain) season, I find it’s so easy to say yes to people’s plans for us. So easy to let them decide what’s best and to take on their values. It is so much harder to keep that power in our hands and exercise it. Because we’ll definitely stumble and fail then. We won’t feel like shining heroes always. People won’t roll out red carpets for us. But in keeping our power in our hands, we’ll be truly free and responsible.

And whatever your choices might be, I want them to reflect the real/true/crazy/booty shaking Ridhi Sharma you are. She is a work-in-progress, I know. So I am giving you the best tools (thoughts) I can so you can chisel and craft her as your finest work of art. Because that’s what she is. You are free to use them or free to reject them. They’re my gift, though. I hope they’re a tad bit helpful atleast.

And if all else fails and you don’t know what to do, breathe. One breath in, one breath out like that’s all you gotta do to set things right. That’s what a transformed Hrithik Roshan says in Zindagi Milega Na Dobara (oh, I love that movie). I promise it’s hugely effective.

Go with a light, hopeful heart, star-girl. I’ll be waiting to have madra and khati-daal with you soon.

All my love always.

P.S. You’ll always have ‘never enough clothes’. But trust me you do. 35/40 is a big number.

Advertisements

30 minutes to office: this is what happens when i step out of the house

Screenshot_20180415-155544(1)

today, i will tell you how i travel everyday.

i step out of the house to go to office. up until i reach the gate of my neighborhood, i walk in something akin to oblivion. not paying much attention to who’s around me or the path i am taking. i know this place. i know i am safe here.

as soon as i reach the traffic lights from where i hail an auto for the 1st part of my journey, i put my guard up. i already wear a shirt over whatever top i am wearing, sunglasses, and wrap a dupatta around my face. Mother says its best to not let strangers see your face. i used to laugh it off when i entered college. now, i can’t travel without it. once i saw the way people look at you on the road, i want nothing of myself to available for viewing.

i am wearing jeggings today. you know with the tight, spandex material that emphasize my legs and the fact that my legs are kinda crooked. i like these jeggings a lot.

turns out, i am not the only one.

i stand and wait for an auto and as people go by, i watch their face from the safety of my sunglasses. most of them after looking at my heavily covered face, quickly shift their gazes. mo look at my legs. some do not even look at my face or at me. they only have eyes for my jeggings clad legs. already, i am wishing for a Harry Potter style invisibility cloak. and no, i am not flattered with all this attention.

i find an auto to take me to my destination and I climb in to sit in the corner. all men. a don’t know why but 90% of the time i seem to find an all males auto. okay, not being overly paranoid. but the eyes of those passer bys on the vehicles checking out my legs is still fresh in my mind. i do not want to be looked at anymore.

the journey passes uneventfully. despite the faint trickles of fear and cautiousness, it always passes uneventfully. thank god.

i get off the auto to take a second one for my journey. people are waiting for the lights to turn green. again, hordes of people and all of them looking at you up and down as you hurriedly make your way before the lights turn green and before they can look at you too much.

there are 3 traffic policemen standing in the shade, talking and sharing news in loud voices. i make to walk quickly in order to catch a ride in time but then internally groan as 3 male eyes again shift to my legs. “please either don’t look at me or don’t look at me.”

are jeggings really such a bad idea?

i resolve to not look at any other eyes or faces as i commute now. “straight ahead”, i promise myself. no reason to build up paranoia this way. happens everyday.

i hop in an auto and as promised, stare out at the trees and sky only. its april and spring with streaks of summers mixed in. one road has trees with flowers blooming in red, lavender, green leaves with a carpet of yellow ones on the road. i find the city beautiful in every season, no matter what.

i get off to walk the last half a kilometer to office. it’s hot and at 10:30 AM, the sun is already beginning to burn up. i walk slowly to not arrive as a sweaty mess at the office. the memory of the all those eyes is forgotten for the day. but not for long.

3 college age boys traveling in an air-conditioned, music blaring i10 all twist their necks to watch me walk by. oh, very normal, right. this happened yesterday evening, too.

a man who looks to be around 27 year old on his way to the office, waves to me from his bike after having scanned me from head to toe.

another one, goes one step ahead, and blows me a kiss in the air as he zooms by. he looks like he could’ve a kid of his own.

very very normal.

i am not even thinking about my jeggings now.

its probably got to do something with having a feminine form and walking on the road alone. that’s what they blame you in the end for, right? i am pretty sure if i had a male friend walking with me, none of this would have happened.

i arrive at the office and my heart has already sunk somewhere like a deflated balloon in my belly.

i think of my sister about to head to college in a few months. the same eyes that watched me, the same ones will watcher her too, right?

