LOVE

Love is patient, Love is kind…
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

STORY 1
Boy met Girl. Girl was terrified of him. She was amused by him and he needed her help. He had puppy eyes and she had a caring heart. Locked in a situation with no probable alternatives. Girl begins to look after Boy with a determination of completing checklists. Before she knew it, he became her home. He knew how to lighten her up and she knew how to make him drool. They went through years of happy-sad, excitement-monotony, calm-distant like a wave in the ocean… effortless. One morning, while she was on a train away from home and he was being his happy self… He was gone, just like that.

STORY 2
She is curves. He is her pool of comfort.
He is always there. She always walks right into his arms.
She has a temper. He has solid shoulders.
He never judges. She is a ball of complexes.
And each night, they meet like the first time.
And each morning they part with a promise of a repeat.

STORY 3
Even at a distance his cologne tantalised her senses. Since her mid teens she spent hours being lost in his world. Smiling at the joys, crying with him through his hardships, laughing at moments of surprise and fun, calmly holding on when she didn’t know anything better, learning something new each time and experiencing more than a lifetime with him… ever since the first time she walked down the corridor, her hand holding him tight, she knew. She knew that this bond was forever. And so it was… just that simple!


A few days back I was asked if I have any love stories that I could share, for an assignment. While I had nothing that could help the person in question, I did realise that there are a few romances that I’ve been nurturing since a while now.
Here are my atypical love stories, in which I have invested just as much as I do in my human relationships. That’s right, in all the above stories the girl/woman is me. The male counterpart changes in each one of them.
The first is about Bruno- who walked into my life on his little fours and years later left us with no time to prepare.
The second one is about me and my mattress.
And the last one is for the love of books (think physical books and not soft copies).

Now quickly go and revisit the stories above if you thought love was all about two people. Love is actually an emotion and it is on us to feel and associate it with people places and things, which have an impact on us, which require us to put in an extra effort and sustain that commitment.

Our Greatest Fear

As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Marianne Williamson

Written on the inner side of a hardbound notebook in which I collect ‘Favourite Quotes and Words’ since years now- these above lines are often read, often ignored and often taken for granted. But most importantly, these words have been the first thing that I read when I open this book for a place to hide in or a place to find answers. They were never land picked by me but I carry them around as an invaluable gift.

If you allow them, they will lift you up on some very gloomy days. If you soak them in, even for a moment, they will lift that weight off your shoulder. If you believe in them, they will show you a mirror you often forego.
And trust me baby, they will have the exact impact that you permit them to. Or they could also be just words when you want them to be.

My Kerosene Lantern & My Flies

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person that you are”
– Kurt Cobain

Have you ever seen a kerosene lantern?
Have you noticed it burn?
When you light the wick, it glows with a warmth so strong. The glow attracts hoards of flies and moths like kids around a candy cart; they crowd around, buzzing and dancing as if in an a-cappella. The flame moves like an enchantress at the heart of a party. As the enchantress puts in the hours, the gathering begins to dull down and the insects scatter. A dark blanket covers the enchantress that continues to glow, as if unaware of her lost grip.
The lantern is blamed for being a possessive lover who hides away her spirit, refusing to share her with the rest of the world. This love story is, however, one of melancholy.

So busy entertaining and enjoying, the enchantress never realises that the sooth that envelopes her is her own creation.


The lantern is my physical being. The glowing wick is my spirit. The flies, bees and moths are all the people that have come and gone; the ones that have been around.
What’s the sooth then, I wondered?
It is the only proof that stands witness to all the effort, burning and wear and tear that has gone into the process of being me.

Do I like who I am today? Of course I do!
Am I the perfect version of who I wish to be? Well I am the version that I wanted to be sometime ago. Now my plans have evolved.
I once read somewhere:

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; Remember what you now have was among the things you only hoped for.

