Dear IHM’s blog has become some sort of an advice column these past few weeks and it is helping a lot of people. However I wish, she had this post about a confused youngster 2 years ago when I was going through the same situation. One of the comments by Suranga, is how I see the dark years now. I wish I could read all this advice back then and I would have been spared of the constant fights with my parents who didn’t really understand the dynamics of the world in my generation, while I kept on crying to them about it.
When things are muddled, they are very muddled. But when you gain clarity, suddenly you see how you have been contributing to your own negative feelings all this while. 2 years ago, I had just completed a couple of years as a journalist in this big vast city. It had been 4 years since I left the confines of home, wanting to do something different. In these 4 years I had been through a cosmopolitan college where I got judged because of my clothes (yes it happens) and my naivety. Looking back it was like one of those Lindsay Lohan type chick flicks, my college life, but back then it all felt very serious to me. This feeling of being disconnected remained with me even at work. At work in this metro, I was the only one left now who was from a different city, living here alone, without family. If not family, others had boyfriends or girlfriends or a huge troupe of friends. I had always had difficulty making friends, some strange feeling of otherness would make me think that no one really wanted to be friends with me. Maybe it was this thinking or maybe it was just a flawed interpretation of events, I used to be in a lot of situations where I was the one left out from some group meeting or get together. I took it all to heart.
No surprise then that the person I got involved with was someone who seemed to be struggling too. Only I didn’t know that this person was going to be abusive. When I finally got out of that relationship, I was staring at a mess called my life. My career wasn’t going the way I wanted. Love life was not up to the mark. And as I had started analysing my life, staring back at me was the imperfect relationship with my parents, the feelings I had suppressed since childhood and all the pent up anger since teenage. I wanted to quit, run away. I wanted to go back to my small town because things were so much better there. People were not so mean as they were here. But then I would be reminded of all the reasons why I left my hometown and I would feel miserable, sorry for myself.
What most of us dont realise while recovering from grief, in the initial period we start questioning everything. Everything seems wrong, everyone seems to be conspiring against us, the world seems to be unfair (which it is to some extent) and there seems to be no solution. And at the same time that we question everyone else and deride them, we hate ourselves. We think we can never do anything right, that things will remain the same, that no one cares about us so there is something deeply wrong with us.
It was during one such rant with a top management person that he calmly told me that the world is not as bad as I think it is. People are not that bad. It struck me but it wouldn’t sink in. But I remember thinking I will heed this advice. It took me some more time and meeting some new people before I realised things are not as bad as I felt they are. Even in the worst of times, something or the other was working and not just that, I was doing fine. I could have ended up as one of those eternal victims or the addicts or anything worse.
It took a lot of effort, a lot of crying, a lot of blaming to finally get tired of it all and realise that even if no one else did, I had to care for myself. I won’t say I have fully understood life, but I have realised what is important atleast. There will always be someone who seems to be doing better, but the fact is you don’t really know where are they having to work hard. At the same time there is going to be someone who is doing worse. The key is to stop feeling bad about yourself, to stop expecting perfection from yourself. Things are not perfect, they never will be. But like someone told me recently, what are you going to do about it? Cry about it or see how you can manage the bad situations and get a good enough outcome?
P.S. I had initially thought of going into all that led happened in the last two years, who did what and how I arrived at the conclusions I have now, but then I felt, all of that happened, doesn’t really matter. Looking ahead with hope 🙂