Dreams, Rambles, Relationships

expectations management.

valentine’s is silly, silly day.

for someone with average intelligence, upper middle class upbringing, coming from a well educated family, an amazing support system, a job in the right industry (albeit underpaid) blessed with good health and oppurtunity: I felt like absolute shit at certain points of the day.

even after having an amazing day (no, really …I’m not just saying it) — I couldn’t help but pause & reflect during the night and feel a little empty inside even though it’s really no different from every other day. Every single blog post on the internet, every little instagram picture,  every little tweet, walking down the street and watching couples — it’s exhausting to go through the thought process roller coaster of reminding yourself that “Ritika, you have an amazing life.”

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I don’t want to sound angry and resentful, really — I just want to express my thoughts as an educated member of society of how utterly stupid this day is. It’s like christmas and halloween combined; holiday enterprises taken to an exponential level via capitalism with the major side effect of good people feeling like shit and having to do something eXciTiNG and thus, eating their feelings through cheesecake & chocolate & other forms of sugar.

my take away message (for myself mostly) is that I was raised through bollywood & disney movies & the internet, combined with observing the very real partnership of my parents for the last 23 years who made all those notions of  tRuE lOve a possible thing. I am torn by the juxtaposition of reality and the daydream I know can happen; the realization that I am very young and new to this arena. And, as a third culture kid with life experience and four different cities I call home — my perspective and roots is quite complex and confusing personally let alone conveying it to a third party. And lastly — the understanding that my current phase in life is one in which I work very hard and smart to reach bigger and better dreams.

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In the meantime, I should experience my happy, magical moments in a city that is breathtakingly beautiful. I should experience everything that life has to offer and then some, I should be kind to myself and to others. I should realize that love is not always romantic, and that platonic love should not be discounted. that feelings are complicated & intricate and simple in the way that they should be allowed to happen. that the platonic, long lasting friendships can be far more fulfilling, equally real and their nurturing and care should be celebrated. and most importantly, yes my post is getting sappier by the second — but to count my blessings and tell everyone I love how much they add meaning to my humble little life before it all passes and we’re nothing.

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Dreams, Rambles, Self-Development, Uncategorized

Believing in Extraordinary Happenings

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I never thought I’d be the one to say it’s funny how life is, but to be honest – that’s the best and only way to put recent developments. My year has been nothing but a roller coaster. I have never felt more out of control, more anxious; I simply did not buy a ticket to this growing up ride that I was practically thrown into.

And thus, I grudgingly made plans and started having some mild form of visions and long term agenda of what I wanted for myself; where I might contribute something to this world and have some minor impact instead of just “being”. My best laid plans didn’t work out the way I wanted them too, despite all my efforts and deep strategizing. I consumed myself to the point of livid drunkenness with passionate, illogical and almost blind vigour. I’m speaking in riddles and vagueness with intention;  the lessons I learnt this week will probably be applied and will reoccur many many times in my optimistically, long life. They will be learned and relearned and when I’m sixty I’ll have some decently exciting stories of that time I was 22 years old and lived in a studio apartment where I had a french press and felt like the most independent and self-sufficient Indian woman in a diverse, green, urban city and received treatment from a decently functioning healthcare system.

Khaled Hosseini wrote that we all want extraordinary things to happen to us; we all want our life to be the exception to what the natural trend of the population and state of affairs is. Obviously there is a lot of struggle and suffering to reaching whatever our goals and dreams are, but we always earnestly hope things will work out and we pray to all the gods we don’t believe in that they do. 

I realized that I’m not sensitive to people and their unneeded thoughts; my intense, overwhelming sensitivity comes from the daily happenings and experiences of my world. I crawl into a ball and ponder and reflect and agonize beyond anything considered healthy. But in a way, by experiencing such emotions so strongly, I am able to let it go and move the fuck on. I need to go through the entire spectrum of bullshit to feel relief; I need to reinvent the whole wheel to feel a sense of accomplishment and achievement.  And therefore, I got into an ugly phase in my life where I waded continuously in this pool of frustrating want to be more. Brimmed to the top with self-loathing and doubt and lack of faith, and most importantly – a need for control. 

