Monday, 29 April 2013

On the fringes

You and I friend, we sit and talk over endless cups of coffee. We talk of work and family. We talk of our pasts and our futures. We share our dreams and desires. And we talk of how we are on the fringes.

We are the women who don't 'fit in'. I am divorced and have a child. You chose to remain single way past the marriageable age for reasons best known to you. We are the outsiders. May be that is the reason for our bonding. The thread that keeps us close. The fact that we share the experience of being the women on the fringes.

We are ready, oh so ready to let men into our lives. But where are they? Where have all the good men gone? Why can't they look beyond shapes and sizes and see how truly great we are? As you said, why can't they see the awesomeness within? Why can't we be loved even though we're not twenty-something, even though we aren't perfectly sized or flawlessly fair? Why can't we be loved for the incredible mix that we are, strong and independent, confused and goofy? We are strong-willed and stubborn but we still have a right to be taken care of, to be loved and nurtured.

We sit on the sidelines and wonder. Then a sneaky little thought creeps into my mind. Yes we haven't found this man, we say we are ready, we say we are not scared. But is that really true. And here I remove the we and make it I.

I am still scared. The idea of getting to know a new person terrifies me. The idea of letting someone know me is worse. I have built my life again from scratch and today I own it. I make all my decisions, from the ridiculously small to the momentously big. I'm not sure I want to let anyone in on that. I'm not sure I want to love someone again so that they are important enough for me to want to give up that control.

I have a son. He is my life. Can I let someone into his life? What if he doesn't feel the same way about him? What if he does? I won't be the center of my baby's universe anymore. He'll have a right to tell me how to do things, to be a partner in making decisions. It won't be just the two of us anymore. Can I deal with that?

And what if it goes wrong? Do I have the strength to go through heartbreak again? I climbed out of the hole I dug for myself in my marriage kicking and screaming. But I did it. I don't think I can or want to do it again. Ever. I am not that strong or that courageous.

I watched my aunt get married at 44 and I was overawed by her courage. To allow someone into your life, to change, to open the door, it is a tremendous act of faith.

Dear friend, I don't know about you but I don't have that faith yet. So for a little while longer I will watch from the sidelines. Till my heart has healed again I will be content being on the fringes.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Fighting resistance

This blog has nothing new to say (I'm not sure any of them do). This blog will not be publicized on FB or Twitter or anywhere else. This blog is me, fighting the urge to not write.

I committed to myself, and to anyone else who was willing to hear me, that I would write. And so in my classic style I dug out a book borrowed from a friend. The Artist's Way. 12 weeks to unblock your creativity and rediscover your talent. I read the first chapter. It seemed easy enough. I identified with most of what was written. I disagreed about the fact that I would resist doing the given exercises, I wanted to write right? It was my decision? Why would I resist?

I embarked on the journey, elated that I am taking steps to do what I want.

Skip to Day 5 - I am finding every excuse I can to not write. I justify it so well to myself. I'm tired, there's too much to do, the maid's on holiday, I must pack for my trip. The list goes on. Every fibre of my being is screaming that I shouldn't write. I didn't do the exercises and I didn't want to write this blog.

And so I forced myself to get off FB and write this blog. To write whatever came to mind. To be brutally honest in admitting that I am using every excuse under the sun to run from writing.

Which brings me to question why? Why am I running away when I feel like I truly want to write? The answers are fairly simple. I am scared. No wait, scared is too mild a word. I am terrified! I am terrified that once I actually stop running away and sit down to write, I will have nothing to say. If I do have something to say it will be of no value. No one wants to read what I write. And god forbid if it is quasi-decent writing, what shape and form does it take? I have a seedling of an idea. I don't know how to take it forward or make it interesting. What if I fall flat on my face?

Aah! So that's what it is then. That sneaky little fear of rejection has creeped up on me again. It's what stopped me in my tracks all through my life. It held me back from dancing at the high school parties, from singing in the choir, from coming on-stage in my theatre days. It's what pushed me to marry the first guy who asked even though he seemed grudging and unwilling even when he proposed. It's what kept me quiet all those years when everything inside me screamed to be heard.

