Sunday, 25 August 2013

Self-loathing and other such things

This post goes un-publicized because it is a rant. For me, by me. I swirl around in a whirlpool of self-loathing. This isn't unfamiliar territory for me. I have lived here time and again over the years. The last week this has been my home.

It's one of those days where I don't have the will to get up and do anything. I want to stay curled up in my bed and drown out the sounds of the world. I cannot commit to anything other than indulging myself. This indulgence never has the desired effect though. I have indulged my love of food and alcohol, only to be sickened by the fat oozing out of my pores and the hangover beating steadily in my head.

Everything seems like a monumental effort. Just to tell myself that I will get through this, that I won't be sucked into this whirlpool forever is an effort. I hate myself. My writing, my body, my very being. And by extension I hate everyone and every thing else. I cringe at the words I have put down in previous blog posts, I squeeze my eyes shut as I stand on the weighing machine. I walk around, feeling empty. Vacant. Alone.

I don't want to be healthy and reach out to my friends. Right now I believe I have none. They don't care about me. I am not important to them. They have way cooler people in their lives. They are light years ahead of me in creativity. The whole world knows them, loves what they write, sees their blogs, follows them on twitter and facebook. I am nobody. My blogs stay unread, my book unwritten. I have nothing new or of value to write, to say. I have nothing.

The most I can do, the mammoth task which I have summoned up the energy for, is to write this. To puncture my bubble of negativity just a tiny bit and hope that eventually it will drain itself out. Till then all I want to do is stay prisoner in my world of silence. Stay away from everything that threatens me.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

To all the a*&h*%$s!

Growing up in a middle class family I was always taught to be quiet. To do my duty. Neki kar dariya mein daal, I was told. Follow the Bhagvad Gita. Walk away from conflict, resolve an argument by being the silent, smart one. Maybe it was because I was a girl. Maybe it was because my parents wrapped themselves in a blanket of fear.

I was walking in and out of the room yesterday as my son sat and watched The Croods. There's a scene where the father says, "Fear keeps us alive." It just struck me that most of my life has been dominated by fear. Mine and my parents.

I have been afraid to experience and express anger. It would tarnish my image and reputation as the sensible, responsible girl. I pretend to forgive and forget, as my parents always said I should, and then am surprised by the seething anger under the surface. A friend of mine once said to me that she was surprised by the remarkable lack of anger I felt towards my ex. I felt so proud for being so evolved.

The truth: There's anger. Plenty of it. So here's to all the assholes I should have had the balls to be angry at!

To the jackass who told me I was too fat for him in the 7th grade. Honestly take a good look at yourself. And I saw you recently on FB, you still ain't no stunner!

The ex. I was way too good for you. Really. I know I had my share of  blame for what happened but you had no business doing what you did. I am happy to have you out of my life. Thank you for pushing me to a corner so I finally grew a pair and walked out to live the kind of life I deserve. You are the worst and the best thing to have happened to me. You make me angry, but the anger has been a blessing because it has released me, finally, from being the 'good one'. Just be very careful now of how you tread near me cos I ain't holding back anymore.

To the "sort of" boyfriend/sex buddy. I am so glad you were too cowardly to stand up to your mother and tell her to get the hell out of your relationships. Cos honestly you scratched the itch and there was little more. Staying with you would only have diverted me from building the kind of life I wanted. Plus I needed that last push to understand that I don't need jackasses in my life and can be happy just by myself!

To the above's mother. Oh you're a classic piece and if you weren't who you are I would love to tell you just what you and your beloved husband can shove up your backside. For one raise better sons. Two don't take advantage of someone just cos they're being quiet. And three, grow a fucking brain and some sensitivity. Women like you should really just go drown themselves for the way you push patriarchy ahead and treat other women like shit. Shame on you! Really! For being a sick, sick human being.

And to the above's brother. We were friends once. But you chose to listen to the lying shnit and declare yourself judge. Well, up yours, life ain't that simple and you have no business judging me.

All of you, in the last year, pushed me to a point where it seemed life would never get better again. And then it did. I took all the anger, the rage and used it to prove to you, and to myself that I am better than what you think of me. Better than what I allowed you to make me think of myself. It fueled me to lose weight, to work, to earn and to be the best goddamned mother my son could have hoped for. I wish I could say this to your face, or tag you in this post. But I won't. Maybe cos I'm still a little scared. Maybe because I know now that I can express my anger but I needn't dirty my hands with you anymore. Maybe because you're just not worth it for me.

