I want to be…

25 Jul

Here’s the thing about moments, people and memories. They slide into your mind, without your permission, transport you back, and leave you feeling like you just woke up from a dream. And if you’re anything like me, you allow them to come in, and leave you feeling nostalgic, grateful and overly blessed to have lived them.

Rain-streaked windows, hot cups of coffee, salty french fries, cool breeze, the sound of waves, songs, characters from movies, these are just catalysts, portals, if you will.

And I’ll admit I use them more often than not. In fact, I’m guilty to rushing to my memories to reassure myself that things were good, and will be again because God walked with me then and He does now and He will tomorrow.

So, as usual, I digress. Let’s talk about what urged me to write today.

I was taken back to a memory of when I was perhaps my most lost self, but man what I would do to take that 23 year old’s hand and give her a glimpse of what was to come so she could laugh a little louder, hug a little tighter, dance till the a.m, bake more cookies, breathe in all those winter mornings and sit on the patio and stare at the stars every night, spend more time in the library, on beaches, take more pictures, and shhhh the ‘what if’s’. I’d do that for her because man, does life try to suck those things out of you. Saying it louder for the people at the back (you know you’re my kind of weirdos).

I often wonder what happens to people that don’t have abundance of hope like I do? How much harder must it be for them? That makes me uncomfortable. Maybe that’s why I keep going back into my head, trying to look back and analyse whether I did everything I could to share that hope with everyone who I’ve had the pleasure of being close friends with.

And that made me think, not of me, but of those people, that breeze in and out, changing me for the better and perhaps never knowing they did.  The ones that changed my ‘That’s not who I am” to “I want to be”. Here’s to you guys, thank you!

Let me clarify, I love who I am, I spent a lot of time understanding each of my qualities but I’d also like to acknowledge where some of those might have come from.

I remember thinking…

I want to be like Dadda – generous, sensitive, helpful.

I want to be like Elee- funny, friendly, adventurous

I want to be like Vira- a ray of sunshine

I want to be like Afshi – level-headed, compassionate, proactive

I want to be like Reva – confident, hilarious, goofy

I want to be like  Numair – making everybody feel like they were special

I want to be like Joey – comfortably different, loyal and sincere, intelligent

Like Jervis- practical, planned and disciplined, wise

Like Nisha- giving, acting, loving

Like Janya – never taking offense

Like Jase – forgiving, connecting people, befriending those that have no one, wearing his heart on his sleeve

Like Mumma – renlentless, all heart, innocent

Like Sara- bold, never afraid to be herself

Like Josh – enthusiastic, creative, entertaining

Like Sharon – wise beyond her years, artistic, discerning

Like Joy-  forgiving, strong, never giving up on love

Like Jordy- quiet, talented, reassuring

Like Gina – evolving, transparent, caring

Like Darran – hardworking, silent, faithful

Like Becky- honest and brave

Like Ani – a doer, going the extra mile, making a difference

Like Aparna – smart, responsible, efficient

Like Romi-  loyal, dependable, an achiever

Like Sush – goofy, layered, mysterious

Like Ria- talented, curious

Like Pranav – generous, thoughtful, sensitive

Like Priya- determined, learning, comforting

Like Jolene and Gen – so creative, fun, taking dress-ups seriously

Like Anita – completing books every week

Like Shreya – bouncing back up after a fall

Like Andy – observant, sweet, thoughtful

Like Rohan- genuine, loyal, reassuring

Like Rohit – intelligent, hopeful, witty, inquisitve

Man, if I could list everyone, I would. And if you’re reading this and wondering if your name is on here and it isn’t, know that if we’ve ever met, or even spoken once or twice, it’s likely that I have found, liked and remembered something wonderful about you.

It’s likely we have a ton of great memories, funny stories, long conversations, epic hugs, and associations to thinks exclusive to just you and me.

It’s likely I’ve already told you how grateful I am for you and to have known you.

And if I haven’t, then hold me to this 😉

I strongly believe that everyone you ever meet, and remember, show you dimensions of who you are, and who you could potentially become. They’re all like little letters, forming words, and sentences in the story that is your life.

They might be different letters and form different words in someone else’s life and that’s what makes each friendship and each interaction just so unique.

I wonder what about me people wish they would want to be, and sometimes I have the fortune of them telling me and making my day. I wonder what role I’ve had in the lives of people I called friends. Was I insignificant, or did I leave an impression? Was it a good one or did I make it to their “oh we used to know each other” list?

I like that about life, you know. Sometimes you just never know, and that to me is what makes me keep learning to be that person people fall back on when they have no one. Because even if I never know, I can sleep at night knowing I share some real honest bits of me with every one I met, and that is a terribly beautiful thing to do in a world where so many people are so scared to reveal their true selves.

