I write so I can breathe. I am constantly evolving, mindless at times, frustrating even perhaps but heck, I wouldn't change the smell of freedom that comes with writing.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Feeling Those Sliced Moonbeams

This post really is a trigger from a friend's (Priti Rajput) Facebook status update. Like so many earlier triggers, this particular one slices through every person...well I would be petrified if it hadn't. It would simply mean you haven't dared enough, you are afraid of pain and heck, you haven't loved enough.

“Never take too much care on someone, because you won't be able to stand the pain when they start avoiding you”.

Oh well! Could you love then? Insanely? Passionately? Completely? Could you ever be 'you' without? I wanted to respond to the update on her page but realised the possibility of me overshooting required number of words would mean that I wouldn't quite be able to explain what I really meant. When I read the statement my first thoughts were actually, you can stand the pain. We think we cannot stand pain. We can. It is the one thing that gives us strength. Somehow.


When one advises a person not to care too much, not too much, not to wear your heart on your sleeve, little do we realise they are actually asking us to have no feelings. Not the way you must to experience life to the hilt. It is almost as if it is a source of embarrassment to feel pain. Of course caring hurts. Love hurts. How would one deal with life if one is so afraid to feel. There is going to be that unsettling feeling of despair. But it comes with the flip side that you will experience bliss like no other as well.

Why are people so afraid of pain? Isn't it pain that eventually strengthens us. It nudges our souls awake. It is your reality. How can your reality be something you mustn’t feel? How can you not feel? You are human. You will feel. Pain is a feeling and feelings are a part of you. Why then is it not right to be able to say "Yes, I feel pain." Each time someone stops you from acknowledging your pain, they don't help you heal. Feeling pain is a part of the healing process.

I have been asked this question so many times...How can you be like this? How can you be so positive? Well, I am not positive all the time but hey, I get there. There is no road to get to positive except through acknowledging your pain, dealing with it and moving on. People say, but Sandy, you are strong. Actually, I am not. I wasn't strong the first time I felt pain. I wasn't strong the first time someone broke my heart. I wasn't strong the first time I faced death in the family. I wasn't strong the first time I was left to fend for myself. I wasn't strong the first time I was emotionally blackmailed. I wasn't strong the first time a friend back-stabbed me. I wasn't strong the first time someone cheated on me. I wasn't strong when I was first accused of the countless things in my life I didn't do right.

I wasn't strong at all. It has been a journey to this point. It isn't over yet either. I was very afraid. I felt my life was over. I felt ashamed. I felt I would rather die. I know how uncomfortable people around me have felt when I finally began to acknowledge the pain. That acknowledgment came in different forms. It was a journey of feelings. Despair. Hopelessness. Frustration. Self disgust. Cynicism. Guilt. Depression. Gosh! It was tough. We think we will not survive. We do.

The break through to surviving the pain came not from hiding it. It came to me through the medium of expression. I wrote. I began breathing. I wrote pieces that were very personal. I did not write so I could share. Not initially. I began with sharing one piece. A friend said, Sandy, this is too personal, too intimate. I said yes. I also said I have to get out of this place I am in and I am willing to try what I haven't tried. The question was what if someone figured out it was my personal story? But then, what was really wrong in that? I thought for a while. I realised then that we are all so very afraid of sharing our feelings because we do not wish to make ourselves vulnerable to further pain, we do not wish for someone to blackmail us and hold us to emotional ransom or otherwise and we do not wish to be ridiculed or made fun of.

It made sense. People take advantage of you when they know you wish to hide something. It is not when you are not afraid of hiding. When something is out in the open, it already is out in the open. I smiled. It felt liberating. I also then realised, when I shared, that there were hundreds who have been going through something similar. I smiled. I was not alone. I made a difference when I shared. People felt better, less alone and afraid. I made friends. Most of these friends are people who I have never met. If you can't write, try talking about it. Expression isn't just limited to writing and you dont have to be a master. We all are artists in our own right, each of us, creating our masterpiece landscape.