-Epicurus

Why is it then that the work that was put in to make me- me, shows itself in the form of a layer that also sometimes suffocates my light?

I’ve always been a people person and yet it burns me out from time to time. For the first time I recently heard myself ask a friend, “Have you ever stopped to consider that maybe Social Media is just Media. There is more to my everyday than what I choose to put out there?” While it did give me a false momentary celebrity air, but it spiralled down on me just as fast. I realised that I was losing touch with myself and becoming irritable. I realised that the line between my primary and secondaries was getting blurred.

To my own surprise I was at ease on realising that I had been pushing myself. The road to this realisation had un-timely outbursts and un-necessary emotional breakdowns for over a week with highly confusing actions, the realisation itself came as a moment of comfort. As if my body was showing signs, like the sooth in the lantern, that I’d burnt myself well and needed some cleaning.

What followed was pretty much me pampering myself to comfort through music, food, sleep and everything else. I spent a couple of days being everything that I needed, un-bothering by the social code of conduct.
Took a day off work with no other plans for the day. Got into bed a little early and stay there a little longer. Stood under the shower and let it all out. Painted my toes an electric purple and spent time moisturising. Didn’t indulge in small talk or conversations that weren’t helping me. Looked at the moon and tried counting the stars till my neck hurt. Ate by myself. Played with the strays. Watched movies in languages that I don’t understand. Played dress up in the middle of the night. Re-read parts of books, just because. Said ‘No’ to polite tasks. Listened to groovy dance music at the crack of dawn. Ran alone. Called up friends whom I’ve not heard from in a while. Laughed until my eyes spilled. Wrapped fairy lights around my body and sat with a tub of my favourite ice cream to watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S. re-runs.

And just like that, with a little effort and time, the glow of my lantern has begun to return. The weight of the sooth is lifting and I feel more at ease with myself. Finally able to feel my thoughts flowing and more in tandem with my surroundings. Ready to be with people and feel entertained by the buzz of it all.
It is a small amount of time invested in cleaning which is going to last me quite a while and has also earned me some added comfort. If I had to do the math, I’d say I’m looking at some great returns on investment.

Don’t waste another minute thinking that you’re failing when really all you’re doing is growing.

-Chani Nicholas

Hey!
The last few days for me have been all about thinking, re-thinking and sometimes over analysing. I wouldn’t say it was all dull, grey and dark but there sure have been showers of gloom. It was this period of looking at myself that had me sharing this piece.
If you’ve read it till the end and felt like you understood what I’ve been upto, then maybe you have been there, are headed there or are there right now. Treat it like a cleanse, it makes you dirty and uncomfortable but you only get out better; so hang in there!

18 Going 25 Something- looking back and moving ahead

Dear 18 and mid-20s,
Its okay, you are Fabulous!

As an 18 year old, fresh out of high school and waiting to start college/university, I remember being excited to have finally grown up.
There was a little extra bounce in my steps and extra swing to my ponytail. There was an air of confidence and my eyes glimmered with hope. The clarity of thought was unparalleled and my shoulders a little extra squared to take on the world!

I was willing to go down to the minutest of details of everything that I was asked, expected and even wished to do; simply because, you know… everything I did then was supposed to turn and mould the rest of my life. Every decision supposed to solidify the path that I follow for the rest of my life, every relationship I nurtured was to last till the end of my days, every belief system that I adopted was supposed to define life for the rest of my living.

I knew that by the time I was in my mid-20s, I would be an independent being with a certain professional stability with nowhere else to go but rise higher and higher. I knew I was going to be this person who would be wise and generous, witty and intellectual, smart and funny, attractive and well-built.
I would have a Masters degree in Economics and a passport full of stamps, speak two foreign languages and have friends across the globe, play the guitar and read minimum three books a month, have a walk-in closet and people whom I could trust with my life, a labrador with a person to share its warmth with.

