THOUGHTS

My friends and I talk about random stuff. Therapy sessions, if you will. Sometimes, it gets deep. This is our most recent topic. And it is something I’m sure we’ve all experienced at some point in our lives. Situations or a future we envision for ourselves is a contrast to what happens and we are pulled to our knees with the sheer force of reality.

You know that saying ‘if you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it never was”? That statement is meant to give you hope. Because in certain situations, hope is all you have. But the reality is that if you care about something/someone and you set it free, it is probably never coming back. Because they do not want to. It may feel like you were not enough to make them stay. Unfortunately, you cannot stop caring for them, even if it seems as though they do not care about you anymore or think about you. You probably do not mean much to them in the grand scheme of things. That does not diminish how much they mean to you. You may even envy their ability to cut off so quickly and easily. You don’t know what’s going on in their head. They may be hurting too. Or maybe they are not. But you miss them because they were your confidante maybe. Or a best friend. Or just someone who walked into your life and made you see things differently. And now the world seems a little darker without them to talk to. Lonely even. It does not take away the fact that it was real. And beautiful. And most importantly, peaceful. Fighting for something you believe in is hard if they don’t believe in it too. They did what they believed was best for them. 

Now, talking about it is tiring. No matter how much you scream and tell people what you want or what you need, people think they know better. Eventually, all they do hear is you talking about your wants and then you sound selfish. The truth is, you already knew you were selfish. You wanted something that you know you shouldn’t have wanted. You allowed yourself a moment to embrace a different kind of happiness and then reality came crashing down. Illusion gone. Moment over. Back to reality. It’s that simple. You were vulnerable. But that does not make you weak.

Moral: Life is a mess. But it also does not wait for you. There are a few lucky people, who experience a version of happiness and it manages to stick and you can be happy for them. 

 

ANXIETY

A couple of days ago, I asked a friend this question that has been on my mind for a while: How do I explain anxiety to a person who hasn’t experienced it without sounding like an attention seeker? Her answer almost gave me another anxiety attack. Not because she said anything wrong. But because she was oh so right. She put it so eloquently. She replied “That’s a difficult one. The physical manifestation of fear? When a thought becomes something that affects your entire body. From your joints, to you skin. To your stomach. Like you’re going to pass out. Everything around you starts to blur out and you cannot make sense of what is real vs. what is in your head. All that grips you is fear. Your body is not in control but fear runs it. And everything just stops and you’re being weighed down yet you feel empty. Paradox of things. It’s difficult to explain all of this to someone. Unless they don’t understand the truth behind your words. Anxiety is not something you choose to have. If you want to be dramatic and attention seeking, you’ll throw things and scream and cry. But with anxiety you shut off. What part of that is to seek attention is beyond me.” She put it perfectly.

This is probably the right time to say that, I have anxiety. I think I’ve had it for a while now. I just did not try to label it because it was something I just accepted is a part of who I am. I think a few of my friends figured it out but they did not label it either. The past week has been tough. For people who know the facts of what is happening in my life will probably not be able to understand why I’m so anxious. Things have fallen in to place suddenly. Everything I have worked for, dreamed about for almost five years now has come to fruition. I’m young. Life is good. But the key word here would be that it all happened suddenly. People take time to adjust to sudden changes in life, but when you suffer from anxiety the effects have way more of an impact. It all seems too good to be true. I’m waiting for someone to jump out and tell me that it’s all a joke. That none of it happened. That it’s all in my head.

The reason things worked out the way they did, is because people believed in me. Now I’m struggling to prove that they didn’t choose the wrong person. That I am all they think I am. Most people do not know what a person suffering from anxiety looks like. But my boss called me out on it during a catch-up meeting and had to remind me to breathe. It is a struggle trying to prove myself in a new country, with new people. Not to mention when certain things remind you how far away you are from your friends.