Monday, 19 August 2013

When the black clouds lift...

I've been in a funk for the past week. Too much alcohol, too little sleep and way too much stress. About my life, the lack of a partner, my weight, my child...the entire gamut of things.

And then the clouds started to lift. The black veils over my eyes started to part. A friend of mine told me, god bless her soul, to listen to the ugly voices deep inside. To get down to the level where the real fear is. It's amazing how when you go there despite the foul odor of your thoughts, the years of entrenched self-loathing, the beliefs that are always holding you back, it is still a liberating experience. Each time I revisit this place I feel like I've peeled away another layer, I'm a little bit braver, A little bit closer to loving myself enough to acknowledge who I really am and not just the image I have constructed.

In certain ways I am a perfectionist. I'm very hard on myself. Either I'm the best or I'm an epic failure. I've achieved everything I wanted to or I'm totally worthless. This trip of mine down "the shit in my head" lane taught me something. I can let go, breathe easy. I can do what I can in the moment without going bat shit crazy about my future or what I had wanted from it. I can trust. In myself, in the universe, in my struggle. Not my own notions of what my life 'should have' been nor anyone else's of what it should be matter.

I wanted to be a filmmaker. So desperately. And I have friends there, connections, making it big. I've hidden behind my son as the reason for not making the move. But I need to re-examine it. I need to not resent him for it, because if I really want I can make it happen. I can leave him with my parents or take him with me. I can make it happen. If I choose not to it's my choice and I need to see my reasons for it.

I want to travel the world. Or so I thought. Honestly I don't think I'm cut out to be a constantly on-the-move kinda gal. It's exciting and glamorous. It would make for a great story. "Post divorce single mother rediscovers herself and hits the road." But that's not who I am. I value enduring friendships with people I can meet regularly, I like having a home. I like routine and familiarity. Sure I love to travel. But I can't live on the road. What I can do is make sure I travel a couple of times a year and as my son grows I'm excited about the idea of doing trips with him.

I want a man. Oh God Yes!!! It's been so long! All my friends are hooked up or married. I go out to a bar and everyone has someone to be with. I sit and wonder who to visit my favourite restaurant with, who to take to the movies. I am alone. A lot. I love my son but honestly, he's 3! I want adult company. I want a man, who'll hold me, who I can rely on, who'll kiss me senseless and then make love to me all night long. But the truth is I'm not ready. As desperately as I want this I am not ready to allow another man in to my life yet and nowhere near my heart. So maybe instead of moaning about not finding someone or only attracting creepy men I need to learn to love myself. Truly and deeply. To value and respect myself. To know what I want, from myself, my life and my man. Maybe then the universe will conspire to let the right person into my life.

I want to be the perfect parent. Supermom. So awesome that my son never misses not having a father. So cool that he never has to go to a shrink with 'mommy issues'. A mother who nurtures the perfect child. He should be smart, sensitive, respectful, multilingual, genius, child prodigy, sports legend! Sheesh! The amount of pressure I've put on myself as a mother! And when it starts to crack I panic. I love my son. Deeply. All I really want is for him to be happy. He will tell me at some point in his life that I suck and he hates me cos I screwed his life up. It's natural. It's the ways of the world. Hopefully he'll outgrow that soon enough and will have an awesome life and we'll have a relationship that's healthy and close. But I can't bend over backwards trying to be perfect. I can't take on the guilt of him not having a father. I can't and shouldn't over compensate.

So as the funk started to evaporate I realized that I must renew my vows to myself. I must recommit to my goals for the present. I have to write, everyday. I have to work towards being healthy. And I have to know that my struggle and fight are real, but not impossible. I will not sink because I am not alone. I have friends and family who will haul me up. Each time the fear threatens to drown me, each time that hideous voice gets all snarky I have to look it in the face, resolve it and move on. And each time I will be closer to loving myself in the way I deserve.

Thursday, 15 August 2013


I write this post with tears streaming down my face. Is it the alcohol? The exhaustion? The hopelessness? Or a mix of it all?

I am exhausted. At every level. I love my child, let there be no doubt about that. I love him more than I have ever loved another. But I am tired. Of being a single mother, of being a single woman. And of understanding that being a mother may not allow me to find a companion.

I went for an unexpected girl's night out after work today. It was great. Till people started hitting on me. No, truth be told, that was great too. Till it turned creepy.

