For three long years, she lived alone. Away from friends, family and herself… On some days she met people. Colleagues, friends on rare weekends and family on more rare ones. She’d always wanted to live on her own. To experience the taste of independence. She’d found out so much about herself and life altogether. She even made friends with nature, craft, art, anxiety & depression. Some days were amazing, full of light but on some days, darkness never stopped.
She tried damn hard to fight with her inner demons, with loneliness and with herself, but mostly it never worked. Then, she started to journal her thoughts, her dark feelings and how much she hated living alone. Though, she couldn’t talk about it with anyone. Because whenever she met someone, they all used to say the same thing, “Wow!! You live alone? That’s awesome man!”… No it’s not. After a point, it’s the worst thing ever.
Things got better after two years. Depression was kind of over but anxiety was at its peak. Anxiety attacks were as frequent as salon visits. But she kept quiet, put a smile on her face, everyday. No one knew what she was going through. No one knows. She just wrote in her diary. Sometimes talked to her best friends, who helped her through it.
Whenever her parents used to visit, she never mentioned her battles of the heart, soul and mind. Inspite of having such amazing people in her life, she just couldn’t talk about it! She used laugh with people, who laughed at her because she felt bad for living alone. “You are sad, cause you live alone? That’s not a reason to be depressed, you’re just overthinking.”
Nobody knows what it feels like, until it happens with them. Loneliness can do the worst things to a person, tree or an animal. If you plant a tree in an isolated field without any other trees or plants, it’ll die. If you leave a dog alone in the park, it’ll go crazy and so will a human. And on most days, she did die and then lived the next.
It was the beginning of the year 2020 and she was alright. She moved in with her parents in April. She was thrilled that she didn’t have to live alone anymore. She didn’t have to worry about dying from some imaginary disease. She could just sleep all day now. This went on or five months. She was extremely content and happy for living with her parents.
One day, her parents had to go out of town for a few days but she didn’t want to go. She thought, this could be a nice chance to recharge my ‘loner’ self. She wanted to live alone. Because whenever she’d go to another city, she needs to be prepared for it. So her parents left and she was occupied in work. Until afternoon, she didn’t do much. She felt this heaviness in her head. It wasn’t a headache. But the head was drowning, it felt like.
As being a self-aware human, she tried contemplating the reasons behind it. Less sleep – Yes. Eyes Strain- Yes. Too much brain work- Yes. All these reasons are totally normal to feel heavy-headed. But her conclusion was this – I feel this uneasiness – not just in my head but in my whole body. I don’t feel like doing anything. I feel tired and uncomfortable. This is all because after living alone for three long years, I had the best time last five months and now I am alone again. It’s all the side-effect of loneliness… It has creeped in once again, within a few hours of activation!
All she can think now is, how dangerous it is that as much she hates living alone, but loves living with parents but hates living with anyone else but her parents, she’s doomed forever!
Yesterday, the person who’s moving into our building on the ground floor, was cutting the branches of a tree. The tree that has been there for several years and has provided us it’s shade, it’s fruit and it’s positive companionship. He had already cut another tree few days ago, not from the root, but by the branches. People were furious and spoke up against it but behind his back.
I felt so much anger that I kept looking out the window, to see if he’s cutting the whole tree. By that time, it was just the branches. JUST THE BRANCHES. How would you feel if I cut your arm or leg or just one ear? That’s how the tree must have been feeling.
I started crying. I don’t know how I felt it, but I just wanted to hug that tree and ease it’s pain and I prayed to god and said I was sorry that us humans have once again, (Inspite of all the punishments) have disappointed mother nature.
Suddenly, I thought that he is cutting the whole tree out, with the root. So I asked, if they’re. They said NO, they’re only cutting the branches. But I still wasn’t sure. So I kept standing there by the window, and at one point, I was going to go downstairs and stop them once and for all. There was almost a repetition of the ‘Chipko Movement’. I was ready and I was crying. But then, they stopped. The tree was still standing, with less branches. But it was there.
I was sad because I knew that THIS MAN is going to teach his kids the same things. That we can destroy nature for our needs and in the age of planting more trees, they’ll be cutting more! It all made me realise that what I’ve witnessed today and inside my heart is a feeling I have never had before.