Anxiety is the same yet different for people. It has nothing to do with how old you are and how well your life is going. A small thing could trigger it. According to me here is what an anxious person desperately needs… They need to surround themselves with people who they know will not walk away no matter how crazy it gets. There are good days and bad days. We need people who will stand by us through the bad days because the good days are worth it. The person does not necessarily need to know how anxiety works. They just need to assure us that they are around. We need someone to remind us to breathe. I swear, when I have an anxiety attack I feel like an elephant is sitting on my chest and I cannot breathe. We may actually needs some to say the words “breathe in”, “breathe out”.. I think patience is the key. We need people to be patient while we figure it out. And I know it is not everyone’s cup of tea. A lot of friendships, relationships fail because not everyone knows to deal with the other persons anxiety. Not everyone is willing to wait it out. And no one can fault them for it. Which is also why people with anxiety alienate themselves because it is just easier that way, for us and those we care about. I try to be patient with the people I love because I do not know everything they are going through. To my home-team, the ones who stuck around – I love you. I appreciate you so much. Especially for getting me through this week. Thank you so much.

If you know where to look, I think the online community can be very helpful. Mental illnesses are always surrounded by social stigma and misinformation that it becomes so hard to come forward and just accept that you are not okay. I think I needed to do this, for myself, for my friends suffering from any form of mental illnesses and anyone who reads this. Writing a blog is pointless, if you cannot use it to do good.

You need to know that you are not alone. You will figure this out. You will move forward, slowly, but you will. People may walk out but we need to focus on the ones who stay.

 

YOU CAN DO THIS!

POSITIVE VIBES

I’m trying to think of a way to write this post without making it sound preachy. At times, there is no other choice. I write posts based on what happens in my life so that I can look back and see how far I’ve come. I came to Auckland, New Zealand 9 months ago to the day, and so much has happened. It almost seems like a dream to me.

I know I am not where I want to be, yet, but I am taking some time to appreciate where I am. My life was pretty fast paced for a few months and then suddenly, things just stopped moving. I knew giving up was not an option but there were days when I just did not want to get out, did not want to even look at my phone, or interact with anyone. I was not being ungrateful. But I am human and like everyone else I have my moments of self-doubt. At such times, you know what helps? Kindness shown by others. I am a lucky girl, that even though I am far away from the people I am used to, places I am familiar with, living a completely different life, I have been fortunate enough to meet people who add so much positivity and warmth and support to my life. For the record, when a person is sad, saying “don’t be sad” or “please smile” does not actually help. If they want to be sad, let them be sad. Their feelings are valid. You don’t know what’s happening in their head. Just being present may help.

And when things in my life turned around, I realised how important it is to give out the same positive energy. You never know, you might run into someone who is just having a terrible day, or has hit a rough patch and a little kindness shown to them may go a long way. Plus, it makes you feel a million times better, when you’re already having a good day, to just take some of those good vibes and put it out in to the universe. The universe may give it back to you when you need it most and least expect it.

Now I’m going to go into detail: I have been having a blessed two weeks. I volunteer, one day a week at Citizens Advice Bureau and last week it was raining during my shift. The main street in the city was closed off because of the America’s Cup Parade and all buses were diverted. For those who did not know about this, it was a terrible day to be out and about, since it was raining as well. When I finished my shift, I had to walk some to the bus stop, since the buses were using a different route that day. A quarter of the way up the street, at a crossing, I noticed a girl struggling to pull two huge suitcases and stuffed backpack up the street in the rain. I asked her to hand over one suitcase since we were going the same way. In true ‘me’ fashion, I cracked a terrible joke to try to make her feel little better and then we lugged her suitcase up the street till where she wanted to go. I think we both needed it. Soon after, I got on a bus and didn’t think much of it till today.

I didn’t think twice because I know what it feels like to be helpless. I don’t know anything about that girl. Maybe she has a smooth sailing life or maybe she doesn’t. All I know, is what I saw – a girl struggling, in the rain, with three heavy bags and no rain coat. I think I was in such a good place that I could think of no reason why I couldn’t help. So, I did. I hope she passes it on. The world would be such a beautiful place then.

