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Unmasking My Journey

Shreshta Joy

I still remember a decade ago, I would sit up on my bed and ponder, “What is even the purpose of my life?” I was always in a race to meet my future self if only I could go back and tell that timid person to calm down and trust the process. I was desperately looking for a man to sort me mentally, settle me financially and show me places physically. I was looking for the significant other to help me fly. In a year of hopeless relationships, I still could not figure out that I was seeking my happiness in other people.

I hated to be there, the rock bottom hood of low. It was a heart wrenching drama of staying put in the long-lost home of pain and praying for my release every day. Looking out through the windows, watching happy faces, and the sun shining brighter than ever, I would generally feel next to nothing. I'll be in the dark, fragmented by my emotions, cooking stories in my head and going insane in the trap. All the hopelessness will cloud my mind and I mostly felt deceived in my own company. I yearned for sturdy wings, summoning the demons sitting in my bathroom with cries for an escape to the lands of the nomad but in vain, the voice would only stay within the walls.

The longing for love, for dreams to be fruitful and for a place like home tormented me. My hands would tremble journaling the sadness scarring the mind, and I would attempt to cast my thoughts to the miseries of the world. I hated people. People hated me too. I envied seeing people being themselves and happy. The world felt a wrong place then – designed well for the sinners and the lust seekers. I would cry so hard burying my face on the pillow with a hope to wake up in the arms of someone divine when the cloud of fear shifts. I never believed when I heard big things such as there will be no straight road mapped to the light and the best way is to pause and make home at places where the heart feels warm. I wondered why no one taught while growing up that pain could be addictive too? I was obsessed about finding deeper meaning in the dark. My problems overpowered my existence. I never let myself free and feel genuinely happy. I thought happiness was for the weak-hearted. I only understood that I was sad for absolutely nothing when depression took charge.

I must stress that this was one of the most tumultuous times that shattered me in and out. This darkness held me hard for about a year or more. I had a heartbreak and the rest that followed was a state I pray nobody gets to go through. I kept hoping it wasn't real and I kept striking days on my calendar to believe it is not happening to me. I could stand at a birthday party singing along and then feel breathless suddenly and bursting into loud cries. I would wake up and dress for college and then again go back to bed the whole day without being a bit conscious of the people in the room or the passing time. I could listen to the infinite advises my dear ones give and zone off to the most random thoughts that has nothing to do with me or them. I would look at myself in the mirror and feel hopeless to do anything because picking the toothbrush or the comb or any amount of grooming won't soothe my numb heart. I could get mad and upset at my close ones for no good. The worst was to have my parents see it. They'd try every little thing, even perform a little dance, to make me feel alive, to see me smile and to restore my faith in life. From my favourite food to my dream dresses, I honestly felt nothing matters. Not that I knew there was more of this heavy gloom coming my way. My mother was taken ill. I became colder. I lost hope in my fate. I thought life can never start over again. Maybe problems only overpowered me before but this, I made them mine. I felt nobody is as unfortunate as me. I felt these hardships are unique and I’m alone in this pain. But slowly and steadily, with time and therapy and warm company who never gave up on me, I started noticing little things. I started watching the Sun and the Moon and the flowers once again. I started breathing lighter and being patient to not just see but work on my problems.

But do they ever end? The wait for greatness and bigger visions are painstakingly long. We stumble. We fall out. We break apart into pieces and get sucked into the madness of the world. And most of all, we fail, and fail harder to pick ourselves from the rags and build up the Lego again and again, because the world is simply unfair. We adapt and imitate what others are doing and confuse our existence. If we persist and try with the scars and the flaws and the labels and the tags and everything that pulls us down, none is unreal. We still can be tender beings starting afresh each day unscathed by the society and its triggers. Greater good is hard and a consortium of mock drills and struggles. And the day, the truth is built after all the hardships and perseverance, there descends an inexplicable warmth, bliss and dream-like state of mind leaving us floating in the air, still dreamy, if it is to believe or not. For me, this was about healing. Healing from my past.

