Constant Confusion

During your dependent days, independence meant making your own decisions, standing on your own two feet, pulling yourself up every time you fall down; but most importantly it meant having your shit together.

Even when you used to live with family, you were always on your own. And you were okay with that. In your own little way, you were preparing for the future. You have never been afraid to go solo, but it took awhile for you to learn to trust yourself. And you were continually looking for ways to be even more self-sufficient, to carve your own life path, to do what you want.

But you also love. And love terribly and fully. It’s an intense passion that’s too much for others to take. It’s a consuming, knotting, mess of emotion that interweaves you with another person. You live on the level of the soul. Surface level never fulfilled you. The love that makes you question your feelings, throws you upside-down and makes you put your faith and stubbornness and fiercely independent self in the hands of this other person. This interferes with your independent soul and because of this, you live in a constant state of confusion.

Source: A Pondering Mind

You want to be your own person, but you also want to love — and you want these two just as equally. You thrive on that sense of self, the freedom to not depend on anyone for the life you want. But you also want to love and mesh your life with this person who is nothing like you. Willingly. Happily. Your path of independence tangles with the existence of this person. And this both thrills and terrifies you.

Your world then becomes an inner battle. You quiet your stubborn mind and give into love. You find yourself curling into this person’s lap like a puppy, craving his touch, his kiss. Falling. You become the woman that confides in a man when she’s feeling lost, the woman that thinks of this man equally, if not before, herself. This is beautiful. This is love.

And then you suddenly balk. You feel weak, dependent, breakable. You don’t want to be this woman that lets a man in and hinder her growth. You don’t want to trust him cause you know how easily you can be crushed by the same hands that touched you. So you pull back. You distance yourself — to think, to recharge, to strengthen from within. You let go.

Neither side makes you fully happy. Neither side leaves you feeling complete. You cannot seem to find a balance because you crave both things so equally. And so you live in this place of tension — what you want and who you are, what you are becoming and yet so scared to be.

You are an independent woman. A woman with a strong heart and a passionate soul. You cannot let go of that part of you, the part that decides for herself and finds strength in her ability to stand alone. Yet you cannot be afraid to love. You cannot be afraid to embrace that ridiculously emotional side of you, the side that blends your strength with your passion. The side that makes you whole. You are not complete without both — without the strength you carry, without the tears and words and kisses you freely give. You are a strong, but a vulnerable woman. You are a perfect mix of both.

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Lost Friend

What do you do when the people who mattered are not there anymore? Life did what it does and pulled you apart and here you are trying to understand what went wrong. In most cases, it’s a little more difficult for one of them, and my sympathies lies with that one. Cause I have been on that side and it’s not pretty.

It’s somewhere on the lines of unrequited love, only here it’s unrequited friendship. And it’s a lot more painful. You keep trying to connect, to keep it together, to keep the bond alive but if only it was a one man show and didn’t take two to keep the bond afloat.

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It’s almost like you can see the end nearing when all your requests are met with a hesitant no, or the quintessential I’m busy. The battle is lost when the conversation comes down to showing who is doing better and who has it all figured out. You stop connecting and start competing. And the moment this realisation dawns, you know what was once a bond, is now an obligation.

It’s a slow death that takes its own sweet time. You keep trying, they keep trying. No one ever talks about it or addresses the thorn that is hurting both. After a point you just get used to the pricking sensation instead of plucking the damn thing out. It’s then when you know that it is over, that it’ll never be the same again; and that illusion that you too have a best friend was life playing another sick prank with you. You realise this when you’re sitting in your room alone with a wish to talk and no one to talk to.

I too lost a friend and that feeling is difficult to put into words. It’s like a huge chunk of me died. It’s a loss in belief — the belief that there will always be someone to go back to, someone to talk to, that life isn’t all that bad because you managed to find this friend. Life in its true essence is lonely. The only constant is you with a fleet of people that come and go. At some point you accept this reality and maybe then the absence starts hurting less.

Breathe

You know after staying out all day in the pollution and dust, when you clean your face really well and exfoliate and stuff and your face feels ten pounds lighter and clean and kind of raw — that’s how I want my heart to feel. You have to go through the whole day, waiting for the moment when you’ll get to rid your skin of all the dirt. It’s the refreshing change we all long for. Everybody talks about wanting to change things and help and fix, but ultimately all you can do is fix yourself. And that’s a lot. Because if you can fix yourself, it has a ripple effect.