i think of my own reaction. i simply avert my gaze like nothing happened. a strange man waved at me with a cheeky smile. avert eyes. nothing happened.

a random man blows me kisses even though his age is closer to my elder brother who has a son of his. avert eyes. nothing happened.

is there anything I can even do? ever? can i file a complaint and expect these men and their twisted ways to be set right?

there are laws (which aren’t implemented) for the big cases. for these everyday occurrences, what do I do?

i am pretty sure i am not the only one. i see so many girls and women walking on foot everyday. and its not even about being on foot. just the fact that we stepped out of the house exposes us. puts us in a vulnerable position. just the fact that e have 2 x chromosomes makes us the hunted.

when eyes follow and linger on me everywhere i go, what do i do?

you tell me not to over-think and then blame the girl in the end for not being careful. What do i do?

in a country where i cannot trust the intentions of the person next to me or the government to take a stand for me, what do i do?

when disrespect becomes the culture, what do i do?

we need more conversations and more actions around issues like these. if you know of a way to help, even if it by sharing your story or someone else’s, please do. i know we complain about inactivity and lack of responsibility when it comes to women’s safety, but the onus is on us as well to make sure it doesnt become background noise. so share, so speak up.

dealing with my humanity: how i am breathing through my strong/ negative emotions

Breathe
credit: Pinterest

i.

again.

which number would this be, i wondered.

my sister was peacefully sleeping in bed beside me so i couldn’t ask her for an exact figure. “again,” she would’ve said, too.

fuck this, cant hold it in any longer, i thought.

so i sucked in a huge breath- a humble attempt at pranayam and breath control- and orchestrated my tears with exhales so that i could cry but not bawl/ wail/ moan. so i could let the pain out but not rouse my sister and the rest of the household from sleep.

would i be crying for the 28,867th time in bed, i asked myself.

all of this was too much, much too much for a single, solitary moment.

nothing felt figured out, there were no answers, no inspiration, nothing certain, and nothing comforting. for the 31,789th time?

on top of that, i was not my favorite person at this time. you can handle yourself better you know, i thought. people do it all the time.

why the fuck did i have to end up like this again and again?

ii.

my five foot + some inches frame is capable of over-thinking/ over-feeling at times, carrying out both activities with flawless perfection, and digging a pit deep enough to reach the doors of Hell.

in my defense, though, i had never been taught how to deal with this inescapable consequence of having a mind, and what to do when faced with it. no one talked about being affected by their thoughts or the happenings around them, so i had no one to discuss coping strategies with.

hey, i just had this bout of fear last night due to an existential crisis because i cant figure out what to do with my life or answer what my ‘God-given purpose’ is. what can i do that does not involve me blaming someone or taking a bad decision or thinking i am doomed and far behind others?

yes, never had that conversation. everyone seemed to have it together. but, really, i knew- everyone, everywhere was terrified of something.

so, i figured i’d run my own experiments.

i tried to rationally calm my very irrational feelings. its okay. not knowing is a part of knowing. “how long till this not-knowing ends!!?”

asked my friend what he did today and planned to do for tomorrow. “me? chill.” well, not much ambition there.

read books/ saw other people struggle/ slept it away/ despaired it away/ did nothing.

my experiments yielded no reliable solution.

iii.

both suffering and happiness are of an organic nature, which means they are both transitory; they are always changing. the flower, when it wilts, become the compost. the compost can help the flower grow again. happiness is also impermanent and organic by nature. it can become suffering and suffering can become happiness again.

-Thich Naht Hanh; No Mud, No Lotus

if my twenty years have imparted me any wisdom, i’d say this is it. things are always changing. and i’ve seen and felt enough changes to no longer sulk and cry like a spoilt child when life takes a 360. again.

monday might see me brimming with faith. by wednesday, i might be struggling through deep, dark shit and a few pesky doubts.

saturday might find me making love to and with my Muse. by tuesday, my Muse would’ve departed on an unaccounced holiday for an undefined period of time, leaving me alone and flummoxed with a half-finished project.

january might be a month of endless family celebrations and bonding time. june might see the heat within my home rising with arguments and fights.

i might be convinced he loves me unfailingly but around 1:01 AM doubt the truthfulness of his words and actions.

a lot of turbulent waters, wouldn’t you agree?

now if i were to chase and follow and act on every thought and feeling, heaven knows what foolishness(es) i might have committed and the disasters i might have invited.

and now after n number of experiments, i’ve finally found a way to help me through these stormy waters and manage my overwhelming thoughts and emotions.

breathe.