I firmly believe that if a man and woman are mentally unstable or if both don't get along well, never make the mistake of having a child. A newborn human will be completely dependent on the parents for the longest time, unlike many other mammals. They secretly pick all the traits and emotions from the parents, despite of them being genetically ingrained. As and when they progress to adolescence and start viewing the world with a more independent perspective, multitude of firsthand experiences unfold. If the child had gone through troubled parenting or been picking inappropriate traits that couldn't be fixed because the parents themselves were in a dark place, the repressed emotions from the past start exhibiting themselves in different ways. Most of the teens and adolescents don't seek therapy or stay unaware and some resort to self-healing by fighting their demons every single day that in turn consumes so many years of their life - starting new and letting go what their parents began - to find their true selves. And few others, realise at a very later point in life of how much they have succumbed to their parents' needs, living a life of their expectations and thinking they have been the wrong doers. All of these episodes of gaslighting, trauma, child abuse and healing are never magic that happens when you wake up and wish for it one fine day. If as a parent, two individuals aren't ready for the great responsibility they bear to raise a great human being with none of their past or current situations to affect the child is indeed a soulful work. It's a work of art. We need a world filled with compassion and seekers of magic. Raise a child with a great heart and great beliefs.

When I was detached from my past and was in the process of rebuilding my identity consciously over the years, I noticed the answer to my question I asked myself before is here. There cannot be a sole purpose to our lives. A purpose will be a collection and a sub-collection of deeds entangled to create the marvel we carry sacredly within. It is an embodiment of the duality of life – good and bad. Our wants only multiply with time. Our desperation to be validated and never feeling achieved also clones itself again and again. Sometimes, nobody understands what we are seeking. And other times, everybody does but we are not in the same page with them. For defence, we conveniently mould success to fit in our current mindset. We dig a grave for productivity to die. We look down at the ones outdoing us. We battle our anxieties and call it a day off. We engage in every little negative thing to feel better. On the brighter side, light is liberating. Consciousness is empowering. Getting hold of time becomes the solution. Because to keep it real, you and I and them and everyone has the same number of hours in a day. While we sob, they climb a step higher. This is no comparison. The hours still remain the same. We don't have to rush but we have to let go many things with time. It depends on the purpose but when we let go, we make more space. The space demands our dedication and faith. It cannot stay unoccupied for long. The longer it is empty, we leave the door open for the devil.

Healing from the past and being conscious of time wasn’t my only work. I had more goals to march towards. The next one being – unmasking my fear of not feeling beautiful. Aren't we great sculptors and artists busy adoring ourselves to become if not perfect but closer to beautiful? Our minds are often all over the place trying to get this right.

We want to let go off the extra pounds, the ill-defined curves, plant hair on the receding hairline and eat worrying about the gain. We fancy picture-perfect bodies, high-end clothing, and follow junk of do's and don'ts. We are mostly unsure where this journey of being physically beautiful leads us. We foresee how young or old we might look a decade later. It makes us unknowingly stressed that then there comes a period of gloom where we abandon all of this and embrace our skins, hold our curves in adoration or regret, stress eat double and vacation like we're out of prison. It leaves us in a cycle of underrated worry. Where do we even break this chain? Where do we find that level of acceptance from within and mindfully ignore conversations about beauty standards in social circles? It's a tough world where people might kindly laugh it away saying beauty comes from within while a part of them is still looking for ways to be a better sculptor of how they look externally. There is no harm doing whatever we do to feel beautiful. Be it tons of makeup, rigorous workouts, controlled eating and infinite surgeries. Or be it slaying the plus size and not giving a flying fuck about any part of our being. Or be it that some of us love it organic. We need to understand our journeys and idea of beauty will stay different, safely cocooned in cultural shields or wildly adopted from the neighbourhood. Fashion and beauty will keep influencing our choices of being even when we believe it isn't. The real beauty is to be in awe for the human encounters and showering praises even if you are not in agreement with how someone else looks or dresses. This isn't about hiding the reality in the name of being positive. This is about respect. This is about boundaries. This is also about reminding each other that we all are abundantly beautiful in our own ways. Also, that our bodies are different. We are all a piece of art. Maybe we are the only species who compliments one another on meeting. Why not do it more?

