Knock Knock!

Point Pelee – the southernmost tip of mainland Canada

“Who’s there?”

No – I am serious. I am sure for quite a few people, this post will come as a shock. Maybe some vague recollections that there was someone who was lazy enough to call themselves an Armchair Perfectionist and then made a run for it because words became scary.

So hello, if you are still here. I went AWOL before the pandemic, and funnily enough I don’t really recollect how time worked then. It has been one big blob where masks, work-from-home, physical distancing became a habit and I steadfastly refused to open my eyes and look at the world that was once home. It’s so funny, I started writing because I needed to get away, then I stuck to it because of this amazing supportive community and then I ran because the mere thought of writing a word that didn’t pay bills made me breathless. I come back, older, plumper and probably not wiser.

I completed three years in Canada last month. D and I bought a condo last year and we have become a little too familiar it thanks to the longest lockdown. But it’s home with a pretty solid kitchen, and by the lake with tons of trails. What else? I turned 30 as well, but since it happened in the pandemic I might get away by calling myself 29.99 for a bit.

I too, baked a lot of banana bread and tried different recipes. I too, started day drinking and realized it’s not sustainable. I too, enthusiastically did home workouts for a bit before resigning to the fact that the tummy wants what it wants. Work threw in a promotion last year and has been paying the bills, and to be fair the long hours helped numb the few things that still raised their heads and tried to make me accountable. That said, work mates have been pretty awesome. As an introvert, I thought this was my time to shine and simply focus on my work but instead it gave me a chance to form some great relationships. I was one of the few people who was using Zoom before it was cool so I scoffed at all the Zoom memes but couldn’t help but stay ridiculously entertained by this incident “(I am here live – I am not a cat!)”.

Summer has been weird and damp (thank you Colin for clarifying that this is unusual for you as well), but I got a ton of hikes in. I cannot get over the fact how green this beautiful city is and you have a broad selection of parks within minutes of the city. But perhaps August will be great. All I need is one clear night this week to catch the Perseid meteor showers.

I want to end this with an apology to the kind people of this community and this dormant-no-more blog. No amount of “it was for my mental health” will excuse the way I abandoned this baby. I want to thank each and everyone who dropped comments on posts asking after me. I want to make up. I want to talk. I want to write.

Thank you for listening and I would love to hear from you ­čÖé

Sepia

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That’s the thing about old friends. Instinct becomes your first and only language when emotions stay shrouded behind cooled gestures.

There are layers anew to peel off, bespoke of tense energy. But unexpectedly, a collision opens a floodgate of unspoken sentiments that simmer for an instant. Time goes back and in your heart you know that there can never be a second round. But you imagine a once over, desperate to pick out an alternative where barriers don’t need to be broken down, where your laugh is louder than the wind and the music isn’t a sanctum of restrained emotion.

But time doesn’t stop and the last vestiges of the sparks remain in the pointed scrawls lurking in the latent mind and the splinters of memories tinged with sepia.

Off the Pedestal

For the longest time, I held unwavering perceptions of people. They were bound within the confines of the labels anointed – Mom, Dad, Teacher, Elder Sister, or just plain “Adult”. In my head, the parents could do no wrong; they were secure and unblemished on their pedestal where I had placed them.┬áSimilar expectations were laid on the other adults in my life. The formula was simple: Adults have the answers. Adults are the solutions.

The term human never really applied to them, until it applied to me. Until there was a world beyond black and white. Until there was a tricky middle ground of subjectivity at the edge of which I was precariously balanced. That is when I started to extend the liberty of making mistakes to myself and my peers. After all, it is probably the most natural thing in the world.

And finally, came a day when I extended the same courtesy to my parents (and the other adults, but obviously the key are my parents). I took them off the pedestal and gave them the freedom to be, and in the process took a weight off my shoulders of trying to view the world as per the lenses I believed I was expected to see.

In that moment, I looked at the person beyond the label and tried to catch a glimpse of their journey and their pains, of their unfulfilled dreams and their doubts. It taught me to forgive, for all the times I felt they should have done something different with me. It also taught me the meaning of unconditional love, of taking in the load of good along with the pinch of “bad”.

The view up from the ground was assuring to say the least, but now at eye level where I have allowed blemishes to touch them, the perspective is now pure and beautiful and familiar.

Less Noisy

The last thing I want to do is wilt away in self-pity. It’s not exactly becoming of the kind of person I am, as hidden as it is under the layers of frustration and annoyance.

I took a digital break, and made a small visit to meet some friends. Three days of bliss … that too doggie bliss! My friends adopted a dog a few months back and that mutt brought a touch of happy reality after this really long haze. He made me laugh, he made love and he made me feel. Waking up to his kisses and demands for belly rub was therapy – a doggie therapy.

D has been a blessing throughout, putting up with my mood swings, and basically being a ticking bomb. He ensures there is a good supply of chocolate and feel-good movies, and smartly gets out of the way. He also cajoled me into embracing the Marvel Cinematic Universe and now all I want in life is my very own Groot and Jarvis.

I read the comments on my earlier post and it moved me beyond words. To know that what I am feeling is completely normal and definitely not something to be ashamed of was heartening. What really touched me was the fact that all the support came absolutely without any judgements! It was pure and complete.

I am writing this, on my way to the year-end break. I wasn’t entirely sure it was going to happen given the circumstances but it is happening. While I don’t want to say I am running away from work, but yes… this is a conscious decision to initiate the detox. I want that noxious poison out – it’s been brewing for way too long and I don’t want to infect the people I love with it.

Thank you so much. I am definitely seeing the light at the end of the tunnel

Noise

There has been a buzz inside my head, a silent disturbing noise that fades into the background but doesn’t quite let go of its hold on your mind.

I feel like I am spending my time in slow-motion, as the world passes by leaving a trail of scraps and lost bits of hope. I never really understood what it feels like to be in this. When some of my friends went through a really horrible phase, they put the words to their feelings but I could never understand. I always used to feel that just focus, gather the strength to take control of the situation and move forward.

And now, I realised how naive I was. How do you focus when the whole world is blurred? How do you gather strength when even getting up drains you of all motivation? How do you take control when there is nothing to take charge of!! There is no situation, there are no people, there is no direction.

The world is fine. It’s my head that’s in the limbo state. It’s just blank with the taunting noise serving as a sign of the existence of the negativity wrapped in my conscience. It’s been screaming, but even if someone listens, I don’t think I know what those words are.


I have been AWOL. I might be for some time more. It’s a mess.