Welcome to my world. People wonder how it is possible to be whatever they envisage me to be. In my eyes, I am alive and that is reason enough to care. That is reason enough to open myself to laugh, to cry, to be able to be me and to be able to love again. Yes, I make mistakes. They make me stronger because they take me places most wouldn't dare to go to because they are too afraid. How can one just exist when one can actually be alive?

Like Harish said, “When you accept that you can have many rebirths in one lifetime, 'change' doesn't seem to be scary.” There is no recipe laid out for living. Agreed. Do live. This life is a gift. Savour it. Take those slices of moonbeams and weave your dreams into reality. Feel.

Copyright Sandy@2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

That Damned Stage and the Mike

One would think people would fear death the most, ghosts perhaps, but hey public speaking!!! Oh yes, that's the one people apparently fear the most. My journey has been long and memorable with the stage and the microphone. It has been an interesting one and when I look back, I do smile. That's not so bad, is it?

The earliest memory ever of being on stage, all on my own, curled up my innards. I bit my tongue, my toes clenched as much as my fist behind me, nails digging into the palm, sweaty and terrifying images of being laughed at. I had a clear six by six vision then. I was all of eleven and took the stage to sing a Hindi song. We were having a cultural show I think and to avoid the stage and any kind of performance, I had opted for the English Language club. Well, my smartness apparently didn't work in my favour and the group was asked to perform a group dance and an individual item. Darn!!!

So there I stood, on stage, in front of hundreds of kids I was in school with, frozen right up to my throat. At least I froze for a start. Running away would have done no good. After a nervous clearing of the vocal chords I sang, without music, forgetting the lyrics. it was good I picked an absoloutely old number...nobody really knew the song, leave aside the entire lyrics and I made it up as I sang. For all my efforts I did end up with a prize...but heck, there wasn't a way I was going to get up on stage alone to do that for a packet of sweets.  Only at a naive eleven does a packet of sweets in a boarding school sound like a treasure.

Of course, through school, the occasions to sing (off key) were numerous and I managed to stay away from dramatics, dance and song mostly. I was happy managing the stage arrangements, running around. My biggest scariest ever time came at the Naval Academy. The Dramatics Competition came along and I was summoned (oh yea, it felt that way) to (without a choice) take over the role of Anna, the governess in the play Anna and the King. Every possible excuse was used up in trying to wriggle, squirm, complain, plead, beg...but I was in it. You learn, in the Academy, that there is never a 'no' when the squadron's name is at stake. I got picked because I had an overseas (for want of a better word) accent and it was what was needed.

I mugged my lines, Satya worked on my acting skills. I think all of the guys got a little bald during the rehearsals. I could never remember my lines. I'd see the Divisional Officers sitting and watching and I'd forget. I'd get taken up by the ease with which Satya acted and I'd forget. I'd forget my lines for every damn reason. I kept telling Satya, see, I cant do this. Get someone else. Adamant people never gave up on me. I smile when I remember that. At the final rehearsal I recall the number of threats I got because it was barely twenty-four hours left to D Day and I was still fumbling. I hate acting. That is all ran in my head. I am going to fuck up and then I am going to be handed out another set of restrictions.

Everything has a solution and mine came with a very practical Eureka moment, but of course, with a price. I used to wear glasses then. When I went on stage live for the performance, I got rid of them. Miraculously, the stage was all I saw, the audience had disappeared and I was Anna. I remembered every damned line, I remembered lines of others, I covered up for Indira, slapped her too (aww...sorry but it was necessary then), smashed my knee onto the edge of a bench in full speed (I was limping for two weeks thereafter) and the play was over! Phew! I loved it.

That was probably an experience that broke the ice for me and the stage no longer scares me if I am holding a mike and talking.

It still makes me nervous and there is a part of me that asks that questions - what if I screw up? Then, I ask myself....what if I don't?

Copyright Sandy@2011