Lately, I’ve been really obsessed with the dark mode as everyone else on the internet. So I took a step forward to explore this low light photography.
When I was young I said yes to whatever people asked from me. I had no idea that I had a choice to say no, I blame it mostly on my upbringing, shyness and my low self-esteem. I did so many things I did not want to do because, well, I’ve been a people pleaser, until someone explained to me I am no longer a child and I have the power to say no, take care of myself and even survive if someone doesn’t like me for my choices, etc, etc. and that absolutely blew my mind. And, since then (spoiler alert) I have been saying no to almost everything I can say no to.
A friend asking for a movie? No. Some money? No. A date? Oh god no. A weekend outing, a little trip? New friends? Any social event? Trying something new? No, no, no, just no. I’m going to be in my bed with my laptop, where I’m most comfortable and safe, doing absolutely nothing at all. This is what happens when you find that sweet-sweet spot in your comfort zone. I had no dreams, no goals, no future, apparently no life. I was slowly dying in my bed every weekend, and I was like, “Eh! there’s no hope for me. Something bad happened to me, so I’m going to give up on everything. I’m going to push everyone away and become a loner and talk to no one. This is my life now.” And sadly, it really was.
I think Netflix (my only true friend at that time), sensed this in some way and recommended a movie called “Yes Man”. It starred Jim Carrey (my childhood crush) so I was already sold. Twenty minutes into the movie and it felt like I was Jim Carrey- ignores everyone’s call, avoids conversations at work, flaking on friends, forgetting a close friends engagement, never leaving the house, single, lonely and anxious. OMG! did someone stalk me and wrote this script? What was going on! It was surreal. Okay, I am exaggerating, but it was very close to what I had become.
In the movie, Jim Carrey participates in a self-help program where he is forced to say yes to everything for a year, which he does dread initially, but once he gets hang of it, he does great things (no spoiler alerts here, watch the movie please). It changes his life, it changes him as a person, he hits new highs and lows, he learns so much about himself, he goes way out of his comfort zone and realizes it was not that hard. I know its just a movie and things like these probably won’t happen to me in real life, but who cares, at least I’ll be living my life to the fullest.
And since then I’ve said yes to things I would have never imagined. I didn’t wait for people to ask me so that I can yes, I started out small, like asking people out, talking to someone new, saying yes to the new dress I never thought I could pull off, taking myself on a date, saying yes to meet new people, new projects, yes to making more money, have a better physique, actually anything that’s going to make me uncomfortable but in the end I’ll be content that at least I tried.
You know, the truth is, it wasn’t that I had become very comfortable with my life, to the contrary, I was fucking terrified of change and failure. I’ve been afraid of almost everything, all my life and I was sick and tired of fear deciding what my life should look like. So I decided to say yes, yes to new experiences, memories, to the things I always wanted to do but never did, to things I’m really terrified of, things I love and enjoy, things I know I’ll regret if I missed them, I’ll be saying yes to all these things, but, on the other hand, I don’t want to say yes to things just to please people, to cover up my insecurity, or anything that’s harmful to my mental and physical wellbeing, because what you say yes to is also important.
Do watch the movie if you haven’t already, it may change your life like it did for me.
DISCLAIMER: Do not say ‘yes’ to stupid things and blame it on me or the movie.
I had a pretty tough summer this year. It was hard. Some old feelings were triggered and I was deeply hurt. I tried to avoid these feelings for a long time and they kept coming back over and over again. I was all over the place. I tried medication, drinking away the pain, being in bed as much as I can, I tried exercising, eating healthy, going outside with as many people as possible, I tried therapy as well, but nothing really worked. Those feelings were still there no matter what I did; it was exhausting. So I did something which I should have done a long time back- Research and Development. So, I sat down one day researched the shit out of it, as to why I do feel the way I do and how do I stop it. And I came to this conclusion:
All my life, ever since I was a child, everyone told me what am I supposed to wear and eat, how do I behave, who am I supposed to be and even how am I supposed to feel. I grew up in a household where I wasn’t allowed to be angry, or sad or be afraid. I was always supposed to put on a brave and happy face even though I did not feel the same. Being vulnerable and being anxious was a sign of weakness. And I grew up, learning how to keep my emotions locked up, closed off and never pay attention to them. No doubt, they kept coming back over and over again because I never in my life learned how to process them.
So, the solution was very simple, but I knew it was going to make me extremely uncomfortable, anyway I had nothing to lose. I only had to give myself permission to feel whatever the fuck I want. That’s all.