It’s why my favourite line in the song Iris is “when everything’s made to be broken, I just want you to know who I am.” Well chances are, if you’ve met me, you know at least a teeeny tiny bit of who I am.

 

This is Your Story, and It’s Okay That It’s Messy

6 Jul

I’ve always been the keep-it-together, cry-in-the-closet kind girl. That was my silent promise to myself, the world didn’t need to know that I was hurt, in pain and in need of the kind of love I so readily gave to everyone who needed it. Where was this rooted?

As a shy, observant, empathetic, child, I spent a great deal of time watching people hurt, go through loss, turn to substance abuse, serial date, turn into icy versions of themselves and as I kept observing, I felt like it was my responsiblity to do something about it. But as a shy single-digit-aged child, I could only do so in spirit.

So, I would focus hard on the person’s pain, cry out for them in secret, and really really believe they were comforted.  Nobody taught me this, not that I remember.

And for that time, my own little bruised heart with its overwhelming growing up pains, would cease to matter. I silently kept this practice up till I was older and over time my words turned into prayers. And my caution with reaching out found the comfort of typing behind a screen. By the time I was 15, I would talk to strangers about eating disorders, self-harm and suicide and I would cry with them till the wee hours of countless mornings, offering comfort and hope. No one taught me this either.

By the time I went off to college, I was mocked for a widespread nickname “angel”. Not one I’d kept for myself, but one that I was certainly shamed for. In fact, it hit me so hard, that even today I struggle when I genuinely want to do something selfless for someone. Will they believe that this is genuine? Here’s when identity crisis set in. Was I faking all of this empathy? Was there a selfish motive behind putting another person before myself? I began to dwindle in unhealthy patterns of self- doubt, as if being a teenager wasn’t hard enough! I even tried being meaner than usual, and ended up only feeling worse of course!

But something happened to me during this time of confusion. I found God. And no this isn’t where it magically got less messy. In fact, it was only the start of the mess.

I was about to embark on a decade of the most turbulent journey I’d experienced yet. All those problems I’d spent years helping people get through, were now problems I’d have to see myself get through. Problems at home, problems in relationships that weren’t right for me, problems in solid friendships, they suddenly became my nightmarish reality. Also newsflash, some of them still very much exist!

I would run up to my terrace, you know being the keep-it-together girl, and cry to God, asking Him if I deserved this? If I had completed my journey here and this was the natural course of life for me. I would look over the edge to the bottom of the seven storeyed building and I would repeat those words of hope that I’d given to so many people just to stop myself from tipping over that parapet. Yep, pretty messy I’d say.

Now, over the years I learned some hard lessons about being smack in the middle of the mess and I want to talk about them.

Remember how I said I found God? Truth was, He’d found me all along! He’d whisper words of hope and love through me to people I never met, and it would save lives. He’d put faith in the heart of a little girl and it gave her the courage to give all of herself to help someone else through pain.

He’d put so much into me for so many years so that when I would have to go through the fire, my spirit would withstand it all and come out unscathed!

But the bits of me that held the hurt I’d learnt to brush under the carpet? It was time to deal with them and this was where the mess was uncovered. I mean can you even imagine three decades of “brush it under the carpet” stuff?  Betrayal, guilt, heartbreaks, body image issues, words that crushed me, lonliness, rejection, fear, they were meant to be dealt with. Can you imagine a child, a teenager and an adolecent, trying to be brave and piece herself together over and over again? I was never meant to fix myself and one day I just knew that It was okay to let God work in me.

Through my brokenness I wanted to come clean to my God. I wanted to be beautifully broken, transparent and at peace. And so I did, I always had a secret place with God but now I began to come clean, focus on particular events and deal with them so that they wouldn’t be piles of dirt under the carpet anymore. They would be testimonies of healing and learning. I began to be authentic to God and it changed my life!

The depth at which you’re honest is what invites the glory of God’s presence. And it’s beautiful how accessible it is! It’s like He was preparing me to discover the magnitude of His love for me all along. And now I get to pick and choose from gifts that the world is crying out for – hope, peace, love, vision, wisdom, comfort, belongingness, kindness, forgiveness!

Right in the middle of the mess! That’s where I rest, knowing that this is my story, and it’s okay that it is so messy, because I have a God that is bigger than any mess I can even fathom, waiting to get me safe on the other side.

 

 

 

To the silent doers

19 Jun

To the silent doers and lovers,

I see you.

I see diligence with which you work when no one’s watching.

I see the depth with which you love, when no one acknowledges it.

