What I learned about love by reading Harry Potter

I know the title sounds extremely cheesy but hear me out I’ve got a story to tell.
Ever since I was a kid I had this ability to feel… a lot. I could empathize with everyone else’s pain, I had fully developed range of emotions that affected me in every way possible. I used to live in extremes. I could feel euphoria when I was happy and emotional agony when I was sad. This ability to feel every emotion larger than they were always left me exhausted and overwhelmed with little to no energy left to focus on other aspects of my life. Even though my physical pain endurance level is astounding my emotional pain endurance not really. The memories of emotional pain from my past still haunt me.

As I grew up and started watching a lot of movies across every genre, one specific genre that fascinated me beyond comparison was “True Crime”. Ah! the world of serial killers, narcissists, psychopaths, sociopaths, their inability to feel emotional pain, their incapability to be bounded by love and other stupid emotions. They don’t care about social status or being single or other trivial stuff like nobody to love and dying alone. It seems like a fantasy land where there is a unique species of humans devoid of emotions, one of the most important things that set us apart from any other living being. No doubt it fascinated me, and no doubt I wanted to be it, Oh! the amount of time I’ve spent on Wikipedia consuming information about serial killers! I mean who would not want to feel emotional pain for the rest of their life and just kill people for fun and then mock police and media by sending cryptic messages! Okay, not me (only the emotional part maybe).

And ever since I’ve been coming-of-age (I’ve realised its a continuous process), I’ve been learning to accept and love myself with all the good, bad, and ugly parts. Especially last year when being all by yourself was the only option, also reviving your old hobbies and trying to pass the time seemed like a good idea. So I took up reading Harry Potter which I never did before. I wasn’t expecting much as I’ve already watched all the movies, knew all the spoilers, what new could I found? Boy! was I wrong!

As soon as I read Voldemorts back-story I realised that the Dark Lord was a born psychopath. No mercy, no guilt, treats people like his tools, has no friends, collects valuable items as rewards, thinks he is super special and has every narcissistic tendency possible. Harry had similar childhood just like Tom Riddle, an orphan, neglected, lonely, invisible, but he cared, he loved, had compassion and empathy. I will give up anything to relate to Voldemort but no I could relate to Harry Potter more.
I remember reading Half-Blood Prince and how my perspective about love changed completely. Throughout the series, Dumbledore tells Harry numerous time that what sets Harry apart from Voldemort is his ability to love. Yeah I know, even Harry rolls his eyes every time.

Harry: I know. I can love! Big deal
Dumbledore: Yes, Harry you can love, which given everything that has happened to you, is a great remarkable thing. You are protected, in short by your ability to love! The only protection that can possibly work against the lure of power like Voldemort’s! In spite of all the temptation you have endured, all the suffering you remain pure of heart, just as pure as were at the age of eleven, when you stared into a mirror that reflected your heart’s desire, and it showed you only the way to thwart Voldemort, and not immortality or riches. Harry, have you any idea how few wizards could have seen what you saw in that mirror? Voldemort should have known then what he was dealing with, but he did not!

This struck a chord. Everything Dumbledore says is very much comforting but this one hit home. And now that I think of it, the whole undertone of this series is ‘Love’. Every characters action is motivated because of love. Be it Helena Ravenclaw who trusted a man too much, Tom Riddles mother who gave up her magic and lived a common life, Severus Snape (I don’t need to say why), the obvious- Lily Potter, and even Dumbledore (can’t elaborate because huge spoilers here). Isn’t it the same with our lives too? I am aware of how easy it is to brush everyone off, not let anyone in, and run away from our feelings. It does take a lot of courage to trust all over again, to love without expectation, and let ourselves feel things. And this is exactly what sets us apart and inspires most of our actions.

I never in my life thought reading Harry Potter will help me in self-acceptance, but I guess that’s the power of fiction. You learn as much as you allow it to, you find a new outlook in unexpected places and most importantly you find characters you can relate with, no matter how boring your real life is.

I strongly believe, the next time our world is in mortal peril it will be love that will save us and not the other way around.

