The Luxury of Self Pity & Seduction of Inadequacy

As I’m laid up in bed because a ligament in my knee, I figured no better time than this to notch up a few blog posts!

I watched the wonderful speech by Lupita Nyong’o (which slowly seems to be going viral on Facebook) in which she eloquently presents her thoughts on beauty and confidence. What struck me was her use of the phrase ‘seduction of inadequacy’.

I, with a simple ligament injury, have been trying hard to hold on and not give in to this seduction. And I’ve been very strict with myself as far as indulging in self-pity is concerned (read : Not Allowed).

For the first week, it was quite alright. It was a pain in the ass (literally) to have to stay in bed all day except when I had to use the washroom. I could have roamed around the house, but the knee immobilizer that I’m wearing, other than making me look like a war veteran, keeps slipping down if I bend at all. So I decided to just stay in bed and try and deal with all my pending univ work.

Needless to say, very little work was done and it was more of aimless net surfing and Whatsapping with a friend who had an operation recently; we bonded over what he called the ‘patient factor’. Then, the first weekend, my friends from  univ came over to my place (more like stormed the house) and it was a wonderful evening with a lot of laughter and reminiscing about Kerala. Their visit was over soon (too soon), and then it first hit me though I tried hard to stop it…self pity. Why me? This was so unfair! (And subsequent related thoughts).

Slowly, over the week, consolatory messages and concerned calls reduced in number. People moved on with their lives, as I knew they would, and my situation was no longer one of the Things To Talk About. And this is when I really comprehended what Lupita meant when she talked about the Seduction of Inadequacy. It pretty much goes hand in hand with self pity; it just feels dramatic and miserably good to know that you’re a damsel in distress. And you never realize how you’re weakening yourself by thinking so.

I guess it all comes down to what all sociologists would agree to – man is a social animal (not a very gender-neutral way of saying it though). We all love being with people, surrounded by others. I am one of those people who loves their solitude. But I realize now how much I actually need the hustle around me to be able to truly appreciate the solitude.

I want to go to college, I want to go to the library, I want to go for fieldwork, I want to do all the things which I usually find taxing just so that I can get out of the house, out of bed and be surrounded by people.

In the end, I think it’s just a human instinct to feel wanted and missed. Nobody wants to be out of mind even if they’re out of sight.

If I talk about my right to indulge in self pity or feeling inadequate, mine is a weak case…just a ligament injured in a freak accident. No one to blame, and in no way too serious. But for me, my life seems to be in shambles! As Anne Shirley would put it, I’m in the “depths of despair”. Not all the time, but whenever I realize I’m missing out on something exciting. Like today I was supposed to be chuckling and chatting with my friends at an univ function. But I can’t.

I guess I should pull myself together. I’ve bored you with my travails long enough.

Good bye. I shall go jump into the pool of self pity and fall prey to the seductions of inadequacy now.

Of Long-due and Sudden Trips, a Pocketful of Sand and Ligaments

Such a lot has happened since I last posted the list of my favourite feel-good songs. And when I say ‘a lot’ I mean it in the absolute sense; no exaggerations.

In the first week of February, I visited Kolkata after a gap of 7 years, even though it’s my parents’ first love as far as cities are concerned by virtue of being the city they spent their childhood in. It was a wonderful trip as I had my cousin sister’s wedding to attend and then, after a long time, six of us cousins got together at the same place. It was a lot of laughing, new friends, joking, teasing, reminiscing, tears and emotions running high. I had been looking forward to this trip since a long time, and it lived up to the expectations that I had from it (might need a separate blog post for it).

Kolkata

Victoria Memorial, Kolkata

While in Kolkata, my friends from university called me to tell me that they had given my name for a university fest to be held in Kerala. While the message was delivered to me over a abysmal cellphone network, which meant I heard only two words out of seven in a sentence, I got to know all the details only once I got back to Uni.

So, merely a week after getting back from a week-long holiday in Kolkata, I was off again to Kasaragod, North Kerala for the First Convention of Departments of Social Work of Central Universities of India.

It was a glorious trip, as only one with friends can be. Lots of uncontrollable laughter, hilarious antics, jokes and madness. Once again, I met a lot of new people and made some wonderful new friends. Also, being in God’s Own Country, how can I forget the beautiful surroundings? Coconut trees, rivulets, the mighty Arabian Sea! A feast for the senses! I think a photo post will be needed for it.

Bekal Beach, Kerala

Bekal Beach, Kerala

My last day in Kerala wasn’t idyllic however.