And I know that I love this repeated game of collapsing and overcoming. The game is exhausting and endless and tiresome but it is the only thing that makes me feel like a human being with a heart. This feeling of feeling everything too much. But, I’d rather play this exhausting game of life with the privileged card of hands I’ve been dealt with, then play no game with no cards. 

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Rambles, Self-Development

being so completely.

 

Sometimes completely overwhelmed just by the dailyness of life. This includes the stresses, the ups, the downs, the small bumping into people, the random realization about relationships, the brief moment of seeing something  so beautiful it makes you want to cry, feeling such deep rooted pain that is so expertly masked that it almost seems like its not there, observing people from afar in the way they conduct themselves in a way that is so characteristically “them” and getting so charmed by the way they pull it off.

 

So completely overwhelmed by those moments when you’re talking about something deeply complex and personal to someone you trust – and they just get it, and they don’t judge, and they fully grasp the extent to how much it has affected you, but find it beautiful, and now there are invisible strings of love that hold you together in a cosmic, supernatural way.

 

So overwhelmed by oppurtunity and being able to afford nice things, and go to nice places, and reading the news over and over again and realizing how the majority of the world’s population is struggling with basic rights. So overwhelmed with the guilt associated with privilege and the natural sense of entitlement due the environment of certain upbringings. And wondering what you ever did to make you deserve it and wondering whether it’d be better off if it had been given to somebody with greater potential and then realizing that life doesn’t work that way.

 

Overwhelmed by observing that life continues day and in and day out despite your consent or knowledge. That leaves are photosynthesizing on their own, the waves and tide have a rhythm that is more complex than we could comprehend, that the traffic works on schedule, that people are going to and from work every single damn day, all just finding a place in this big planet in this large universe. Realizing that people are passing by in the same way, living their lives, moving on, crying, being upset, being happy – and knowing that you can’t possible leave your mark, hell you can’t leave a toenail – in the grand vast spatial and time manner of things.

 

And realizing that it’s okay, that you’re mostly past the stage in your life of fearing and being absolutely traumatized by existential crises, and even starting to enjoy them. And then being overwhelmed at the mere prospect of finding meaning in your own life, and translating that into physical and actual things. And finding that it hard because all you just want is being happy, having great relationships with friends, travelling a bit and being constantly fascinated by new ideas – and realizing that that’s having a life and not a career, and you already have that.

 

Being overwhelmed by the need to please everyone and realizing later, that no, you really don’t need to.  Being overwhelmed with people in general, in mostly good ways, about their ideas and the way they vision life being embodied in the things they read, eat, sleep, do and talk about and maybe not judging, but just, huh – that’s an interesting way to look and do things.

 

being overwhelmed by feeling the emotions of others and experiencing their lives through their stories, being overwhelmed by being so blissfully happy and feeling and seeing pain and suffering all the time, and watching people, including myself, just be and cope.

 

being overwhelmed by stating verbally to real, live people  things i want out of life, things that are boring and simple like wanting a vegetable and herb garden in my backyard, no white picket fences thank you very much, and having a backyard in the first place, and how i hadn’t committed to the idea of life and being fully and wholly committed to reality…until recently, if at all still. because i still think that only by being detached, in some way, to some extent, to it all, can I really find value in the things that do matter. and that being detached to life only strengths my attachment to life, and the dire, passionate want to be so fully emerged in the journey that even the grey is as gorgeous as the black and white.