whenever i feel fear, first step: breathe.

despair and hopelessness? breathe.

angry and full of blame? breathe, baby, breathe.

when i feel any emotion that makes me feel like i am drowning, the first thing i look for is refugee, a tiny silver of calm. not this will get better or this was meant to be or to simply ignore it.

i want to acknowledge it and take care of myself without being swept away by it.

i am not perfect at this nor do i remember this every time, but now whenever a strong emotion comes up, i take in a full breath, focus on that sensation only, and then release. and i continue doing this until my attention is more inclined towards my breath than my unhappy thoughts. then i can give up on taking in purposeful, deep breaths and just settle on feeling my normal breaths.

the idea is to let the emotion be- not magnify it, not belittle it- but also to take care of yourself (and your sanity in the process).

Feeling flow in us like a river, and each feeling is a drop of water in that river.

i’ll let Hanh explain the practice:

when you look at a tree in a storm, if you focus your attention on the top of the tree, you’ll see the leaves and branches blowing wildly in the wind, and the tree will look so vulnerable, as though it could be broken at any moment. but when you direct your attention down to the trunk of the tree, there’s not so much movement. you see the stability of the tree, and you see that the tree is deeply rooted in the soil and can withstand the storm. when we experience a strong emotion, the mind is agitated like the top of the tree. we have to bring our mind down to the trunk, to the abdomen, and focus all our attention on the rise and fall of the abdomen.

breathing in, you notice the rising of your abdomen. breathing out, notice the falling of your abdomen. breathe deeply and focus your attention only on your in-breath and out-breath. if there is anything to be aware of, its that an emotion is only an emotion, and that you are much more than one emotion.

sometimes, you might feel a sense of calm real quick. other times, it might take a while. but the important thing is to keep yourself company, to not bury an uncomfortable emotion, and to be there for yourself the way we want others to be.

you might cry. again. but you’ll know it’ll soon end (like every time). this time however, you’ll have handled it oh-so-differently. and beautifully.

if you want to change the world, love a man

this poem is by Lauren Wilce. i seldom (ever, really, as of yet) post anyone else’s writing on here. but this. this, i felt, needs to be read. atleast once, even if for the sake of remembering one tiny line. forget about changing the world. this, i believe, is how to love your man.

If you want to change the world love a man; really love him
Choose the one whose soul calls to yours clearly who sees you; who is brave enough to be afraid
Accept his hand and guide him gently to your hearts blood
Where he can feel your warmth upon him and rest there
And burn his heavy load in your fires

Look into his eyes, look deep within and see what lies dormant or awake or shy or expectant there
Look into his eyes and see there his fathers and grandfathers and all the wars and madness their spirits fought in some distant land, some distant time
Look upon their pains and struggles and torments and guilt; without judgment
And let it all go
Feel into his ancestral burden
And know that what he seeks is safe refuge in you
Let him melt in your steady gaze
And know that you need not mirror that rage
Because you have a womb, a sweet, deep gateway to wash and renew old wounds

If you want to change the world love a man, really love him
Sit before him, in the full majesty of your woman in the breath of your vulnerability
In the play of your child innocence in the depths of your death
Flowering invitation, softly yielding, allowing his power as a man
To step forward towards you…and swim in the Earth’s womb, in silent knowing, together

Continue reading “if you want to change the world, love a man”

do not read this if you do not like a kick in the pants

ba3c3c403638758664fbec9ad1648cee
I absolutely love Calvin and Hobbes! source

 

i’ve had the most amazing and yet, uncomfortable realizations with regards to the already-shining and the shinier aspects of life.

right now, at this point in my life, my happiness springs from these flowerbeds: being alone, being with my family, the practice of following and paying attention to my breath, having the freedom and time to nurture + engage with my creativity.

these are the already-shining parts. the conditions that are ever-present for me to savor and enjoy.

the shinier aspects, on the other hand, relate to achieving specific goals and living specific physical realities that are simply a flashier, better, and ‘more’ version of the above-mentioned sources of my happiness.

let me explain.

there are people worse off than you.

people who are homeless, people who have only known violence, people who have suffered things we can’t imagine- trafficking, rape, slavery.

