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.
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.
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.
She was genuine and honest, he said
He was polite and gentleman like, she said
Yet, he never used words to end it
There were no signs she could read anyway
He has become a ghost
She was left nursing an abandoned heart
It was a messy day because of a messy project at work. The work came back home with me, with its fingers intertwined in mine. It demanded my attention. It was clingy. It refused to let me leave it alone for more than 5 mins. An ideal messy day that not even a workoholic would like.
So, that evening I sat down with it right in front of me. When this little being of mine came running in. Her anklets tinkling was a dead give away of her arrival. She came squeaking my name. Climbed on my bed. Sat next to my work and started talking. Talking in a language that was clear and apparently coherent according to her. It was babble to me. It was so refreshing and tempting that I wrapped up faster than I normally would.
The kiddie, babble conversation I had with her later was the best part of the day. I had missed the most important part of my day till I narrated all the unwanted “ghory” specifs to him when he asked, “How was your day?” And he politely responded by reminding me how my little being fixed a messy day. In his perspective, I had an awesome day with the best work buddy in baby world.
I guess I always knew it, but I refused to accept it. Untill I was forced to acknowledge it during a training session. It was an activity, the trainer had said. He handed out A4 sheets, a sharpie and couple of colour markers around and asked us to draw. At first it was guided. Simple drawings. When it came to combining those simple drawings to create something unique out of our imagination, everyone, including me, stopped.
He chuckled and asked, “Did you guys never draw as a child?” “No one is going to watch you. No one is going to judge you either. You do you.” He said.
It took a while, but slowly everyone got comfortable in their skin. Comfortable enough to show what came out of their mind. Merge it again with everyone else’s creative mind to create something absolute. Ok, almost absolute.
Thus, the trainer had emphasized, “Think Alone. Think Together.” Creativity isn’t dead. It still is very alive in every one of us. Just that there is a barrier that stops us from exploring our potential.
I made this with a play dough while playing with my 3 year old niece today. It was almost like getting into a meditative state and let my mind break the barrier. I knew it was ugly. But my little one found it funny enough to lift it. Look at it. Talk about it. Play with it. And then take pleasure in crushing it back in the play dough box.
I am now no longer embarrassed of whatever, in the name of art, comes out of me.
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.
Silence at times speaks the loudest.
Those 15 mins every morning with my mother has come to become the best part of my day, life. The drop from home to her bus stop which is on the way to mine. Takes 15 minutes. Everyday.
She is with me. She talks. She shares. Stuff she wouldn’t otherwise at home. She talks about her work. She talks about her college get-together. She talks about her plans. She talks about her calls with her sisters. She talks.
Though a grown child that I am, I am still happy about the fact that, those 15 minutes she is completely with me. Her eyes for me her ears for me. Her thoughts for me. She is present around me. The lighter part of her day, when it has just begun is also shared with me.
Those 15 minutes that she gives me, is the most beautiful thing anyone can ever do for me.
Easy way out at times, rather most of the times, is deceiving. It might seem shorter. It would also appear to provide a respite, because would seem to be very convenient. Very, very alluring to jump on it when that bus stops in front of you and imagine all the lighter days ahead.
Untill you take it.
Most of the times, it will leave you with a broken back and an irritated soul.
Yet, at times you would hesitate to let the easy way go. Even if it’s the right thing to do.
Better to walk down the hard path with a satisfying journey than shake hands with the devil.
The “noise”, as I called, bothered me. It was chaotic in my house. Bedtime was the time where “peace”, as I called it, was cherished.
Silence and calm was much craved for.
One day, I got what I wished for: A full day and half of silence and calm.
But after an hour, it was unbearable. It felt empty and hollow. I had thrived in this particular chaos, I realised. The one or two hour of silence before bedtime was perfect and enough to recharge.
I realised: I missed the life in my house, that thing that I had once called noise and chaos.
What good was the peace without family and their voices and TV channels booming in the home? What’s anything without their existence?
One dark room. Faint shimmer of white light falls in the room. Bright enough to make out the faint silhouette of the things in the room. At the left corner, there is a mirror hanging on the wall.
I stood in front of that mirror, in the almost darkness. I could see my silhouette. My hair. The faint shape of my face. I could see it. But, I couldn’t see my eyes, my lips or anything that defined my face.
Have you ever stood in front of a mirror like that and wondered when all your features are wiped clean, what would be your identity? Would a description of ‘what makes you’ by a trusted friend satisfy you? Would the shape of your eyes or the plumpness of your lips define you?
I found myself standing in front of the dark mirror longer than I should. Trying to squint my eyes and see if I can still see something. Maybe a ghostly shape? At least a faint sketch of my eyes.
I wondered, why did it matter so much?
Then I asked myself, “Who is she?”
The defined face in the light or the silhouette trying to discover and define herself in the dark?
I walked away with no answer.
The uncertainty still remains. And I’m learning to be ok with not knowing right away.