Sometimes, all of a sudden you feel the urge to cry and you don’t know why or where is it coming from. At that moment, recognise that it is not from nowhere. It is from a somewhere where you forgot to mourn properly. Let these tears come. Let your body mourn. Let your body feel the loss. Even if you cannot understand yourself (who can?), it is important to let your body have this.

I still catch myself feeling sad about things that don’t matter anymore. It’s something I consciously try to avoid, but there are moments when everything fails. It’s like being outdoors and being dirty. I’ve realised it’s all about having the ability to negotiate with your mind. A negotiation that can cost you your thoughts.

I’ve realised it is important to think about what you want, not what you don’t want. Carefully guarding your thoughts is important, because they create your experiences. If you inherently long for something, become it first. If you want gardens, become the gardener. If you want love, embody love. If you want mental stimulation, change the conversation. If you want peace, exude calmness. If you want to fill your world with artists, begin to create art. If you want to be valued, respect your own time. This is how to draw it in, day by day, inch by inch. I don’t know of any other way.

And how do you get through it every single day? Well, I breathe. That is my secret. 

Letter to My Younger Self

Hey there,

I write this letter to you sitting in my apartment, with whiskey on rocks and some good music. I write to you today from the future, and I have some news that you probably aren’t going to believe: all those motivational posters are true. They do sound a bit corny but in the larger scheme of things, it’s all true.

The one bad thing about this letter is that I can’t use it to reach back and slap you upside the head to knock some sense into you. Patience is something you’ve always lacked. I hope you’ve got it straight by now; but if you haven’t, then keep trying. Your dreams scare you now and they will continue to do so in the future too. It’s the kind of fear that will stop you cold in your steps and fill your head with doubt. No matter how terrifying it gets, keep at it. Wonderful moments await you at the other side.

You’re probably worried about how you look and that you’re not attractive enough. Guess what, this self-doubt is that pesky tenant that stays in your head, refuses to pay rent and adds to your miseries. You’ve got to find a way to either throw it out, or mute it out. You are an independent woman who wakes up every morning and kicks ass. You are living life on your own terms and that makes you a badass. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Be it a good day or a bad day, you get through it all by yourself keeping work in the spotlight. You’re a woman who knows what she wants and is not afraid to ask for it. This is what makes you attractive — not your dress size or your crooked smile. Those are parts of what makes you, you. Embrace them.

Don’t let other people rent space in your head for free. That’s valuable real estate. Give it to only those who plan on staying for the long run. Some you think will be there, until they’re too busy to care. People have always drained you and they will continue to do so until you pull the plug. If they don’t have an encouraging or positive word to say, don’t waste your time on them. Being mean will apparently be considered cool. It’s not — being a good person is a whole lot cooler. Their actions and words will speak for them – make sure to keep your eyes and ears active.

Learn when to make things happen vs. when to let things happen. When you’re feeling strongly about one or the other, move confidently in that one direction. Down the road, if you don’t like that path after you’ve given it a red hot go, then simply choose again. If you are torn on whether to let something happen or make it happen then sit down at the fork in the road and pause. Hint: We have a tendency to make things happen (force it) at times. Ease up, sister.

Lastly, chill out! It’ll all work out, just like it always has. Remember the times when all your actions were governed by your passion. If you lose that fire within you, find it, build it and let it burn – this time with twice the intensity.

I love you and hope you learn to love yourself at an earlier stage than I did.

Let Go

 

“we have survived
so many fires,
i can no longer tell
if we are alive
or simply burning.”
—Pavana Reddy

Letting go is difficult. Of people, dreams or your damaged self.  

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People who need help sometimes look a lot like people who don’t need help. They seem in control, always with a positive word. Everyone we come across has something deep within themselves for which, if given time and space, they would break down on the floor crying. Don’t be fooled by their cheeky, funny, smiling faces. The bigger the smile, the tougher the battle they are fighting.

Charles Bukowski said, “But we joke and laugh otherwise we would start screaming.”

This kind of sadness is either inherited or a fruit of our experiences and thinking. The only way I know to get out of this is to grow on a personal level — not try to become a different person, but change the way we interact with who we already are.

