Bringing myself into existence




Metamorphosis is beautiful. All transitions are. It seems like the most magical part of the life of the butterfly is when she knits the cocoon around herself and comes out transformed. But it isn’t all. It is also the most difficult part of her life. Then is a different struggle. A struggle that is internal. She has wings now, but no direction. From a wriggling insect, she is now a delicate creature of color. She is the same, but her world isn’t. She can’t ever hide again, for her wings will give away. She can never be the same again, not even in her reflections. Which of her existence should she believe? That of a worm on the twigs, struggling to eat, or that of a winged creature of the flowers? How can she ever relish the awe at her beauty, when she was scorned at the beginning of her life?
Existential crisis. I did read about it in the text books, and I aced the paper too. I know why it happens, and how one can cope up with it. I am fully prepared to deal with it, if I am that person’s therapist. But not if it is me. Trust me, now that I am dealing with it, I can add a lot more to the books. Have you ever felt that you are not sure of anything in your life, least of all your own self? All what you had thought of rush past you are still in the chaos of your own mind. You repeatedly instruct yourself to catch up, to go where you wanted to, but you just can’t move. everything around you seems like a haze, a reality that no longer holds the same value.
When I was a kid, I would day dream the entire time about being an adult. I felt that once I would be a grow up, I would be able to bring all my adventures of mind to the real life. But when I turned into one, I felt that I couldn’t get any of them to come true. All my dreams and hopes and wishes were suddenly turning into a heavy life support that was crushing me with its weight, but one without which I couldn’t live either.
I wanted to be all things great. But now, after some difficult but grateful years, I realize that what I truly want to be is just how I was as a five-year-old. I struggle at times but am undoing a lot of myself that the five-year-old me was taught. And it is getting a little easier because communicating with my own self is becoming clearer now. Firstly, I have started trusting myself a little. I know that if I feel disturbed at certain things around me, it is not because am jealous or insecure. It is because a part of me is struggling to come out but doesn’t know how. And now I just refuse to suppress it. For instance, I have always been crazy after animals. In India, the dogs on the street are mostly in a very bad state. I have grown up with street animals as a big part of my life. More like siblings that I never had. They were never pets for me, they were my very own. But after a lot of scolding, silent treatments, shaming, etc. that I received as a child because of it, I made my emotions discreet. As a teen I got further distracted. It was just my dogs at home that I mostly looked after. But then a couple of days back, I saw the amazing work a girl at my university had been doing for the animals. She had changed the entire landscape of dogs there. Her Instagram page had many supporters. I felt shallow and uncomfortable. I wondered if I was jealous. But I knew the problem ran deeper than that.
That instance reminded me of ‘The Light Bearers’, a ‘group’ I had made as an 8-year-old kid to rescue all stray dogs when I had come to my grand-mum’s home in the Christmas holidays. I had announced in my family that when I would be an adult, I would register it as my first NGO. I had made office cards out of colorful chart sheets for my cousin and I, and the unicorn was its logo. I had read a 565-page book on dog species and first aid and had made first aid kits referring to it for the animals on street.
My own memories put me to shame. I just wanted to do that kid justice who was waiting to grow up so that she could save all the animals after that. I immediately was thankful firstly for the spare money that I have ever since my break up 6 months back (my ex had been taking all my money the past 5 years and more). I thought I would survey all dogs in my neighborhood and see what I can do for them. That very day, I found an abandoned dog and her 5 pups right behind my house. I also realized that the dog in my street has just birthed another litter. Two male dogs have also shifted to near my home. Yes! I was extremely thankful that atleast they were close to me! The much-suppressed dog rescuer in me took no time to come back to life. I purchased tons of dog food, collars, coats and started talking to my neighbors about it. then I realized that two of the houses on my block had adopted two pups each from the street, drawing their inspiration from me! Apparently, they knew about my adopted dogs and felt rescued ones to be more suitable for them. I started updating my Instagram about it. The next day, a school friend from my early childhood texted me after many, many years. He said that the most prominent memory he had of me from school was me blabbering about dogs from near my home. He said, “some things never change”. Haha! It was a difficult transition, unearthing myself, but I was so happy to be doing it right.

It was just this morning that I was thinking about that maybe there is no fantasy in the future. Maybe the fantasy is now. The life that I dreamed of can be now. And if it can’t be now, I doubt it will be ever. I was promising to myself that I will respect myself by not measuring myself to unrealistic goals so that I stop running from them and complete the tasks at hand. I felt lighter for some time.
But now, I feel a void. A void that one feels after letting go of some blockages. It is supposed to be good, but the body was once forced to believe that the blockages and the negative constructs of the mind were a form of protection. I guess it is mourning that loss and learning to live with fewer defenses.
But what I do realize now is that the life that I am leading is the fantasy of a kid who all what she wanted to do was rescue this world. Every day, I try to find myself within me. I cry over, and then polish and fit the new puzzle pieces of myself that I discover. An existential crisis is a surreal journey.
Metamorphosis is truly beautiful. All transitions are. It is the most magical part of the life of the butterfly is when she knits the cocoon around herself and comes out transformed. She is delicate, yet invincible because she made her own wings. She doesn’t have to learn how to fly, she was destined to. Her very existence is a proof of all surreal possibilities. She is the same, and she will always be, for she was always a winged creature, even when she wasn’t.

Opening Up

Since forever, I have been wanting to write a blog.

