THE MOTHERSHIP

I have an extremely good relationship with my mum. And sometimes that surprises people. I tell her almost everything. Important, trivial. We live so far apart, but I speak to her every single day. She means everything to me but that is the obvious reason why I love talking to her. She’s fun and we have similar interests. We love Harry Potter and watch The 100 and all the movies from the Marvel cinematic universe. We used to have beer Fridays and birthday traditions.

But the real reason I tell her everything is because I know she will not hesitate to call me on my bullshit. Sure, she is my mum and so she is genetically programmed to love me but only if she knows everything there is to know about me, will she be able to help keep my moral compass pointing due north. I have seen parents forever ready to defend their kids from the world without even knowing properly who their kids have grown up to be. They have no idea how their kid talk to others when they aren’t around.. They don’t know how their kids treat their friends, their partners or who is influencing them. Having open communication has helped my relationship with my mum. As an adult I can make decisions myself but it’s always nice to have her input, whether or not I choose to follow it, is my choice. As a kid I used to look to her for guidance, now I look to her to get another perspective. She and I may see the same situation differently. These days I know she learns from me just as much as I learnt from her. The generation gap gives us both a lot to think about.

What I learnt from her is this – Resilience, is one of the best tools we could have. She is the strongest person I know and everything she has, she has fought for. I remember telling her about this situation I was in, a conversation I had with someone who is so important to me and how desperate I sounded. I was ashamed to admit to her, the strongest person I know, that I begged and pleaded and that it made me sound so desperate. But she didn’t think it made me sound weak. She thinks that the fact that I was desperate and was trying to reason with them meant that I had something worth fighting for and that I did not want to let go without a fight. I thought they were worth fighting for and they did not think the same. It is from her I learnt that there is a way to fix everything, especially relationships, if only have the will to do whatever it takes to fix it.

I want to be a good daughter. Not the perfect daughter. I want to be good enough to accept my mistakes when I make them and then perhaps find a way to make it better. My mum is proof that you can love someone from far away. She is proof  I don’t need to be near the ones I love to love them. I just love them. I love them now and probably will months from now. And time and distance may not change that for me. And I will not try to change it. It is not something that may not matter to others and I have accepted that what does not affect others should not mean anything to them. Love is love. It is unconditional and timeless. And you will only know it when you feel it. People may hurt you. Even the ones you love. Doesn’t mean you love them any less.

She taught me to never have regrets. You love someone? Love them. No regrets. Having regrets means it’s not real. So what if people don’t love you back? You’re the one who can say, “You know what, I love them and no one can take that away from me. I will always remember that sound of their laugh and how happy it made me and much fun we had together” People go through life not ever feeling this feeling. Lucky are those who find someone worth dying for. It doesn’t happen everyday. It doesn’t happen to everyone. It may not be valued but that doesn’t make it any less real.

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NEVER FORGET

I have been binge watching Criminal Minds. For some reason, I find it comforting. Not because of the brutal murders, sadistic killers and rapists, but because the profiling done to catch the unsub (unknown subject) is something I understand and it helps me feel a little in control. Spencer Reid is my favourite character on the show. He’s the youngest, awkward, has multiple PhD’s in Mathematics, Chemistry and Engineering and BA’s in Psychology and Sociology, and an IQ of 187, an eidetic memory and can read 20,000 words a minute. While I cannot relate much to the his genius, I can relate to the awkwardness and the fact that his dad left when he was a young boy. He doesn’t smile much, but when he does, it could light up the room.

In today’s episode he mentioned that his dad wrote him a ‘goodbye’ letter when he left, and Gideon (someone he looked up to and trusted) did the same when he decided to leave the BAU and it seemed so unfair that men, father figures in his life, mentors do that to him.

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My father did unspeakable things. I am usually able to get through the day without a single thought about him. And when I do think about him, it’s usually an unwelcome feeling. And then I realised, how messed up that is. A father is someone a kid should be able to rely on more than anyone else in the world. Especially little girls. A father is someone who is protective of their daughter, who reassures when she’s afraid of the dark or the monsters under her bed, who picks her up when she falls, who gives her a hug and makes her feel safe when she had a bad day. A father is not supposed to be the root cause of your problems they are supposed to help you solve them. I never had that. Every time I think of my father, all I can think about are the things he put us through and the mess he has left us in now. My mum is amazing and I love her the most in the world. She did the impossible to raise her daughters.