I finally took a personality test and it blew my mind

If there’s one thing I don’t like, other than making small talk with someone I just met, it is them asking me what’s my sun-sign. It is mostly so that they can figure out my personality. Why? Why do you need to know my personality upfront? We just met! Even my mother doesn’t my real personality yet. How my date of birth is going to decide what kind of a person I am? Does that mean millions of people born at the same time and date are all similar to me and we all live a similar life? How’s that even logically possible? If I Google my personality according to my sun-sign I get independent, honest, intelligent, lover of freedom(what type of sun-signs don’t like freedom??), compassion, etc. Go figure. These are all general human qualities. No offence to people who believe in Astrology, but little common sense may work here(I bet they missed this quality on their sun-sign)

Sorry about that rant but I cannot wrap my head around this no matter how hard I try. And this was the whole reason I didn’t believe in personality tests because I thought they all are just vague general qualities and can be applied to any human. Well, I was wrong, to say the least. At the start of the year, I took Myers Briggs Personality test just to prove to myself how stupid these tests are. This test is a list of multiple-choice questionnaire about how we interact with our environment, other people, how we make decisions and cope with emotions, how do we process our mental energy, and choose our work. After a while answering these questions, well, my mind was blown, I had multiple epiphanies, I went through enlightenment, you cannot believe how accurate it was. So here it is, (drum roll please) my personality type is INFJ, said to be the rarest of personality type (not shocked at all here).

All my life I thought my parents dropped me over my head too many times and that’s how I became a weirdo. A weirdo, who cannot fit in anywhere, who just feels everything too much, so passionate and yet so overwhelmed all the time, extremely creative in every aspect of life, but this never-ending anxiety, the hot and cold relationships with people around me- all made sense. But it was so comforting and validating to know that this is a type of personality. I thought I had multiple mental and personality disorders. It was just the personality I was born with. Hilarious! I’m glad though, I finally fit in somewhere, and there are people like me(not that I know of yet but I’m relieved there are). The more I read about it the more I understood my behaviour, my choices and decisions I make. Why I do certain things that others don’t. It’s good to know there’s nothing wrong with me and I’m a completely normal human being. (I hope you’re still not associating me with a sun-sign. *sigh*)

Here are some of the common traits of INFJ:

  • You’re a social chameleon. You can read people and vibe of the room easily and fit yourself accordingly.
  • Extremely creative and find it difficult to find one thing to stick to.
  • Born teachers. Have an intense need to share their learning with others. ( This is why I created this blog)
  • You are a doer. You don’t find it hard to pick a task and complete it while others around don’t seem to understand how you can do so much.
  • People tend to find you intimidating, mysterious because you’re so good at reading them. You have this ability to bring out the worst and best in people. It’s pretty dangerous.
  • INFJs are so intuitive that they can predict a little bit of the future. No, it’s not magic (or astrology). It’s how they process information and form patterns in their brain which makes it easier to predict people, behaviour and sometimes even future.
  • You’re a problem solver. You like to take a huge amount of data into your brain and untangle it and bring it out in the world in the simplest form.
  • Everything is planned in your life. You don’t like spontaneity.

It all sounds wonderful, but like any other superhero, if you cannot control your powers they will turn out to be extremely dangerous and self-destructive.

  • Even though I’m good at connecting with people at the deepest level than anyone can ever reach I tend to attract negative toxic people very easily because I think I can help them.
  • I become a people pleaser as I value them so much.
  • My ability to process huge information most of the times brings out the perfectionist in me. Everyone knows how that ends.
  • And because I’m constantly in my head I most of the times have a very warped perception of reality.
  • I am Anxious more than others and get burned out so quickly because I’m always solving problems and trying to fix everything in everyone’s life.So you get the gist.

The whole point of this test was to understand and accept myself as a person with all the good, bad and ugly, and not to use it as an excuse for my bad actions. It makes it easier to understand my weaknesses and be motivated to become a more well rounded, overall healthy individual. If you feel the same way and have never taken this test then please do. It might change the way you look at yourself.

A YouTuber called Frank James makes amazing videos on this context. His videos have helped me a lot and gave me a kick-start on this new journey of self-discovery. 

I’m in ruins

I may be in ruins, but there are parts of me that have never stopped growing.

Even though there are days when it seems the sun has not been up yet, I know it’s there somewhere.

Even though there are long nights that seem as if they will never end, a tiny ray of light is all I need.

Even though everything seems exactly the same I know it in my bones I am a completely different person than I was yesterday.

Even though there are brand new buds blossoming where they aren’t supposed to, I know better now to embrace them as they come.

It’s this ruins that make these flowers worth noticing, it’s this ruins that know my secrets and it’s this ruins that bring me closer to the light.

