If it weren't so heartbreaking, it would be funny and poignantly hilarious to intercept and make sense of people and their reactions.
There are all kinds of people in this world. Surely, if you have made it past evolution, you are fair grounds to breathe and be here. But just because you exist and belong to a race that prides itself on being the culminating and advanced product of eons of evolution doesn't make you intelligent or special. Two paths have eternally existed - that of conforming and that of defying. If your success comes from conforming to the deafening noise and stifling ways of the world, you are not as phenomenal as you think. Get over yourself and get a little sensible, please.
People and their reactions.
We all have a story - the one that's written by our biology, our psychology and our environment. Our willpower, our choices, our genes, our culture, our friends - we are but an evolving equation born out of these ever changing variables. The point of mentioning that is to make you understand that we do not have much control over who we are or who we become. By that I mean, most of us do not choose to become a certain way once we are of a certain age which is a pity because at least an exercise like that would jolt us into thinking and consciously evading that which is vacuous and empty. Nobody says that they are going to be an introvert or an extrovert or shy or psychotic. They just end up becoming an introvert or an extrovert or psychotic as a result of the various factors at play in the stage of their life. I sometimes feel: our basic nature seeks us out; it chooses us rather than us choosing it. If you can understand, acknowledge or accept that, then you would know there is nothing remotely special or successful or marvelous about you. And, then maybe - just maybe - you would stop being a condescending and judgmental monster.
And, now, lets talk about an "interesting", recurring reaction pattern that inspired this post.
It must be a chemical process. A reaction triggered by the something deep within the human brain.
Do you have any friends? Have you made any friends?
No, I don't have any friends. I live by myself.
The following will happen immediately and inevitably. (Can you hear me sigh?)
Their lips will twitch and curl into a mocking smile, their eyes gape at you like the blinding headlights of a car speeding to ram into you and to knock you out.
Its that smile - that of pity, that of feeling embarrassed for the poor soul who has no friends; that smile that is a cross between a cringe and a grimace; that smile that thinks you are a doomed fool; that you are inferior and they are superior; that they are alpha and you are a goddamn nobody; that you would fall off the race and that they would win that race - that's what that brief lingering smile is all about.
And then, depending on the status of kinship, there are some that recommend going on a befriending spree. Sure, one of us who finds it hard to connect and make friends will go on an exclusive - make new friends cruise - if any and everyone posing this question and making this recommendation will go on a - stop being such a conforming, snobbish, preaching creature cruise. Do we have a deal?
Imagine a grey world. Imagine a pale world. Now, imagine a bright world and an exciting world. What kind of wave, do you think, has swept the world to bring about the change? What catalyst has catapulted the metamorphosis?
We often hear that one person is all it takes to turn the world upside down but most of the times, we forget the power of such an impact and the possibility it holds out for each and everyone of us - or at least for most of us. Today, I was reminded of both - the power and possibility. Let's talk about the person who inspired this - Lone Ranger - thought process.
J.K.Rowling - Almost, everyone knows this name. Almost, everyone might also know her life story. She is, in today's world - a cult like figure, and the Harry Potter series is an unparalleled phenomena that has riveted, intrigued, entertained and awed people across the globe. Her books have been turned into world renowned movies that have spawned its own loyal fans. The legacy of Harry Potter knows no bounds and is unstoppable. The world of Harry Potter is now out of books, out of movie screens and into the living-breathing space of humans. Hogsmeade, Hogwarts castle, gringotts, Oliver's wands and many other Harry Potter attractions are thriving at Universal studios, Orlando.
Call me crazy - but maybe someday - some eccentric, visionary and iconoclastic individual will build a Harry Potter villa. Our banks will look as gringott and our schools like Hogwarts castle. We will have wands, robes and brooms. It would be a quaint place, a surreal place, a place that would alter our reality, our stream of consciousness and our individuality. A world that is a world away from our world, but a world so right for our world.
Here's why I would sign up to be an inhabitant of the Harry Potter villa. The reality of our current world feels so stifling, abject and confining that some of us end up having to pretend and to conform. It feels as if the world - as real as ours - has spawned a lot of delusions. So, maybe, a world that isn't real might actually be our way back to reality, back to the core of our existence.