When Spencer mentioned his dad leaving, Emily Prentiss said something to him – “What do you remember about your father? He gave you ten years of his life before he left and yet you have erased all of those memories. It’s too painful, I get it..” Even though my dad was a monster, and I probably will never be able to forgive him, even I cannot deny some of the good things he did for me. One of the most important will always be the fact that he taught me to ride a bicycle. I have no idea if that was important to him but it was to me. There’s other small things as well. Permanent hell began when I was 6 years old. Home was hell to me. In my mind, we were never enough for him. I was never enough for him. He chose to leave his own family, his own kids and made it look like we never even existed to him. What kind of a man does that? What kind of a father does that?

My previous flatmate, I miss her. But I was also slightly envious of her. Not the of the material things she possessed or any of her successes. She deserves all the good that comes her way. She is a beautiful person inside and out and I love her dearly. But I always envied that when she had a bad day, she would get into her car and drive over to her parents place and for a little bit it was okay. It was so clear to everyone that her parents love her, that her father loves her. I can drive now and yet I have no such place to go to. When my heart is racing a mile a minute and it scares me so much I think it might just give out.. I still have no where to go to feel better.

I am an adult woman now but ever since we are little girls, most girls have devoted fathers, who will solve their problems and fight the bad guys. While I don’t need a father now, and I know I do not need a big, strong man to make all my problems go away, I can fight my own battles. I have been for a while now. It would be nice to say that I have men in my life, be it a friend or a brother or a boyfriend who I know would never let me to go to bed worried about whether they would still be there in the morning. That no matter who bad things were the night before, they could be still relied on to be present the next morning to start over. I do not look for it, but I guess what I need is to know that there are good men out there who can be relied on because so far I have not gotten that impression. 

But if there is one thing I know, we forget that just because relationships have bad days, or maybe even end, does not erase all the good things that happened till then. Every time I think of that bad my father did, I also try to remember the good things he did. It makes him appear more human.

PALPITATIONS

That feeling.. when you’re running as fast as you can.. when you’re just so afraid, your heart starts beating a mile a minute? That very feeling.. for no real reason.. other than just pure anxiety for something you know you can do nothing about.

My chest hurts from feeling like this on and off for two days. Heart palpitations are caused by anxiety but it makes me feel so helpless. I have half a mind to roll myself into the ER. If I could afford it. It scares me to no end that when this happens.. the panic leads to even more anxiety and while I have learned ways to ease the anxiety, it doesn’t always work because I don’t always have the same tools to work with. Especially when I’m at work.

I probably will just keep working on the things I’ve been working on and hope that this dark cloud that’s been hovering the past couple of days moves on by.

WEEKEND

People mean a lot of different things when they say that you should treat yourself every now and then. I realised that here, for a lot of people, that means going to get a good massage. I have never had a massage or a mani-pedi or any other of that “feel good” stuff. I have never been into self-pampering especially of that kind. I have never tried it and I have to admit I envy people who do it. For some reason, I feel it is a luxury I have no right to want or experience. I just can’t.
My idea of treating myself would be maybe a fancy breakfast, like eggs benedict with hollandaise sauce and mushrooms or pancakes with maple syrup, sausages and a side of scrambled eggs. I love a good breakfast. Especially making a fancy breakfast on a weekend, with some good coffee and a good book. Speaking of books – The other way I treat myself is going to a bookstore and expanding my collection. Roaming the isles, wondering what kind of a literary adventure I’ll go on next. And one of my favourite second hand bookstores is having a clearance sale this coming weekend. All for $5 or 5 for $10. It would be a real shame to miss it, right? Bookstores… *sigh* I always imagined, even as a kid, that if all my plans for my life fail, I’d work at or open my own bookstore. All I need are my friends to stand around and say stuff like this:

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I’m Amy. Like really. I relate to her on every level. LOOK!