 

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Rambles, Self-Development

Safety, a basic right

Due to my curse and gift for being hyper-sensitive to the emotions and energies of other people, a trait also known as empathy – I have been significantly impacted by the recent events that has occurred on the UBC Campus. I have been wrapping my head around the extent of my  conflicted, emotional turmoil over the whole thing. After I got over my sudden shock, I was able to articulate the feelings. As someone who thrives on the potential of community engagement and development – I’ve realized that for the first time in my life, I have felt unsafe in my own campus, in my own room. I realize how fortunate I am to say this.

I am a great believer in the power of an individual’s potential. And thus, the development and the growth of that individual is directly linked to the positive change in the community based on collective actions. Basically, the Gestalt theory – the sum of a whole is greater than it’s individual parts.  Any sort of violence towards an individual will effect the entire community due to the emotional implications and heaviness it carries once that information has been disseminated. But also, the realization of living in a space where one’s own personal safety is being threatened has direct effects on the individual’s wellbeing.

Like any living thing, an individual requires certain needs to be met according to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  Safety is the second most basic need, which includes the security of employment, resources, family, health, property and body.

Due to my extensive involvement and investment on campus and student development, I was immediately drawn to a community need that needed to be tended. It was as simple as: “I am scared in my own safe-space, so you must be too, and we need to restore this.”

I realize I must be naive in many ways. There is no safe place in the world.  The basic safety of human beings as a human right cannot be assumed as existing.

I realize the greater implications of this violence is greater than what I have ever been educated on – and this is nobody’s responsibility but mine.

My heart goes out to all those who were effected in various ways by these recent events, and the trauma and anxiety it must bring.

But, I also realize that the you do something when you realize you cannot not do anything.

With my limited tools and knowledge, I am trying to do whatever I can to create some, small positive change – even if it just giving people the confidence to walk home on their own at night.

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Rambles, Social Media

My Personas on Social Media

Facebook.  She’s an overly cheerful human being. She wonders if there’s anything more wonderful than being alive. The female is always excited about everything and anything. She expresses it by liking, commenting and sharing everything remotely regarded as cool. She’s super supportive of her friends, and will like all of her close friend’s pictures and statuses. This behavior increases during times of jealousy. She will share events and discounts because she wants everyone to take advantage of them. She believes she’s the human bulletin board, such a noble being. She’s the most boring of them all, with no real personality, and unable to afford the luxuries and vacations that could make her Facebook interesting.

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Tumblr – She perceives herself as deep, dark and mysterious. She feels misunderstood and alone. All her life she’ll be looking for answers for questions she hasn’t asked yet. She’s quiet and an introvert and can spend alone by herself in her room. She reads a lot and watches serious movies. She likes to write and has secrets that nobody knows about. She wants to fall in love, she wants to go on adventures, she wants to run away and never look back. She feels like the most special person in the world, utterly unique in her endeavours. Alas, if only somebody bothered to know her.

LinkedIn – She’s been planning her career since her first day as an undergraduate. Before she even knew what her major was, or what she really liked doing or was good at, she was planning this future. She went all the right events, always introduced herself. She asked relatively good questions and took down contact information. As she gained more experience, her profile transformed into something that could be worthy of being hired. She messaged people in sincerity, for advice and for coffee dates. She is the most cautious one, always scheming and strategizing and brainstorming for the ahead she herself doesn’t know yet. It’s exhausting but she’ll never admit it; mostly because she’s too busy to go to lunch with you. She’s just so goddamn ambitious and driven.

Twitter – Witty, funny and spontaneous. She’s in the now. There’s no yesterday, there’s no tomorrow. She’ll say what’s on her mind, in an appropriate tone and manner, whether people will read it or not. Everything that is worthy of being expressed in her world will be tweeted. The most amazing breakfast place, or that moment of odd joy and happiness whilst walking to class. That genius thought in the middle of class when she isn’t paying attention. The craziest research that just happened. That really cool event that she won’t actually go to. She’ll talk to people she doesn’t know, luring them into conversations that aren’t particularly useful. Here too, she’s ambitious but nerdy. She’s not as cool, put-together and sophisticated as LinkedIn, and doesn’t have as many emotions as Tumblr, thank god. She’s the interesting one, who’s completely approachable, always eager to be followed and to follow. She sincerely feels all her tweets, all 140 characters posses a mysterious charm.

