Sunday, 22 February 2015

A journey to find the real Me

Today, as I walked out of the cinema, after watching the movie "Wild", I had no sense of time or space. It was as if my mind was in a haze, and I didn't know where I was going. I even crashed into a few traffic cones driving out of the movie hall. People came and helped to untangle my bike, but it still did not drive me out of the fog.

My eyes were drenched and my heart was heavy as if it was made of lead. I sobbed all the way home, unheeded to the traffic around me. I sobbed my guts out and it felt good, it felt cathartic. We all cry, some loudly and some in the corner of their minds.

Grief, I believe, can manifest itself in many different ways. For Cheryl, the actress in the movie, it manifested in taking drugs and sleeping with men, a series of self-destructive behaviour, trying to cope with her mother's death. My tears were so much for Cheryl, as they were for myself. I could identify with her journey of walking a 1000 miles through the harsh wilderness, to find herself, and return to the person she was before.

As I saw Cheryl, take the first steps of her life changing journey, I thought of my own journey, of seeking to find the person I was, before my journey to find the real me, before I got lost in the wilderness called life.

I also remembered something, a friend had shared some days back, about  how all of us are trying to seek value and how in that process we sometimes undermine ourselves, just because we seek love, friendship and being liked by people. We want people to like us and so we forget who we are and what we want from our own lives.

In this fast paced world, when all of us are constantly connected, a tiny island called solitude and being alone helps us to face the real us. In solitude, we are metaphorically naked, with our souls layed bare and the harsh light shining on our good, bad and messed up minds. Solitude makes us confront our demons, as there is no place to run and hide. Even if we do run, there comes a point in time when you have to stop and just deal with the situation.

I have been through the phase many times over in the past one year. My grief manifested in different ways, not all of it was good. I battled negative thoughts and emotions and even drowned in self-pity. I questioned the fairness of life and the question all of us have asked at least once in our lives, Why Me?

Though I never got any answers, what I got back from the extended periods of being alone is that loneliness is a state of mind. Even in a crowded room, one can feel utterly alone. You need to embrace this alone time and own it. In this alone time lies solitude and in solitude you can listen to your heart and mind. The background noise is completely shut off.

What Cheryl felt in the movie, I have felt the same in my own house, inside four closed walls. What she discovered in the wilderness, I have seen glimpses of the same realization closeted inside my house, away from people.

These days, the solitude does not bother me so much. Rather, I crave it and embrace it most times. This journey from chaos to solitude is a long one, as long as a 1000 mile trek, but every step of that journey shines a new light and uncovers a new part that is me. This journey, is bringing me closer to the person I am, and I want to be.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

A fresh page - A fresh start

There is a sense of realization that life has come a full circle, as I sweep the cobwebs and clean the dust that has gathered on this space. My last post was nearly 10 months back and this period has been one of rediscovery and shedding off my old self.

The last year has been one of rebirth, rejuvenation, testing my endurance and understanding my own strength. Last year, at this time, I had completed my 40th birthday and was lying on the hospital bed, groggy from the anaesthesia and medicines pumped in my body, during my hysterectomy. It was one of the scariest, as well as a very hopeful period of my life. Scary, cause I was worried about the outcome and full of hope because of the promise of a pain-free future. After 7 years of struggling with pain, it was a testing time to know how life will unfold.

I have not been writing much in the past year, not that I did not want to, it was just a decision I took to  rest and recover and find a new direction in life. The period of hibernation has lead to a lot of insights and ponderings about who I am, what I want and where I want to go from here. I had kept my life on hold for a long time. As I slowly gathered strength, both physical and emotional, I realized what life is for normal people.

Having been in a fog of pain, the pain-free existence made me realize that even small things bring me joy. A brisk walk, a bike ride and staying up late to catch up with friends did not put fear in my heart.
Making travel plans on the spur of the moment and traveling in a bus was exhilarating. Small things which are of no consequence to others, were like a dream come true for me.

My morning walks made me so excited that my feet had a mind of their own and very soon I took to jogging. It was a slow progress considering all the inactivity of previous years. Running became a passion for me. It broke all the shackles in my mind and set me free. As my feet pounded on the asphalt and I heard my breaths coming through my nose, I finally felt alive. I felt alive, as I had never felt.

Today, it is the first anniversary of my surgery, and I as I write this post, I feel a sense of elation and satisfaction to see how far I have come, from that day in the hospital.

These days when I run, I leave all my worries and tensions in the dust that my feet kick up. I switch on my favourite music, I put on my headband and I just run. I run to free myself, I run to find myself and I run because I can. Running is now the music in my ears, the open road and a life full of possibilities.

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