Think about the Harry Potter world. Think about the fact that it all came from the imagination of one woman, that it was all created in her mind. If she didn't exist, Harry Potter wouldn't exist. One person. One idea. And, the world was changed. It boggles my mind and fills me with tremendous awe and respect for J K Rowling. May we have many more INDIVIDUALS like her.
There are many misconceptions floating out there in the world. Lets talk about one of them.
This is a stigmatized and a misunderstood word. Often, people who commit suicide are condemned as cowards, selfish and saps under the notion that life is a gift from god and suicide is a sin. Its quite unfair, and a little too judgmental to cook theories and opinions about someone so tormented by their life that they chose to die.
What happens when you fall ill? Imagine running a very high fever, or being diagnosed with dengue fever or malaria or jaundice or a terminal disease. How does your body and mind feel? Like a curse or a blessing? Do you want to jump with joy or just close your eyes and fall into a deep sleep. The body and the mind - once intruded - by an illness of any kind - will begin to shut down if not treated to the right medications. That's how we are built - built to be vulnerable to all kinds of illnesses nature has crafted - be it physical or psychological. There are diseases of the body. And, there are diseases of the mind.
So, what happens when there is a lapse in the functioning of the body? Depending on the severity, you are tired or bedridden or nauseous or not hungry or you simply want to sleep. Even the mere act of blinking your eyes and shifting your body weight will drain you out if you are too ill. Your energy and willpower is zapped. You cannot think or function anymore. You simply want to close your eyes and rest. No family member or friend can provide you the comfort and warmth that deep sleep can. Your body and mind is so exhausted and blank that words and a touch cannot keep you awake or animated. This isn't a choice or a willful sabotage. If you fall ill, you endure and suffer - its simple.
Its the same with the mind. If the mind builds up a disease like depression, or a self-perceived trauma or unbearable emotional stress - your body and mind will start quitting on you and the only thing you would look forward to is sleeping. Only this time - sleeping is a metaphor and euphemism for the ultimate sleep - death. If the illness of the body can zap the mind, the illness of the mind will zap the body too. Why is it so hard for some people to understand that psychosomatic disorders and depression are the result of a malfunctioning or tormented mind - just as diarrhea or the flu are the consequences of a lapse in the body's functioning.
Saying things like - the deceased was so selfish that they left their family behind to agonize, question and suffer - is a cheap shot at someone who cannot explain anything anymore and who has suffered something so morbid that your mind can't even begin to comprehend it. Yes, it is unbearably heartbreaking for the family, and their life is crushed in a way that it will never again be whole. But it's not fair to blame and get mad at the person committing suicide. His or her intention wasn't to hurt anyone but to free himself from his pain. If you haven't lived through a serious depression where you couldn't actually get out of a bed and think, or where your brain was consumed by angst and anxiety or chewed by bipolar or dementia - then give it a rest for you will never understand the true horrors of a mental lapse.
Everyone is different in the sense that they are products of their biology, psychology and environment. Lets not be under the illusion that we choose our traits and behavior. What you have been through is different from what someone else has been through. Everyone gets scarred and broken - at least once in their life - maybe. But just because you survived and triumphed and someone else succumbed and gave in doesn't mean that you are stronger and smarter than the other person. Your psychological response is a consequence of your genes and experiences. So, truth be told, if you are wondering why someone else killed themselves over something that is not that serious - please understand you are comparing apples and oranges - you are an apple and he or she is an orange. You might be all human beings but everyone has their own special kind of crap to deal with. And it might not be in our control to determine if we will surpass the hellholes of our life or give into them.
Let's quit being a judge that condemns people for suicide and let's start being a humanitarian and a psychologist trying to understand the murky world of mental afflictions.
We know what you are wondering. Who is this beautiful, incredibly charming, well-dressed and kick-ass woman?
Well, ladies and gentleman, its our pleasure to let you know - she's our MOM. The first thing you must know about her is that she's a SUPERHUMAN.
And its her 60th BIRTHDAY.