I don’t know if anyone ever told you this, but every emotion you feel is what makes you a human (unless you’re a psychopath). It is okay to be sad, and angry, it is okay to be disappointed, rejected or hurt. It is okay to be afraid, vulnerable and anxious. But what’s not okay is if you choose to delve on these emotions. All these emotions are termed as negative only because they make you feel uncomfortable and nobody wants to feel uncomfortable, and people (including me) avoid feeling anything at all for a little bit of discomfort. The only way to get over the pain is to get through the pain.
Giving myself permission to feel whatever I want has given me immense freedom to be the person I really am and the person I would like to be. No, I don’t go around throwing tantrums, breaking things in a fit of rage. I don’t do that, even though it would be fun. But, seriously, don’t do that. What I actually do is, whenever I am feeling a certain negative emotion I tell myself that it’s okay to feel this way. This is temporary and this shall pass too. It’s not easy at first, you’re going to be a mess (larger mess than you were before), but don’t give up, be patient, keep practicing, and you’ll get there.
Yes, I know it all sounds very cheesy, but it worked for me. And, its the first step to love yourself.
People think, just because my eyebrows are always on fleek, my lips are always lined, and my Instagram feed is perfectly curated, I’ve got this stable career going on, that I’ve got it all figured out. Little do they know what happens on the inside. I’ve mastered this art of putting up a facade of looking all put together, where no one can tell what’s going on inside my head.
I have Anxiety. No, it is not just worrying about stuff. It is more than that. It is so much more than that. Let me explain:
I’m always fidgeting, digging into my fingernails, my jaws all clenched and my muscles all tensed, it is like I’m trying to hold on to something so hard and I don’t want to let go. I don’t want to let go of the control, sometimes its the only control I have on my body. I have to keep reminding myself to breathe, to relax, and that everything is fine because I keep forgetting. All my mind sees are the flaws or that one tiny mistake I have made and how now I’m not perfect. And if I’m not perfect then I’m not good enough. And because I’m not good enough I’m going to be alone all my life. And if I’m going to be alone all my life, what does that say about me? I’m not good enough. My mind keeps running in a loop, infinite loop, and what happens when your system runs in infinite loop? It crashes, it crashes real hard. And that’s exactly what happens with me.
It is like there’s a demon living in my head, and it continuously tells me, what a piece of shit I am, how I am not good enough and how I’m going to fuck everything again, just like the last time. It tells me to do things, making me feel like that it will fix everything, and then I do those things, because I’m in severe need of instant gratification, even though I know it is not going to help, but I do it anyway. That’s when I lose control over everything, my mind, my body, reality, everything. The more I try controlling things the more they keep slipping out of my hand. Sometimes it is hard to tell which voice is my own, and which ones the demon or are they the same person, me.
And, then there is this fear. Fear of being alone, fear of falling, failing, fear of not being good enough, fear of death, fear of abandonment, fear of rejection, fear of not being perfect. And, how can I forget, this fear of fear, because when it starts I have no idea how to stop. Also, there are these constant nightmares that make me relieve the same past trauma over and over again.
And, if dealing with this whirlwind of emotions is not enough, I also have to deal with people who do not understand a thing about Anxiety. They think I am overreacting, fragile, weak, overdramatic, and some people even think that I’m faking it all together, you know, for attention. Because when I’m feeling like I’m dying, literally, I should not seek attention I guess, right?
So I keep it all in, put on my boldest lipstick, curl my hairs, fake a smile and show up each day and every day. Keep making my Instagram feed perfect, keep my work up to date, because nobody should know what a dark, infinite, downward spiral my mind is.
Now, when hair loss is currently prevalent in Indian film industry, let me grab this opportunity and write about my hair loss journey.
I went through two surgeries when I was 11 and 13 (I’ll keep that story for some other blog). And, if that wasn’t enough, I spent all my teenage life struggling with PCOD (hormonal disorder). All those medications caused a profound effect on my beloved hair. Losing hair as a kid is every horrible adjective you can think of.
It’s like you can’t sleep without fear of hair fall, you can’t eat whatever you want, you can’t go out and play or attend any social events. You even dread going to school every day, because people are going to notice, kids are going to tease you. It forms this deep connotation inside you that looks are everything. It’s different when you’re in your 20s or 30s because you’ve had the privilege to be a carefree kid and now you’re old enough to handle things on your own. On the other hand, losing hair as a kid? It can fuck you up (not going to sugarcoat that). I isolated myself for almost a decade. I had really low self-esteem and I hated myself for so long because, somehow, I felt it’s all my fault. I was the broken one. I accepted really shitty people in my life and let them control me. I felt like an impostor as if they see me for who I am, they would leave me. It further developed into anxiety and depression. But the truth was, no matter how many people truly loved me for who I am, it wouldn’t matter because I needed to love myself and accept myself the way I am, as there was literally nothing wrong with me. The human body is very complex, and sometimes it doesn’t work in your favour, and it doesn’t mean you should stop living.