Today, it’s been eight years since I was first 18, and to my comfort I haven’t really done most things that I had planned out for myself.
I’m a Psychologist who writes to understand myself better and somedays to just get through the day. I read, but more on the rate of a book a month and sometimes it takes two months to complete it. I have an inconsistent workout pattern and an unparalleled love for food. I’ve not yet filled my passport with stamps but love looking through the Atlas every now and then, and I know i’m collecting experiences to share with my kids and their kids in the future.
I don’t play any musical instruments but have a diverse playlist that caters to my every mood. The only amount of foreign language I know is what Narcos has taught me. Somedays I wonder what is it that I’m doing? But one thing has become abundantly clear, that I’m not looking at breaking any glass ceilings, professionally.
I do drive a stick pretty well and have made friends from different walks, ages and beliefs. I do not have a dog, but do take every opportunity to play with one when I find it. I still love dunking my cookie in the milk and finding shapes in the clouds!

Not wanting to start my 27th year on a low note I asked for help on my personal Instagram account (because that’s where we are the most responsive, as a society).
I asked for people to help me see me through their eyes.
I mean, looking into myself wasn’t looking very promising and uplifting in comparison to the 18-something’s image of current me, because you know- self doubt and esteem issues.

Surprisingly, what started with the intention of licking my wounds turned out to have more of a therapeutic effect. There were responses that spoke of my physical appearances and other socially polite things that we all do at some point or the other. Then there were those that put a smile back on my face and made me realise that I might not have become all things that I’d dreamt of as an 18year old, but I surely on the right road no matter the destination.

It began with “It takes a very secure person to do something like this”; it made me realise how I’d been open to all kinds of responses and willing to go on. But this response just prepared me better.

Some said that I have grown up to become a sensible woman, understanding and simple. I realised that I do have quite a few virtual friends whom I’ve rarely or never had the chance to meet in person, and real ones whom I meet as often as I can.
There is family who are like friends and friends like family, and I couldn’t have wished for more. They find me annoying and incorrigible, but adore me none the less. I do have sour patches, but I know in my heart that I’ve done enough to sweeten them before I gave up; no regrets there.

It was repeatedly mention that I do travel quite often and that helped me make peace and hope for more in the future.

To think about it, the most rewarding feeling was the realisation that I am happy. Inspite of all the things that I’ve not achieved, received, earned and created in comparison to my dream for myself. I’ve been blessed with more than I could have asked for.
Not everything has panned out the way I believed it would, somethings never even materialised. After all, what did I know then when compared to now?

I’ve lost people who I thought would last forever and have company in the ones whom I never thought I could understand.
Plans have changed multiple times. Some of them have felt like a train wreck, like hitting a dead-end with no where else to go. Very rarely does anyone ask me for my grades from high school and college, even though at the time it meant like the world depended on them. But everytime I meet somebody now, they want to know what I do; as do I about everybody.
Things that seemed like the indicators of the quality of my future at one point, seem so frugal now!

I still look for approval and validation every now and then, but I’m also learning to segregate the feedback. I’m learning to find it within myself rather than the world; and to the ones who are seeking it elsewhere, trust me pleasing and appeasing the universe inside yourself makes you more beautiful and appealing to the world outside of yourself.
To the 18 year old me I’m a grown up now, but today I’m still growing. I’m yet to make mistakes and learn new things about myself. I’m still setting goals and targets for my older self and setting my heart out to wander and understand itself better. I’m not perfect, but I know that there is no single universally accepted definition to perfect, either.

Making yet another time capsule for the next five years and allowing myself to be swallowed by the world. the world lead me. They say ‘Maturity is the price you pay for growing up’, I think I’m just keeping the child in me alive!

When you’re 20, you care what everyone thinks,When you’re 40, you stop caring what everyone thinks, When you’re 60, you realise no one was thinking about you in the first place.

-Winston Churchill

And this here feels like my theme song!

VALIDITY

Its necessary, but more from inside and almost never from the outside. Ironically we do the opposite.