The hardest part is actually taking action. Leaving the people you say you’re going to leave. Leaving the place you thought you’d always stay. It’s a terrifying thing to do. We’ve tried so hard or come a long way that if we let go now, it will feel like a waste given the time and effort we invested in it. But that’s the only way to heal. To take action. Hard as it may be, everything starts with that one action.

Letting go of things that have already slipped away will be one of the kindest things you will do for yourself.

Take Photographs

Your twenties are a crucial period. It’s not our adolescence but this period that defines our life. Some people start early and by the time they are 25 they have accomplished great successes that make you feel inconsequential. When you read about the hours and years of unaltered hard-work they put in, it makes you feel like you’re not doing enough. It is inspiring, yet terrifying.

Therefore, I believe in taking photos. Photos, I believe are are a brilliant innovation. One of the best sources to go back to when our memory defies us. There are innumerable events that we will forget, but when one fine evening you’re going through your old pictures and the photos of those moments pop up, they remind us how good life has been. Something we often fail to admire and accept in the present.

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Friedrich Nietzsche was a Greek scholar and philosopher. Several times throughout his works, Nietzsche talked about the thought experiment of ‘eternal recurrence’. Aphorism 341 of The Gay Science goes like this:

“What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: “This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust! Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: “You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.” If this thought gained possession of you, it would change you as you are or perhaps crush you. The question in each and every thing, “Do you desire this once more and innumerable times more?” would lie upon your actions as the greatest weight. Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?”

If we were to believe in his idea, then why aren’t we living our lives wildly chasing our dreams like it was our last day? Why do we succumb to the sadness inside us? Does the idea of eternal recurrence – that every moment of your life will repeat itself into eternity – leave you shivering with fear or with joy; whether you are living life fully everyday or just waiting for better times to come.

Life is happening at every breath. The question is whether it is happening for us or to us. The latter has always been an easy answer. Blame it all on life. Irony is, it is after all our own life. So in a way aren’t we blaming ourselves? And if we are blaming ourselves then life isn’t really happening to us, it is happening for us. It all seems a bit twisted to be honest.

The present moment will somehow always be difficult. So let it be. But remember to take photos of all important moments so that 5 years later when your memory fails you, these photos will remind you of far you’ve come and all that you have achieved. That if you were to live this life all over again, you wouldn’t mind. It would instead be a pleasure. 

Lessons Learned

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Image credit: Henry Asencio

There are parts of you that want sadness. Find them out. Ask them why. Not everything in life will be beautiful and long lasting. Sometimes people come into your life to teach you lessons; to show you what is acceptable and what it not. They test your limits; show you who you can be. You wouldn’t have learned to love yourself until you hadn’t bent over backwards long enough for it to start hurting.

These people, their presence is temporary. To fight for someone who intends to stay seems worth the effort, but why fight for someone who wants to leave? They come for a little while to make you feel better, to be someone to walk with at night and spill your life to. They don’t, however, stay forever. We still have to keep going and thank them for the beautiful memories they gave us.

People inspire you, or they drain you—pick them wisely.

Honest Cover Letter

To whomsoever it may concern:

As a person who has worked in two offices and few bullshitty freelance gigs – most of which were super dull, underpaid and clearly could have been done by anyone with a simple skill to read, I’m clearly not qualified for this position and I can guarantee there are applicants who are far more legitimate than I am. I understand applying for this position is a long shot considering I’m not qualified for it and I don’t really want the position. But since robbing a bank is too dangerous and there are bills to be paid, I don’t have much of a choice but to get myself a job.

Capitalising on the fact that I can use the internet better than old people, I hope to find a position in your company that pays me more than I need, will allow me to not interact with other employees and will let me ‘fake-work’. I’m also hoping you will send me on all-expense paid trips to cool places like Europe for “work purposes”. With this goal in mind, I have attached my resume detailing my qualifications. 

