Damn Fear

I am writing after a hiatus of a year. I love writing; it’s like talking to an old friend who is also a terrific listener. It makes me vulnerable, and feel strong at the same time. I feel alive. My head buzzes with ideas, possibilities. It makes me think. Why then, did I not write for a year?

My fears took over me. However, the process had started well before a year ago.

Someone I was madly in love with left the country without a single word. I started questioning the gift of intuition I thought I had (I thought he had feelings for me too). I thought I was taking the world too seriously, and reading way too much between the lines. Besides, my idea of an idealistic love story was killed. The second time.

True love comes quietly, without banners and flashing lights. If you hear bells, get your ears checked. – Erich Segal

I lost my job. The org I worked for was racist, sexist, and smelled of frat culture. My manager was an outright racist woman. I got no credit for any cool projects I worked on while a white boy got applauded for all it. How can a brown girl ever write a better code and find a better solution than a white boy? When I demanded feedback and concrete reasons, they had none. I told them their reasons made zero sense to me, and just walked out, not knowing what and where my future lay. I knew I was one of their best employees, but they did not. Knowing you are good is not enough. Your humility still makes you question your worth. More so if you are a woman. The org is on the last straw before it shuts down for good (I had predicted the dates for that too). There is solace in knowing that it was indeed operating poorly. Even then, my self-doubt does not go away. And that is exactly how racism, and sexism work.

Oprah Winfrey had said that Excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism. There are two problems with this. 1) It is not always true – excellence won’t be the best deterrent if you just happen to be in the wrong group/society/clan. 2) You cannot be mediocre and a person of color, or a woman and still hold a normal job. But it would be perfectly fine for someone white, and even better male.

I found a new job, but I lost my visa status. This was unexpected, and I had to pack all my life in ten days, and leave, not knowing again what and where my future lay. I went back to live with my parents. I thought at least I would get to spend some quality time with my family, after about four years. Three months living with parents, especially with my dad, just brought out more PTSD shit, things I had rebelled against growing up. Childhood and teenage fears started raising their heads. Besides, I was livid because of all the sexism in the society around me.

The thing that gets us through childhood is the thing that hobbles us as adults – someone

I am not afraid of knowing less, or making a mistake. I am afraid of not knowing if I know less, or am making a mistake and getting punished for it. My fear is losing my independence. My biggest fear is being in a bad place, and not being able to do anything to get out of there. I refuse to be a victim, and my fear is being one. This fear crippled me, to the point where I became constantly anxious, watchful, and my health now requires immediate attention from me.

I learned that I need to listen to what my body is trying to tell me. I need to let myself be vulnerable. I need not always be strong. I need to surround myself with people who believe in me. If someone questions your ability, ask them for feedback. If they do not give you any feedback, they either do not  have the courage to give it to you, or they are bigoted/jealous. Find out if you are falling in a pattern. I know I lack some things too. I have learned to face things that I have been avoiding for years. I am working on them, and pushing myself hard to face the realities, to change what I can about myself. Things like being more assertive (doing what you want is not being assertive), communicating my problems clearly(I thought being open and honest was good enough), keeping an open mind (I thought I was open-minded, but there’s a long way to go), not ignoring my health (I am 31 now and I can’t run to save my life). I need to get back to painting (still scares me). I have got to travel (another solo trip on its way).

Writing today is one of the stepping stones towards this journey.

The fearless are merely fearless. People who act in spite of their fear are truly brave. – James A. Lafond-Lewis

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My Story Book

Have you been scared, excited, happy, upset, on the verge of crying all at the same time? I am that right now. I have a story to share with the world. To write it out, shape it up, and give it everything that I can. It struck me three days ago when I was dead sleepy. I was too tired to even open my eyes, let alone get up, look for a pen in my stupid messy room, and write it down on a piece of paper after searching for that too. I was not scared about forgetting about it the next day though. I am mighty absent-minded and forgetful, but I remembered it, and now I can’t stop thinking about it.

Not sure how many days, months, or years it will take me to finish it up and give it a final form. But I have to keep having faith in it. Not sure if the happenings in my life will force me to change its vision, which I will resist. It will depress me on the days I can’t contribute to it. Depress me and make me bleak. But I have to keep going. Never give up. It’s been conceived. I have to commit to it now, and give it all the nurturing and love it needs. It’s going to be a story of dreams. But more than that, it’s going to be a story of love. I will make it happen, and this is where I will keep coming back to, when I need a kick 🙂

story

Spin-off

As a person, and as a writer of any class that I am, I have some quirks that I am content with, and some that I need to work on. I may write some day about those quirks, or about writing, but today I want to talk about a quirk in particular that I need to work on. The more I concentrate on my writing, the more I am getting aware of where I fall short. I also realize, that it is just a projection of my personality. My writing.

I need closures. Which can be a good thing. But with me it’s not so great somehow. I am not talking about “open to interpretation” stories. I love them. I love that the writer, or the creator of that art has given an opportunity to the watcher, to give it an ending/interpretation as they would like it. That is a closure in itself. It requires brilliant yet humble thinking. You do not want to overpower the audience with what you think. You want them to make their own choices. That’s how you watch the girl walking away with the sun setting in the background. You watch the guy take off in a plane. You watch an old lady sleeping on her soft pillow. You watch the old man trotting away with his stick. You know that these characters are content. They have got their closures, and you have got yours. So what’s the big deal?

I don’t start a painting that I cannot finish off the same day. Half-baked stories bother me; haunt me at nights. I am very comfortable with binning an idea that starts off brilliantly and then takes a weird turn. Also, very comfortable with ambiguity. Which are both good things. The problem lies with my patience. All the while I thought I was a patient person. But I have been apparently using my patience in all the wrong places. I need to be patient with my paintings, my writing. To let the story brew, and the characters mature. That’s only how I can become better.

Now about spin-off. I have just begun watching two spin-off shows – Joey, and Better Call Saul. I am really excited about these shows. Joey obviously did not turn out so well as Friends (according to raters), and Better Call Saul may never beat the success of Breaking Bad. That is beside the point. It’s about closures. Joey is more of a sequel, whereas Better Call Saul can not be even called a prequel. It’s more like a different story altogether. There are reasons why I am so glad that they happened, though. And not just because Joey and Saul happened to be my favourite characters in the show.

In Friends, they started off with these bunch of little dumb friends, who have no clue what’s happening with their lives – career and love life. They make mistakes, they learn stuff, they mature, and they become better versions of themselves. They all have found amazing jobs and/or the love of their life. That one person you want to spend the rest of your life with. You heave a sigh of relief. But what about Joey? He just accepts everything as a change. He has neither become a good actor (well, in the show, as Joey), nor found a soul mate. That’s a nice thing to have when you want to make the audience laugh. But that’s not how I want to see Joey grow old, in the guest house of Chandler and Monica. Nothing is left open to interpretation in Friends. Joey as a show, was needed.

Better Call Saul. I love him. But who the hell is Saul? Why is he the kind of lawyer he is? Why does he take the risks that he does? What’s in it for him? Nothing, if you go to see. He is just a nice guy who bends the rules. Why? I really needed an explanation to that. Breaking Bad gave an explanation to every fucking thing they put in there. Even if it was a sapling sitting on the window sill. But where did this guy, who later went on to save every good guy’s ass in there, come from? When he is so rich, why does he have columns and pillars made of thermocol or whatever in his office? Why is he so tacky? What’s the background? You cannot just get in a character and throw him out like he is some leech. Better Call Saul is a good salute to the character, I would say.

Let’s see how these stories get baked. In the meanwhile, I will work on my writing, for better stuff, and well-baked closures.