In general, it is a criteria to measure the quality of any information. It is indicative of its logical and factual soundness.
Eg. “You make a valid point/argument.” or “There is no proof that validates your stories” (basically means that you think the person is lying).

In case of statistics and research, validity is understood as the extent to which the results or findings correspond to the actual reality.

To think of why this concept has made it to my choice of word for this week, it is because of something that I caught myself doing.
I willingly went ahead and undid my hour long effort because someone’s opinion of the outcome didn’t seem very positive towards it, even though I was convince that it was fairly good for the occasion.
I’m not saying that valuing and respecting someone’s opinion is wrong. But make sure its someone else’s opinion, not necessarily your reality!

Have you ever felt like you have used validation as a tool to measure your affection towards someone, or someone has used it for you? I know I have allowed people’s validation drive me from one task to the next.
It doesn’t confirm their love for me, but it sure makes me distant from who I am. And the worst part, when you pay attention to someone post validation, its never a long term result or unconditional love. It becomes a cycle- there is constant need to fit into the box or match a certain expectation.

The day I caught myself doing this and realised that their approval was not always bringing me happiness I decided to try and be more conscious of this and evaluate my actions.
After all, Life is too short to please everyone while making yourself uncomfortable and disconnected!

I’m Just Choosing

I wish to fly 
I’m unloading 
I’m not insensitive 
I’m just choosing 


It’s just another week.
It’s been a regular month.
It’s an ordinary weather.
It’s an average list of chores.
It’s the daily hum-drum.
It’s the same faces around.
But,
But I’m making the most of it.
I’m trying to make my state-of-mind extraordinary.
I’m day dreaming travel and researching hostels.
I’m considering my options and being hopeful for the long weekends.
I’m sprinkling plans and I know some are about to stick.
I’m making me.
I’m making myself happy.
I’m being more than just my immediate surroundings.
I wish to try
I’m learning
I’m not incoherent
I’m just choosing
Am I delusional, you may wonder.
I’m childish and dreamy you might say.
I’m unreliable you might believe.
But I’m happy Is all that I care.
I’m trying is all I know.
I’ll get my tickets stamped, is all that I need to believe.
Sure you wish I saw the reality that you see
I understand that you are uncomfortable with my antiques
You do genuinely try to make me normal
Everyone’s wishful for me to adhere and conform
But I’ve seen people cry under the happy masks
I’ve heard the gloomy silence behind your crackling laughter
I’ve felt the burden of the unshed tears
And I know they weigh me down
I wish to fly
I’m unloading
I’m not insensitive
I’m just choosing

Churning Wheels: Needs

All humans have the same needs made unique by the combination and proportion in which we need them.

(This is the third and last article of the Churning Wheels series)

If we were to be absolutely honest with ourself, place our hand on our heart and admit. Admit to how often have have we measured ourself up against the world or others against ourself! And in doing so, we have all used accomplishments as the most handy tool for measuring and comparing. While its easy to quantify most successes and its easy to draw conclusions and arrive at results with numbers, have you wondered why?

Why are achievements the way to measure us and grade our abilities?

As one part of my two-fold plan was satisfied, I found myself at relative ease. There was one more view to explore and a decent amount of clarity on the topic if not the content. I began with what I already knew- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It is one of the most often referred to theory for understanding any behaviour and growth related situation across fields.

According to a Mr. Maslow, human needs are of five kinds, arranged in a hierarchy from basic necessities to the ones concerning higher levels of the self. The hierarchy begins with:

  • Physiological Needs (food, water, sleep, sex)- at the bottom
  • Safety Needs (clothing, shelter, employment, health)
  • Love and Belonging Needs (family, friends, society, intimacy)
  • Esteem/ Ego Needs (respect, achievement)
  • Self-Actualisation (meaning, inner potential, creativity)- at the top
  • 4136760-article-what-is-maslows-hierarchy-of-needs-5a97179aeb97de003668392e

On the basis of this theory, it was proposed (still holds true) that all living being, irrespective of their individual differences, have the same needs. My churning wheels liked this pyramid as it helped me answer the unasked questions. But somewhere I wanted more. Something beyond the philosophy of survival.