So yeah, when people reminisce about their childhood, I just sit over there like, nope, don’t want to go through those series of unfortunate events again. And, if you’re thinking that I’m exaggerating this blog a little too much then please accept the fact that you have a head full of hair. I mean we want to believe something as absurd as our hair is not such an important part of our lives but it absolutely is.
Hair is everything. We wish it wasn’t so we could actually think about something else occasionally. But it is. It’s the difference between a good day and a bad day. We’re meant to think that it’s a symbol of power, that it’s a symbol of fertility. Some people are exploited for it and it pays your fucking bills. Hair is everything.
Its how people perceive you. Your romantic and social life can take a hit. Especially, in our Indian society where the beauty standards start with women having dark, thick and long hair. Even though it’s very common for men to deal with hair loss, hardly anyone talks about hair loss in women. It is equally common. The only time when hair loss is acceptable in a woman is if she is old, dying or dealing with cancer, or else everyone makes you feel like a disgrace. The guilt and shame they make you go through is tremendous. I mean why would anyone on earth be like, you know what I don’t want my hair anymore. Wouldn’t it be really cool if people can see my scalp? Nobody wants that unless you are really into the bald look, then go for it.
Anyway, when I gave up trying to regrow my hair and started focusing on my mental and physical well being, I was fortunate enough to get 50% of my hair back. They are not perfect, but I love them the way they are. And when I finally came to terms with my flaws, and learned to laugh at them, people seemed to accept me even more. And I’ve realised this one thing- in the end, what really matters is what’s inside your head rather than what’s on your head. Am I right?
Also remember, do not click on those hair regrowth ads on the internet, they simply redirect to porn. Apparently, everything redirects to porn. *sigh*
Have a good hair day, folks!
Being an introvert is really easy. You don’t have to constantly plan your outings each and every weekend, you are comfortable enough to do things on your own, and you love it. You don’t have to keep up with hundreds of your friends like other extroverts, you only have few and they are great. You save so much money by staying home and doing nothing, its outrageous. You don’t need people to make you feel comfortable, you are good on your own, you are more independent than you know. You get to observe so many things being in the background, which other people tend to miss out. It’s like a bliss if you want it to, but sometimes its also a nightmare.
But when you finally open up to someone you know its going to be special.
I’m here, sitting in your room because you keep telling me that what we have is a secret and nobody should know. I like it when you call me your secret, it makes me feel special.
I also like your hair and the sound of your voice. I love how perfectly messy your hair always is. And when you wear that black shirt, it literally makes me weak in my knees. It’s such a disappointment that you never look at me the way I look at you. I wish you would.
We talk, day in and day out, we can’t stop, but it’s weird how we never talk about me, its always about you. But I don’t mind, I can’t get enough of your voice. And, every time I tell you that this is the last time I’m seeing you, you pull me back in with your words as if you exactly know how to make me stay and how to keep me wanting more. So I stay, even though I hate myself more than the last time.
Sometimes you do take me out, hiding from everyone, because I know I can’t be found with you. And when we are with our friends you’re so busy talking to the girls, that you completely forget about me. It reminds me of my dad, cold and distant, right there beside me yet never there, and still, I like it. I like how it makes me burn.
So I let it all out, empty threats, spewing poison, I pour my heart out and wish you’d just listen to me once. I’m a mess but I don’t care anymore and neither do you. You just stand there and tell me how crazy I am and how impossible I am to handle. And I believe you, I believe its all my crazy, I believe its all in my head, as it cannot be you. You seem perfect. It’s me, who is flawed, has always been. So, I accept defeat and you promise me this is the last time we are fighting, even though we both know it’s not.
But I never learn, because, here I am again, sitting in your room.
I am aggressive, it makes me passionate.
I am angry it keeps the fire inside me burning.
I am sensitive, I call it being kind and compassionate.
I am vulnerable, but it helps me open up to people.
I am anxious, it makes me face my fear head-on.
I am hurt, it only makes me understand how deep pain is.
I am sad, because of which I know how fleeting happiness is.
I am confused so that I can figure out where exactly I want to be.
I am afraid, but it never did stop me from being who I am.
I am disappointed, it will only make me try harder.
I am dramatic because I would not settle for anything less than I deserve.
If you think emotions are what makes you weak than you’re wrong. Emotions are hard like really hard, and to accept them is what makes you the strongest person.
So I am all of these things and if that’s what makes me crazy. Be it.