May be I have always been in ruins, but that has never stopped me from blooming.

The Obscurity of Ophelia

Ophelia is one of the prominent characters in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. She was in love with Hamlet who was heir to the throne of Denmark, and in certain situations Hamlet reciprocated. Nonetheless, Ophelia’s father and brother warned her to stay away of Hamlet in order to guard her childlike innocence. Eventually, Hamlet takes Ophelia’s virginity and kills her father, leading her to take her own life despite the fact her family claims she “fell off of a willow branch”. Her death is considered one of the most poetic in play history as even though the entirety of her life was dictated by the men around her, her own suicide was her one chance to have a say in her own life, even though it meant ending it.

Some critics say that Ophelia was a innocent girl, taken advantage of by those around her, but fail to take into account situations in the play where she displayed cleverness and wits. On the other hand, some consider her a conniving harlot, only taking into account her cleverness but neglecting the many times she was naive and innocent. In either interpretation, the audience is dictating who Ophelia is to them, just as the men in the play did.

In the end, Ophelia will forever remain one of the most tragic and neutral character of plays, doomed to never find love and forever controlled by others, an amazing symbolization of femininity.

The song Ophelia by The Lumineers states very well “Heaven help a fool who falls in love”.

Watching these 3 things has set my intention for 2021

I think we should be grateful that most of us have made it to 2021, completely changed, with our loss, insights, and will to keep moving forward no matter what. It wasn’t easy but we did it. So good job back there hanging on to the loose threads and not giving up. And even though we want everything to get back to normal it’s not that time yet. There’s nothing we can do about it then to get through it one day at a time. I am aware it’s easier said than done. And if that’s not enough it somehow feels that this pressure around us comes along every new year to change ourselves, or maybe at least resolve to change ourselves.

That’s the whole new year shenanigans, isn’t it? We look inwards and see what a mess we are, and dream about being a perfect hypothetical self, we do want to be that in real life. And whats the best time to try to change every aspect of ourselves other than a new year? Am I right! Most of us didn’t even try coming up with a resolution this year witnessing what went down last year. Why bother anyway, we are all gonna die! Excuse my nihilist existential crisis, it’s hard to keep it inside all the time. So getting back to resolutions, what’s the point? We try hard few days, fail miserably, or a pandemic slips in, things get worse, and we are back to our miserable self. Why even waste our precious time, right?

Well, yeah but there has to be a better way to grow, make progress, keep negativity at bay, and reduce the amount of failure- It’s setting intentions. Resolution is just a vague statement you make which brings out anxiety, fear of failure, negative thoughts, etc. and we end up feeling like a loser. On the other hand, intentions help us to understand why we want to make a change, it comes a from an abundant place, and doesn’t necessarily mean there is something wrong with us or the way we are living. Resolution is an end goal where we think that we’ll be happy only if we reach that goal, conversely, intentions help us to enjoy the process, and be committed to it even after the said goal has been achieved. The clearer our intention the chances are the more we will be able to follow it.

My intention this year is simple and very effective- Be present. I struggle a lot when it comes to being present and not in my head. I’m either embarrassing myself with past or worrying about my future. To be here in the now is something I never learnt or never knew how to do. Coincidentally, at the start of this new year, I watched a movie, a documentary, and a series that has not only helped me to understand how to be mindful, but I am sure will bring immense joy and satisfaction in my life.

Headspace Guide to Meditation

A series/podcast about how and why you need meditation in your life. All the animations are wonderful, colourful, and extremely meaningful. Who knew there is a meditation technique for everything, stress, pain, loneliness, letting go, anger, creativity, etc. Meditation is the best way to be mindful and be aware of our present.

The Minimalists: Less is Now

I’ve been following minimalism for years now. I started it only to save some money, and have a clutter-free life. These two documentaries Minimalism and Minimalists showed me how it is so much more than that. All our lives we think if we earn 7 figures, have a huge mansion with a swimming pool, own every Tesla, then we’ll be happy. If it was so I’m pretty sure all the wealthy and successful people would be the happiest people on our planet. Its a lie we are fed all our lives. This documentary helped me to understand and narrow down the things that really matter to me and get rid of all the rest.

Soul by Pixar

The message that ‘your spark isn’t your purpose in life; it is what makes you want to live’ was one that hit me right in the existential gut. You can be perfectly fulfilled by simply enjoying the beauty of life and that’s exactly what I needed to hear. It’s so weird that an animated movie has helped me quiet my existential crisis more than any philosophy/moral books.