I cried for a tree today.
Yet, we need to keep going, right?
As humans we’ve been taught to be faithful and keep moving ahead, no matter what. I agree. Inspite of the fact that the world is facing it’s worst of this century, we must keep moving forward.
I felt guilty for feeling great. I used to see myself as a selfish human, who doesn’t care about the world. The truth is, I don’t anymore. I care, I don’t feel guilty of being happy. This feeling of ‘content’ and ‘self-belonging’ has been missing in my life.
I have never felt that I could love myself and my life this way, as the hardships we go through let us forget that we deserve to be happy. We feel we’re going to be hurt all our lives. But what we need is to embrace that feeling of negativity, ACCEPT what is going on and then, we let it go, once and for all.
So, I accepted that the tree is okay now and I won’t let that man cut anymore. I don’t know about anyone else, but during this whole pandemic, I sure did come closer to Mother Nature & I’ll keep moving with Mother Nature by my side.
Disclaimer: If you’re going through a tough time, I suggest you take a break from the internet. Be safe and don’t over-think. Do deep breathing.
A friend shared this on Instagram:
I was blown away because amidst of all the talk about mental health awareness & suicide prevention, I haven’t seen anyone address this! The emotional abuse that triggers mental distress in the first place! I thank the person who made this and gave me a point to point out, with reasoning & facts, that how in daily life, we may trigger mental distress or how we are being emotionally abused.
Understanding Emotional Abuse
To give you context & I am sure you guys will relate to these instances on some level. A person, who forces you to not talk to any of your friends or is over possessive is Emotional Abuse. A person, forcing their decisions on you and YOU, out of love are happily accepting them is Self Emotional Abuse. You can say ‘NO’, yet, you can’t. The toxic relationships we know are toxic because of ABUSE. The toxic friendships are into existing because of Mental Distress. You don’t like the place where you work, because the people are emotionally distressing you without even knowing.
Comedian Zakir Khan said in one of his stand-ups, “Fun is because of people, the place doesn’t matter. We need people. Our people. We’ll be fine even in hell.” That’s why relationships end, because the people don’t resonate with our emotional intelligence. Just like Intellectual Quotient (I.Q.), there is an Emotional Quotient (E.Q.) in us as well. The higher the E.Q., the more you are emotionally aware about your behaviours and decisions in life. It’s simply can be understood as ‘Self-Awareness’.
You might have noticed that some people have fewer friends, some people are introverts, some people who are extroverts, choose to be ‘Selective Extroverts’ because their E.Q. is high and they know what & who can emotionally distress them, so they are open to their circle of people. That doesn’t mean that introverts are highly self-aware, some aren’t, yet, it is believed, they mostly are as they spend most of their time with themselves.
The LIFE ADVISORY BOARD, also known as Life Coaches, often suggest for us to spend some ALONE TIME. Reason is simple- Self Awareness. The more you spend time with yourself, the more you’ll get to know yourself. Initially, it’s hard because it’s exhausting, can be lonely and can cause depression & anxiety, yet, the silver lining is that once you start living with yourself, you’ll understand what’s good for you and what’s not. Who’s right for you to be in your life and who’s not. I’ve always suggested ‘Journaling’ as one of the best practices to become self-aware. It’s one of the best methods to understand our emotional sides.
When it comes to emotional abuse, I am sure when we over-think, over-work, over-pamper someone or even over- agree with people we over-care about, we feel anxious, tired, caged or trapped, respectively. Those are the initial signs of emotional abuse. So, another method to say NO to emotional abuse is also to learn to say ‘NO’. Consent is not meant ‘just for sex, it’s also meant for other things in life. Like YOURSELF. The decisions in YOUR life, should be YOURS. The space YOU want for YOURSELF, should be there. The break YOU need from people, shouldn’t be misunderstood.
It’s not just Self-Love or Self-Care. It’s YOUR LIFE and YOU need peace of mind, heart and soul to live it well and to be happy. And we all know, We can’t make people we love happy, if we ourselves aren’t. So, for your own sake, take a stand for yourself. It doesn’t make you selfish, it makes you human.
