Standing Out

There was this constant chatter of confusion rattling inside my head. A constant question bouncing, asking myself everyday, “Who am I really?” Though uneasy, it felt relieving to speak out my opinions and feelings without being afraid of being judged for the wrong reasons. But still, the question remained: how much of me can I risk being shared? How much of me felt comfortable in my own skin?

And as an answer, while waiting for my shuttle in the evening today, I saw this white hibiscus inhabiting in between this wild growth of leaves. I had to double take to notice it, but I did. The white beauty stood out brilliantly when I encouraged it to step out of hiding. 

And the best part was: I loved it even more when it was standing out with its own elements. It didn’t hurt my sentiments one bit. Just like that, it felt natural to accept the white in between of dominating green.

Nature answered my agitated mind, and helped me take a step away from the anxiety of wanting to please everyone arould myself by becoming into a version they liked. Losing my essence in the process.

I’m at peace with all of me at every moment now. Most importantly, I’ve begun accepting myself the way I am. At least a little more than yesterday.

Birth of Hope

The setting was perfect. The sun had just set. There was a hint of rainy clouds coupled with a light breeze. The sky was the shade of dark navy blue slowly darkening to black.

I was nearing my block, that’s when I saw them. A couple. They must have been in their late 70s. The first thing that I noticed was the way they held each others hands. She had a firm grip, maybe helping him balance. Maybe holding herself steady. Or maybe, just holding because she wanted to. He had his walking stick in his other hand. They walked slowly, one small step at a time. In perfect sync. 

I couldn’t help but smile. 

Even for a cynic, with all the distrust in the world, looking at them couldn’t help but for that moment believe that things could be as real as that couple who had grown old together and still seemed to be very much in love.

Her Adventures with Mismatched Socks

She was meticulous, organised and obsessive about perfection. She was diagnosed by her friends as a specimen with a mild case of OCD. She refused and claimed to be healthily obsessed. It was just her fond love for symmetry and unblemished perfection.

Accepting the unsymetry wasn’t tough, but it made her nervous. One day, she decided to brave it, and she wore two different socks to work. Grey on the left and black on the right. Since she wore ballerinas, they were pretty much visible. 

She glanced at her feet every now and then, but then the day went by without anyone pointing her flaw out. Rather, no one noticed it at all. There was this vague feeling in her head of being watched, scrutinized and judged for her mismatched pair, when everyone around her were busy feeling the same about their mismatch and living in their own heads.

It was impossible for her not to think of the mismatched pair the entire day, but it was not that difficult to accept the mismatch either. It was as simple as that. Acceptance.

She chased the perfect symmetry in life so furiously, that she had missed seeing the beauty in the other powerful but ignored things. Like: Her mother’s love. Her mother silently listening to things she wasn’t speaking out loud. Her accomplishments. Her aging parents. Her own self.

If accepting this unsymmetrical mismatch could, if not silence, tone down the restless voice in her head and let her get going the entire day, why not the same with the mismatched unsymetry in herself?

This was her first step towards being a little adventurous, in her own little way.

That One Hug

They stood on the porch at four hours past midnight, as their paths awaited to be diverged again. Their adventure had come to an end. With time, the familiarity that the distance had deprived them of, was discovered in an unknown land. With time, the comfort of being themselves with each other had fallen in comfortably like that one missing puzzle of a jigsaw.

When it was time to say their goodbyes, he held his hand forward while she glared at his formality. She opened her arms timidly and he took a step forward and gave her a hug. This was not a drunken state of mind hug. This was a conscious hug. And his hug conveyed everything that maybe his words couldn’t for the last three years of knowing each other over long distance.

That one hug, opened up a box of suppressed emotions in her. But she hid her face in the dark as she saw him sit in the car and head towards the airport. She walked away towards the elevator before he could see her again from his car.

But that one hug…

The pretense icicles in her heart had melted. There was acceptance of deep attachment to another human being. She was overwhelmed and surprised with the enormity of the feelings she had for him.

She held back the dry tears that threatened to break from her eyes. She thought maybe sleep will make it easy to bear. Maybe sleep will make the ‘momentary’ feeling wash away, she thought. She went and slept on his freshly made bed.

The morning after dark was cloudy with light drizzles. The enormity of being able to feel so deeply had still successfully caught on with her as she boarded her cab towards the airport. She confided in her friend, who sat next to her with her arms on her shoulder, as she began to understand that she was simply missing him. She had gotten used to the unasked assurance from him. The unasked fulfilled promise of being by her side, no matter how, when she needed him the most. She had gotten used to his presence around her during their adventure together. As her friend held her, she let go of her pride and felt hot tears flow freely from her eyes.

It was finally the acceptance of a beautiful bond that they shared – friendship. It was a pure, unadulterated, unselfish, maybe a little selfish, friendship. It was the acceptance of letting go of her controlled boundaries and acknowledge the special place he held in her life. It was this acceptance that made her determine to make an attempt to show her emotions like he did with her all the time.