I didn’t know how to go about it. I thought I would make it funny and satirical. I once thought of living out each day as a quote. But I just couldn’t get to. Now, I have decided that what I am going to write is going to be purely, genuinely, just me. This blog is going to have all of me in little pieces every week or so. I am going to discover myself right here, with all of you reading into my life. And that’s one of the most courageous things one ever does.

Okay, so a little about me. I am a 22-year-old (23 in a week), who is confused on the outside but sorted on the inside. I am the only daughter of my parents, but it seems like I am the parent and have two kids with contrasting personalities. I also have two dogs. They are females from the same litter, and are equally different. I am final year student of Psychology, with Clinical psychology as my specialization. After university, I work in an NGO for a couple of hours, where I teach under privileged kids. On the weekends, I have my extra classes for GMAT, for I am thinking (but not sure) to pursue an MBA degree after this. I intermittently do a lot of things, for am a Sagittarian and I need much of variety. I love being a jack of all trades, but I guess it is high time I should be a master of one. Other times, I am rescuing all those in need, right from dogs to people to my own self.

When people come to know about me being a volunteer and helping animals and others, they treat me really gently and with much respect. They subtly tell me to not go overboard with this ‘charity’ and they sympathize with the selfless decisions of this young adult. Psychologists would say that my altruism is a high order defense mechanism. Other say I’m oriented towards ‘good karma’. I don’t know how much of this perceived selflessness of mine is actually true. This is for you to decide, after I tell you this little story which takes you and me back into my childhood.

Very recently in my life did I realize that memories are never lost. They may be buried for a while, but not long. Unknowingly, we find a way back to them, seeking or living them until they come rushing back to us. I feel that the first memories of our childhood are like the glasses we wear. We may different things post that age, but all what we see are colored by the very first that we saw.
Let’s go 17 years back (God, I just realized it has been that long!). I see a house in an upper middle-class neighborhood. It was serene and aging neighborhood then. I was one of the few only kids in that area for the five years we lived there. Or atleast, few of the only kids who lived in the houses. The street, however, had plenty of kids.
Okay, so now, let us visualize my house. If you’re facing it, on the left was an empty plot, with an old burned car’s skeleton in the middle of it. It had been abandoned since ages and was so huge and untouched that it had a golden dry vegetation of its own. It seemed quite out of place yet was the home to my first ever best friend of my life. There was a small water drain, partly covered, on the side of it and the house. The plot was bigger than the house, so there was a small part over the drain where it didn’t share wall with the house. The wall there was quite low, and quite poor a barrier for the hyper teenagers who would come over to this side of the plot and jump over it effortlessly. The wall was also low enough for a five-year-old girl (though she was tall for her age) to jump over it with a bit of struggle and initial falls.
In front of the plot was a dhobi, ironing away the clothes and chatting with everyone who would come to him. He was also the father of one of my first playmates.
On the right of the house was basically an extension of the plot. There was a smaller accommodation build on it and had no boundaries between the house and it except for the plants that we would grow there later. The house was just a part of a big plot. The landlord had his own two floored home right behind it, sharing a common wall. Within it was also a narrow parking space.
This house was my home. It was the third place I had lived in till the age of five. It had two bedrooms, a dining room, a sitting room, a porch and the only garden I would be having till today. My parents didn’t own it. We shifted there while our own building was being constructed on our land, in a different and the poshest part of the city. If all my childhood could materialize in one place or thing, it would be this house. If one had to know me, it tour of this place was all they needed.
I can never tell you what I would do there, or what memories I have of that place, in just one blog. For I am just learning to open too. When I recall that time and place, I can look at me playing in the garden there. My mum had said that trees listen and if I just trust enough to feel them, they love you back and give solutions to everything. I used to talk to the plant there, tilling the soil with my little hands. The first Mogra flowers of the season and wearing them on my hair were like gifts to me that kept me beaming all season. The small baby birds there, and them coming to the little feeders I built for them each year were the biggest excitement. I admire who I was, for I made best friends out of our neighbor kids. People kept shifting and new families kept coming in, and they were all my friends. All kids of my maids and servants were my best playmates. All my stuff was theirs and we made up all kinds of games possible. I used to run into the road, and all of them would follow in a line. Mom’s clients would be mostly kids who were differently abled. They were mom’s clients but my friends. My Tommy, my first dog and my first best friend, was born in that deserted plot. He looked out for me for all the while. As a child, I saw a protector in him, one which I never found again like that.

I had a form of communication that went beyond words, to feeling the other one. My group of friends, as you can see, was quite diverse. People call me an ‘empath’ today. Some say I must have had tons of experience in life to understand everyone. I’m not sure if it is that what it takes. It just must be a mom who teaches you to be different, and this universe which never leaves me lonely.
I was an only child, but I never ever felt alone. The universe had so many friends for me.
Even today all so more, if I ever get stuck somewhere, or am sad, a mental tour of this house is all I need. I haven’t still moved out if it and I don’t think I ever will and can. Some undone closures and forced good byes make you what you will be in the future, and this made me that. On my last day here, and the last time I looked at it, I knew what parting from it would do to me. And that was 13 years ago.

I search the same place in this world. I search the house where I can be me. I search for that security, that same freedom, those friends and most importantly, that part of me that I struggle to recover, every day of my life.

This is the most difficult thing I ever had to write, and I just did that.