I got a ligament injury in my knee.

So now, I’m back home, sitting with my leg in a knee immobilizer (which is pretty much like a cast and lives up to its name), wondering how I failed to notice the wondrous ways in which a knee works.

Now take a moment to thank God for knees and the wonderfully versatile ways in which they function.

More than anything, it’s one of those times when you feel like indulging in self-pity and asking that futile question – “Why me?”. But I don’t have the time to do that. I’m more busy worrying about how on earth am I supposed to make up the classes and fieldwork I will miss, not to mention the irksome attendance issue that my department has.

Pray for me, will you?

My Favourite ‘Feel-Good’ Songs

I’m sure everyone has a few inspirational songs that they love (though they would rather not own up to it). So I decided why not put together a list of my favourite ‘feel-good’ songs? There are a few I have heard on loop numerous times and I still don’t tire of them!

Sit back, and feel awesome.

1)   What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger – Kelly Clarkson

2)   Only Hope – Mandy Moore

3)   Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

4)  The Wind Beneath My Wings – Bette Midler

5)  Beautiful – Christina Aguilera

6)  The Voice Within – Christina Aguilera

7)  You Raise Me Up – Josh Groban

8)  Lift Me Up – Kate Voegele

9)  Breakaway – Kelly Clarkson

10)  Pack Up Your Troubles – Minnutes

11)  I Lived – One Republic

12) Perfect – Pink

13)  Firework – Katy Perry

14) Send It On – Disney Friends For Change

15) Let It Go – Idina Menzel (‘Frozen’ OST)

16)  Defying Gravity – Glee (originally by Idina Menzel, Kristin Chenoweth)

17)  I Won’t Give Up – Jason Mraz

18)  Halo – Beyonce

19)  Make You Feel My Love – Adele

Another year about to end

It’s Christmas Eve and the new year is just 6 days away. 2013 went by way too quickly; I sometimes still write 2012 by mistake in the date! I guess this year was just so busy for me that I didn’t have the time to really savour the passing moments. They just went past as I hurried towards the next job to be done.

Christmas, however, is always fun. I love the decorating part…

IMG_20131224_005521

At my home, Christmas is in the air!

Christmas gets over so fast!

And then New Year’s.

I don’t know whether I’ll be able to post before New Year’s, so I’m going to wish everyone a wonderful new year right now. All the best to you and yours!

(from the net)

I hope the New Year brings a lot of love, joy, peace and contentment. Spread the love and joy :)

Debaters Galore

Hello hello! My semester-end exams begin tomorrow, but when you get a good idea for a post, you just have to post it, y’know? Especially if it comes to you a day before your exam. I actually do that a lot. Heh.

Well, I digress, as usual. Exams are a topic I can go on and on about. And I’m pretty much doing all this stuff (see link) right now.

OKAY I’M RAMBLING.

What I actually want to talk about is related to Facebook. So, I joined Facebook when I was 16 and I’ve seen it change a lot. I’ve also met various kinds of people and seen how they are on FB and how they are in person.

In the beginning, when you just join, it was all about making innane statuses and finally building up the courage to start posting photographs. Then you ‘Like’ stuff and comment on what others said or did (wid vry abbreviatd, twistd eng cuz it ws kewl).

Now however, things seem to have gone up a notch.

We’re all grown ups, with numerous opinions (or at least trying to form them) and whenever someone posts something, there will inevitably be that one person who has a differing view. Then, depending on the personalities/free time/interest levels of the two parties, the topic would either be debated upon in detail, with emphatic and vehement production of facts and sarcastic/furious diatribes, or one would just say “Yeah maybe”, and the conversation would more or less conclude. In the middle of it all (especially in the former kind of…’discussion’) there will be some others joining one of the camps or trying to calm down the situation; however, if its the second case, the aspiring peacemaker is usually attacked by one of the ‘adversaries’ for want of a better word.

I, for one, am pathetic at debating. However I do love witnessing well-argued debates and am very happy with myself if I’m, surprisingly, ever able to debate well myself. But my paralyzing fear is that I’ll get into a debate and get stuck in the middle with no way of further arguing my point *shudder*

Now, the key phrase here is ‘Well-argued’.

If the discussion is well-argued and the two debaters support their views rationally, I have no objection to it. However, sometimes (please understand, SOMETIMES) there are these discussions which are held with no requirement for it whatsoever. It’s as if some people have been told that being offended and arguing is the new ‘cool’, and they must indulge in this if they are to be accepted into society. So some discussions turn out to be like the following -

A : Purple is a wonderful thing and socially, culturally and economically, it makes more sense to love purple.

