Someplace safe..

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Are you disoriented too? Stumbling in absolute darkness as you walk through unfamiliar roads, desperately hoping for them to lead you somewhere known. You’re exhausted, it’s been a long day, a long life, and you don’t see any beacon of light in the vicinity. You wearily go through every inch of the map but still stand there lost. Because sometimes, its more a feeling than a place, this thing called home.

Four walls that hold a roof above the people you’re related to. Yes, such a place could be called a home. Sometimes it’s just a giant box filled with memories of yesteryear. But home is more than just an entity constructed out of bricks. It stretches beyond the physical realm. It is intangible, but real nonetheless.

It is the slow radiating light that dispels all the shadows that has ever touched upon your life. The gentle warm fingers that’ll pry you away from the tight grip of cold loneliness.  Often, it is found momentarily. In a pair of eyes that gently look with no trace of judgment. In a smile that quietly whispers that it understands. Once in a while, home is experienced in the few seconds that a warm hug lasts, making you feel protected from all things in the world that could possibly hurt.

Home is any place where all that you are, is welcomed with open arms. Where you are not required to shrink yourself to fit. You don’t have to hide your ugliness under layers and layers of pretend perfection. Where constant vigilance is not needed and you are free to drop the fear and remove the mask. Your mistakes and accidental words will not be held against you. And your flaws will not be reiterated until they’re impressed upon the ridges of your brain. Where you’d no more be a burden, but in fact be cherished as a gift. You won’t be just another space occupied by matter. You and every aspect of your being would matter. And finally, love will replace all the indifference your life has been filled with.

Isn’t that what we all yearn for, at the end of the day? Some place where we’d be enough?

But I fear I’d never discover this place. What if it is only found in fleeting moments that never turn into an eternity? Or worse, what if home is merely a construct that exists only in the confines of our minds? We could all be walking in never ending circles, completely missing the reality of it all, searching for something that doesn’t even exist.

At least, it’s not just you or just me, in this quest for an abode. It’s all of us. We might all be alone in our fears, each fighting a war that the other is unaware of. Our paths might be different, and we might end up making homes out of different things, but until then, know that I am as lost as you are. I too continue to constantly run away from this emptiness that threatens to engulf me. I want to go home, as badly as you do. Our only comfort, until we all go home,  remains in the thought that although we are all alone, we are all together in our aloneness. 

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Cut loose..

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“Never give up” the world advised her, because quitting is for losers. Determined to live by those three words, she held onto everything with all her might. Another incident, another revelation, the more things went downhill, the more resolute she became. She was like the stubborn child that develops a sudden attachment to the toy you try to take away. She had a single minded focus on not letting go.

So focused she was on the act of holding on, that the object of her affection began to recede into the background. She no longer saw the monster that he was. She was holding on for the sake of holding on, her vice like grip leaving marks of persistence. She stood there blinded by her love for broken things, oblivious to her bleeding profusely.

Unaware of her own foolishness, she went about her life ignoring anything and everything that wasn’t him, until the day she saw the mirror and felt pure terror spread through her veins. A shadow peered back at her. A bruised, battered shadow of a stranger.

The same force that creates also destroys. The same love that helps us grow into something beautiful also has the potential to turn us into people we thought we’d never become. How easy it is to lose perspective. We only see what we want to see. A steady gaze on our ideal world, whilst reality blurs into the peripheral vision.

Somewhere down the road, she had not only lost sight of her hopes and dreams but also her sense of self. She no more knew who she was. In loving him she had forgotten to love herself.  In discovering him, she had lost herself. In trying to fix him, she had wrecked herself.

Should she still believe in the fake promises of how everything will “sort itself out in its own time”?

Is quitting always wrong? So, retracing your path is a shame? But what if you had taken the wrong turn? Is it still okay to keep walking in the wrong direction, because to turn around and walk back would mean accepting you made a mistake? Are you going to continue to let the toxicity erode you little by little, just because the world is confident that only weak people change their minds?

We are made to believe that strength is in holding on. And to give up on anyone or anything is a sin. But sometimes it requires more courage and discipline to say “No” than to just passively watch others take control of our lives. It is not a simple task, to tear something you love away from yourself. It is a whole lot easier to stay and endure.

It’s time we accept to ourselves that some things just don’t work out. And some people do you more damage than good. Granted, it is not going to be easy. But when has life ever been? Your heart will throw a tantrum. But don’t let your emotions cloud your judgement. This is where you need to let reason intervene.

Be gentle yet firm, and allow yourself to loosen the hold. Unclench your fists, and take a step back. And notice how light it feels.

Never let your loyalties to others distract you from the obligations you have towards yourself. Respect yourself enough to remove from your life, anything that doesn’t feel right. And if the world ever tries to make you feel guilty about making yourself a priority, just walk away contentedly, knowing that you now have with you something fundamental to human existence: Dignity.

 

 

Fine lines..

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Ours is a society that glorifies the pseudo acts of sacrifice. You gave up the love of your life to marry a stranger, because you didn’t want to spoil your family’s “reputation”? Wow, aren’t you just the ideal child. You exchanged your ambitions and convictions for the person you live with, because they can’t respect you enough to respect your dreams? Well, don’t you fret, we all need to give up one thing to gain another even if that one thing happens to be an integral part of who we are!