As someone who once read 48 books in two months (yes, for real. I have a list of all 48), I can confirm that 50 books over an entire lifetime is not a lot.
Also, the Auckland museum apparently has a butterfly exhibit on right now. It’s supposed to be really good and if there are any other nerdy things happening in this city, I will probably find it. Eventually. Butterflies. I don’t know much about butterflies. Now is a good time as any to learn something about them.
All I do is work, read, drive, binge Criminal Minds and write this blog. And do nerdy shit. My mum calls it progress. Sure, mum. I think I’m just trying to find a place I belong. Bookstores, the smell of books, they have this calm about them – it’s hard to explain. I would turn to people to provide me with that same sense of peace but I can’t. Bookstores are a lot safer and reliable than people. Right?

HONESTLY..

When someone asks me something about me, without even realising it, I sometimes give a very blunt, honest answer. My reality seems to surprise people a little and then I realise just how sad it must sound to them.

I got busted by my boss for coming in to work at 6:45 am. I only got busted because he was in that early as well. The same day I was at work till after 6:30 pm and he was working late too. Finally he confronted me –

Boss: Why are you still here? Go home!

Me: I have work to do.

Boss: I’m your boss, I know you can’t have that much work.

Me: Uh, you’re not my only boss.. just saying.

Boss: Go home. It’s getting dark.

Me: My flat doesn’t feel like home. I go there to shower and sleep. This place, here, feels more like home to me than the flat will ever feel. Please don’t ask me to leave. I don’t want to go yet.

He was so surprised by my answer, he didn’t say anything, he just went back to his office. Five minutes later he emails me his Sky login and password with a message “I don’t use it anyway. Feel free to use the training room to watch stuff, if you don’t feel like going home.” Honestly, these people, they keep surprising me, everyday, with their understanding and patience. All of my colleagues, they’ve become a family to me, whether they realise it or not. Brendan introduced me to my now favourite brand of coffee and was patient with me during numerous sessions of Xero training, Emily has improved my coffee making skills, Brenda randomly leaves novels on my desk starting a book exchange between us both that is ongoing, Cheryl keeps me updated with hers and her daughter’s lives, Richard gives constructive criticism always and Ken is Ken. He knows to take evasive measures when he sees me start getting anxious about something. I take care of them just as they always take care of me.

By their support, I’m still here. I’m holding on to my sanity, even if barely.

On the plus side, I’ve made it my mission to find and visit as many small bookstores as I can. The smell of books always calms my soul. The thousands of stories, in those, waiting to take me on my next adventure. So far the bookstore count is just 5. 2 of them are second hand bookstores. I joined a choir that has practice sessions in a second hand bookstore, after hours. If that’s not a idea of heaven I don’t know what is. So I’m reading, and I’m singing again as well.

For a while I feel like me again. I’m hoping the feeling sticks.

RAISE YOUR VOICE

I am bitterly crying as I write this. Just a couple of hours ago, I was working on a post that I uploaded called ‘WHY TUMBLR?’ in which I talk about why I have a Tumblr blog and what it means to me. Fifteen minutes after I uploaded it, I found a post on my dash that was eye-opening, informative and revealed something about me that I did not even know I had to accept. And now I am crying…

The conversation was between several men and women and they were talking about how terrifying it is when men raise their voice. I related to all that the different women were saying. I grew up in a house where if I heard my dad raised his voice for whatever reason it meant there was a 99% chance that my mum was going to get a smackdown. I was 7 and it scared the crap out of me because that was my life and we had no idea back then if we would ever get out. I think, for me that laid the foundation to being afraid when a man gets mad about something and raises his voice. If a man is important enough to me and I deem them as someone I do not want to lose, I conform. I behave in a way that is a mellowed down version of myself because I am afraid of how they will react if I do something they may see as inappropriate or wrong. Especially if I have witnessed their anger or heard them raise their voice before. They have been upset or angered by something that had nothing to do with me, take a car accident for example, when someone scraped their car causing them to get mad and raise their voice at the other driver. The anger was not directed at me, but I had unconsciously made a mental note of it anyway. The fact that my ex boyfriend years ago, constantly blamed me everytime something went wrong in our relationship made me develop this fear that I needed to be careful with the men around me, even ones I care about because they may leave, or they may get mad.

