My Struggles with Pressures

I’m going to set aside my ego and admit that I’ve become a people pleaser. Since about 3 years now. The worst thing about becoming a people pleaser is, one: I now am selective about letting my feelings/opinions known. It’s an uncontrolled want on me to not upset my listener/potential relation etc. Two: A mask is always on.

The day I tried keeping masks and al aside and took a stand for myself – it was a shock. One: the other end didn’t handle the confrontation well. Second: the other end didn’t want to see or hear me at my worst.

It was a clear indicator of where the relation stood.

Though cliched, it holds true: if you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve to be around me at my best.

Today was my first, uncomfortable, step to break free of that pressure. Anxiety was under control, because I knew – it wasn’t the end of the world for me. Yet.

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Lessons from a movie

The lesson is this: it never is anyone’s (or the person’s) fault for not treating you with respect. Nor that ‘good’ friend’s fault who is being sleazy with you and then yells at you with indignation saying, “it was a joke!” It’s not that person’s fault either for not giving you the time from his/her life. It’s not their fault for treating you, the way you are being right now.

It’s yours. It was mine.

Why?

Because, you (and I) let them. You let them talk to like that, because you thought it’s fine and allowed them to. You let them talk/treat you like that because you wanted to please them and not cause any conflicts. You didn’t respect your own time and then expecte others to respect yours? I did too.

The thing is this: What have you done to make it stop? Have you first treated yourself right? Have you spoken your mind, without of course hurting the receivers’ sentiments? Have you stood your ground, with your beliefs, without wondering if this will break the relationship?

Let’s do that first: Treat ourselves right. Then let’s see if things change.

The movie by the way was a Marathi movie called, “Me Shivajiraje Bhosale Boltoy“. Overdone, but with a great, great lesson: You don’t demand respect. You earn it.

Vulnerability

She looked forward to the day. The exact time of the day, to be precise, when she would lay her eyes on him. It had almost been an year.

When he called her to announce, “I’m here!” she couldn’t hold back the bounce in her strides, as she walked towards him. And when she saw him, she hurled herself at him, and took the long pending bear hug from him.

Just the thing she needed.

He held the strings that bound her, untangled them gently so that she could slowly breathe. The first breath she took cracked the high wall of pretense she had built around her. She took another deep breath and she found herself unravel in his arms.

Her vulnerability lay bare in front of him.

They sat next to each other on the bench. Leaves crackled as they shifted their feet. The winter afternoon heat warm on their backs. His arms around her shoulder. Her hands resting on her thighs. They sat for a while. Her emotions finally found words and they flowed from her lips. The unspoken, unseen weight slowly lifting from her shoulders.

Trusting that he can take it all, she unfolded. And he did.

Though they felt stillness around them, the time kept ticking. Finally it was time to leave, with a promise to see each other soon again.

As they both walked away in the opposite directions, she walked away with strength and courage to live from him. And he, with a bit of her soul.

Partners in Crime

It was an excruciatingly hot afternoon for Bangalore. The AC of the Volvo bus was a respite. Usually, the driver conductor duo I come across are very normal.

But this duo, this duo was something. They were partners. I saw them sit, the way you see here, and enjoy each other’s company. There was lot of laughter and banters exchanged. They became partners in crime when they opened the front door and had a fun fake fight with the duo of the bus next to them. The door closed. The bus moved forward.

The laughter and animated conversation that ensued between them was a treat to my eyes and ears. The language barrier didn’t stop me from understanding the chemistry.
Things that make work fun.

Listen!

“Look at me”, she screamed hoarse in her head

“Stop looking at the time! And look at me! I’m right here, with you. Next to you. Why don’t you see me?

Talk to me. Distance between us grows because our silence fills the gaps. Set down your phone. Forget your work. Talk to me!

Open up with me. Share your thoughts and ease your mind. I will never judge, for the thoughts that cross your mind. Open up with me!

Words that flowed easy as did our emotions, are now bounded by chains. We are growing with our priorities, I agree. But stop. Let’s stop pushing each other away.

I’ll simply say, hey! pay attention to me. The wouldn’t be much left after we are done.

Let’s not lose you and me.”

Actions Instead of Words

Sometimes you don’t tell, just do.

An act of love.

A decision in action, silently taken.

Maybe an impulsive one. Maybe out of deep hurt. Maybe out of kindness. Maybe because you’re biting back words, so as to not scar another human. Maybe out of a silent protest. Maybe out of passion.

So, sometimes, you don’t tell, just take actions. At times they are louder than words. If not, at times they serve better than words.

Silent action.

Silence at times speaks the loudest.

For a few hours

I’ve known her for over 10 years. Feels like forever though. She’s was my first friend. THE person who helped me bring out my own unique colours and paint the world with her. She infused life in my black and white.

I am always told I don’t smile much. But I’m sure she will disagree. Because whenever she’s around me, I am always smiling. Every other moment when she turns around to throw some “her moment” punches, I laugh. I laugh so hard that she has to pull me by the arm to remind me that we are walking on the road. Laughing my heart out. Impervious to the world around me, or the heads that would have turned our way.

We grew together. Our lives separated. She got married. Two years later we were in two different countries with manageable time zone. France and India. Distance had tested us. Our ups and downs. Yet, we were thick through and through.

It had been three years since we had met each other. Longest we have gone on without meeting. And then one fine day she calls me to tell that she’s coming home for the holidays.

My heart bursted.

She had her plans. The only time we could work out was a day and half over the weekend. And after days of silence because of lack of the internet, a day before I landed in our city, she showed some signs of life. My hesitation and doubts of not being able to meet was gone. She would always come through.

The day was still unplanned. And it still was till the end of the night. It was us. Just us. Like we meet everyday. Doing things we would have pulled each other into if we were in same town, every single day. A lazy lunch. Dress hunt for a reception. Another lazy snack. Gorging on a common craving for dinner. And ending it with ice cream and disclosures to her husband. The story of how we became friends. A shaky start, a strong in between and no end.

We were where it began. Just the streets were different.

It was for a few hours. Yet, I felt light. Felt myself. I felt secure.

The goodbye at the airport was like how she would say when we reached our homes, before we became adults. I ignored the thoughts of “when next?” Till she said it out loud. Tears threatened from her eyes. Like everytime she bid me goodbye. Everytime she saw me off. Because we wouldn’t know how long our next gap would be.

She ignored my warnings. Which had turned into desperate pleas. Being taller than me, she hugged me and planted a kiss on my head. Her face turned red. A vein popped out on her forehead. Ironically, it would also pop out when she laughed hard. She wiped her eyes and my heart broke. I kissed her cheek and ran inside the airport. I couldn’t bear the lump in my throat and I found myself turning back. Our goodbyes could never ever be abrupt.

But it wasn’t so bad. I walked inside the airport remembering her bear tight hugs. Me standing on my toes to rest my chin on her shoulder while hugging her back. It always makes me smile.

All that hustle, just for those few hours was totally worth it. Anything and everything.

Because, she is my person.

Walking with the Differences

They were two individuals.

He loathed some things she loved.

She loathed some things he loved.

Emotionally, both would be on different planes. Always.

Yet, they co-existed and were the best of friends.

They accepted and walked with the their differences with their arms around each other.