The Power Of “Standing-Up”
Apart from getting a head rush, there goes a lot of thinking into standing up & standing up for yourself. (Lame jokes are allowed in serious articles). Amidst of the pandemic, so many personal issues have surfaced, which were being either ignored or were invisible to a layman’s eyes. Mental Health being the top on that list resulting in suicides, domestic violence & more.
In India, 77 % cases of domestic violence have been reported, which is way more than they used to. Social Media have had an extra impact in this regard. It’s sad and outrageous that it’s happening, but it’s commendable that people are standing up for others and for themselves. People refuse ill treatment which is a strong message for everyone and the power of standing up. This power doesn’t only makes us stronger, it makes the society a better society in whole. When people support each other, incredible things happen, so if you notice any form of abuse around you – Speak Up.
What Can We Do
Just like I have been trying to finish this article for a week, slow and steady, we get to the finish line. All we need, is a little push. We can make this world a better place, not just by earning enough, but by lifting each other up as well.
As the pandemic has shown us, how much we need to work on ourselves personally, we can start with being more compassionate and kind with each other. Kindness is the best gift to be given and we all can be kind, it’s not something you learn to be, it’s something you’re born with. Embrace it. Not everyone can be an empath but everyone can be kind. Just being nice to people is good enough. Be nice, smile at people, if you see someone crying in public, hug them or talk to them. You don’t know, but your ONE kind gesture makes a HUGE difference in someone’s life.
I could still hear the cheer. I could still feel the lights on my face. I could still smile at the possibility. I could still be a Rockstar! This was my another life. A life un-lived.
I still sing sometimes, but that passion is missing now. The soul lacks in transferring the sound waves through a listener’s heart. It could only reach to an ear or two. People could still praise me for the voice I have & the songs I sing. But they would never praise me for it touched their soul. Because I knew, it didn’t have the soul anymore. A soul for a soul, remember? If you don’t give a soul, you won’t connect to a soul either.
No matter how much you want it. No matter how much work you want to give into it, so that you can fill up the years you’ve lost without it, nothing will ever be enough. Nothing will ever fill up the void in your heart.
The emptiness I feel when I see someone perform on stage. That heart ache I feel every time someone tells me they’re a singer. That voice in my head that tells me, “I could’ve done it better”. It never goes away. It’s constant knock annoys me sometimes, but mostly, reminds me of what could’ve been!
Then, reality creeps in and all I’m left with, are tears and regret, sometimes guilt too. “What if, have I worked harder or stayed focused, or the passion wouldn’t have been lost?”
No, that doesn’t matter now.
I have a broken dream, that I can live, every time I close my eyes.
It’s not your fault, that the first time I met you, I doubted your intentions. The world has made me like that. Though, when I got to know you, you were a delight and a charmer. You made me laugh, you laughed at my jokes too! You shared your thoughts and really listened to mine.
I support the notion “Not All Men” , because of YOU. You never made me feel unsafe or insecure. Instead, You made sure, I was comfortable. Because you really meant it, when you said that I am your friend, your sister or your lover. Until,
I met the toxic ones along the way. Yet, I trusted them, because I always thought they’d all be like you. But here again, “Not All Men”. So ,they were manipulative, scary and desperate. Not for my love, but for my body.
They don’t exist to me anymore. Because I have more of you in my life and I am grateful for that. When I know I am a feminist, I also know, that YOU respect not just Women, But Everyone. And I respect you for that.
We never talk about gender equality, even when you call me bro, buddy, & babe, because I call you the same too. It’s not the WORDS that make us equal, but it’s our actions. I never had to tell you, that you’re being biased, because you chose ME as your Equal.
I understand, it’s hard for you too, to find a place for yourself, and to make people NOT misunderstand you. I understand, that you feel trapped in this battle of patriarchy and equality. In spite of the fact, that you just care about humanity. But You need to understand that for US, it’s a never ending battle too.
The only thing Me & You can do, is to keep doing what we do and do it better everyday. Let’s remain friends, equals and competitors.