But the most revealing and raw part of the tumblr post I just found was a comment left by a man on the post. @anexperimentallife wrote:
My fellow men, pay attention. I didn’t realise how scary this could be until one of my exes explained it to me and it’s heartbreaking.
Also, when we move too much during an argument, or lean forward, it’s scary and I never knew. I was even a little insulted at first, because surely she didn’t think I would hurt her. But see, that doesn’t matter. It wasn’t a sign that she mistrusted me specifically; it’s a conditioned response. (Although if you keep doing it once you realise it scares her, she SHOULDN’T trust you.)
Not every woman has been physically harmed by a man she trusted, but every woman KNOWS a woman who has.
I used to be horrible about this, because I didn’t realise how intimidating it was. I didn’t understand why the woman I was with clammed up or tried to tell me what she thought I wanted to hear, and I only got angrier and acted even more like an asshole. It was wrong. It was abusive. It didn’t matter if I INTENDED it that way; it was still emotionally abusive. And it was inexcusable.
I get that when passions are high, and when you’re frustrated, it’s a natural tendency to let your voice get louder, to shout and gesture and lean forward. But you can train yourself to do better. You can train yourself to keep more of an even tone, to refrain from large and fast gestures, to not lean into her personal space. I did. I’m not perfect at it yet, but goddamn it, I WILL be.
Don’t tell me it’s too hard, that you just can’t do it or that you “shouldn’t have to”. I’m 53 years old and just now getting the hang of it and if this old dog can learn something new, so can you.

Below this comment, there was another comment. @elfwreck wrote:
Note to guys: It really, REALLY doesn’t matter if you’re thinking, “but I would never..”
History is littered with the bodies of women who believed a man “would never.” This includes women killed by men who honestly, deeply believed they “would never”.. Right up until she said that on thing or moved in just that way and he just got so mad, just that once and pushed her or punched her or slashed her or shot her.. Just once you know, to shut her up, or because she was flinching and didn’t know she know that HE’S NOT LIKE THAT and I’LL TEACH HER TO BE AFRAID OF ME..
We trained, from infancy, that men with loud voices are a source of pain from which we cannot escape and attempts to escape may result in more pain. And as soon as we’re old enough to comprehend a world broader than our immediate circle, a world that extends in the past and will run into the future, we realise that there is no other way, no way at all, to tell which men “Would never” and which men “would never… except if.”
We live or die on that “if”. And any man who doesn’t like facing that hyper-vigilence can work on fixing OTHER MEN, not women’s fear.
The reaction shouldn’t be “not all men are like that”. It should be “no woman should have to live in fear.”
It’s telling that so many people will hear a story of long-term abuse and say “why did she stay with him?” and not “why did he treat her like that?”

Reading all this made me cry. I feel like I FINALLY have the answers to the questions I have spent months, no, years, asking myself. I am outspoken and funny and I love to talk. But there are times when I have been too afraid to speak to the men who hold value in my life. I clam up and the more they try to get me to speak the more I just don’t. I am scared of how they will react if I tell them everything. Especially if I have witnessed their anger before. I will always wonder subconsciously about when, why and how long before that anger would be directed at me. Will it only be verbal? Or will it be verbal and physical? Or I just agree with them or say what I think they want me to say so that there is no disagreement. I know it may drive the men I interact with crazy. I have my own opinions but sometimes it’s to disagree with you because I’m conditioned to be this way. You may not be “that kind of man” and even if I trust you there is no way for me to ever know for sure. I have spent years hating this way that I react because I had no explanation and to see these two individuals above explain it so perfectly… I wish I could make every man I have encountered and who have asked me to be myself and I have been so afraid to do so, to read this. Please read this. Please understand. We do not choose to act this way. I do not choose to act this way. Help me be a little less afraid.

I appreciate Tumblr and the people on Tumblr because many times they manage to put to words the things I feel but can’t find words to express. You can read the entire post on my Tumblr blog: NEVERTHELESS, SHE PERSISTED

WHY TUMBLR?