Your intention might be completely different than mine, but I recommend you try watching these things. If nothing, you’ll gain a completely new perspective on how to go about your life. And for me, I’m pretty excited with my intention this year- to be here in the now. I will be reading more books, taking pictures, painting some flowers, meditating, watching good movies, going for long walks, and be there with people I love. Isn’t it all so wonderful than the age-old resolution to just lose weight?

I read Pride and prejudice when everyone around me seems to be getting married

If there’s one thing that Pandemic has made people realise is that how much they need to get married ASAP. Almost every other person I know is getting married or have been married for a month or so. It’s all so exciting seeing everyone around me in so much love and, also, devastating for people like me who have been forever single. Attending any wedding is not only tiresome, for an introvert like me, but it also makes everyone question me about my singlehood, worrying about my biological clock ticking away, and lack of men available at old age. As they see it I need to find a man immediately, or else I’ll never be truly happy in life. Even though I try to smile it away without stating my reasons they end up deciding that I am, obviously, very headstrong, choosy, and proud, which, I’m not gonna lie, I am.

I knew that reading a romantic classic at such a time would only make my disposition worse (Thanks to Mr Darcy) but I needed to indulge in this pity party as no one else would. I always turn towards Romcoms whenever I’m extremely sad over my love life, not to fantasize but many times to understand, what it takes to love someone, to be with them, and what mistakes I’ve been making in my life, and how nowhere I will be with my limiting beliefs. And I always end up learning something or the other. And this book didn’t fail at all.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”

This opening line will go down in history as one of the best opening line in English literature. Jane Austen introduces so many types of marriage throughout the book and the reason why people go ahead with them. And a lot of it is still applicable in today’s world. I’ve met many women, who marry just for the sake of security or worst- marrying, I’ve known several acquaintances, who get married so rashly and end up, well, not at all happy. I’ve also seen very very closely marriages similar to Elizabeth’s parent, where they are of no match to each other and yet carry on with their lives not living but bearing each other. And then there are people like Elizabeth (and I), who do not indulge, rather stay on sidelines and observe everyone and everything from a distance and only hope that this won’t be what we end up with.

Pride and Prejudice is one of the most popular, classical romantic novels of all time, and Elizabeth Bennett is, no-doubt, one of the most celebrated, flawed, boldest female character in the history of literature. I think every independent woman can relate to her one way or the another and I am not an exception here. Her gracefully standing up for herself, her fearless critical observations towards others and good wit, and not scared to say the way it is, is what makes her so different than what we are accustomed to watching women on screen. Her ability to make mistakes, stubbornness, her being blinded by pride and prejudice, and then learning from all this to be a better person, only makes her one of the most realistic representations of female characters in pop culture. What I loved the most about her was the way she didn’t care about class, wealth, security, but only cared about how the person standing in-front of her treats people beneath them. It takes a huge deal of courage to be who you are, reject every idea/men society has fed you to be suitable for you, and keep your values intact, even if it is a time when women are not allowed to vote.

All the Romcoms I’ve seen fade away when compared to the characters, plot, dialogues Jane Austen has brilliantly written. Her use of irony, wit and humour is what makes this book a classic. Her commentary on marriage, money and society, is so intertwined and profound that it makes you understand how and why some women act the way they do. And it’s still very much, sad and disappointing to say the least that things are still the same as they were in the 18th century, for many women around me.

So what I learned from reading this romantic novel you ask? It’s this- We all think love is what makes us blind, but our pride and prejudices makes us more blind than we can imagine. And when it comes to love, sometimes it’s just not your time yet. The person meant for you can be right there beside you but many times you need to go through several self-discovery phases and reject every Mr Collins in your way without being afraid of left alone. Be unapologetically yourself and everything else will follow. Furthermore, marriage isn’t about security, lust, peace or society but it’s about accepting and loving a person just the way he/she is, with all of their strengths and weaknesses. And before you accept and know that person it’s equally crucial that you do the same for yourself.