To be honest, she had taken a while to realize the emotions of his hug. Once the feeling of his arms around her shoulders was gone, only thing that remained was the warmth that he had left behind. Maybe this was their last goodbye after all.

The Adventures of a Bluejay

The river flowed peacefully, reflecting the shimmering golden hues. The Bluejay spread it’s wings wide in joy as it glided over the vastness of the river, enjoying its crystal clear pureness. This was better than a dream. It felt like it is a free soul. A soul in a quest to explore. The vibration in its wings emaneted the power within.

It flew dangerously close, taking in everything the nature had to offer. Then suddenly, it saw something. At the corner of the river lay a crocodile with its mouth wide open. Resting. Minding its own business.

The Bluejay felt a feeling rise in it. That feeling was boosting its confidence, slowly tipping towards arrogance. The Bluejay scooped a stone in its break and threw in the crocodile’s mouth. The stone lodged itself in the crocodile’s throat, causing the poor beast to choke and choke. It chocked till it pushed the stone out of its throat with a powerful cough. The Bluejay snickered and flew away from the scene before the crocodile recovered and realised what hit it.

Was there a little bit of arrogance, the observer wondered. What had overcome the gentle Bluejay? Was the arrogance because of its smooth sailing success that caused it to belittle the crocodile on the shore?

But the questions had to wait.

The Bluejay kept flying, now with its eyes closed. Letting the wind take it wherever it blew. And soon enough, the Bluejay bumped into a wall and was on the other side of the world.

It was a world where it’s legs were chained in an invisible cage. It was a world where it was controlled at the whims of the unseen voices. The Bluejay was subjected to sadism by making it a playing of a boy who loved to beat up his toys.

Karma smiled.

The Bluejay wished for the other side of the wall, to see the river again. It flapped it’s wings, struggling to break the chain, desperate to breathe in the air of the world he was thrown away from. To feel the familiarity of success and ease of acceptance that came along with it.

The Bluejay promised to remember humility if it broke free and gave a powerful tug to loosen the links in the chain. But the chain wouldn’t budge. The lesson and its essence were being stubborn and insisted to live bounded to the Bluejay’s feet. Forever. A glaring reminder. Maybe that will keep it down, the observer thought.

The Bluejay felt the its energy ebb out. It felt the weight of its own past action beginning to sink in. It felt like a terrible dream.

“But I’m not that person!”, the Bluejay cried and it finally opened its eyes. The Bluejay found itself perched on a branch of a tree on the riverside. The river still flowed peacefully, now reflecting a subdued orange hue of the setting sunlight.

A dream had opened its eyes. It was a much needed humbling fall after an aggressive rise. Saving the Bluejay from falling into its worst fears of turning into something that it couldn’t itself recognise at all.

Pining After Long Shots

That’s the thing about hope – it makes us dream and get ahead of ourselves. We give our best, putting in every last bit of our will, fully aware that it’s a long shot. Aware that there is a fair chance of that something not working out. But we anyways give our everything in because we believe we have got nothing to lose. Slowly gambling on the our fragile heart’s naivety and letting it get ahead of itself. So we dream and inadvertantly start hoping, pining and praying asking, “God! I hope it works out.” Making it seem more like our ticket out of the current​ misery and our ultimate happy spot. Suddenly, there is so much to lose: A trail of dreams and the whispered promises on the dependencies… Forgetting that there is a fair chance that it might not work out. Maybe, it was the audacity of our confidence which made us forget about different scenarios. Maybe it was something else. 

Then there is a slip. Your gut picks on the vibes, and we begin to pray, “God! I hope I’m wrong about that!” But then, hey earth to… reality is the ultimate truth. This is life. In mum’s wise words, “You won’t always get what you want. However bad you want it. However desperate you are about it. But don’t forget to live. Don’t forget to be happy. Give your sincere shot. And don’t forget to nurture your patience.”

And then, there comes the wait. The wait to let it pass, the news to sink in and the final acceptance of reality. Till something else comes along and the cycle repeats.Maybe the next time, pining, hoping and dreaming about it would not be so bad. Maybe this time, it would be right time to receive.

Till then, don’t give up.

Everything will be ok.

The Sheep Behaviour

The longer you convince your brain to believe in something, more the possibility of your brain beginning to accept it. The louder you scream to yourself that this is it, the stronger the conviction message gets sent to your brain. 

Must be careful of what we try to convince ourselves of. We all end up acting and accepting like sheeps on the “ultimate truth” without giving it another thought. Maybe thus becoming extraordinary ordinary.

The Midnight Before The Dawn

The clock slowly edges towards midnight, and it is a long drive back home. Suddenly, the safety confines of the vehicle is shattered as the car breaks down in the middle of a deserted road in the city. The car has run out of gas.

She steps out of the car, and hears the sand crunch  beneath her feet. She looks around, and just before the clock strikes 12, she finds herself face to face with her monster. It stands in front of her, swaying slightly under the influence of excess alcohol, the stench reeking from his breath. She could smell it. Its yellowing eyes roved over her, making her heart race with fear. She takes a step back, trying to find something to hide behind. To cover her naked vulnerability. But she still felt uncovered. Her clothes, were merely an illusion covering her modesty. But to its eyes, she was a prey. A prey to be destroyed beyond recognition, to send her back to her spiraling downfall.