I deactivated my Facebook a few months ago. I’m not sure if I’ll ever go back. I know I do not want to right now. I think I realised how superficial it all was. Just like how relationships now seem to be. The content on there was nonsensical, news (especially the news from India) that was displayed to the world, was to create awareness. But awareness also causes fear. I cannot stress the number of times mum has called and messaged me over something she saw on Facebook, some post, some video gone viral, that freaked her out. Again, I’m not saying they are untrue. I am not saying it is a bad thing to be aware of all things happening in the world, to be up to date with the current events, but I couldn’t help but accept that for me, the bad on that website always outweighed the good. There was always more bad than good there. I felt overwhelmed and anxious and I decided to put an end to it. Yes, I missed witnessing important things – a couple of my friends got married (to each other) this past May and I couldn’t be there but I also was not able to see the pictures. Another friend is expecting a baby in September. I miss things. But they understand why and that is what matters.

My mum has been the most supportive. After I quit Facebook – she uninstalled the app from her phone as well. She thought that was ‘deactivating’ meant. After I explained that her profile was still probably there and that uninstalling only meant she couldn’t use the app to log, in she said at least without the app she won’t be tempted to put herself through mindless garbage everyday, unless she chose to log in through a browser for whatever reason. Mum is great. But she keeps her facebook around to be in touch with people. She is on her own and gets lonely.

I deactivated my facebook. And no longer use any of my social media anymore. Other than this blog, which I use for therapy, there is one other social media platform that I will not quit. Three guesses which. I have tried explaining Tumblr to people over the past year. But two nights ago, mum asked me this – Why do YOU use tumblr? This is why – For me Tumblr is a place where I can be unapologetically myself. I don’t personally know any of the people I follow and they don’t know me. We follow each other purely based on the content on each other’s blogs. People in our lives say they want us to be ourselves around them and yet when we do they try to pick apart small things that may be unique and different and make us stand out in the crowd. Many times I have met people irl who say “be yourself” but what they mean is “be yourself but only enough to fit my idea of you”.

This is why I love Tumblr. Tumblr has saved lives. And continues to do so. A blogger shares the troubles and struggles they face everyday, or that someone they know faces every day and the tumblr community comes forward to help, with information, with donations and prayers and sharing. There is stuff you see on the news and stuff not big enough to qualify for television news but is news that needs to be known. I feel more connected to people all over the world, on Tumblr, than I’d ever feel being connected to people I actually know on my Facebook friend list. Tumblr allows me to nerd out, to be weird, to have a wicked sense of humour, to appreciate other’s differences while they appreciate mine. Tumblr has taught me to accept people as they are and not as I want them to be. People are meant to be unique. Uniquely beautiful. And trying to get people to conform to your idea of what they should be while telling them to be themselves, sends a confusing message. Tumblr gives me hope in humanity. But I think it would help if I gave you an example. Maybe more than one example. This came across my dash today: 

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This is just one of the examples. Tumblr keeps me updated on worldwide events from credible sources. If there is one thing bloggers are good at it is thorough research. Tumblr keeps me posted on the situation in the US by more than what the news reports can ever give me. I get updates from people who are experiencing it themselves. Unfiltered, raw and heartbreaking. While I am not American, have never been there and can only accept and pray from afar, I still blog and reblog – a lot of my followers are American and they may need to know what is happening in their own backyard if they don’t already. If there is one thing I’ve learnt from all the controversy and outrage the Trump administration has caused it is this: While his supporters are out there saying that they have a right to their opinions (which is true) the things happening there are not a matter of political opinion, they are a matter of morality. They are willing to let their political opinion dictate the country by killing any shred of humanity they have in them. All this for a narcissistic monster who has no idea what he is doing and has people chanting shit like “SPACE FORCE!” at his rallies when they have no idea what it means because he has no idea what it means. He approved laws that had families separated from their kids at the border. The kids were kept in a detention centre and many of them were put up adoption without their family’s knowledge or consent. Kids who have no idea what is happening to them are taken in by Americans who change their name and take away anything that could identify them or connect them to their actual life. He made child trafficking legal. Recently people, kids with a moral compass pointing due north took to the streets in protest of this family separation policies. Guess where I saw the pictures? Kids in aged in single digits seem to have a stronger sense of morality than their President does.