I see the secret efforts and the fervent prayers,

The steadfast hope and the unwavering faith.

I see the second, third, fourth and 20th chances you give people,

The thick skin you’ve had to grow to cover your sensitive soul.

I see you balance your volatile world on your quivering shoulders.

I see you stay quiet, imploding when you’re falsely accused, misunderstood and labeled.

And I see you redirect the pain and anger into something beautiful.

I see that you don’t allow it to consume you for too long and that sometimes you’re scared you will snap in half.

I see you cling to sanity, I see you wipe away tears before they fall.

I see your open eyes, and noisy mind when the world sleeps.

I see your wounded heart when you find a safe space to replace those dampened bandages,

I see you keep on loving, healing, doing.

And because of you, the world instantly becomes a better place. Silently, but definitely.

 

 

 

What’s it like to be older, and closer to death?

8 Jun

Hello, and welcome to another ‘whatever this is’ in the life of a part-time dreamer, part-time realist girl-woman.

I started writing my first blog when I was 14. And my first poem when I was 8, Since then, it is safe to say that I’m much closer to wobbly walking, dentures, saggy everything’s etc. So, when I ask “What is it like to be older and closer to death?” I’d say I’ve got at least 3 decades worth of learning to back some of what I say up.

  • Well for one, I sound like my mother and she sounds like hers. I couldn’t avoid it guys, genetics is crazy dominant. At least I now know I wasn’t adopted.
  • I understand the difference between fine lines and wrinkles and while I don’t have as many as many as most 30 -somethings ( genetics I tell you!), they’re very real and they’re not so terrible if you like art.
  • People most likely will talk about your physical appearance when they see you after a long time. Don’t get me wrong, they say nice things too! However, I just feel like there’s so much more to a person. I tried to uncondition people, it never worked and it wasn’t really my place, so I unconditioned myself. So be my friend, I will tell you how much I love your heart, your kindness, your quirkiness and only if you’d really like to know my opinion on your receding hairline, your choice in clothing or that little tummy pooch that people keep commenting on, will I talk about it. Older me is woke, yougaiz. (<—- I insert stuff that older me will cringe at, just for kicks)
  • Oh, one thing that has happened, now that I realise I’m older is that the urgency to live full has hit me and how! I always want to be the best version of me, because, you know, this might be the last you see of me, courtesy geography, death, illness, priority changes etc.
  • Somethings don’t change. Now I understand why some old people still have a twinkle in their eye, the most youthful glow, the sweetest of laughs, no malice, and longer lives. It’s because they didn’t let age, circumstance, betrayal, loss, or pain dictate their lives. If that isn’t goal, don’t know what is.
  • I Google “Lower belly workouts” now. Sigh, thank you sedentary lifestyle + poor choices.
  • In the memory department, I’m still pretty sharp, except I just forgot that my long time friend had been married a while ago. That aside, not bad, not bad!
  • Lie detectors, mind-game detectors, empathy-buttons, psychoanalysis- mode, all of these are well-oiled and function better than before. Thanks life and all it’s crazy curve-balls!
  • My calling has become so clear. I’m not longer in an identity-crisis, looking for purpose lost rebel teenager (I’ll admit that phase lasted well into my mid-twenties!). I know me, and I like me!

Does this justify my title? I think not. But here’s another nugget what it’s like for me being older.

  • I need to cook dinner! Cooking is great really. But not post a 14 hour work shift when the world is falling apart outside and my mind is exploding with great ideas inside. Alas, I must make this an blog with no real conclusion, except that It may have made you wonder what’s changed in your life since you were 14?

Goodbye!

Also, I’m not that old. Some might say this is the new 16:P. I must find those people!

 

 

Alone on NYE? Here’s How to Make it Memorable

31 Dec

Sure, the wild parties, the mid-night hugs and kisses, and the incessant laughing have their typical charm, but have you ever gone solo on New Years Eve?

Now while I’m doing a night in on New Year’s for the 4th year running, I am doing it by choice. And I know that some of you that are spending New Years Eve alone would rather be surround by one of more people  that you love. I get the difference and I will address it later in this post.

Hopefully by the time you read to the end, you will have some great ideas to make this New Years Eve count as one of the best you’ve had!

Best Solo New Years Eve Plans (in no order of preference)

  1. The Classic Dinner and Dessert Date Night

So you don’t have a man/lady to go out with you, or your SO is away this New Years Eve? No worries, put on that fancy outfit, and treat yourself to a great meal! You can reserve a table at a restaurant or order in, the most important bit is that you gorge on some once in a year kind of delicacies.