WordPress – If the other social medias were not there to balance it out, WordPress would be deemed overly emotional, antisocial, and depressed. She would have no friends, because she’s such a downer. After all, somebody who never stops talking about her family, the people she was once friends with, how people were mean to her way back when, how every little gesture has some deep meaning….is an utter bore. She’s always wanting a better future, regretting the past. She doesn’t really live in the moment although she’ll visit occasionally. She cries and listens to Coldplay and The Reason in her room, watching Netflix. She’ll watch Friends as if she’s having a mid-life crises, even though her life hasn’t really started yet. She’s not excited about the future like Twitter and LinkedIn. She resents Facebook’s cheerful nature. Sometimes she’ll talk to tumblr for solace because even sad people need people to talk to. She think she’s the real one, the one who expresses everything and anything to the core, hiding nothing. She believes she’s the only real one, the others trying to be personas they’re not, putting on complicated, superficial charade.

Instagram – This one has borderline personality. One day, the sun and skies and oceans are blue and yellow and colorful. Everything is a rainbow! Oh my god, so much color, it’ll make your eyes water in teats of happiness. But other days, she’ll take the same picture in black and white. It’s as if she doesn’t want to have a soul at all, as if going anywhere or doing anything is way too tiring. She expresses herself with melancholy, as a hippie, as a bohemian, as a lost adventurer. She is sipping coffee all the time, riding around highways and empty roads, taking notes of whatever she sees in the process. She captures the tiniest moments of happiness and sadness and makes a life of it, ignoring any bland emotions. Everything is accentuated and highlighted and glamourous. She could be a movie. Everything is beautiful and the world is perfect.

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Rambles

This Thing I Lack

I often am up at three in the morning. The quietness and the darkness that comes with the night gives me such clarity. When all you can hear is your own breathing and the voices in your head, the world seems like it makes much more sense. At three in the morning, I feel this sense of belonging, in my bed, wherever I am. I feel safe, and warm, and that I have a place and my own space. I can read, write, do anything. Think about nothing, think about everything.

I didn’t like getting up in the morning, at university. It takes me a few seconds to realize where I am. It takes me a minute or two to realize who I am and what I need to be doing. It takes me over an hour some days to start the day more enthusiastically.

People keep saying that university is the best years of your life. I was excited to start my best years of my life, three years ago. I had grown up so sheltered and had a very comfortable life. Even though I had no freedom, I was always provided and looked after. My house was a place of sanctuary and relief, and I didn’t mind being there. Leaving home, I never felt that way till I returned. Even though I had freedom and the ability to make choices, I’d never felt alone. I craved this feeling so much. I wanted this sense of belonging, a sense of self, a place of comfort, of stability and assurance.

There were so many evening when I’d come to my apartment after classes. All I wanted to do was get in bed, eat cheap chinese, and watch Netflix. There was more than just disparity in the air. There was always the sense that, if I died, nobody would know. How long would it take for someone to realize?

It’s weird because I’m certain that people see me differently. I’m cheerful, upbeat. I’m motivated and driven. I’m very involved in the community and always have something going on. I have more friends than I really have the time to get to know. I always have weekend plans. And yet, when I get back to my bedroom, I used to feel so alone.

I thought being in a relationship would change things. I thought that was the missing ingredient in my life. The person I would be excited to tell things to. The person I’d celebrate and do things with. Maybe it was the wrong person, but the charade got old. I felt more alone than him. I felt like I barely still knew him, after months. Worse, I felt like I didn’t know myself either.