Tumblr has people giving advice, PSA’s and knowledge about things that should be talked about more but for some reason aren’t. Like this important message on CONSENT:

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While tumblr has its funny side, the straight up weird side, the science side, the vine compilation side and a special place for the Supernatural fandom that have a gif for EVERYTHING, it is a place I go to belong. I go to tumblr when I want to fangirl, when I need to geek out, when I need help with my anxiety and I am trying to find an answer to the question “Who am I and what do I stand for?” 

Mum now wants to sign up for Tumblr as well. I think she sees it an having a connection with the world but more importantly a connection with me. If you want to check out my tumblr this is the link:

NEVERTHELESS, SHE PERSISTED

CHRISTINA

I have a friend – Tess. Some called her Tessie. She is beautiful. Full of life. Social. I met her when I was 16. We were in class together, happy that we got into the BA courses in one of the best colleges in the country. I was the friend she dragged around with her because I needed more friends apparently. And while that may have been true, I always had her around. Now she is married, has a beautiful baby boy. But this isn’t about now. It’s about then.

Later in the same year that we met, 2008 she introduced me to her mother – Christina. I immediately knew where Tess got her charm and looks from. Her mother was a magnetic soul. She was an absolute joy to be around. Christina or auntie Christina as I like to call her took us out for pizza and bonding and it was great. A couple of weeks after that she was diagnosed with breast cancer and Tess’s world started to fall apart. Christina started with the chemo and was later declared cancer free. Or so we thought. She relapsed. And I think this time she knew she wasn’t going to make it. No one said it, but she had I think accepted her fate. She went of chemo and decided to just go with it. She used to send Tess amazing lunches because she knew Tess would share with me.

I don’t know how to say this – it is accepting her fate of imminent death that she seemed most alive. She became extremely self aware and also aware of the people around her and how they impacted her. I spent a lot of time with her after that. I went over and made breakfast for her many times – pancakes because I love pancakes and taught Tess how to make them so she could do it when I wasn’t around. But it was hard for Tess. Not making the breakfast but watching her mum slowly… It was hard for all of us. I did it anyway. I watched movies with Auntie Christina. I messaged her when I needed advice about my life and how to deal with my boyfriend.

When she got too sick to move around much she had started a chocolate business from home and I used to help her wrap them up before they were sent off. Again it gave me a chance to talk to her. My friend Maria did not really know Aunty Christina but when I told her about everything that was going on, she decided that we should make cookies. So we spent hours making chocolate chip oatmeal cookies and then she came along with me to give them to Auntie. I think that was one the things that strong rooted my friendship with Maria as well. She didn’t know auntie, but she loves me, so she did it for me.

Shortly after that, Auntie chose to be put into a hospice. It was hard to take care of her at home as she got increasingly sick and I never got to see her. On the morning of the 1st of August 2011, early morning, I got a message from Tess’s brother that she had passed away. And I remember waking up in a daze, getting ready for the funeral. Maria showed up for the funeral. My ex was there as well. A few other friends. We sat together and we cried together. I remember I later came to know that people were making fun of us for crying. They made fun of us for crying. At a funeral. A funeral of someone who mattered to us more than they could understand.

I called 2011 the year of funerals. I attended 3 funerals, consecutively. July, August and then September. My grandma passed away in September a week before my birthday. I did really badly in college that year and it was hard to keep up. I remember it being like a heartbreaking movie that I was watching, where all you can do is watch and cry. Except that what I was watching was my life and I could do nothing to fix it. Just watch as it fell apart.

I miss Auntie Christina dearly. She always told me I’d do great things. She was supportive and understanding and always welcomed my mid morning joke texts. I would message her about funny things that happened in class and strange things I’d see on the local train. She was an exceptional person. I don’t talk about her as much as I should. It’s not because I’ve forgotten. She brought out a side of me I never would’ve known was there. A resilience. I knew how her story would end and I stayed. I continued with it. I don’t give up on people. Not even if they’re dying and especially not when they’re alive. People are important. We are all here to make a difference. Big or small. Not everyone will remember us after we have gone. But how would you like to be remembered?