Continue reading “do not read this if you do not like a kick in the pants”

i want to be a tree

i want to be a tree. silly, dancing, waving my arms about,

rejoicing

rejoicing

and then rejoicing some more.

i want to be a tree. tall and mighty and grounded,

my roots holding the soil like it is the air to breathe,

the air to breathe slipping and tangling

around my branches.

i want to be a tree with the wind forever on my face,

my bark coarse and brown-black and scented

with the smell of the Earth,

the smell of all that’s wonderful and pure in this world.

i want to be a tree,

with kindness dripping from my leaves (along with orange and red and green),

the birds roosting in my warmth, the squirrels burrowing at my bark’s end, the animals resting ‘neath my shade.

i want to be a tree-

one out of many,

one out of millions.

i want to be something- so alive

so viscerally alive,

standing in awestruck respect and respectful awe

of who i am, of what i am a part of-

Nature,

of who made me, of who continues to sustain me.

while all i do here is

wave my branches, is

be still and alive

so, so alive.

only inhabit this moment fully,

then the next, then the next, then the next,

and then die just as simply- having lived as such.

on listening and following the call

warm the soul

october was a major overhaul for me. change crept in as slowly but surely as the winter chill does through the doorway of autumn. as the air stilled and cooled around me, i discovered a newfound stillness growing inside me. an overwhelming call to slow down and… to just slow down.

the culture will always be ready with a million and one reasons on why you have to keep moving, keep hustling, keep neglecting yourself, and keep reaching for a goal you never want. keep pushing, keep go-go-go-ing. and when you do attempt to step out of the crowd and carve your own home base, it will follow you with a million more reasons that will have you reconsidering your decision.

but not for long.

pretty soon they will back off. pretty soon they will see that you are serious and committed to this home base/ life you are building. pretty soon they will see that you have a strong why, an unflinching devotion for what you are after. something they never slowed down to discover.

and they will back off.

they’ll see the supersonic you are made of, see that it isn’t like anything they’ve encountered. and they’ll get scared and mind their own business thereafter. you made them uncomfortable with your faith-filled walk, with your devoted determination. you made them see this whole another way of living that is unlike anything they’ve yet seen/ heard. sure, they might throw in a nasty comment here and there, an annoyed glance backwards, but for the most part, they won’t bother you. because they won’t be able to nail down the best weapon or set of words to bother you. who can deter the devoted, the determined? no one but they themselves.

but all this only if you walk the distance to build your own home base.

so, yes, this is still a season of overhaul for me, still a time of walking the distance as i seek to follow the call from my own home base: to slow down; to connect more deeply with myself; to practice the art of appreciation, of mindfulness, of living more out of intention than of autopilot. for me, it matters more as to how i live my days than what i fill them up with. and frankly, i’d prefer to not fill them up too much so i can live better.

here’s to heeding the Call. and building your own home brick by brick.

will you be following it, too, today?

“be light, wild child”

i.

if there’s anything i am naturally good at, it’s stacking up anxieties.

wait. i might not be actually good at it but i have trained and habituated myself to be so after years of practice. serious, disciplined practice.

*gasp*

when did i vow my fealty and devotion to tormenting myself? and for what good reason? it neither helps me to be creative, nor does it support my overall well-being. well, then, why?

perhaps because that light energy seems so frivolous, so unpredictable, so ‘all-over-the-place.’ melancholy, on the other hand, is thick, slow-moving, comfortable, brooding, predictable (because it had nothing to look forward to! what would it predict?)

ii.

for a long time, i wanted to write real poetic; i feel like i am not poetic enough in this space. the heavy, serious material, you know. the how-to’s and the the posts having a point. the posts needing to change lives. the posts needing to <insert heavy responsibility my oft-overwhelmed 20 year old self can’t fulfill.>

but my creativity didn’t want to do that.

most of the time, it wants to sniff around and pick up any object it finds interesting to investigate before moving on to the next one. my creativity wants to have fun. it wants to be whimsical, light, to skip, and to embrace a meadow of buttercups with open arms. it wants to dance the most playful of dances (think funny expressions + arms distorted at weird angles) and then sleep just as peacefully, splayed out and sometimes snoring.

it just wants to live and be expressed.

Continue reading ““be light, wild child””

insignificant 

do you know you aren’t here 

to live for long? 

that the next blink of your eye 

might find you on a hospital bed, 

and the next one trying to wriggle 

into a comfortable position in your tomb, 

and the next one 

dissolving into atoms that trickle into the soil and become the roots of a rose bush. 
i am most thankful that the Universe does not 

have me at its center. that there are matters more important 

than me. 

that i am most insignificant and that (approximately) the whole of humanity is unaware of my existence.

that my primary obligation is only to live out this insignifance of mine 

and turn it into artwork and a song of communion. 

that i can sit by the window and no one, without quoting the ways of the world, can tell me that i am not living enough. 

i am most thankful that i will  

die one day. that death, like redemption i couldn’t earn for myself, will be waiting to embrace me- fully accepting of my failed attempts at Godliness and importance. 
would it be alright if 

i do not want to be the best? or the fastest? or the most beautiful and clever? or even remotely well- known? 

if my measure of wealth is not money but faith in the eternal generosity of life and it’s offerings. 

would it be alright if the only thing i ever want is to not always be caught up in my wants 

or in proving and striving and hustling, 

but to be content in my insignificance- even rapturous, almost awaiting the last blink of the eye 

before i dissolve into the roots of the rose bush in my backyard.

fear will never make a good lover

I’ve tried to give equal amounts of love and attention to both fear and to the other parts of my life. These two, mind you, are two disjoint sets. 