So today I fight. I fight myself. I fight my fears. I fight to be heard. I fight to tell my story whether someone wants to hear it or not. And this blog is my first step. It's my first act of defiance. This is me saying no matter how hard it is, not matter how much I am told that I have nothing of value to say, internally or externally, I will speak. I will write because it is a commitment I have made to myself. I will not give up on myself again. Even if I miss a day, a week, a month, I will haul my ass back to the table and I will write. If my book takes 3 years instead of one, I will still carry on.

I will not allow anything or anyone, including myself, to stop me. I will not reject the idea before I have given it everything I have. I will not give up, because this time it's only for me and there will be no regrets.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


I've been mulling over this word for a few weeks. Reconcile. I say it to myself, roll it around my tongue. I feel it. I taste it. I mutter it out loud. And then again I mull.

Reconcile. What does it really mean? Does it mean I let go? Of my past, of my expectations, of the future I had once dreamt of having? Does it mean a resolution to the constant tug-of-war that goes on inside me? There are so many things I must reconcile with. Such differences between what I think and reality.

I must reconcile with the fact that I am no longer the girl with the funky beads and multi-colored jhola riding an Eliminator. That beautiful piece of machinery rests with the ex and though it was my first love and I want to pass it on to my son it is unlikely that I will be a regular rider anymore. Yet I so desperately cling to that thought.

I have awesome friends, talented, beautiful, successful, sought after for many things. They intimidate me. Their unwavering love and faith in me intimidates me. Because I cannot, hard as I may try, reconcile my opinion of myself with what they have to say about me.

A good blog post, a poignant story, a film made by an acquaintance, the knowledge that people I know are at the top of their game, any of this can send me spiraling into the throes of depression. My deep and abiding sense of inadequacy and worthlessness spring into action, immobilizing me till all I can feel is the roiling sensation of bile rising in me. How is it that another person's life can do this to mine? Must I reconcile to this? Or is there any way of leaving it behind?

I no longer stay out late at night, drinking hard and living it up. I want to. So much sometimes. But I am a mother and my son will wake up early in the morning and a pounding head doesn't make for a cheery good morning. So I must reconcile. That part of my life is over.

I went from being a daughter to a wife to a mother. I never waited long enough to be me. The me I had envisioned as a teenager, living on my own, traveling the world, being an ace filmmaker or star chef. And now that time has gone. I will never get it back, no matter how my heart aches at the thought of it. I must reconcile.

I will never be head-turning beautiful no matter what is inside. Reconcile.

I may never become famous or be known for my skills. Reconcile.

I may never be the person who can engage in intellectual conversations on everything under the sun. Reconcile.

I am at war with myself. Constantly. I must let go. I must let the good energy flow through me. And for that I must reconcile. I must accept myself. But that is so, so hard to do.

But I am me. I love people deeply and stand by them. I give more of myself than I ask back. I am trying earnestly to be better at everything I do. And I will find my bliss someday I know.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Who am I?

It's a question that's plagued me for many years. Pages have been filled in my diaries and journals from childhood to youth with my existential angst.

Who am I? Why am I here? I know there is a higher purpose to my life but, goddamnit, what is it and how the hell do I find it?

A few days short of my 31st birthday and I'm still asking the same questions. I still don't have the answers. Someone very wise said 'Who am I?' is the most important philosophical question so I guess I'm on the right track.

And so I have taken it upon myself to delve deeper into that answer this year. To discover who I am and who I am not. To stop running around like a headless chicken, focusing on resenting others instead of nurturing myself. To commit to myself that I will persevere and not lose steam, no matter what the odds.

I will not become a chef. I will not sell candles, automotive parts or anything else. I will not open my own restaurant or any other business. I will not pursue an MBA, a film degree or any other course here or abroad.

I will write. I will write like my life depends on it, because it does. It is the only talent I know I have (Ok, I'm not sure I do but people have been telling me since I was a zygote so I am just going to go on faith here). I will write blogs, letters, articles, books, whatever it takes. And I will keep writing till the end of the year. Everyday, every season, through ill-health and weddings and crazy family putting their heads up my backside. I will write. I will write. I will write. I will chant it like a mantra and I will write.

Somewhere at the end of all this I hope I am a wee bit closer to my answers. I hope I will purge myself. Rid myself of the cesspool of rotting, stinking anger and resentment that's burning a hole through me. I hope I will be more at peace, breathe easier, smile a little more and mean it. Not cringe every time I hear of another's success and happiness, personal or professional. It is all I have to hold on to and right now in this moment it is enough. It will see me through. I will see me through.