If you’re idea of the best date night is pizza and PJ’s, then by all means ditch the dress-up and dress down as you ring in the new year. So what if there’s pizza sauce on your face and chocolate cake smeared on your PJ’s!?

2. The BIG do-over!

New Years Eve is always full of so much hope and freshness! Everyone is brimming with ideas on how to make the next year better. Then what better way than to get a make-over! You could get  a fresh hair cut or colour, get your nails done, get some new outfits, whatever makes you experience a sense of renewal.

If you’re not into personal make-overs, why not give your home a quick refresh? Change the sheets, add in some throw cushions, switch to mood lighting?

3.  Reflect and Resolve

I’m sure 2019 has been a rollercoaster of a ride in more ways than one. If you enjoy quiet time, why not use New Years Eve night to reflect on the year gone by, count your blessings, relive the good memories, list down your learnings from mistakes, and overall make a silent promise to be the best version of yourself in the new year?

A LOT can happen in a year, reflecting is a great way to see the progress you’ve made!

Yes, resolutions are always met with a “oh, you’re never going to keep that one” kind of cynicism, but why not make them anyway?

4. Do Something New

Have you ever heard people say that whatever you’re doing at the stroke of midnight on New Year, you will likely do more of in the coming year? Maybe that’s how the whole kissing tradition started!

If you’re keen on trying out something new, why not start it on NYE? Maybe you’re curious about baking something delicious, or maybe you’ve never watched a movie in the cinema by yourself? Do it.

5. Set the Tone for the Year

Start the year with no grudges, no inhibitions, no negativity and more love! Call forth victories and blessings into your life and shed anything that is currently holding you back from being who you were made to be.

Now those were my top 5 solo New Year Plans that are basically for any kind of person. I do have whackier ideas, you could ask me about them and I’d love to help out!

But let’s talk about why you’re going solo now shall we?

  1. Are you choosing to spend the evening soaking in gratitude, and quiet reflection like I am? I feel like the year has been tumultuous, to say the least, and I am on the brink of some major life changes. I feel like this might be a good opportunity to enjoy an evening of zero-stress, and think about what I want to achieve in 2020. I tend to take on more than I can handle on most days! I want to write my traditional New Year blog, make hot chocolate, dress up pretty, spend time praying and reflecting on what I want to accomplish in the New Year and I want to catch up on all the sappy romantic Christmas movies I missed while I was busy working this Christmas.
  2. Are you in a new city, and haven’t made any close friends to hang out with? Or are you simply lonely for another reason? Look, I get that loneliness is R E A L. But what’s also real is that you are self-sufficient and that is inspirational. It can sometimes take time and effort, but the right people will come into your life and they will stay. To a new year full of new friends!
  3. Are you mourning the loss of someone and don’t feel like celebrating? Look, we sometimes give more credit to what could be another day of the year. Take your time, use the time to understand the ways of life, as unfair as they might seem right now, make your peace and remember the good times. Loss by death or separation is never easy, but know that if you need to reach out, there will be someone willing to hold you through it.
  4. Are you working?? If working is your first love, then that’s great for you:p If you’re working because you need to make ends meet, then more power to you. One day your hard work and sacrifices will pay off.

If I haven’t listed your reason for going solo, you could tell me in the comments! As for me, the eve of new year has brought with it  a flooded living room due to a leakage! Don’t I just love an unforeseen circumstance.  Looks like I’m going to be cleaning up tile debris and mopping dirty floors tonight:P

Happy almost New Year!

 

The Princess and the Pea

21 Jul

And no matter how many layers she put on it, the pea still poked into her back.

Trouble was, that she had tried so hard to cover it, she could no longer reach under and pick it out.

It was there, under the fortress of comfort, under blankets with the finest silks, under all of the cushioning. Nothing seemed to stop it from jabbing and poking every night.

In fact, she had begun to dread the quiet of the night, the tossing and turning, the mechanisms of ignoring the pain that she had so habitually decided.

Until he came along, moved the Princess from her fortress of comfort, broke down her layers, and tossed the pea away.

The Princess learned two things that day : the answer was almost always as simple and tossing away what was bothering her and that she would never, ever stop being grateful for people that cared enough to help her transform her life, even if it was in the smallest of ways.

 

Mush Brain

21 May

The brain… a sort-of ball of mush protected by a hard shell, containing, well, pretty much every memory that has impacted, changed, traumatized us.

In between flashes of Corner Cafe, cookies and pretty girls licking the milk foam off take-away coffee glasses, there’s also the yearning(and undying hope) to hold on to  that high-school romance story I’m “too old” for, there are flashes of words…simple ones… yet hurtful.