It sneered.

Panic gripped her soul.

She looked for the courage in her that she thought was inherent within her. She found nothing. She only found cowardice.

She bowed. She hid behind her invisible personality.

He took over and faced her monster. He stood looking at her monster, chest out, hands on his hips and let out a strong growl. The monster distracted, looked in his eyes, its eyes had stopped roving over him. It looked straight in his eyes. Almost daring to imagine itself to be his equal.

But he smiled. “The audacity of your persistence! The audacity of your ignorance!”, he said as laughter started bubbling up in his throat.

Gathering her courage, she peeked at her monster.

He took a step towards the monster, cornering him till it couldn’t bear his strength anymore. It slinked back in the ground, exactly where it belong. Dissolving into nothingness.

He turned around and looked at her.

She found herself, smiling at herself.

Maybe, she did need to open up to possibilities. Maybe, she did need him after all.

He was her dawn, she was waiting for.

He was a part of her after all.

Story of Hope

It can be triggered by the smallest of the smallest things. Maybe because of an old diary page that you came across or because of looking at a picture of something you were trying to let go and forget. It bubbles up half forgotten feelings in your heart forgetting all the reasons you had sternly latched on to let go and move on. It is like the unpleasant memories never existed and the only things you can remember are laughter and happiness. Slowly building a strong foundation of emotions based on these happy memories until the reality slowly starts distorting and your mind and heart get tormented by your own wishful feelings. This is how slowly hope builds in.

Hopes that, that something will be rekindled again. In that dream of rekindled hopes, you would start building castle of stories in your head of how it would be rekindled and be alive again. The stories then would sound so real and strong that you would start mistaking it for “intuition” or “gut feeling” that this would happen.

Hope. 🙂

The kinds that would destruct you, mind and soul, those are the irresistible ones. You would hide it, harbour and nurture it and let it grow, so much that you start growing fond of it. So fond that you are scared of sharing it with your closest friends. Because, somewhere in your suppressed rational and logical mind, you know that they will break the reality to you, make you face it and ask you to move on from the comfort of a feeling you were so used to bask in. So, it stays with you. All the dreams built on hopes. Hoping that all the old things will remain the same, yet hoping that all the things would now be different. The irony. Hope makes us want the old things, just as the way they are with another hope of it might have changed, which is what we would actually want.

Complicated. So complicated. Once you understand this, the rational mind would take over and it would desperately try to break the cycle you been stuck in. It will speak to you that voice in your head, the rational voice, and make you come to your senses and remind you why it had broken you in the first place and why you need to move on. Move on to a dream or even a hope that would nurture you and build you. Not the toxic hope that will break you and walk all over you till you are left unrecognizable to yourself.

Maybe, it is ok to toy with old hopes that builds stories of what could or would have been. Maybe. Who does not like the idea of a fantasy coming true? So maybe, toy with it, fantasize and bask in the tingling feeling of happiness that you get in your tummy. Maybe you can let yourself indulge in it for a bit. Maybe you can do all of this as long as you know how to pull yourself out of it and detach from it when you see it is becoming addictive. Because though fantasies are wonderful, reality is what that is going to stick with you forever, just like your shadow.
—..

End of a Deception

Sometimes it is embarrassing to watch people being cheap imitations of someone else. Making someone else’s ideas as their own ideas. Making someone else’s words as their own words. Making someone else’s style as their own style.

All this, most of the time, raises from a desperation to become something else that they are not. Rather something they do not want to accept within themselves – their own essence that makes them, them. All this is done, so that they, we, you and me, are accepted by the society. Or to be precise, to be accepted by a certain few individuals that we are aimlessly pursuing to impress.

Is there really anything that is unique and original? Are we all really an imitation of everyone else? Adopting, consciously or unconsciously, traits  of multiple personalities that make us what we are now?

Until yesterday, I was drowned in the ruthless sea of self criticism of my own nature. Asking myself – Why couldn’t I be more like that person? That person who had once succeeded in capturing the attention of a person I wished to attract.

And then, suddenly it hit me, and I couldn’t stop thinking, if was it something to do with self esteem?

I still do not know.

All that I know is, in a certain unguarded moment, even to myself, I found out what “my style”, “my ideas” and “my words” were. I had downplayed my own  self esteem. Once, I set aside the silly pursuit to be someone else in order to be loved back, I saw and accepted my nature as is. And I couldn’t stop saying this to myself, “This is you. You are pretty awesome the way you are.”

I am all that I seem to be when I have a mind of my own, maybe when guarded with a high un-penetrable barrier or maybe when unguarded with all my walls down.

I am all that I seem to be when I do not seem to care who thought what when I spoke my mind out.

I am all that I seem to be when I listen to both my head and heart and do what I must do at that given moment of time.

I am all that and much more, and I have accepted it.

It all comes with a price. But at least, in the end, I do not feel like a sham.
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