At this point, I’m not sure if I was curious for the over-achieving yet unhappy man. Or was I curious because even I have felt dissatisfied when I had no reason to be. By now, I had repeatedly asked myself if I was truly happy. And I instantly had known that my happiness wasn’t always honest, sometimes it was just an over joyed laughter that did not touch my eyes.

So while I read further I found that the five needs are often categorised by some, under something called the ‘Trio of Needs’; namely Power, Affiliation and Achievement.

  • Power: it is closely associated to the ego need of individuals. It is the boost in self-esteem when one exercises control over their surroundings or on the people around them
  • Affiliation: It is similar to Maslow’s social needs. It suggests that human behaviour is strongly influenced by their desire for acceptance and to conform. The need for belonging and companionship
  • Achievement: This can be related to Ego and Self-actualisation needs. It makes achievement or success feel like an end in itself.

Different people place different weightage on each of these needs; the ratio changes but rarely does anyone completely omit any. I noticed that the Trio was far more fitting for my situation because if doesn’t try to explain the basic physiological needs along with safety. It just gets to the point of where we make choices.

We do not choose whether we are hungry or sleep deprives, whether we need to feel safe or wish for a healthy functioning body; they are constant and unchanging. But we all, at multiple points, revise and rearrange our priorities. So maybe the question is about how we prioritise? Maybe it is as simple and important as asking ourselves how we feel, from time to time. And based on the answer to that we could create our ratios. The trio are the three parts of a see-saw, the centre is always the one keeping the other two ends in place and balanced.

So if I feel under-confident then temporarily I could place achievement at the centre, it will boost my self-image, improve my confidence and eventually increase my power quotient. When achievement alone stops satisfying me, I will have to ask myself again what I need, and it might be time to rearrange. When I fail to feel happiness inspite of all the success, it will be time to put achievement on the other end and let affiliations sooth me back.

And while I play see-saw, I will have to remember that my constant needs are the grass bed at the bottom- unassuming and easily taken for granted but also the one that catches me when I fall.

Have I arrived at the right answer? Do I have all the answers? Is this a go-to formula? Is it fool-proof?…. Well I’m going to find out sooner or later. Until then I’m going to ask myself about how I feel and try to remedy it as and when I feel discomfort.

References:

Philosophy and Psychology of Branding |Solomon Managament Consultants. (2014, April 23). Retrieved November 12, 2018, from http://www.solomon-mc.com/philosophy-and-psychology-of-branding/

Schiffman, L. G., Kanuk, L. L., & Kumar, S. R. (2010). Consumer motivation. In Consumer behaviour(10th ed., pp. 88-116). Dorling kindersley (india) pvt.

Churning Wheels: Potion Quotient

There are four chemicals that are responsible for human happiness.

(This is the second article of the Churning Wheels series)

With a whirlwind of ideas that I couldn’t address all at once I was left restless for a day or more. So I did the best things that I could think of- ponder, wonder, ignore, convince myself that it’s not my monkey hence not my circus. Over time I tried digging deeper, finding articles or asking people if they knew what I felt; well let’s just say there wasn’t much success there either. Internet is smart but it didn’t know the answer to my unsure questions and left me clueless.

After some more time of self-tormenting I decided that the best way to understand what an individual goes through is by looking at it from a two-fold system:

  1. Their chemical proportions
  2. Their needs as individuals

With better clarity than before, there finally was a direction to look at.

A little reading and some permutation and combinations later, I realised that there are four chemicals that are responsible for most human happiness. The beauty of such chemicals is that they needn’t be injected but we can learn to produce and help product more of them within ourselves.