Looking back at my 2020 goals

Since 2019, I made a firm decision to live my life on my terms and be everything I always wanted to be. I was tired of going with the flow, because it was leading me nowhere (Read more about it here- Hello 2019). It turned out to be a productive year, I managed to lose 10kgs of weight, went on several dates, made some financial investments, etc. Overall a good year for progress. And as every other human on the planet I had high hopes from 2020 (Read about it here- New year, new me), and had planned few goals. I am loss of word as to how and where do I start summarizing the year that has made history. Let me give it a try- It started with me getting ghosted yet one more time by a very promising date, which followed by my company informing that they’re laying off people (I was of course one of those people that they decided to lay off even though I had been their most valuable employee) and I lost few friends. All this happened within the first two months and I remember thinking, “Well, it can’t get worse than this”. How naive, and innocent I was 10 months back! Here are few of my goals and how they turned out to be:

  1. The first goal I had in my mind was to be more Social: I don’t know if I should laugh or cry at this, because it was first time in my life I hadn’t been outside in sun for 4 consecutive months. Being social only happened through social media this year. Somehow, the goal turned out to be okay to live with my own self, which I think everyone can agree, is much more difficult than being social.
  2. I think every living being on this planet and outside this planet had this as their resolution- Travel more: I hear the Gods laughing, and now I am laughing too. As travelling was out of question, going for walks in my locality became a thing. I have to say I have underestimated a simple activity of going on a walk alone or with loved ones.
  3. Become a better Front-End Developer: In the middle of the year I had an epiphany that I would like to be a Designer. Okay, it was not an epiphany, I always wanted to be a designer but it seemed like good time to take charge and turn the course of events when I actually can.
  4. Dating: Yeah, that’s the end of the joke.
  5. Read more books: Ha! The only goal I seemed to have completed without fail. I read about 30 books this year and it was my only escapism from the real world. It was highlight of my whole year.
  6. Stay healthy and not gain weight all over again: This was the hardest task this year. I somehow managed to lose more weight while quarantining, but my definition of staying healthy has now changed forever. Being healthy doesn’t only involve losing weight. Its physical, psychological, emotional, and includes many more factors than only exercising.

Things turned out to be okay for me. I wouldn’t say I am doing great, but neither I am doing bad, and I’ll take that any day after seeing what this year has been like. It seems I’ve lived multiple lifetimes, I’ve matured beyond my age, my perspective, priorities have been completely altered in only last few months. January me seems like a teenager me, who doesn’t know what’s waiting for her and December me is a wise adult now. And somehow resolutions and goal setting seems like a bad idea right now but, hey, even having a vague idea of what you want and who you want to be will take you to places you never have imagined. And I’m pretty sure you’ll come back as a much better person than you had anticipated.

So lets get ready for some more uncertainty. We’ve got this!

PS: This post was inspired by recent John Green’s vlog of the same name. Its quite funny.

What I learned about Perfection by posting everyday on Instagram

After watching the Netflix documentary ‘The Social Dilemma’, I felt an immense self inflicted pressure to delete all social media and start living my life as a monk, which I did for a week. I realised how problematic the documentary was(more on it later), but on the other hand, my addiction to social media didn’t budge at all. So I came up with something opposite of leaving social media- Posting every day on Instagram for 30 days, around the same time. Even though it seems very much simple, it wasn’t.

If you have been active on Instagram for some time you’ll know how much fuss everyone makes about this satanic thing called “Algorithm”. Post at this particular time, use these hashtags, tag these people, make everyone comment on your post, make them share it, pay for it to show up on explore page, sacrifice a goat, bathe with its blood, offer your prayers to the “Algorithm Gods”, etc. And if you’ve done this all right then maybe, maybe you’ll get the desired likes and comments on your post, along with the instant dopamine release and you’ll feel validated, for like 3 seconds. And then you got to do it all over again and again as this impulsive-dopamine-junkies that we all are.

All this mess had not only made me conscious of posting on Instagram but also I started to fear it. I cared a little too much about the number of likes and followers and less about why I used to post on Instagram in the first place. I used to take hours before posting a single picture, overthinking, trying to make it perfect and growing my reach and even after doing all those lists of tasks I mentioned before, I would end up disappointed (I think its because I skipped the goat part). This further resulted in comparison, jealousy, insecurity, anxiety, you name it. That’s not how I wanted to use social media. I wanted to use social media to have my small community, to find like-minded people, make new friends, share my thoughts and my artwork. I don’t know how my mindset became all about business, reach, influencers, sponsors, money, etc. I already have a fulltime job and social media is not supposed to be, or even I want it to be my additional fulltime job. That’s the reason why I always felt burned out and as if I’m not doing enough. This needed to change. So I conducted a little experiment about posting every day on Instagram for 30 days. It seemed like a bizarre option, to be honest, but I had nothing to lose. And here’s what I learned:

  • Action is greater than overthinking : The only thing keeping you from achieving 90% of your goals in overthinking. Sometimes you just have to tell your brain to shut up and start doing stuff even though you don’t know what you’re doing. You need to start somewhere. Put the perfection in a trash can where it belongs and as Nike says- Just do it!
  • Stop caring about what other people like : It’s so easy to focus on what other people like and in doing that we are already moving away from our expression. To be able to genuinely deliver something without any idea, without any expectation, without wanting to impress the other person, it takes real courage. It’s quite difficult. But at the end of the day, there’s guaranteed at least one person is happy and at peace- You.
  • Consistency is the key : You can’t wait to be motivated or to be inspired to do certain stuff. If I worked out only after coming across a fitness video on the internet, then I’d be working out like once a month. And if I workout once a month I cannot complain about losing breathe by walking for 10 mins. When you do something every day you get good at it, and people start to notice it, and that’s how you get the results. That’s also how you train your mind to think less and do more.
  • Planning will save you a lot of time : Breaking down your goal into tiny tasks, and planning them accordingly, saves a lot of time. And you don’t have to waste your time about making trivial decisions, and you won’t end up procrastinating.
  • You decide your success : I can either be disappointed by the number of likes a picture get or I can be completely happy with the fact that I took a pretty picture and wrote something on own.
  • Your inner critic is a mean jerk, who needs to learn compassion : If my friends accomplished even a tiny bit of achievement I’m always cheering up for them, praising them, supporting them, giving them a good constructive criticism about how to do it better, I’ll help them out and so on. And when it comes to me I put all these qualities into a dumpster. Anyway, I’m still learning how to be nice to myself, its a huge process but I’m getting there.

To summarize everything, Perfection = Overthinking and Overthinking = Self-destruction. The only way to get rid of Perfection is Action.

About my Instagram, lots of people unfollowed and followed me over the 30 days, so the number is almost the same. Few of my posts did well without me intentionally doing anything. But the most important part is- I am not anymore afraid of posting, neither do I care about the numbers on my page, or even being active. I no longer create content for Instagram, I create it for me. So that’s something.

So I guess it was a quite successful experiment, I learned a lot. It makes me want to do more experiments. Life’s pretty boring right now, you know, with the ongoing apocalypse and all.

An actual conversation I had with my therapist

Me: I am a weak person, I don’t think I can deal with this.
Therapist: What makes you think you’re a weak person?
Me: People say because I cry, I’m emotional and sensitive about certain things that makes me weak.
T: Have you ever met a person who hasn’t cried or wasn’t ever sensitive in his life?
Me: Umm… nope! They had their moments.
T: Exactly! Would you say your mother is a weak person?
Me: Of course not.
T: So, can we say that you are weak in certain moments because they are not in your control, and that doesn’t make you a weak person as a whole?
Me. Yes. Thank you.

Does this mean people don’t call me weak/sensitive anymore? Well, not. It is just that I no longer take it as an insult because now I know better. It says less of who I am than it says more of who they are as a person. The right people will see it as your strength 😉

I mean just look at Harry Styles or Timothee Chalamet! It’s these qualities that make them a hundred times more attractive. So here’s to being soft and sensitive!

Why do we pretend we don’t care

If there’s one thing I’ve learned while dealing with my mental wellness is how to pretend that I’m doing great. Am I having the time of my life or am I going through a panic attack in my head, no one will ever know. I have been leading this double life since almost a decade now and I think I am very much eligible to be nominated for the Best Actress, Academy Award. 

Well, I can tell why most people pretend that they don’t care- it’s either they don’t want to deal with their emotions or maybe they never learned how to process them, it makes everyone uncomfortable. I think it also involves some power dynamic because showing people how you really feel is often labelled as being weak. It’s a-no-brainier that our society puts certain people on a pedestal who feel less than the ones who feel a lot. And if that wasn’t the case then currently our world won’t mostly run by narcissists and psychopaths. Something like- ‘The less you feel the more successful you’ll be!’ Everyone aims to be that person. We all just want to be super-humans, running after what we want mindlessly so that nothing can ever hurt us and we never have to deal with any kind of negative emotions ever in our lives. This is the reason ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK’ is one of the bestseller self-help books and AI is taking over the world. It is like we are living in constant denial, and in the process, we also deny ourselves of all the positive emotions, we deprive ourselves to be human. 