The lessons I learnt – BE KIND and listen to Dory

Just Keep Swimming

KNOW THYSELF

‘Know Thyself’ is a personal growth exercise. I think I’ve done it before, in one of my earliest blog posts. The purpose of doing it again to see how far I’ve come since then. I pulled the questions off Pinterest, and I haven’t looked at all of them yet (yet, meaning since I started writing this post.) Will look at each one before I answer it, so as to get an immediate and honest reply, without giving myself much time to alter and change my answers. So here goes:

  1. What does your ideal day look like?

My ideal day would have to be a nice sunny day, where I could sit somewhere, with a book. I have a couple of places in Auckland City and I have done it during the summer months. I walk the streets of the city to my special place. Me, a book and a cup of coffee. Sounds absolutely perfect to me.

  1. What did you want to be when you were younger?

When I was little, I remember I wanted to be a teacher. Mostly, because I wanted to be able to tell kids what they could and could not do. Now I realise I never would’ve been good at it. I’m not great with kids. I have taught a few classes on several occasions and the experience of it was unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It made me feel a whole new level of respect for teachers. My cousin sister is a teacher and she is gifted when it comes to dealing with kids. I love watching her and it makes me feel more shitty about my ‘child skills’. LOL

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  1. Who are you most inspired by? Why?

This is simple and honest – my mum. She’s my lifeline. She is the strongest person I know. Everything I do, I do for her. No matter the challenges she faced in her life, she never let us feel like we lacked anything. She kept us happy and through it all I realised that family, no matter how messed up, is everything. She believed in me, when everyone else doubted me. I have made mistakes. Some big. But like many others, her opinion of me was never tainted by them. Because of her I have come to realise that my vulnerability is not a weakness and I should stick to people who understand that.

  1. Who would you love to meet? And what would you ask?

After 12 years of watching the show like it is a religion to me, I would very much love to go to SDCC and meet Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki and maybe the entire cast of Supernatural. Jensen and Jared also known as J2, play brothers, Dean and Sam Winchester. They come as across as hilarious, humble, family guys who just appreciate the fandom. I did warn my readers in my very first blog post that there will be a lot of fangirling happening here. THIS IS IT. Just look at them. I love them.

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I would ask them this: If, and when, the show gets done (it is just completed its 12th season and has already been renewed for a 13th), what are they hoping to take away from it?

  1. What habit would you like to break? What habit would you like to start?

I would like to break my habit of constantly worrying. I worry about things that may not even happen and I exhaust myself. Sometimes the things I have no control over, keep me up at night, these days more than ever.

I would like to start living in the moment.

  1. Think of a person you truly admire. What qualities do you like about that person?

I admire their positive outlook of life. They have the ability to look at a problem, step back and find the positives in a situation and will make it so that the positives far outweigh the negatives. When I think about life, I realise how essential it is to be that way. Throw faith, hope and belief into it and that makes up the person I truly admire.

  1. How do you like to relax?

I would love to say, lying on the beach somewhere with a drink in my hand but seeing as that hasn’t happened yet, I would have to go with a book, some green tea and cold nights in my room. My lazyboy is an added bonus. Total bliss.

  1. When was the last time you did something you were afraid of?

I am doing it right now. Have you heard that saying “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough”? Well, it was my dream to study abroad. I’m doing it right now and it is terrifying. More because now I need to figure a new dream. I’m happy I have an excellent support system. So much positive vibes.

  1. What are you most proud of?

I’m hoping this does not come across as arrogant, but I am proud that I did not give up on my dreams. No matter what people said. Everything in life has its risks, some bigger than others, but as much as it scared me it did not stop me.

  1. What are you most of afraid of?

Losing the people I love. Followed very closely by ‘Failure’.

  1. If life ended today, what would you regret not doing?

Without sounding too cheesy, I would regret not getting my shot at being in love with someone and actually having that person be in love with me. No bullshit. No lies. Total communication and honesty. That’s it.

  1. Who would you like to connect (or reconnect) with? Why?

I do not have an immediate reply for this one. I do not have anyone I’d like to connect with.

If I’ve cut people out of my life, I have done it for good reason and I have never regretted my decisions to do so.

  1. What qualities do you admire in others?

Confidence (in themselves, in others or situations) and resilience.

  1. What practical skills do you wish you had?

I wish I had better computer skills. And math skills.