Below are some characteristics that I believe are significant and also trying to pass off as relevant to this position:

  • I’m terrible working in offices. In my experience so far in the past two offices I was advised to work on my ”fake smile”.
  • I have a tendency to get really drunk at office functions. I mean I avoid such functions, but if I were to attend, I’m sure I’d be the one most drunk.
  • I generally grow to resent all my coworkers.
  • I might come across as a bright candidate with a lot of young, fresh and interesting ideas. But trust me – they’ll all run out and in no time you’ll see my mediocrity shine through.
  • I have absolutely no experience doing anything that the position requires. I think I can pull it off but it’s a shot in the dark to be honest.
  • I have no idea what half your job description means. If you have a lie detector in the interview room, that thing would start beeping the moment I’d enter the building, i.e, if you call me for an interview.
  • I’m requesting you to give me this job. I’m tired of making pennies working in the junior position.

Going by everything I mentioned and based on my credentials, I’m certain you will not hire me. Truthfully, I’m just hoping to bullshit my way in and get at least 5 paycheques before you guys figure out that I have no idea what I’m doing. Also, the money would help me get by for the next two months until I find something else to bullshit my way through.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to meeting with you.

Warm regards,
Why bother, you’ll probably never remember it

Delegation vs Leverage

I was watching a Tony Robbins video the other day where he mentioned having a team of people with whom he works. Not having a team of people who works for him. Slight twist of words but significant difference between the two.

In my small span of career so far, I’ve met people who strongly believe in delegating. They write an email about a task with a follow-up on the given deadline. There is no real support. It’s more like they take responsibility of the desired result but not of the required action.

It was one of those topics that sparked my interest. So I started reading up on it and this is what I’ve understood.

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Delegation is taking a result or action you’re responsible for and giving it to someone else. You’re delegating the entire responsibility on a hope and a prayer it will actually get done, and get done right. In case it doesn’t the blame is on the person who was supposed to do the work.

Leverage, on the other hand is working with another individual to produce a result or action. The other individual may do most, or even all of the work, but you’re actively involved by clarifying the outcome needed, checking in from time to time and helping solve challenges that may come up along the way. You’re leveraging the work, but you’re maintaining responsibility and ownership of the result you’re after.

One makes you feel like a team player and the other makes you feel like a mere worker. Such a simple difference, but choosing one over the other makes all the difference.

The Girl Who Drinks Whiskey

A lot can be understood about people by the choice of their drink.

You’ve got your wine drinkers, twirling their glasses, looking all fancy, mostly judging everybody around them. Then you’ve got your beer drinkers, the cool fun gang. You’ve got your vodka and tequila drinkers, busting shots, with the only aim to get high.

And then there are whiskey drinkers. If you’re a whiskey drinker chances are you will be presumed as an old stuck up fella who sits alone, and smokes packs of Marlboro Reds.

This is where I disagree. Sure, whiskey might be the most masculine choice at bars, but it doesn’t mean it’s out of bound for the ladies. In fact, women who like whiskey are pretty awesome and incredibly desirable (well, for some men at least). I once overheard a gentleman in a bar say, “There’s just something hot about watching a chick throw back shots of whiskey with a purpose.” (Not making this up)

The woman who drinks whiskey can hold her liquor. If you want someone who takes down shots and lose her senses then stay away from the whiskey woman. However, if you’re looking for a good evening, you’ll want a girl who can hold her liquor. And if she is ordering neat, you’re in for a good night.

If her drinking habits are any reflection of the rest of her habits, then this woman doesn’t like half-ass things. For her, weekend is the time to let her hair down and relax (with or without a good company). She isn’t one to go to a bar, get drunk and sulk about her problems.

Just like whiskey has a mature, aged flavour, so does a whiskey drinker. This woman is mature, and drinks to enjoy alcohol. She’s not the one to laugh her ass off at silly jokes. Instead she is looking for either a mature company or no company.

She doesn’t just drink whiskey because it’s going to get her drunk faster or because she has anything she’s trying to prove. She genuinely appreciates alcohol in general, and the prominence and class of whiskey have sparked her interest. Sure, she could throw back shots of cheap vodka, but simply getting pissy drunk is far from her motive. She sips slow.
She’s not a people person. She’s a whiskey person.

She is emotional. She is in touch with her feelings and is honest about them. While she may come across as apathetic to majority of the banking – once you get to know her, you realise just how passionate she is.

She is also a badass. Not in a motorcycle rider or bass guitar player kind of way. But, judging by the bourbon on the rocks she’s clutching, she probably has a little wild streak that not everyone knows about.