Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A whole year

I just realized I've gone a whole year without blogging. This is both somewhat heartening... and somewhat sad.

Many years ago I started this blog, and not a lot of people know this, but this was mainly a blog for myself and it arose out of a need. It was meant to be sort of like an online journal. Something to write in, reflect on, untangle thoughts... maybe share with a few close friends... but mainly for myself. 

The anonymity of the web made that possible. 

I could have a blog, tag it to an email, put up some cryptic photos and posts... but mainly some ramblings of a confused mind... and no one really cared. Now with linkedin and amazon and google and FB and all these other sites pulling togethers bits and pieces of your online-offline identity and making it one big house party that you can never leave, it feels like a luxury to have been able to get away with posting random stuff on the internets with some secretive(ish) little blog somewhere. 

Anyway, I digress. 

So, about that somewhat sad comment... It's sad because I haven't blogged in a year. I've been posting other stuff on other places. I've been FBing and LinkedIning and whatever else we do these days (except instagram... cuz I'm old :P). But those are posts for an audience, and thus, distinctly different from a blog. By now everyone has probably seen the 'wait but why' post on reality vs expectations, and how our carefully-constructed image of ourselves and curated experiences from our lives suitable for sharing, does basically nothing but drive a big, fat, spike of cortisol and envy into each other. If you haven't read that post, google it and read it cause it's great. 

Wait... who am I talking to? 

Literally no one is reading this. Sigh. You're a ghost, and now I'm recommending articles to a ghost. 


Point is, I agonize over what pictures to put up, how my statuses sound, what impression I'm creating. And even when I don't agonize.... I at least care. Even if it's just an itty-bitty-bit. 

Not so here. 

I don't care. And so sentences can go haywire. Grammar can be ignored. Even basic normal beginning-middle-end constructs can be thrown out the window. 

Because in the end... it doesn't matter. It's for an audience of one: me. And so by virtue of that, it morphs into a kind of extension of my brain... a friend and confidante, an inner voice, a place of comfort and solace that I can slip into and commune with myself. It is the quintessential safe space. 

Ok, so now you're sold on why this blog is such a little gem. 

So why is it heartening that I haven't blogged in a year?

The year when I started blogging, I was going through a rough time. Looking back, I now recognize that I was severely, clinically depressed. I felt like my life had no purpose, no meaning. The days morphed into the next with no incident. The very act of getting up from bed felt pointless. Just why? After all its the same thing every day, day after day, and then you die. 

I recall days when I would wake up crying... because I realize I'm still here.  

In those darkest moments... I found comfort and solace in a blog. It didn't actually start out with that purpose; one day, I just realized that I have so much time on my hands, and I'm not really doing anything, and it's frikking boring as hell not to mention bloody anxious to see everyone else racing past me, while I'm stuck in a dead-end situation, economically dependent on (at least one) very insecure, controlling and abusive primary-caretaker figure. 

So I started to write. 

And at first it was rubbish... things I saw in my day, songs I heard, stuff that I dreamt of. And then, little by little, stories began to take form. Real stories and imagined ones. Articles took shape. The blog posts suddenly started having a definite beginning-middle-end. And it was exhilarating! 

I would come in everyday and look forward to whatever it is that I wanted to write that day. Many times I didn't know what it would be. Sometimes I wouldn't even know till I started writing the first line.... and then the story kind of wrote itself. 

It felt cathartic because it was cathartic. The act of writing, of giving meaning to greyness, was healing. 

So it's heartening... because I no longer need the crutch. 

Fast forward maybe 8-9 years, and here I am. 

I wake up pretty much with a to-do list in my brain. Sometimes I groan because its drudgery. And sometimes I'm up and already my brain is going a hundred miles an hour, and I'm frantically sticking my arm out of the shower to make a note in my phone before the thought evaporates. 

But most days I just get on with it. Gym. Work. Life. Whatever. The things we do to fill up the spaces. 

And so in all the doing-ness and busy-ness... life took on a certain rhythm of its own. There's an anxiety that comes with being in charge of your own life and finding your own purpose... especially if you're not working for some large, established company, or playing a society-approved role that you find fulfilling... but that anxiety is nothing compared to the sheer bleakness of staring into a future that's no future at all. All this doing and running and being may be pointless... but it's gotten a certain momentum now, and the momentum carries you through the days. 

And so it was... till today. 

Nothing happened today actually. There are good days and bad days. Productive days and the-universe-is-against-me days. Today was a frustrating day. A day of trying and doing and waiting, and in the end I end up with a to-do list that's exactly what I started out with. 

But then something happened. 

I got sufficiently frustrated and anxious enough to take a walk. Literally just take a walk around my block. Looked at squirrels and dogs being walked on their lease. Noticed trees that were in bloom. Found it even refreshing, the heavy cloud that falls upon the evenings of a hot day. 

And then a feeling overcame me, my old forgotten friend, a feeling as comforting as the silence shared with an old friend. And I realized what it was that I had been missing.... solitude. 

In the last 7 years my life has drastically changed. Yes, I got out of my depression, found little joys in life that turned into bigger joys. A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step, and all that kind of thing. But basically, serendipitously, I stumbled into a life that was everything that I wished for in my darkest days: a place where I fit in, a job that gave me purpose, a companion whom I loved. 

A reason to wake up. 

I would never turn back time. 

And yet, till today, I didn't fully realize just how much this new life did nudge out vestiges of my former life. It took away the darkness and the loneliness of course.... but with it also went the solitude; that sweet, comforting feeling of being well and truly happy as a clam with yourself. 

Jobs are demanding, marriage can be hard, and sometimes even merely existing seems to take up so.. much... work! What with all the FBing and twittering and keeping-up-with-the-joneses. Add to that, a teething puppy to take care of, and your day is just about filled to the brim taking care of other people and their needs (and I suppose, your need to please them). 

It's strange, and fitting I suppose, that it almost took a crisis to nudge me back into my former state. 

Ah yes, the crisis... but that's a story for another day :) 

And we shall have time for them all, all these stories... for this is just the beginning, once again. 

It's good to be back. 

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