Haven’t been here for a while now. That’s because I’ve been busy in the meantime, you see. I’ve been really, really busy… trying to make up for what I’m not. Which of course happened at the expense of forgetting what I am.
Life is a lady of substance, twin to nature herself. She does things in her own unique way, one that we mere mortals often fail to understand. She has her agenda for you, all planned out, charted, and she prods you gently in the direction. When you fail to understand, she gives you subtle hints, and then more direct ones. You however, are so limited in your understanding that you just don’t get it. That’s when she loses it. And then she grabs you by the throat and shoves it all down, without mercy. Because in her infinite wisdom, she knows very well that it’s necessary to break things (and people) down before they can be rebuilt.
A simple, immensely rectifiable mistake…that was all it took for floodgates to open. And in the ensuing deluge, I lost much of what I had held close and dear – or so I thought, at the time. Things like months of back-breaking work, dreams of a certain kind…things like ego, self-esteem… things like faith in human nature. Pampered as I had been by an unusually generous set of people at home and friends who have laughed off my small and big mistakes indulgently for decades, I had conveniently forgotten that the world doesn’t necessarily comprise only of friends. Or for that matter, ‘friends’ are not always the loving set of people I had thus far been blessed with.
When the knowledge did hit me, it hit on the solar plexus. And like any self-respecting victim, I buckled, went down, disintegrated. There were collateral damages, too many to count, which would impact my fragile world in ways I could not bear to comprehend. Curling up in a corner I licked my wounds, blaming the vindictiveness of others, blaming life, blaming myself and everyone around me.
Misery, I found, looked remarkably similar to the Dementors in Harry Potter movies.
I cried on the shoulders of my long-suffering family, my equally or more long-suffering friends…why I even cried on my 78 year old mother’s shoulders! And all of them, without exception, consoled, even allowing me to blow my metaphorical nose on their towels…
The wet, slushy mud where foundation stones are laid for the rebuild…
Phoenix, I have lived to learn, is not a bird with colourful plumage – it is every human being: you, me… each one of us who has survived to tell the tale. Phoenix is also a reminder that one has to burn down to ashes to be reborn. Burn down to ashes in the unrelenting white flame of the written word, lit by a dear friend I am yet to meet… A friend whose nonjudgmental, non-indulgent encouragement to write, read and write forced me to do just that. “No. Never. Give. Up.”
Writing is an act of cleansing. It shows you up for what you are, with honesty. When black words stare at you from the white screen, there is no more room for the blame game – you have to raise your eyes and meet the blank stare of truth. And the truth is, there is just one person who is responsible for your good and bad, only one person who can help you…
It has been a long, painful, learning curve…and I am all the richer for it. For I now know what I am. Part writer, part teacher…all too human.