So, here we go - my brother and I, on our crazy little quest - to make this birthday as special in as many small and big ways - as we can.
You have shown us what it means to be brave, to be independent, to be strong, and to work hard - through your life and the things you have sacrificed and endured for us. We are eternally grateful to have you in our life.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! WE LOVE YOU AND ARE SO PROUD OF YOU!!!
And, now let the pictures speak how awesome she is.
The polka dots, the sunflower yellow, and the beautiful mesh of red and gold with the perfect accessories - meet the style icon who pulls it all off like nobody's business.
She KNOWS how to have FUN despite the crazy shit she has had to man up to. Certainly - not afraid to wear a hat or a mask.
She doesn't shy away from adventures. In the biting cold of the 20's, she climbed uphill to make a 2.6 mile hike to Devil's Arch in Arches National Park, Utah. She climbed into canyons, played in the cold, white sands of New Mexico, and hooded up for a chilly boat ride through Lake Powell, Arizona. She's superhuman, we told you.
We are incredibly lucky to have a Mom who goes on all sorts of crazy adventures with us. We are also super lucky to have a Mom who lets us be our weird, eccentric self. She lets us make our own decisions and supports us through failures and good times. She reads every single post of mine and tells me I must follow my dream of becoming a published author. When I tell her of my misery, day in and day out, she listens patiently and gives me the nerves and strength I need. Thank you so much, Mom.
She's an awesome cook and a tremendous foodie, just like my sweet and ingenious bro.
She's battled the endless storms of her life with a smile. She is wonderful and patient. She loves to spoil us. She's works like a machine. She's epic.
We wish her the best health, and a love filled life.
This is what has helped me to get started on the path of my dreams when all seemed lost. I hope it helps you a little in your quest for your dreams.
First, lets talk about dreams and our search for our one true path. Its easy to get confused with the overwhelming number of distractions and choices out there. Literally, even the sky is not the limit - these days. You can crash course your way into many things - you can become a blogger, you can become a baker, you can start your own company, you can publish a book or you can become a make-up artist. The surge of power, thrill, anticipation and excitement can be incredibly intoxicating. Sometimes, we sort of follow the norm without much thought. Its easy to do something for the wrong reasons. The internet age has opened a whole new world of possibilities and independent learning. Everyone's selling you something - the media, the entertainment channels, even the people in your life. So, where and when do you draw the line and become your own person and follow your inner bliss? Or do you not ever do that?
Always ask why, and always know your reasons for walking down a road. Ego? Expectations? Power? Passion? Curiosity? This will tell you about the kind of person you have become, and if your reasons are the right kinds or the wrong kinds.
Do thought experiments. What would you still keep in your life if you had no observers or audience? Lets face it - we do things in our life because we expect to get to the next level, and sometimes that includes having others think greatly and positively of us. Lets say there were no others. There was nobody in this world but you. Would you still care enough and be passionate enough to do what you do now if you didn't had to do it and if there was no one else to pat you on the back for it.
And, now finally, the thing that helped me. Its simple but ingenious.
Start 31 day challenges. If there's something you want to get started with, doing it consistently for 31 days will make it a habit. Just make sure you don't skip a single day, and be prepared to bleed your heart, mind, spirit and to sacrifice and commit your sanity to it. Don't expect it to be a bed of roses - Its going to be hard but if you persist, you would have developed a valuable skill and a productive habit and a positive mindset. Excellence and perfection requires work and time, so be patient. Some days, it will be relatively easy, and some days relatively hard. At the end of 31 days, you might quit - which then means this isn't the thing for you or that you gave up too easy - only you would know the true answer. Or you might carry on and make something out of this small movement - in which case you know this is your path and you have become enlightened.
I am not trying to preach or state the obvious but the two times that I have tried this exercise, it has led me to greater things in life. I did a 31 day running challenge, and a 31 day writing challenge. And now, I am a runner and writer for life.
So, here's wishing you all the courage you need to get started.
Lets talk eccentricity.
After 31 years of a semi-addled, semi-sane, semi-lost, semi-found path of existence, the days still are filled with drudgery but the heart and mind - more than ever - are on a madman's quest to live to the fullest - all of its eccentricities and peculiarities.
