The Perils of “Taking”

I learnt a lesson through this heartbreak. I learnt that people don’t get into your lives by sharing your bed or by sharing troubles. Sometimes they get into your heart by lending a helping hand or by making you smile or by offering you a moment of being pampered even when you did not ask for it. I understand now why my mother did not like unnecessarily taking help from people. Someone offers you something they cooked. It seems harmless to eat it. But no, if they do it too often they will also have the power of withdrawing it and making you feel unloved.

I let this man drop me home on his bike, take me out for a walk or accompany me to the supermarket even when I was perfectly capable of doing these things on my own. These seemingly harmless little gestures hurt me the most when he chose to arbitrarily withdraw them completely after he found his new muse.

I think it is ok to accept gifts but if someone is making you used to gifts, then even the smallest of gestures will make you a captive of their whims. You may think you have no feelings for them but if they are making you smile, they also hold the power to make you cry.

If I sound cynical, I am cynical.

But I am taking a lesson from this. I could get used to gifts from myself. No one can take that away from me. May be not forever. But atleast for the next few months I want to get used to saying no to gestures from others. To rely solely on myself to find a reason to smile. So that when I let love in, it would be a gesture from me, not a risk I take to find affection or acceptance.

Early Morning Musings

I have woken up today feeling a little sad. It’s better than yesterday. Yesterday, I woke up feeling intense anger. But anger is a fuel that makes you do things. Sadness can drain you. We humans go through a range of emotions. But I have mostly sadness and depression and anger and bursts of happiness in between. Or wait. Is this true for all humans. Who knows. I try hard to keep a positive attitude sometimes. The quality of my life has definitely improved in many ways but I have lost friends since I moved houses and shifted to a remote location. One can argue that this is beautiful. Finally I have the time to write and be on my own. Think over things. Meditate and focus inside. And that is what I thought too. But I had to go through a heartbreak after moving here. And heartbreaks tend to highlight the loneliness and undesirability around you.

I know I know. I need to look at this differently. I need to be an independent woman. Earn my own money and not need external validation. But aren’t we primarily social beings who do need some external validation.

I could still change things. Spend more time reading. Spend time on meditation. Spend time on listening to good music till i feel like starting work again. Soothe myself to that place where I am not craving affection from another human. That sounds like a good plan. Reading should help.

None of this would earn me any money. But atleast I would save on therapy.

They say my writing is good. I am sure anyone reading this will laugh at the notion. But on any good sorted day I think I can manage a good essay. I wish I could earn through writing. But commercial writing as with commercial music, has nothing to do with good writing. It has everything to do with SEO and click baits.

I was talking to my ex the other day and he said I may have a “not good enough” problem. He was trying to explain that I have always felt that i was not good enough. During engineering, when I was doing my job, during MBA and now that I am trying to be a musician. I am always saying I need to learn more so I will be good enough. And now that I think about writing, I am feeling this again. May be he is right. May be i have to learn to say i am good enough. Is it that simple though? Doesn’t seem so to me. I will leave it to my imaginary readers to comment with their opinion about this. Do you think not being good enough is all in the mind? Would you say a mediocre writer or singer or engineer is worthy of doing professional work?

Meanwhile I think I am going to download a P G Wodehouse on my Kindle to try and laugh a little and may be add the influence of comedy into my own writing as well. (Suggestions for good books to lift my spirits are also welcome.)

Purpose

There are people who are successful and really know what they are talking about. And there are people who are really good at analysing and making accurate theories. And then there is me. I draw conclusions from my experiences and write about what I learnt like it is THE truth. But honestly, what do I know? It is possible to draw a wrong conclusion. And it is possible that there are better solutions out there. So when you read what I write, read it with a pinch of salt because lately I have been changing a lot of my own beliefs and at times undoing the change and going back to my oldest belief systems (like the things I believed in, as a child).

Makes me wonder, what this journey is all about. I used to think we learn and grow with time but at times I might have regressed due to my experiences. Perhaps children know best because their minds are not yet corrupted and confused by the world. They are more in touch with their inner voice and we shut that voice as the child grows up.

So may be the solution is just to be more like a child. And speak to wiser people. I don’t really have the answer and I have been googling quizzes to understand my purpose. I know it won’t have any answer but i still do it because i am desperately seeking answers. I am trying to understand if there is any future to my life and if my life has any purpose at all. If there is any meaning to everything I have been through. Because some time when I was young, I would think I am going through all this because in the end it will all be worth it. I always imagined a prosperous future where everyone would say how proud they are of me. How I was so brave and persistent. And how they are inspired by where I have reached today. But in reality, where I am today is at the bottom of a new career after having escaped the controlled life I had with my narcissistic parents. I am making my way up in society and in a career that I always wanted to pursue as a child. But there are no extra points for life struggles. When a caged bird is left to fly freely in the wild, it doesn’t get sympathy, it gets attacked for being naive and devoid of experience. If it has to survive it has to start learning skills that a baby bird would have instinctively known. And so I am today competing with young people and children in the field of music (and mostly losing). And there is no other way really, I must be patient. I must lose several times and I may never win the race.

This path is comparatively better. It is a huge improvement over my life before. Infact it makes me happy when i don’t look at myself from the eyes of the society. But it is not inspiring. Parents don’t want their kids to be like me. In fact I actually had few parents tell me that they didn’t want kids to pursue their passion and turn out like me.