The ridiculous things that people claim to “sacrifice” range from time, personal interests to career and love. They even go to the extent of adding to this already absurd list, things like their soul, self respect, dignity, values and morals.

The dictionary defines sacrifice as “an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy”. Whenever you think there is a need to sacrifice something for something else, ask yourself if that “something else” is deserving of this act of yours. Great minds have exchanged their lives for causes bigger than themselves: Justice, freedom, compassion, humanity and for a better world in general. That is sacrifice in its truest sense. Not, losing things that you didn’t have the courage to fight for, and later hiding under the name of having done a “selfless” act. There is a different term for that: Cowardice.

The most common form of this pseudo-sacrifice is allowing oneself to be exploited. People unconsciously but repeatedly indicate through their actions that it is okay to be taken advantage of. In fact, at some point of time we all do this. Don’t we all mutter a half-hearted “It’s okay” to those who hurt us frequently, every time they apologise? Their actions might be unintentional but that doesn’t change the pain that is produced as an end result. And what have we done? We have unknowingly conveyed to them the literal meaning of those words. “It is okay”. “It is okay that you’re hurting me again and again instead of rectifying your mistakes”. And then we sit and crib about how they repeatedly do the very things that cause us heartache. This continues as a never ending cycle until the day we work up the guts to utter the uncomfortable truth: “It’s not okay. It hurts”.

“People will always treat you the way you teach them to treat you”- Voice Ra.

If someone does something that causes you pain, tell them they can’t do it. If they don’t hear you, protest until they do. Scream if you must, for them to acknowledge your suffering. But for god’s sake, don’t just sit there and play the victim. Either take control and decide to tolerate nothing less than respect or don’t whine when you end up getting treated like dirt.

When you don’t have your best interests in mind, how do you expect others to? If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else is going to do it for you. If you don’t protect yourself, why would anyone else bother?

If you’re going to allow yourself to be used as a walkway, people will not hesitate to walk all over you, if that’s what it takes for them to reach where they want.

But here’s the good part. No one can abuse you unless you allow them to. Sadly, most of us live our lives without even realizing that we are being used.  Just because an act is immoral we assume people will refrain from doing it. But that isn’t how the world works, is it?

It is indeed a beautiful thing to be able to see the good in everyone you meet, but always keep in mind that that’s not the full story. Don’t forget that the unpleasant aspects do lurk somewhere inside. People are not necessarily bad all the time, not all of them at least. But, we are all selfish creatures immersed in our own troubles and sorrows. One way or the other we are all self absorbed, because we are the protagonist of the story of our life, and the rest of humanity just forms the insignificant side roles.

Remember, there is a very thin line that separates kindness and foolishness, a good person and a pushover. Intelligence is in being able to identify where one ends and the others begins.

Be a good person and love unconditionally. But know when your love is being abused. Be considerate of others’ needs and even go the extra mile to help them. But never neglect yourself in the process of aiding others. Giving up certain inconsequential things for the people we love is inevitable. After all, what is love if we don’t tolerate each other’s imperfections? But also have the courage to do what you need to do for yourself. Stand up for yourself, even if it means standing alone.

Human beings are a strange mixture of compassion, spite and indifference, and it is not always balanced nor is it in the right proportions. But it is all in there, all the time.

See the light but be aware of the darkness that coexists.

 

The faint melody in cacophony..

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The insects drawn to the light, hover precariously over the fire. They seem unaware of the possibility that in an instant, the dancing flames could turn into flickering tongues and devour the insect whole.

Some of us are similar to those insects. We seem to possess a strong affinity to those damaged by time. We envelop them in a tight embrace in an attempt to mend their soul and make them feel whole again, while their shards cut through what’s left of our worn out being.

What is this strange obsession with all that’s sad? Do we unconsciously romanticize the melancholy of it? It probably gives us a purpose to strive for in this meaningless existence of ours. Is it just a selfish act to boost our egos? Or are we just being cynical in refusing to accept that we are just trying to help?

Numerous possible reasons, but the fact remains that some of us always seem to try to fix broken people, as if they were things that need to be repaired. We fail to see that they are people, imperfect compositions of a million oddities, multitudes of emotions and thoughts that has undergone years of conditioning and experiences. It would be nothing less than conceit to think that we could somehow magically understand every fiber of their being and stitch every tear in their soul.

Maybe we should just humbly admit to our own conscience that compassion is not in trying to restore people into who they were before the tragedy hit them. It is pure arrogance to think that it is your business to work on bettering someone else. And pause for a minute and think, is your life in line? We are all broken and destroyed by life. Just in different magnitudes and ways.

True compassion is not in forcefully trying to put back their life together, rather it’s gently standing by them as they fall apart and silently helping them pick up piece by piece. It is in letting them be the horribly wrecked being that they are.

It might be a hard pill to swallow, but not everybody needs your help. People as damaged as they might be, are capable of taking care of themselves. What you smother, you kill. Don’t empty a zillion buckets and ask why the plants aren’t  nourished by it. Instead, take a step back and just let them grow of their own accord.

Let them be whatever the storm has made them into. Notice the awkward grace of their dilapidated body. Look at the way their shattered soul glints in the sunlight. Appreciate the beautiful ruins of their being. This isn’t about romanticizing tragedy. It is about realizing that honesty is the purest form of beauty.  And what could possibly be more honest and beautiful than the imperfections of a naked soul, that bares the bruises and scars that went into its making, like a glorious history of  battles and victories..