When the cravings got too hard to manage, and I couldn’t bear it anymore, when I felt it even when I was outside, even whilst I was happily holding a conversation, or incredibly interested in class…when nothing I did would make it go away, I got drunk. I would drink for the sake of drinking. At the beginning, I would try to gather friends to make into a night out. But, eventually, I called it for what it was, and would drink an entire bottle of wine, by myself. The feelings of floating would take away this thing I lacked.

“By drinking together we prove we have nothing to hide.” – Nick Flynn

I saw a therapist and a depression support group. I told them both everything, about issues in the past that may explain this void. I told them about both my friends who had died, about being bullied, about having a relatively severe blood disorder and its constant fatigue. I told them about my house being flooded, my parents moving. Everything. And although the confessions brought some sense of catharsis, and the hope for change and an improvement, nothing really happened. The hype and the excitement of it died, and so I stopped that charade too.

A part of me believed that I hadn’t found the right person who understood me. I honestly believed that once someone knew everything, not just the facts, but the feelings associated with it, and the deep comprehension of sadness that would come with it – I would be free. As I grew older, the cynicism made me realize that this person didn’t have to be the love of my life, but just someone in it. And I do think I’ve met many people like that, who know parts of me. Many know the facts, many know the feelings, and many know the combination. Through the different habits and rituals I maintained with each friendship, a different part of me was satiated, for a time. And I would reach out to whoever satisfied that particular void, which I couldn’t articulate, at that current time.

As a pragmatic, problem-solving oriented person, I was more than frustrated with this thing I lacked. I wanted to name it, to address it, and to treat it. I wanted to stop crying wondering whether it’d ever go away. Many days I convinced myself that everybody feels this way, and that it is all part of the human existence. Some days, I tempted myself with the thought of suicide. But, I wanted to know how Game of Thrones, Mad Men, and a whole other series of show s would end. And what other songs Lana Del Ray releases, and what my brother is like older. And I want to travel some places. And eat yummy things.

“I beg to differ. Death is so terribly final, while life is full of possibilities.” – Tyrion Lannister

I still have no fix. I still feel this way. Being home, like home “home”, in my parent’s home, I feel it a lot less. I’m scared to go back to life when university starts. I’m scared that this is the rest of my life. I feel guilt, all the time, about being so ungrateful, so miserable, so utterly cranky all the time. Sarcasm, Netflix, Coffee, Conversations are the way I cope – but I wonder, will it ever be enough?

 

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Rambles

I think I spend most of my life self-sabotaging. It’s as if I sincerely do not think I can ever be truly happy, that I’ll always have to get used to being only partly happy. When it’s not my academic life, it’s my love life, or my personal life, or my family life. Obviously, nobody’s life is ever perfect, and there are always things that could be better – but I seem to be in a constant state of dissatisfaction.

I do not love the people who love me as much as they do. Instead, I waste my love on people who do not care for it,  who throw it away into the cheap dirt. I am determined on some sort of subconscious level not to find and be in love, because I chase the wrong guys, time and time again. These guys aren’t bad guys, or good guys – they all have one thing in common. They don’t regard me as anything more than a friend. And I take small pleasures in the little bones and shreds of attention. When will I ever learn. Do I want to learn if I keep making the same mistakes? Maybe a part of me wants to bathe in the odd joy that comes with being unhappy. I’ve always believed that sadness made me feel alive, because it made me feel. I suppose I’d be considered what they call a masochist.

I’ve been searching for unhappiness more than happiness for as long as I remember. Happy doesn’t make me feel anything. And maybe, I am happy most of the time – because I do life in an absent, sleepy manner, almost from a third person perspective. It’s hard to consider and use the noun I, because I spend my time living as a she. It’s like I’m watching myself from above, like I’m not really in my own skin.

I think detached is the word.

i don’t even think it’s an issue to improve on. I don’t want to be attached.

This post is obviously not over, but neither is my life. I went away for a bit and lost my muse, I’ll write later.

Detached

Aside