  1. Imagine you’re in your 90’s. What memories would you like to have? What stories do you want to tell?

I would want to be able to talk about the fact that I checked off everything on my bucket list. People talk about traveling the world. I want that too. But I have a list of specific places I want to go to. I’m hoping by 90 I would have visited them all.

I would also tell stories about journeys I’ve been on both real and literary.

  1. What is your favourite book/ movie/ song? Why?

This is literally the hardest question for me to answer. I read a lot. I will try to break it down.

Books

Classic: Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen

Series: Harry Potter. Those books changed my life forever.

Over all I have too many books I love. No bookworm would ever be able to pick out a favourite book.

Movie:

All the Marvel movies because it’s all connected.

Romance: Letters to Juliet. I dunno what it is about this movie. I keep going back to it over and over.

There are many many more movies I love.

Song:

Keeps changing. I cannot pick one. LOL

  1. If you could make one change in the world, what would it be?

Realistically, this would not be possible but I dream about it a lot. I would erase the existence of Donald Trump. I’m not American, so he is not my President. But I get this sick feeling in my stomach when I hear him speak or even look at his face. He is everything, that I, as a woman, am against. He’s so focused on showing the world the might of the United States of America and is completely screwing his own people over.

I’m not the best when it comes to politics. In fact, I usually stay out of it. But he just makes me so mad because I have a friend in the US who was directly affected by the shitty policies his government are coming up with.

  1. What do you love to do for, or give others (not an object – something from you personally)?

Hmmmm one of my best friends paints and made me a painting of the TARDIS for my 23rd Birthday. Unfortunately, I’m not artistic. I try.

I do love to sing and when that makes people happy, I’m happy. I used to sing for my mum all the time just to cheer her up. I haven’t sung in front of people in a really long time now.

  1. What excites you?

Finding a book store I haven’t visited before. I get super excited about book stores. And libraries. But in the long run, the thought of the endless possibilities of my life excite me.

  1. What piece of advice would you give to five year old you? Sixteen year old you? Twenty-one year old you? Right now?

I would tell five year old me to be strong because there are tough times ahead that will require her to grow up before her time. But don’t stop dreaming and keep praying.

I would tell sixteen year old me to enjoy the rollercoaster ride till it lasts. Because she’s not gonna marry him.

I would tell twenty-one year old me to not give up. Ever.

Right now I keep telling myself to have faith in myself the way certain people have faith in me.

That’s it.

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THE BEST ADVICE

In a friendship, we’ve all been that person… you know, that person your friends come to for advice when they need it.

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I’ve been that person numerous times. And I even have a few, select people (friends and family members) I go to for help when I need it. But there are times, when certain pieces of advice that we get, give us such clarity, they stick with us forever.

I’m hoping this post could be helpful to someone, anyone who needs it right now. I decided to ask a few friends ‘what was the best advice they ever got?’. These are the responses I got from some of my friends. I have also added some of the best advice I ever got. Here goes:

  1. “Don’t expect anything from anyone but from yourself”

Yes, we’re diving right in with the heavy stuff. Easy to understand it, right? When I asked this friend, who gave him this advice, he replied ‘I thought it myself’, and knowing him, he’s right. He is self-sufficient and I’m proud to call him my friend. I believe this advice holds true for me as well. I learnt this one myself too. As much as we love, and trust others, we have to first, trust ourselves. When we trust ourselves, we won’t expect anything from anyone else, because we can do it all on our own. That is the best feeling in the world. And when someone does do something nice for you, especially when you were not expecting them to, it’s like icing on a cake that you already baked. 😊

  1. “Don’t take yourself or things around you, too seriously”

Life has a way of getting to us. We think, re-think, overthink and exhaust ourselves. We worry about things that may not even happen anyway. And it’s not like overthinking it is going to lessen the impact of the issue, if and when it happens, but we do it. My friend, who provided me with this piece, says she tends to absorb the issue and break it down till there is nothing left. But now, after getting this advice, she has learnt to step back, and decided to see the humour in a problem. She’s a believer of the butterfly effect and thinks of it as an aversion to a bigger disaster. There is truth in this and I think it is something I must learn to do for my own peace of mind.

  1. “Do things without expecting a reward in return. Do not pass judgement at other people’s wrongdoing. Be a good egg. Everyone gets what they deserve, in the end.”