  • The first chemical is ENDORPHIN. It’s the one responsible for making us feel good after a session of physical exercise, despite all the muscle strain, by reducing the perception of pain and are also responsible for feeling of euphoria; also known as the body’s ‘feel good chemical’.
  • The next one is DOPAMINE. This motivates us into performing better and being achievers. It creates a sense of contentment and high through achievements. It is also called the brain’s ‘reward and pleasure centre’ ; more the dopamine more the productivity. Lowered motivation and enthusiasm is an indicator or low levels of dopamine.
  • Third in line is SEROTONIN. This motivates us to indulge in pro-social behaviours. Its released when we perform acts of kindness towards others, making the world seem like a better place. Commonly known as the ‘happiness hormone’, it can affect the body temperature, cause migraine and regulate appetite.
  • And finally OXYTOCIN. This is the social potion, often also called the ‘love hormone’. It is released through proximity. It’s the reason why sometimes hugs feel more therapeutic than words. It works on the trust, warmth, openness and empathy of individuals.chemicals.jpg

On gaining this new information, the next seemed obvious. I had to know how I could improve the production of these hormones in my body without resorting to chemical substitutes. With it began the next phase of my research and I was surprised at how simple it is to make myself happy!

Here are some steps that can be adopted easily in everyday:

  1. Soak in the sun as vitamin D is fat-soluble and directly effects the production of Oxytocin.
  2. Exercise regularly as it has many mind-body benefits. Staying active helps the physiology and is directly related to the production of Endorphin.
  3. Sleep well because your body needs the rest. It is said that most of these hormones are produced when the body is in a resting state that’s why when we wake up after a good night’s sleep we feel energised and refreshed. By the end of the day, the body has usually exhausted its supple of these hormones, making it tired and deserving of the rest.
  4. Eat a protein rich diet and avoid processed foods. Veggies, unsaturated fats, nuts and seeds are the best way.
  5. Quit or limit your sugar consumption*
  6. Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol and caffeine. They create dependence and interfere in the natural hormone production process.
  7. Listen to music that you enjoy as it triggers the pleasure centres.
  8. Try aromatherapy; esp. lavender and chamomile, as they are known to have relaxing properties.
  9. Practice yoga and meditation as they are known to relieve stress and relax the body and mind.
  10. Practice the art of giving, volunteering and donating in-order to feel good.
  11. Cuddle with loved ones and your pets because love spreads positivity and joy.
  12. Laugh! Laughing in real time is the best medicine for all kinds of situations.
  13. Take up hobbies, do creative things and invest time in yourself**
  14. Have celebratory rituals for all small and big accomplishments (eg. A celebratory dance, treating self with favourite food, etc).

As an adult most of us can consciously put in an effort to improve our own happiness. But as adults we should also take up the responsibility of equipping children with the ability to do so by providing them an environment to be happy and helping them inculcate little activities into their routines. What could be better than a generation of humans being brought up with happiness improvement mechanisms?

Note:

*Refer to “Sugaring it Down” https://thehazywhisperer.com/2018/10/10/sugaring-it-down/

**Refer to “Try It” https://thehazywhisperer.com/2018/07/26/try-it/

References:

10 Best Ways to Increase Dopamine Levels Naturally. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-increase-dopamine

33 Ways to Increase Dopamine to Boost Your Productivity. (2018, March 15). Retrieved from https://helloendless.com/10-ways-to-increase-dopamine-to-boost-your-productivity/

Email OF The Day. (1970, January 01). Retrieved from http://emailday.blogspot.com/2015/09/wwwkeralitesnet-4-happy-hormones.html

Jason Nutzman. (n.d.). What Are Endorphins And 7 Ways to Boost It Naturally. Retrieved from https://mindhealth.co/what-are-endorphins-and-7-ways-to-boost-it-naturally

Mojor, C, (2018, November 06). Te Mystery of Serotonin:Can It Really Make You Happy? Retrieved from http://www.developinghumanbrain.org/serotonin-mystery/

Simply Live

“It’s messing people up, this social pressure to ‘find your passion’ and ‘know what it is that you want to do’.