She had given my mum a book with an inscription shortly before she passed and I know mum still reads it everyday. Some people leave their mark on your life. It’s not perhaps a mark that everyone sees. But it’s there. I can’t help but wonder what she’d think of me, of Tess, of where we are today. Would she be proud?

DETERMINED

I have become now, what my younger self would’ve called “a complete weirdo”. But I wasn’t always like that. When I was younger I was always concerned with sticking to the rule book. Rules were made to be followed. I later realised that following the rules and having a moral compass were two completely different things. The difference being that the rules were not always morally right.
I lived in a one bedroom apartment with my mum and my older sister, my whole life. I had no idea what it was like to dream big. I never dared do it. I could not even imagine it. I did not know what it even meant. I trained myself to be mediocre and to not want anything beyond what we already had. Dreaming big is expensive and we just never had the kind of money. But now I wonder where I would be if I hadn’t dared to dream. I think people take one look at me and think they have me all figured out. I come across as someone who will not give results, who no one takes seriously, who is often called “bubbly” because I smile and comply. I don’t know when exactly, because maybe it happened unconsciously, but I started to develop an attitude that I had to get people to treat me like a person. And not as someone who cannot make any decisions by herself. I think maybe it started when I started working in the HR department and had to struggle for a bit before people actually started to understand that I take my job seriously will not tolerate people who do not deserve my time and patience.

I did things for the strangest reasons. I have a degree in psychology. And yes, I wanted to study psychology because it would help me understand why people do the things they do, why people act the way they act. Some do not let anyone in, nothing anyone does is enough to keep them happy long term and so no one lives up to their expectations. In psychology that would mean deep rooted shame and insecurity, perhaps deep unhappiness with their own their life which makes them pursue unattainable perfection or expectations, externally, like with their material possessions, and which could also extend to the people they choose to interact with. This may or may not be accurate. It’s just my read. I’m rusty. Then again, we may all be ashamed about something about ourselves. Some of us are better at dealing with it than others. Believe it or not, my love for Psychology actually began with my obsession for the television show ‘Criminal Minds’. The way they profiled people an unsub at a Sherlock Holmes level and yet it made perfect sense. So, hello the new dream to get a degree in Psych!