The friend who gave me advice no. 2, also gave me this one. She says her grandma was the embodiment of the above. And the simple truth is that, it takes absolutely nothing to be a good human. Do things out of the goodness of your heart. Don’t keep a score. Just be kind. That’s all. Don’t look for anything in return. Because, in all honesty, just being nice has its own rewards. The immediate one is that feeling of happiness and bliss you experience just after doing something nice.

  1. “Never let anyone make any major life decisions for you in your younger days.”

Okay so this is a tricky one. It’s true, yes. But most will not realise it when they’re younger and by the time they do it’ll be late for them. People will say a lot of things and provide you with “guidance” but eventually you are the one that has to decide and then live with whatever you decide. Make good choices for you. Be it your education or anything in your younger days, really, it will shape and help you so much later on. I’m probably not the right person to say all this but I know now how much it would have helped me. Those extra-curricular activities you’re too lazy to do? Do it anyway, you’ll probably make friends there that will last forever. You’ll probably develop skills of dealing with different skills that will help later in life. It’s hard sometime to put yourself out there, but do it still. I’m doing it now and I’m loving it.

  1. “If you feel like crying, cry. But make sure it’s the only time you cry for that particular reason.”

My mum said this to me once. I don’t know if she remembers that she said it but she did. And it has stayed with me. At the time she said it, I was younger and I just accepted it because I wanted and still do want to be as strong as she is. Now it is ingrained in me. I don’t cry for the same reason twice. I am human and sometimes the same shit upsets me, but I suck it up and move on with no tears.

  1. “Is it really worth saying? If not, then just don’t say it.”

This talks about saying bad, unnecessary shit. I read it in a book and it made so much sense, I had to put the book down and actually think about the number of times I could’ve ended an argument and saved the other person some pain and myself from the regret of saying hurtful stuff that I cannot take back. I know winning an argument and having the proper comeback is really satisfying but most times the satisfaction is momentary. So, before you say something to a person that could potentially hurt them, stop and ask yourself whether it is worth it. If you realise it is not, don’t say it. You may have just saved your friendship or relationship.

  1. “Just remember, you’re playing on the same team.”

This is it people. Relationship advice. We’ve reached this bit. I read this somewhere too, and for the life of me cannot remember where. But again, it just stuck. People in relationships so often forget this part. After a point, we’re just fighting each other. It’s worse if both individuals are competitive. There is no prize for winning this fight! We pit ourselves against each other when in reality, it’s supposed to be us against the rest of the world. The two individuals need to remember that they’re on the same damn side. They both want this to work so they both need to play equal parts in it. ‘It’ being their relationship. And if ‘teamwork’ is not your thing and you play better by yourself then you have no right to be in that relationship, buh-bye.

 

This turned into quite a long post. But it feels so good to get it all down. This is some good advice but if you have anything that has helped you, let me know and I’m happy to make another post about it. Maybe the advice you give me will help me out. Sharing is caring. Feel free to spread some good advice around.

 

 

WHAT IS LOVE??

Yes, I’m back and I’m asking one of the most difficult question ever posed. What is love? And I mean the romantic kind, so there is no confusion. I cannot believe that I’m at a stage in my life where I open up my Facebook and there will notifications of people announcing engagements, weddings and even pregnancies and I’m like…….??? When did I get to this age? Could I please go back to college where my biggest concern was dealing with the consequences that could arise from skipping class? Oh wait. I am in college again. 😅

I cannot judge others for getting married. It’s their life, their choice and if they are happy then it’s a good thing. Because isn’t that what we ultimately want out of life? Happiness? I have friends who are married and are so so happy. They treat each other so well. I’m sure they have tough times but they get through it stronger. I guess even though times are changing and people’s views are changing (slowly but surely), it still is a question I have been asked often about when I’m going to get married. People have been asking me this question quite often recently and my answer has not changed. “NO, Mom! I’m not planning on getting hitched any time soon.. trust me you’d be the first to know if I was..”