It’s perfectly alright to just live your moment fully, and marvel as many small and large passions, many small and large purposes enter and leave your life.

For many people there is no realization, no bliss to follow, no discovery of your life’s purpose.

This isn’t sad, it’s just the way things are.

Stop trying to find the forest and just enjoy the trees.”

– Sally Coulter

Walls

I have a post it on my mirror reminding me- “You’re Doing Just Fine”

Click For Some Music

There is this person I know. For the longest time that I can remember, I’ve looked up to her for being the ideal one. I’ve spent countless hours trying to be like her and innumerable breaths on aligning myself with her.

I’ve admired her ability to remain poised at the most awkward situations. I’ve tried to carry broad shoulders and stand tall like her. I’ve consciously put in the effort to smile just as delicately. I’ve tried to be like the rays of warming sun on a winter morning, she glows like a glow bug at nights too; lighting up wherever she goes.

She seems to have the strength to empathize with most people and remain approachable to everyone around her. Her laugh is like a jingle and she sways like a feather descending the evening breeze. She screams contentment like no one knows.

She knows exactly what to wear and has a body like there is nothing to care. She is effortless, whether in pearls or dark eyeliner. She has meaningful friendships and the bonds with her family ooze understanding and comfort.

She volunteers for causes that are close to her, travels often, works out everyday and is honest about eating clean. She doesn’t use plastic and has a small but a well-kept and vibrant garden. She is a versatile cook and pays all her bills in time.

This woman, I’ve met quite often. She lives in my head. She has had her name written all over my biggest plans and sometimes on the smaller ones as well.

For some time now, I’ve not been as welcoming of her as I was. It’s about age, maybe, or a matter of decision to place myself before the rest. One day which was like any other, after years of being disappointed in comparison to the ideal, I decided. I made the decision to not let her get any bigger than she already is. I made a pact to give myself a try. I decided to accept myself as a package deal and try and make the most of it. I’m taking baby steps.

Now, I’m beginning to feel comfortable with the idea of not always having perfect hair. I’ve realized that heels make me wobble and maple loaded pancakes are my true therapy of choice. I tend to become overly expressive and loud sometimes, and other times put distance because I need to.

I splash a lot of water while I swim and feel contentment with a rather small and intimate circle. I often get into disagreements with my parents and arguments with my siblings. I love my PJs and Netflix weekends and roll while clutching onto my stomach never-so-seldom. Some days I choose to stay up late and enjoy the party even though I’m aware that I’m going to miss the morning run. I’m making peace with the fact that inconsistent workout is better than no work at all.

For the love of nature I have two indoor plants that I’m grateful for and my room is always naturally well lit, because closing the blinds is a task. I go crazy when I see the rains, watch a sunrise or just chance upon a rainbow, so much so that people think I’m having spasms while I’m just doing my happy dance. I take the floor whenever I see a puppy and don’t care of the sand on my pants.

I’m still working on it as sometimes the other woman clouds my thoughts. I waver in my resolve and wonder if I would be better being a little more like her. Reading the newspaper is still not a routine but I try to make the most of all the knowledge available around me. And for days when I can’t seem to get my head around myself, I have a post it on my mirror reminding me- “You’re Doing Just Fine”.

I take more time for myself now. I spend time in my own company every once in a while and compare notes on my feelings. I’ve come to understand that there is more me in how I feel than anyone else. I’m taking baby steps. Some say I’ve changed, but I’m learning to take that as a compliment on my progress.

I’m working on breaking the walls that my wise self helped me construct ever since I heard something intriguing-

the walls aren’t always saving me,

they are sometimes just limiting me

Some More Music