Tuesday, September 29, 2015

574: What this is or will be about

Some time ago, I had written about a very low point in my life in recent times. There seemed to have been a lot of build-up, resistance, and denial about it I feel. Around that time, when I was going through what I was, Deepika Padukone had just come out with her confession regarding depression. I applauded that. Then one day, in office, a colleague told me about what she was going through. It seemed very similar to my predicament. My reaction, though, was not one of empathy. I told her to suck it up and also to just stop playing victim. I was telling her the same script that I was telling myself.

I think I was doing that because, for some reason, I was denying it in myself.

Then I had that moment where I wept to my mom. I went to a counsellor and I wrote about it. A couple of people read it. That, still for some reason, surprises me. That people read what I write here...but so it goes. Anyway, I knew a couple of people who did read that post. I knew them and I met them.

Now, I'm not very sure how I come across to someone who reads my blog - whether my blog is more ad than I am or I'm not as interesting as it is or what. After that post, in a couple of occasions, people have sat across me and told me, "So you went to a counsellor, huh?" I smiled, nodded, and sipped my coffee/ water/ wine. And I wondered just how cold must a person be to read that and not offer solace or kindness or even the courtesy of not bringing it up if one didn't know what to do with the information.

That, at least, was my initial reaction.

The reason I was not rude or curt with those people is because, well, I don't forget much. I remember  the colleague from long ago who'd invited me home to simply talk to me when I'd written something sad. He didn't need to. We hadn't even worked all that closely together. I didn't even know he read the blog. But he had called me, something of a stranger, to his place to talk. It is not a small act. To reach out to one on the brink of crumbling is not a small act.

The other thing I remember is how I had rebuffed my friend when she'd tried to tell me that her stomach felt hollow and her eyes felt empty. I had snapped at her and then, feeling guilty, had tried to distract her by taking her for a movie and gelato. Since both were good, it had worked somewhat.

I also remember how those people who had asked me, oh so casually, whether I'd gone to counsellor and how it went (like a cute parlor game), gently present the fact that they too had been to counsellors, take or refused drugs, taken or refused Coke, solicited or refused sex, and considered extreme measures.

Since I hate any kind of weakness and since I saw (sometimes still do) a compellingly sad mood as a weakness, I keep my distance. So I understand those people's need to keep their distance too.

I'm now all too familiar with the way the polite veneer cracks when you think that somebody watches...and you know that somebody knows. Maybe at that time, I could have reached out too. But I didn't.

Anyway, I am not out of the woods although many, many good days have passed since and many, many more good days will pass now. But I wanted to write about my...umm...passage through the tunnel. Because I am in it now. I don't want to write about it once I have everything figured out and life is good and all my wishes have come true and all that. I want to write about it now because as crazy scary as it may be, it is pretty exciting. It is like you're stuck in a tunnel for so long that your eyes get used to the darkness and you start seeing faint lines and then stronger strokes, and finally patterns and pictures on the tunnel walls. The current depression comes from some deep, past hurt (or so they say) so that pain has to be explored like an archeological marvel. Pain is a city. Wasn't built in a day.

A long time ago, a friend was narrating a particular scene from some thriller. She described this scene so vividly that even now, I get confused whether I had read the book myself or seen it in a film or heard it from her.

This is the scene:

There is a dangerous man in a bath tub. He's having a nice, steaming hot bath. He's not too tall or well-built. He is neat little Japanese man with pale, white skin. But he's sitting in water so scalding that it's amazing that he hasn't suffered burns yet. After a good long soak, he realizes it's time to  kill the person he was hired to put out. When he gets up, you see that his back has a special tattoo in ink that is visible only in very hot, humid vapour. It's a strong, full, fierce tiger...ready to pounce.

I think that's what the sadness feels like now. It's uncomfortable and hot...but I think beyond a point, it will trace out those wounds sharply enough and then we can see them do something about them.

I suppose I'm not in that place where I can really be kind in person, just yet. I will still be gruff and non-chalant. But in light of the goodness I have received, I'd like to put my kindest, truest self forward - which is through my writing.

This is not to help anyone. I won't arrogate myself to that position. I won't give advice. I will though write about what's making this tunnel-dwelling easier for me. Or even more difficult.

If you read this, meet me for coffee, and still ask me "How are you?" in that knowing, not-knowing way I will smile and say 'Great' and mean it too. But I'd still like you to know that the paces we are putting ourselves through is okay. For the time being. Until we can accept it in ourselves and be kind to it in others.

Until then the dance and deceit will continue. Until the water gets hot enough.

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