So yeah, no higher purpose here. I am just doing what makes me happy. Living my own selfish little happy life.

Indifference

Amused he would sometimes remark that I treated him like he meant nothing to me. May be he was indeed just mocking me or may be he sensed the truth. Because deep down I didn’t just feel intense love and admiration for him. I also felt profound hatred and jealousy. He got everything I wanted in life and he became everything I wanted to become. Especially the stories he told about his father made me smile and cry at the same time. Because that was the one thing I longed for the most. And I still long for it. Even though it’s too late now. I search for that love in the men I meet and the friendships I make and end up wrecking my relationships. This is why I am alone. And I want him to know that. But he never will understand that side of life. And that’s why when I see him, I act indifferent. Because how does one show a mix of love and deep loathing at the same time? I would want to both hurt him and love him passionately. There’s no room for that kind of expression here. We are after all just work colleagues.

Validation

Life is a celebration of freedom if you are able to see it that way. I mean I want to say this. But what’s really on my mind is this. Life is a struggle, it’s a pain. On most days. On many days. On some days. This is that struggle between the part of me that wants to be positive and the part of me that wants to express. Both are important. I think expressing is important because it’s important to know what’s really on our mind.

But yes I want to be free and it’s possible. When we get rid of any fear we feel liberated and then we realise that anything is possible. Anything can be done. But in the course of living life in this society that fear tends to creep back in. And so it becomes necessary to be in touch with ourselves once in a while. Take a break from humanity, lock yourself up in your room, go to a village, mountains, whatever it takes. It seems like a dramatic step of escapism. Yet I feel, it’s not dramatic or extreme at all. It is actually rejuvenating and should be treated as a necessary periodic ritual and nothing more.

I say this, because today I feel the need for this. I yearn for human company to validate me, to make me feel wanted and needed and appreciated. I think this is an indicator of the fact that I have lost touch with myself.

Learning to not care

Should we write or perform for likes and praises? I have been guilty of it. Every writer or singer or dancer or actor must be. But what works in the short term, doesn’t always work for the greater cause of creativity or skill development. Many actors / writers have been known to wish that they were not famous, so they could be free to experiment. And writers often take the cover of anonymity and pseudonyms perhaps for the same reason.

Yet today it is easy to be famous. If not on national TV, we can be famous in our own social groups, schools, offices, friend circles, etc. While praises and likes from our friends (turned into fans) is a great motivator to keep churning out content, it makes us want to stick to what works. We may become skilled at being liked, not so much at the art itself.

I believe that the habit of producing content regularly itself is not so bad. It keeps us on our toes. We keep learning and improving. It stops us from becoming complacent. But to do so one must first learn to cut out the flow of both positive and negative comments. CEO of VaynerMedia, Gary Vee who has a following of 8M on Instagram, and has become a source of motivation for many entrepreneurs and artists, often talks about not caring about the opinions of other people. In fact he even believed that Instagram should take off the likes button.

It would make a lot of sense then to have a time for posting content and a different time for logging in again and going through notifications for that post. Just so that we can remember that we were not performing or writing for the sake of likes.

Just a diary entry

The best stories come from a place of honesty. That’s why it’s easier to write a good story than narrate a good story. Because you cannot be as honest when you are talking. Atleast I cannot.

I am feeling especially angry today, may be because I realised yesterday that I have friends with whom I can have fun, but I don’t have real friends. No friend who will listen to my boring shit, my practice routine, my stories of what makes me want to go on, my past and why it affects the decisions i take in the present. A friend would be someone who would listen to it all when I speak and be interested. Because he / she is interested in getting to know me. It’s funny how people are not interested in the real deal.

And yet I find that hard to believe. May be my stories are not inspiring yet because they don’t have a successful ending. But when it does have a successful ending I will have many friends admiring my stories. But they also won’t be real. Aren’t friends supposed to be people who stick with you when no one else believes in you?

What was the point of it?

I lost all this time in my childhood when I was struggling with many things. And now that I am finally free, I still feel that others have an upper hand. And somewhere I keep wondering what advantage must I have gained by what I went through in my past. If I lost out on precious time, I must have gained something. Wisdom? Empathy? I don’t know what it is. But I find myself desperately holding on to my past for this reason. Trying to search for some unique quality I may have gained by my time spent on it. Because while others were busy honing their talents, I was busy overcoming struggles. So that seems like my talent?

That doesn’t mean my share of struggles have come down now. Far from it, my struggles have caused unhealthy behaviours in me that still make me more susceptible to struggling more in life. Unfair isn’t it?

Perhaps one way is to switch off expectations. Let each moment, both good and and bad happen as an experience. And keep watching my own life like a TV show. Because it probably isn’t getting better by a huge degree. Or maybe I’ll manage to make one or two changes that will bring some shifts towards good. But it will always be unfair. There will always be others who got a better start, as there will be others who got a worse start.

So here’s to smiling every moment and experiencing it without feeling disheartened.

Art

I think the first time I wrote something good was when I was reading and searching for something that would help me ease how I felt inside. Something that expressed what I felt. And when that didn’t happen I wrote it myself.

Perhaps creating art is not a straightforward journey of learning a skill. It is a journey of appreciating and finding life in other people’s art and then living your life. Talking to people, getting your heart broken, feeling joy, feeling pain. Allowing yourself to feel and deal with extreme emotions through art and then one day that emotion will express itself through whatever art it is you are using to deal with your emotion.

May be. It’s just a thought.