Oops, atleast they were, I mean. *fear sniggers in the background*

This, btw, is what happens when I allow fear to be my lover. 

Tell tale signs that you have fear as a lover: you say no when you want to say yes, you say yes when you want to say no. You want to go after it but think you can’t. You want it to come after you but you think you aren’t worth it. You want to create and be fearless, but you are duped into thinking that you aren’t good enough. You question your goodness ceaselessly and trust in your insignificance implicitly. 

You feel constantly smothered. There isn’t any anchor that makes you feel centered. You are diagnosed with inertia that has nothing to do with a lazy summer day. 

Most telling of all: this feeling plays itself over and over like a broken record that won’t shut up- more, more, more. More, more, more. More, more, more. Yet you can’t pinpoint what that more is. You can’t tell who’s hammering it on your heart. Fear can’t either but it whispers in your ear “that is our enemy.”

i.

Fear will always keep you small and boxed up and within the lines. Fear will always tell you why that idea isn’t good enough. Fear will shut you up the minute you open your mouth to inhale air so that you can use your voice. Fear will pipe up first to give it’s opinion on things and tout that as being the only practical and sane one. Fear will tell you that you aren’t made for more.

I remember the feeling I got when I first started this blog. Exhilaration and pride. I had done something fear had kept me from doing since so long. Scored! I felt shy and hesitant but I knew I could never be at peace unless I gave blogging a chance atleast. And it wasn’t the prospect of actually starting a blog that frightened the jitters out of me. It was the fact that I was going to put myself out there and share something I had only always kept for myself- my words and the tumultuous whirlpools swirling inside me that they spoke of. I cannot lie while writing. I go to writing for solace and understanding. To lie there would be to make sacrilegious something that was previously holy. 

And while I had a deep need to share + to be seen and heard, I was equally terrified of this longing coming to pass. To be seen would mean to be on the edge, in the line of target as a potential victim- of judgements and criticisms. Especially my own. I didn’t think i could handle that. Fear didn’t think I could handle that. 

ii. 

Truth of the matter is- we are capable of handling (with grace) so much more. We are capable of being so much more. Yet fear tells us otherwise. And we listen. We think the mountain top is not for us, that only the struggling climb to the apex is what’s in our fate, that we’ll never reach. And the result? We give up midways or pull back on our efforts or, having reached the top, fail to see it for what it is. Fear clouds our vision that way. 

iii. 

I am just beginning to recognize the spots where my lens is clouded and so limits my vision. My blog is one of those spots. Blog and commercial and success and followers seem to go together. But that never was the case for me. I care about + love the people who read my words and then tell me how much they love them. They dont come in throngs and crowds and nation wide sizes but as a precious handful who trust in me + enjoy my writing. And I am always glad to have written something that they found helpful. I tried making the numbers a measure for my success but that seemed like a standard that I had no control over + would never be satisfied with. Fear would then take over the narrative and tell me how that meant i was a failure. It took me a while but I began to question it. 

“Really? Is that so?” 

And that is all that’s needed to defuse fear. A repeated mantra of “Really, is that so?” The trouble starts for us when we begin to believe everything our mind ever tells us. Including fear stories. It will weave elaborate, detailed fear stories that have little basis in reality and prove to be a great exercise for the imagination. Alas, they prove to be of little help when the time comes for us to act. Digging down and questioning if the story is even true creates this little space where we can see the thought as separate from ourselves that comes with a choice- to believe or not to believe in it. 

Fear, I know, won’t go away. I’ll come up with a new goal and fear will seize the opportunity to choke it to death even before I plant it’s seed in the soil. Fear will always be here. But something else can be there, too. 

My choice. Of whether I allow fear to get the better of me or not. My decision. Of whether I allow my actions to be influenced by this feeling of fear (which ebbs and flows like the waves). My intention: to create and grow. With these as my guide for the creative journey, I cannot help but feel excited. And just a little more invincible and possible. 

Fear, you can come along. But you ain’t rollin’ this show no more.  You ain’t my lover no more.