Now that I have come a long way deconstructing most of the bad traits that I picked in my childhood and breaking free from my ego, there are so many experiences of shame, guilt, fear and revelation of truths ingrained within them that shaped this new person growing in me. I never read much in my childhood. I never got a chance to play in a room of toys nor have a little group of friends to play with. My adolescence luckily turned out the playground to explore. So from relationships to friends to places, I was desperate to feel and live every moment intensely even if it meant to shatter me. I picked reading as a hobby and became amazed at the vast ocean of tales and views that these authors share. I met a lot of artists in the way and learnt about their journey. Spend even more time with some with them to see what patience and dedication could look like. And I have come to realise that I’m never alone in this expedition. I’m a sweet amalgamation of the thoughts and experiences and the beautiful people I meet. They may walk out of my life but a part of them stays with me, in a memory or in a word, formulating my brain to think in a certain way for the better good.

The more I learnt about consciousness, I understood we like to flood our minds with concrete definitions and terms and concepts just as how we dive deep into any subject of interest. Our curiosity is always questioning it more. Sometimes mocking the believers; otherwise greedy to get there soon. Though the plan for this is easily workable. I don't mean we wake up enlightened the next day. I'm not even saying attending a zillion workshops can fill all our minds with the wisdom needed for it. You don't even need a fat word, consciousness or awareness, to shine light. This is an experiential process of moving from vibrating in a lower level to a higher self. It is understanding that the universe has a divine timing for every little wish of ours though we have the free will to choose our paths. It is believing that the universe is working to make beautiful things take shape for us. It is holding the truth that we all are one and we all are connected. It is communicating in a way that you keep away that ego firmly tied to the labels, judgements, tags that a society shove on us. It is constantly putting off that power trip that shadows us with an 'i know' 'buts' and 'ifs' every time someone expresses themselves. Knowledge is supreme but love is divinely supremely.

It is claiming back our empathy and being able to look into another person's eye and feel what they are emoting. It is bashing the insignificant thought that vulnerability is a shame. It is the practice of gratitude, appreciation, right intake of good food and again more gratitude packed in love that makes us 'us.' It is believing in the oneness of us and nature and putting an end to belittling other beings and invading their spaces. It is about this moment, this moment when I'm writing this for you all, when you all are reading, at this particular time, right now that you are transcending your self to a place of light. There is no intellect involved in this process. There is meaning. There is resilience. There is hope. There is actual, real, magical, bright light. In the light, our hearts bloom compassionately.

All you need is to trust the process. The process is finding a certain kind of rewarding thrill in the challenges that life puts us in, realising strength comes from a place of fear and believing that we are part of a society so the choices that we make is one of the voices of the society too. The liberty of exercising our life goals without having to fear about the people around us is the biggest reward we can give to our everyday existence. The charm lies in grasping that you and I can have different goals and still live under the umbrella of a ‘society’ without cringing.


5 comments

  • Truth and openess weaved with dignity and beauty. Great share Shreshta. Wish you an inspiring journey.

    Shanti Badri
  • “The ones who are looking for hope, shall find it here.”

    Shreshta! It is beautifully written and so connecting. You described the entire journey with such authenticity that I had goosebumps. Keep going!

    Kinjal
  • How beautiful ❤️♥️

    Donna
  • Shrey.. this brought tears. And I so much happy for you for evolving into such a beautiful human. Great talent too!! Like you said you are a sweet amalgamation!

    Audrin
  • I loved every bit of this real experience’s essence ! I want people to know about this and cherish what they have and what they can achieve !

    Shreyasi

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