Maybe, turning 31 does this to you. Or maybe this is how I am built and wired. But I have become the sort of person who looks for authenticity and eccentricity in people. A weird process has been at work in my life. Being different from the norm invites contempt, scorn, wrath and pity from people. Any and everyone exercises their freedom of speech to give you psychiatric evaluation of your morbid affliction.
Here's why eccentricity is important.
Very few of us give ourselves the permission to be eccentric. Being eccentric means being different and unique and maybe peculiar and weird. Eccentricity is the bridge for many of us to our heart, to our inner child, to freedom from a world of inhibitions and mindless conforming. Sometimes, our heart might urge us to do something but our typical response is to shy away from it because we are so afraid of stepping out into the unknown and being someone strange and making a fool out of ourselves and being judged as a loony. Being eccentric means being able to risk it all without the need to fit in or please people.
An eccentric person thinks or behaves differently. Our dreams often require us to step away from the herd and the ways of the society and to come up with our own unique ideal, ideas and formula to win big. If we cant turn away from the noise of the world and aren't willing to move away from the 95% of the people, then we cant expect to be as successful and as evolved as the 5% of the population. We like to think of Steve Jobs, and other such visionaries as geniuses but if we look at the way he lived his life, we will know that he was eccentric and brilliant. Our dreams demand of us to be eccentric - as eccentric as the six year old you.
Being different is not a curse or a disease, and we should stop treating it as one. We should stop trying to make everyone an extension of ourselves because whats the point of that? Instead, why not, try to resurrect our own uniqueness, our own craziness, our own weirdness so we can live fully. Most people who have gone down in history - have been eccentric or have done things in an eccentric manner. Nobody lives like the way of majority and achieves the success that a tiny portion of the society achieves.
To me - eccentricity is sacred. Its the rite of passage to manhood. It means you survived the mass hypnosis and the rabid efforts of society to turn you into just another typical person. It requires strength and endurance to swim against the tide all by yourself. It means you preserved your integrity and your authenticity. And you have learned to defy and be cool with being different. You are doing things the way of the 5%.
Our eccentricities try to tell us a story about ourselves. It tries to lead us to our evolution. So lets just shut up and listen to our uniqueness instead of blindly listening to the world. Why not? When living in this world - we seem to be cruising in a perpetual flight or fight mode - where we fly away from our uniqueness and fight hard to retain society's way of life. Wear a red lipstick and pout if your eccentricity leads you to it but its not nearly as cool and radical to do it if you are simply doing it because everyone else is doing it.
Two friends sat by a lake at sunset. One of them was smoking and the other was drinking coffee. One was tired and the other was numb and indifferent. One was a self-proclaimed artist and the other a self declared philosopher. They belonged in a special institution.
So, what do you do when life doesn't make sense? The coffee person asked, with a sigh and an expressionless face.
Who said life has to make any sense? The smoker replied in an amused voice.
Then, whats the point of life if there's no meaning to it?
Who said there is any point to life?
Then, why do we exist if there's no meaning and point to life?
Who said we exist? Maybe, we are just an illusion. Just a vivid nightmare simmering in the consciousness of our cosmos. The moment, the cosmos snaps out of its sleep, human race will be a thing of imagination.
When will the cosmos wake up? I would really love to sleep.
Well, I think the cosmos forgot to set itself an alarm clock. So its up to the two of us to figure out how to wake up the cosmos and save it from the horror of the human race.
Hot chance in hell that the two of us could ever accomplish something like this. How about I just go to sleep, and you do the honorable deed and then join me in our eternal sleep? The coffee drinker began to get up from the bench where they sat, and walked towards the white building.
Wait. I think I know what the cosmos needs. It wont wake up unless we both contribute to its timeline an ingenious progeny. So, with all due seriousness and minus the fuss, will you marry me?
The shrill alarm pierced through the air, and the two looked at each other for a brief moment. As the moment elapsed, the two walked back to their tiny cells. Shortly, they were sedated and brought their food.
It was just another day in the madhouse.