But was that what really got me? Was it the conversation with my friends post the party? Was it the fact that the only non-creepy, nice guy I have been attracted to in a long time is off-limits?

Or was it just the fact that the life I sometimes envision is impossible? It is a mind-numbing, bone-weary job being a single parent sometimes. There is no space to be you, to plan the life you wanted. I wanted to travel, to see movies, to read. But I can't. My day begins with getting my son ready for school and ends with putting him to sleep. In the middle I work, I carry his bicycle downstairs, I play tennis, I try constantly to keep him creatively and productively engaged.

Still I forget to get his homework done, his toy still needs to be returned, I have to send stuff into school, I promised I'd take him swimming...the list of stuff undone is long. I am always falling behind. With him, with work, with myself.

So many balls up in the air and the nagging feeling that I am dropping them all. Sometimes I just want to run away. With a man. Cos honestly it's about time I had one!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Being Alive

In a long, long time I haven't felt the way I do today. I don't know if I've ever felt this way. Every pore in my body is open, taking in huge gulps of fresh air. All my senses are heightened. Though each muscle and fiber in my body screams with pain at the slightest movement I can't remember the last time I felt so good. Felt so deeply, intensely alive!

Yesterday, for the first time, I was part of a Bollywood/Indie feature film shoot. Spot boy, AD, photographer, sound guy and production manager, I donned many hats in one day. I don't know if I'll be credited with either in the final cut but honestly, I don't care. As I said in my earlier blog Movies and Me I have been obsessed with the movies from childhood and my dream finally came true.

It doesn't matter that the shoot was in a house in Delhi. It doesn't matter that almost the entire crew is relatively new at what they do. I don't care that there weren't big stars (though honestly Anshuman Jha and Piaa Bajpai aren't exactly unknown either). None of it matters. My dream came true. That is the only thought going round and round in my head and I haven't stopped grinning. I was on my feet for 22 hours and yet I feel nothing but pure, unadulterated joy. Bliss.

It's been a good year. I got published for the first time , I worked for bigwigs like the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation and I was a part of X - The Film. I couldn't ask for more. I am so thankful. To the powers that be. To my friends (you know who you are) for all the support and the coffees and the drinks and the cigarettes and the love you sent my way. You often believed in me more than I did myself. To my awesome son who has inspired me to get off my ass and live my life. To my boss, I don't think he knows what he has done. There is no way he'll realize the magnitude of my gratitude. He gifted me my dream. There is no greater gift you can give a person than to fulfill their dream.

But most of all, for a change, I want to thank myself. For trusting in the universe, in myself, in life. For allowing myself to grieve, to be fearful, to be insecure. For being able to face that and put it away so that I can let good into my life. Good people, good work. For giving myself a chance to restart, to not abandon my dreams just because they'd gathered dust and cobwebs. For forgiving myself, for loving myself, for knowing when to let go and when to hold on. For giving myself permission to belong and be loved. For believing that I am smart and capable even when I felt I was no good. I have earned this. I deserve this and more in my life forever. I believe that now. Thank you.

Monday, 5 August 2013

On fears: Morbid and Banal

I try to walk in the light and be fearless. And I am a lot better at it today then I was before. But I am still gripped by fear on many occasions. I have learnt though that the best way to combat fear is to voice it out loud. You take control then and fear loses it's hold over you (at least to some extent). So here I am voicing my fears.

A morbid imagination is something I've been blessed (or cursed) with. I remember many moons ago I freaked out my then boyfriend by saying, while we drove back from college late at night, that I wanted to smash his face through the windshield. Just to see it crack, to see his blood and tissue stain the glass, to see how his face contorted before the glass shattered. He had a look of horror on his face. We hadn't even been fighting! I'm surprised he didn't dump me right then and there. I'm sure I would have if the situation had been reversed. But that's it, I imagine morbid things sometimes, it just comes to me and I am powerless to stop it.

When I was pregnant I had a morbid fear, specially when on a motorcycle that something bad would happen. I would die or my child would die. It terrified me, often bringing me to tears in a matter of seconds, shocking my ex who was trying his best to drive safe. But there was no way to explain the panic that held me hostage in those moments.

The problem now is that fear of the unnatural and supernatural has faded. The fear that has taken deep roots in my heart today is fear of death. Not mine, my son's. And it is such an insidious fear. It makes me feel guilty even for thinking it let alone voicing it. But I need to let it out because it eats me from within.