B : Purple is an outrage and we should all denounce it! Orange is the new purple!! And I demand justice!

A : Do you really think orange can bring in a change? There are too many options to show that purple is, psychologically speaking, much ahead of orange and will bring about world peace!!

B : May I remind you that orange is a fruit too? Purple is just purple. So technically speaking, orange is much more versatile and can change the world. We need revolution before world peace!

(Disclaimer : Kindly note, this is not an actual discussion/argument. It has no basis whatsoever in reality)

I got pulled into a debate, much to my chagrin, a few weeks back. But I was relieved to realize that I could rationally put my point across, and the discussion ended amicably (at least so it seemed). My fellow debater, who was against the motion (so to speak), made some points too and there was no scandalous resorting to personal statements to prove our points. That was a relief.

So please don’t get me wrong. I am impressed when people come together and have wonderful, respectfully and rationally argued debates about some current topic; it’s neat, and sometimes helps me consolidate my views too.

But it’s also worrying when you know that there are some people who are nitpickers and begin an argument just because they feel like it.

Do you think all debates are good debates?

Don’t just hear. Listen.

Listen.

That’s what I did.

We came together because you talked and  I listened. You told me the funny things you did, the child you were, the child you are.

You shook your head with mock exasperation and an indulgent smile as you told me more about how you did something weird. You stole a look at me sideways, waiting for me to approve of what you’d done, and declare it cool, not weird.

It was amusing, because you didn’t seem to need that approval otherwise.

You talked and talked. Animatedly. And I listened. And responded. Most of the time. All these years.

One day, I just didn’t feel like listening.

I wanted to be the one talking.

You realized I was hearing but not listening.

You frowned and asked me, “What’s wrong? Are you alright?”

I wasn’t alright. I needed to talk. I just didn’t know how. I’d never been the one talking. I wasn’t supposed to be the one talking. I was supposed to be the one listening, right? Right?

No.

That can’t be right.

Why couldn’t I speak? And be heard? And be consoled? I wasn’t all sorted out. I was a mess. I just didn’t talk about it.

Why the hell didn’t I?

I’d gotten so used to being the listener. People usually got surprised when I spoke freely. Eyes wide,  amused smile. “Is that really you? You seem really happy today. You seem like a different person!” they’d say.

Yes. I’m two different people. One who listens. And one who wishes she didn’t have to always listen.

I don’t blame you. I just never did talk. I just…

…listened.

And that’s what drew you to me. You wished to talk. And I seemed to like to listen. Not just hear, but actually listen. Nod my presence, soothe your worries, calm your fears. “I’m here if you want to talk” I’d said. And I meant it.

Then, one day, I just didn’t want to listen.

You realized I was hearing you, but not listening.

You frowned and asked me, “What’s wrong? Are you alright?”

I got over my apprehensions. I put my over-thinking mind aside.

And I talked.

And you seemed to listen. Your brows furrowed, your eyes searching mine.

For a while.

But then, your mind wandered off. Your eyes moved around. Your hands fluttered around. Your feet tapped the ground. You grasped the first opportunity to sympathize.

Oh yes, you did sympathize, I won’t lie.

But you just couldn’t empathize.

You said, “I know how hard it is. You know…I faced the same thing. And it was so hard for me! You know I had it so bad! You know I…”

But I didn’t want to know how it was for you! I just wanted someone to know how it was for ME!

Was that wrong? Was that unfair? Wasn’t that what I had been doing for you?

I know so much about you now. You know so little about me. Because you’d rather talk, and I’d supposedly rather listen.

It’s not really your fault. I just don’t talk. I bottle it all up. “For me to know anything, you have to talk first!” you tell me emphatically.

I agree. I do agree.

But when I do talk, maybe it could be just about me? Maybe you could try and just listen. Maybe for me, my problem was much bigger than it would sound like to you. Maybe I just want to get it all out, and want you to hold my hand and say, “I understand”. Maybe I just needed that clichéd shoulder to cry on. Maybe I just need someone to hate the same people I hate. Maybe I just needed someone to not judge me and call me silly.

Maybe…just maybe…this one time…it could be just about me.

So please. For once…

…don’t just hear.

Listen.

 

(ANI don’t really know, but this just might qualify as spoken word poetry. Though I have no intentions of performing it out.)