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I do not get why she worries about it, because my life should not be defined by the ‘who? When? How?’ of getting married. Maybe I’ll settle down someday. But someday is not today. And a big fat NO to arranged marriages. If I get married it’s gonna be on my terms and it most definitely will be for love. But then again I’ve never been good at love so…

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Thanks to all the numerous accounts of love we see on the telly – I may not have much experience with romance but it is always lovely to watch people fall in love on the silver screen – most of those accounts are unrealistic. Love is different, unique for everyone. I do not understand some people’s version of love, but I have tried to figure out what would define love for me and it is hard. I’ve been in love before. And I always ask myself this question “If I was able to fall out of love with him, was what I experienced really love? If it was love, would it really have ended? And if it wasn’t love then how the hell will I know when I feel it?” Does this part resonate with any of my readers? I hope it does. To be honest, whether that relationship was true love or not, I do not regret it. It shaped me in to the person I am today and I will always be grateful for it. It made me stronger.

I am stubborn and independent and the idea of relying on someone in any way knowing that they can let me down at any time is scary. I like knowing that I can do shit myself and that another person’s actions have no impact on my life whatsoever. I am focused to work and studying and other important stuff in life, besides love and relationships. I am opening myself up to accepting that there are good men out there and maybe I deserve better than the comfort zone I’ve settled for right now. But if there is one thing I do know for sure about relationships and love is that there has got to be respect for each other. Especially respect for the differences and the other’s life choices. And communication. If you feel it, say it. Sometimes waiting till when you’re ready, may not always be the right choice because when you think you’re ready you may not get the chance to say it. Regret is the worst feeling in the world. That ‘what if’ question we keep running on a loop in our heads. “What if I say something too deep, too early on?”,  “What if it doesn’t work out?”, “What if we’re going too fast or taking it too slow?”, “What if she won’t accept me, for me?”, “What if he finds out something about me that makes him run for the hills?”, “What if we don’t get a second chance?” I could go on.. you get the gist of it.

Also, another thing I have learnt from experience is to keep the romance away from social media. At least that’s what I would do. Let your relationship thrive in private. The world does not need to know everything. This is coming from a girl who is active on almost all social media platforms. Do not let it rule your love life.

Look at me, giving relationship advice when I’ve been single for 5 years.

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IT’S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR…

It is always in this week of February that I am most irritable, frustrated and just get mad easily. And I honestly hate the reason why because I hate that I let it affect me. I wish I had another reason than the one I’m going to ‘talk’ about but I do not. On 26th February, 2006 my dad died. This coming Sunday will mark 11 years since his demise. Usually when I tell people this they say ‘sorry to hear that’ because they feel bad for me or because they think it’s the right thing to say. And I usually reply with ‘don’t be sorry. I’m not’ which is true.

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I’m not sorry. This is usually a bad week for me but not because I miss my dad and sit to think about the good old days. He was not a pleasant to person to be around (that’s putting it mildly – he was a monster and I hated him) and I honestly think this week is just cursed. Like nothing can go right for me. If I was back home I probably would’ve met people who get it (I miss you Maria!!) and hung out with friends (Shraddha, you total darling) who would just let me prattle on about useless things to get my mind off it. But I’m now thousands of miles away from home with no proper means of distracting myself other than my studies so I took that route and have ended up with a series of migraines. Everything I touch this week, falls apart. Conversations with people I care about take a bad turn. I think I’m just going to hide in my room and avoid social interaction lest I say or do something I cannot fix. Now I’m resorting to my precious blog. I missed doing this. It is therapeutic. And I need it. And I’m sure anyone who reads this will think that I’m probably conditioned to be in shitty mood this week, just because its this week. But no. The week ends up being shitty all by itself and then I’ll look at the date and realise why. Did I mention the curse already?

I wish I was a better person and could say that all is forgiven. But I am not that good a person and in his case I could probably hold a grudge FOREVER. Thanks dad! Every year, around this time, I think about how monumentally he screwed up and how things could have been so much different had he been a decent human being. I mean look where he ended up! I pray to god for him and try to make it as real as possible and also, hope for some mercy to help me survive this week. I would love to say more but then this would be one of the most depressing posts on my blog, if it isn’t already.

I bid you adieu for now. Stay safe all of you!