I read about a biker being shot, a girl being axed to near-death, a five year old mysteriously dying after getting a fever and I break into a sweat. What about my son? What if some day it's him? All this time I've spent loving him, reading to him, putting him to sleep, having so much fun with him. Can it all really be snatched from me in a few seconds? And what if he doesn't die but struggles to live? Whenever I leave him I wonder if it'll be the last time I see him.

The thoughts alone make me ache like nothing else ever has. It is literally incomprehensible and the minute I think it I pray fervently that my thought doesn't translate into attracting this from the universe. What is this force? Is this the intense love I've read and heard about or seen in the movies which I was meant to feel for my partner? I can't understand it, I only know I haven't felt it before.

Another fear I grapple with is that which most women in the world and specially in our city deal with everyday. It just seems so heightened now. As a teenager I would rebel against my parents when they said don't drive alone at night. Today I say it before them. But when the fear works it's way into every aspect of your life you wonder how to make it stop. I went for a job interview (a job I got and love) in Janakpuri, and I remember thinking "What if it's a creepy guy trying to get me alone in some secluded area to grope me?". After having worked there for two months the thought still passed through my head when I was going for a pre-shoot meeting. Why? Why must women be forced to constantly think this way? How are we supposed to work, educate ourselves, evolve as people, enjoy our lives, anything, if we are constantly living in fear? No man wonders when he gets ready in the morning if that will be the day he gets molested or raped when he steps out of the house for an interview or a day at the office, why must we???

Fear of the dark, my quirky fear of hair and blankets, the thrill and accompanying horror of scary movies, they all seem so childish when faced with this. And yet a small part of me feels just the littlest bit stronger having said this. Is that really the key then? To air it out and let the sun shine so bright that there is no room for fear to lurk in dark corners?

Sunday, 4 August 2013

The things that I have learnt from my divorce...

I have bitched and moaned, cried and gotten miserably drunk, been angry and sad, but today I want to celebrate the good things my divorce has got in my life. There is no denying that the ex is a jackass. But having married him and by extension his family, his friends, his colony and then proceeding to divorce him has taught me a lot. And for that I am grateful. I have tried my best to live a life with no regrets and the person I am today is partly because of my marriage and divorce, and since I love who I am I have no regrets. I also got the cutest little baby boy to boot!

So here are the things I have learnt through my marriage and divorce. Things I need to remember in the weaker moments:

  • I AM STRONG: I am so much stronger than I ever believed I was. I always thought that if the ex walks out of my life it'll be over. What will I do? Who will I be with? Who'll take care of the things he took care of? But I realized that I have so many things to do that I often run short of time, I have brought in my life people who love me and support me and honestly he didn't take care of too many things. Whatever he did, I do it better!
  • I AM A KICKASS WOMAN!: My ex convinced me that I was un-fun, fat and ugly. And I lived with that conviction for a long time. But today I realize that was his problem and not mine. I am an interesting person and woman. I am beautiful and if other people don't see that it's their crappy perception of beauty that's the problem. I am a lot of fun! I have a lot of fun. It just has to be with the right kind of people. My idea of fun isn't just getting stoned and listening to fucking electronic music!
  • I CAN TRAVEL: So traveling was the ex's specialty. I always thought if I'm not with him I'll live a boring monotonous life without travel. On the contrary I can finally make travel plans and actually execute them! If I want to go to Vietnam I can plan it, buy tickets and go and not just keep talking about it.
  • I AM WHO I AM: Before my divorce I lived according to everyone else's expectations. My boyfriends/husband, parents, sisters, friends. I seldom tried to figure out what I like, want to do, want to be. I was happy just making other people happy. But when the shit hit the fan I was forced into a corner and had to figure myself out. I learnt more about who I am in the last two years than I did in the 29 years preceding my divorce. I figured out what's important for me, my motivations, who I am. And I'm happy with the results!
  • I'M HEALTHY: The stress of my unhappiness pre and during my marriage had made me a sick, unhealthy person. When I made the decision to get divorced it was like a weight lifted off my shoulders. Things started falling in place. I started losing weight, I started feeling healthier and fitter than I ever had before. I am today at my fittest, healthiest best. And I am loving it!

I have rebuilt my life, my career, my self-esteem from scratch. Had I not gotten divorced I would still be in a miserable marriage, sick as a dog, an unhappy mother raising an unhappy child. I'm glad I cut that thread. I am happy to be where I am today. So for all those times I have felt sad about my marriage ending I must say it's been the best decision of my life!