There are memories of people who have long forgotten them, there’s a 31 year old mind trying so hard to hold on, retain, keep, treasure, cherish and never, ever forget.

In another portion, there’s sunny optimism, there’s compassion I’d assume overflowing from somewhere within my rib cage, there’s drive and strength. There are familiar roads, 365 Burwood Highway, park benches, Creeks and star-lit nights. There is reckless abandon and there’s a certain thrill that comes from taking certain plunges. There are songs for each image, there is a spark enough to set ablaze the tear-soaked “now”.

And there’s also one portion that is wrecked every day, and renewed every day. There’s a portion that is so cryptic (like this rant) that only its maker can unravel it and smoothen it out. Doesn’t He tire? Of sewing broken hearts and calming troubled minds? Doesn’t it seem futile to Him? To know it’s going to happen again?

 

 

Less Things, More People

31 Dec

It’s easy to block out the voice of God amidst the ever-increasing to-do, to-eat, to-buy lists everyday but when He wants to to hear it will be loud and clear.

Like right now. Bang in the middle of the12th New Year article I’m editing, fatigue completely overtaking my body, eyes strained and mouth parched from forgetting to drink water in the last 10 hours I heard an unmistakably clear message in my mind.

“Less Things, More People”

It was simple and it made me want to stop editing and start writing this blog. As a believer in God, it always makes me feel privileged to be able to hear Him so clear. But even with such an understanding, second-guessing a message or a direction is not uncommon.

Not this time.

What did it mean?

If you know me, you’ll know that I’m often the person that knows where to buy cute stuff for really affordable rates or how to make things that are Pinterest-worthy quite easily. Although I might not buy or do these things myself, I’m a fountain of knowledge! (a knower not a doer.)

I also am the person who will get her hands on things quickly and will go for quantity over quality when it comes to fashion(only cause I love layering and get bored of looks easily). I’m borderline obsessed. :/

However, since the year began, I’ve successfully shopped less than last year. I did not do this mindfully, my intention remained the same as always but somehow I didn’t end up paying for items in my cart or taking that detour to all the fun shops on the street as much as I would have before.

So it tickled me a bit and also weighed down heavier than it would for most people when I heard “LESS THINGS” so clear.

Oh well, that’s one half done but what about “More people” ?

While growing up I was VERY mindful of everyone around me, I would spend days and days planning ways to surprise my friends and make them feel loved. Somewhere along the nuances of life, the hurt, the adulting duties, I chose to do less of this.

The little notes, the emails at the end of  every year, the birthday surprises, the little gifts, the travel to see someone, they got a little less than before, not noticeably, just marginally.

What I feel like “More people” means is that in the coming year I should make myself available to those that need me like I used to. I need to find purpose once again in just being there, supporting , encouraging, and leading people towards a place of peace, joy and love again.

No, I’m not giving up my ‘9 to whatever time my work is relatively done’ job to pursue this vision!

I simply will remember to listen to my inner voice more. It’s really the simplest resolution. One that won’t cause me to unreasonably stress myself silly, in fact, on the contrary, it will make every day so much more valuable.

So here’s to making memories with “more people”, being there a lot more than I was in 2018, actively loving, uplifting and seeking light when someone else cannot. Here’s to being content with less, a struggle for someone chasing all things pretty! Here’s to retaining kindness and showing it more instead of just feeling it and letting the moments pass.

Here’s to 2019, I’m ready for you!

 

29 Nov

Like finding an old book with a note full of love tucked in its yellowed pages,

Like the wrinkled eyes of a woman whose past holds stories of love, loss and passion,

Like the scratches on the sides of your wooden table from that time your dog was just a puppy,

Like looking an old photograph with your best friend,

Like discovering money in your jeans pocket,

Like opening that box of little important things you stored when you were younger,

Like finding an old outfit tucked away in your cupboard that you once lived in,

That’s how you make me feel.

Both familiar and new, like old friends that meet again after decades.

Both “at home” and out of my comfort zone, both relaxed and driven.

Both wistful and deliriously happy.

Dry and plain

12 Sep

Japanese-oak-trees

The day she was planted she was just a seed.

Dry, and plain.

It was only now that she realized just how much she had grown, branched out, bloomed and blossomed, bearing fruit and spreading her seeds far and wide.

Now when the sun shines through her branches, she doesn’t see gaps, she sees opportunity to fill that space with beauty, in all her strength, till one day she is full to the brim and can only burst with goodness.

All that from a seed.

Don’t underestimate the vastness of your influence on earth. EVERYTHING you do has scope for growth and all growth is good growth.

Pollinate the earth with the uniqueness of ‘ you’.

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