I developed some unusual methods of motivation. When I decided that I wanted to leave India and go abroad, which was a big decision in itself, a lot of people told me I couldn’t do it. “You want to leave your mum behind? Do you know how selfish you sound?” “How are you going to afford it?” “You never worked hard in college, why would you work hard now?” Trust me a lot of that still haunts me. Especially the part about leaving mum behind. I questioned myself a lot then and still do. Am I selfish for leaving her and coming here? I don’t know if I’ll ever get an answer to that question. I don’t know. I remember going out to the mall with mum and the new Captain America movie had just come out. A lot of Captain America merch was on sale, and only in the men’s section but I remember seeing this pair of black OG Marvel Captain America sweatpants, loose and comfy. I remember thinking “Damn, that would be ideal for my long flight to Auckland!” and this was back when the idea to go study in NZ was just that, an idea. I wanted to do it, but I had no idea how to make it happen. And I remember going back to that store and buying those black sweatpants and keeping it away as my “going away” outfit. I did not wear it until the day I left. That was how I motivated myself to do it. I wore those pants on my flight to Auckland and I am wearing them right now, as I write this, in Auckland almost two years since I came here. I am crazy. And I am only here because of my stubborn craziness.
I hate being told I cannot do something. I absolutely hate it. Because then I most certainly have to do it. I do not mean small petty things. I hate implications that I am incapable of doing things that everyone else seem to be doing just fine. Like I said, my face just makes people think I cannot and it really rubs me off the wrong way. I never learned to drive and it is considered essential to be able to drive here. Let’s say it’s a necessity. And I wanted to learn but kept putting it off till I was more stable in my job, in my life. But situations change and people change. I decided waiting was pointless. And I decided to go for it. That was around mid February. I called a friend and asked him if he thought I would be ready for the learners test by the first week of April. That would give me one and a half month to prepare. I had the idea that if I booked a seat for the test I would study harder knowing I had a deadline to meet. I asked the friend for his opinion because he had been driving here for a few years so he would know. I am sure he meant it sincerely and meant no disrespect, but he told me that as someone who had never driven before in her life, who had never read the material before, I would not be ready by the first week of April. His own wife was studying the material for over a year and hadn’t felt prepared to sit the test. He said I wouldn’t be ready by the first week of April, so it’s only fair that I sat the test in the first week of March instead. I passed. Bought my first car two weeks later. It’s an old car but it’s mine. I did it. I guess there would’ve been some form of celebration but I did nothing to celebrate.
When I want something, I go for it. And I have the utmost respect for people who do the same. I don’t have that air of confidence that some people seem to naturally exude. I go for what I want in an ungraceful, clumsy way. But I get there. People give a lot of advice, they mean well but at the end of the day only we know our own struggles. Only we know about the blood, sweat, tears, the negativity we had to drown out to get to where we are. I don’t assume to know what others have been through. I constantly remind myself that I can never possibly know what someone else is feeling, what their battles are, what struggles they overcome daily, unless they let me in. I only know my own and I try to be as honest about them as possible. I am human and I slip and allow the assumptions to take over sometimes. Old habits die hard, I guess. But I will never truly know. I want to, but I only will know if they deem me worthy of it. Please know that I am trying. I hope that that counts for something.
I guess what I am trying to say is that, there is more to me that just what my face gives away. I can be bubbly. But I am also determined. I am sarcastic and I love it when people reply to my sarcasm with sarcasm instead of getting offended because to me that would be a) appealing and b) a sign of intelligence. Sarcasm doesn’t make you any less mature and responding to sarcasm with sarcasm is what I consider witty banter. Sarcasm without being demeaning. That’s how I get to know people. Sarcasm and conflict resolution skills. I mean it’s hard to trust someone who deals with conflict by dropping everything and running away. A problem brings out the fight or flight response in people. I have usually been one to fight for what I believe in while a lot of others that I have met say they believe and then when faced with a problem take immediate flight. Says a lot about people. Perhaps it depends on if they truly have something to fight for.
Therapy has been working its weird magic on me. This post is proof. This blog, and my tumblr are the best reflections of who I am. This blog consists of my own words and my tumblr consists of reblogs other’s content that best describe – what I believe in, what I find funny. what books I read, the tv shows I watch, everything.

AVE MARIA

What does the word ‘Maria’ mean to me? Maria was my grandmother’s name. And it also happens to be the name of my best friend. Maria is a miracle friend. I write a lot on this blog, but somehow I cannot describe the importance she has in my life. I tried. Many times. And everything I write, falls short to properly describe how much her friendship means to me, how much she means to me. So I decided to make a list of all the things I associate with her that will perhaps give you an idea of our friendship:

  1. Apple juice
  2. Beyonce (especially Who Run the World)
  3. Cookies n Cream ice-cream
  4. Doctor Who
  5. Port Wine
  6. Hocus Pocus (The 1993 movie)
  7. Predestination (I will say this – do not watch this move while drinking alcohol. If you do, your hangover will be 10 times worse the next morning)
  8. Owls
  9. Pugs
  10. Homemade oats and chocolate chip cookies
  11. Kheema
  12. Harry Potter
  13. Supernatural
  14. Beautiful cursive handwriting
  15. Handmade cards
  16. Bookmarks
  17. Francais, francais et plus francais (I did three years of french just to write this – and I am not even sure that it is correct)
  18. Me not wanting to watch Game of Thrones
  19. She wanting to watch The 100 but not being able to stomach the thought of the emotions that will come along with it
  20. Unconditional love and support
  21. Slowing dancing in the middle of a convention
  22. Holding each other up during Auntie Christina’s funeral
  23. Running into her at the train station on the day of me grandma’s (who’s name was Maria as well) funeral when I was lost and disoriented and she guided me
  24. Crying when we see each other after a long time
  25. Life lessons like – we can’t help who we love but we love them anyway
  26. She reminds me that I am enough when the people I love treat me like I am not

 

Marie, if you ever read this. I love you.

 

à travers tout le temps et l’espace,

Ton amie,

Gummy