Okay, I know what you must be thinking if I’m so wise and all why do I pretend to be all cool and not care? The answer isn’t that easy. It’s somewhat my defence mechanism. It is something that has kept me safe from people who don’t understand or don’t care enough about me. When you have a history of mental illness or any kind of traumas you wouldn’t go on pouring your heart out to every person you meet because you’ll be judged, ridiculed, rejected, and worse- abandoned. And when no one believes what you feel is real you start questioning your sanity. Having no control over your emotions is sure shot way to get you labelled crazy, weak, weird, freak, etc. I bet you don’t want to see that in your annual assessment at work every year. Dealing with anxiety (or anything really) is already hard enough that you also have to constantly deal with people who can’t stop reminding you that you’re not normal or there’s something really wrong with you.

I find it extremely funny when people post on social media, “If you need someone to talk to I’m always there” and shit. There’s a reason people like me are not open or seek help quickly because we’ve been shamed constantly for all our lives. And for what? for having emotions? And then the guilt comes along as no one told us it’s okay or it’s normal. So how do we trust the person in front us, how do we know he won’t ridicule us, abandon us, or make us feel like less of a person we already think we are? It’s our survival mode, to pretend everything is cool, everything is safe. But is it really?

I was constantly told and expected to be quiet all my childhood and that somehow became my personality as an adult. If anything bad happens with me my instant reaction is to completely shut off, to be quiet, not say a word, and not to react at all. I was applauded for that, I was called a good girl who is so matured that she can keep her shit together even being so young. And for a very long time, I thought that’s the way to be, to be a perfect adult. Little did I know that if you keep bottling up every feeling it has a fatal effect on your mind, body and soul. I’d rather be healthy and sane than be a good girl people around me expects to be. I’ve kept this facade for such a long time that now I can’t even label my feelings properly. I’m constantly confused, I don’t know how to ask for help, even thinking of opening up to someone gives me a panic attack because I’m so sure that person is going to hurt me, its as if my well-being is in danger. That further builds up into loneliness, despair and isolation. 

It took me some time to figure out that pretending not to care is not the answer and even though I’ve mastered being vulnerable on the internet I also need to be honest how I feel with myself and others around me. I’m extremely tired of living this double life, being so secretive, as if I’m some sort of a superhero living in my superhero universe.

Hence, I came up with a list of things that can help me, or anyone else, who want to stop pretending that they don’t care, process their emotions, let people exactly know what you need and what you don’t. 

  1. Identifying how you feel: Labeling how you’re feeling is half work done. If you know whether you’re sad, or angry, or disappointed, or just uncomfortable, you know how to manage that feeling better.
  2. Expressing yourself: As someone who finds this as a deadly task, its also the most important. Letting someone you trust know how you feel is crucial. And if you want to confront someone, form simple passive sentences like- your this _action_ made me _feeling_. No explanation, nothing.
  3. Writing down how you feel: writing down your feeling on a paper mindlessly without caring about your handwriting, grammar, or if anyone will read it, is the best feeling in the world. And later tearing that paper into shreds, the cherry on top!
  4. Practice self love: You need to treat yourself the way you treat your best friend (how many times you’ve heard this by now). Feed them, be there for them, make them laugh, love unconditionally, don’t stay mad at them for too long and trust them that they can take care of you.

And the most important thing to remember is you’re an adult, you are completely capable of taking care of yourself, you’re safe, you can survive even if people don’t understand you or decide to leave you because they don’t like you, or cannot handle you. Why do you want to be with people like that in the first place? If you cannot get rid of them completely, maybe keep things to yourself from them and them only. There are so many people around us that I believe we can find at least one who can connect and accept us with all our mess.

In the end, I’ve realised the reason I’ve been doing this for such a long time was that I was afraid (and I still am) that people will reject me if I tell them how exactly I feel, but now I’ve recognised that I’m more afraid of regret- Regret that nobody would know who I really am, regret that I’ve hidden my true self from everyone I have loved. Rejection is temporary, but regrets live longer. And seriously who would want to be friends with someone who can’t be themselves around you?!

So cheers to breaking that bubble and seeing the world and people around you with a new open, kind and vulnerable filter!