*Warning: Long, self indulgent post. Read at your own peril
Anniversaries. They are a strange thing. They remind you of how far you've come and suddenly the thing you are celebrating, or mourning, as the case may be, seems like something that belongs to another life. You are, sometimes, so far removed from that thing that you once held so precious -- even if it's pain because that, too, is precious -- that you wonder if the two selves involved in this unspooling of nostalgia are the same. They are also a reminder of how far you have to go. And I can't quite decide why we celebrate them. Is it because memories are the only thing worth collecting?
For me, depending on what it is, anniversaries serve as a point in time to look out of this kaleidoscopic train that my life is and find the ordinary constant I have missed. Every anniversary changes me in an unobtrusive but big way, like a courtyard that changes aspects under the mastery of a setting sun. Sometimes, I hold on to the sadness it brings and at other times, it makes me regret the things that happened then. But most times, I am just glad that it was me these things happened to; that my life resembles a string of pearls that broke at the strong tug of adventure's hand. No two pearls have gone in the same direction on hitting the ground.
This month is full of many anniversaries in my life. Some first anniversaries, some older. This last year, it showed me the depths I am capable of; depths of love, of depravity, of insanity, of strength, of resilience, in that order. And intensity.
In the last year, I’ve been bad. As bad as I’ve been good. As bad and good as I’ve been liberated. As bad and good and liberated as I’ve been fulfilled. I am a bit ashamed (only a bit because I believe pity, especially self pity has its place in a well adjusted life) but I’ve, for a brief while, wallowed in self-pity; I’ve wondered why I can’t have my once-easy life back. I’ve laid some people open to much damage and at the same time protected some more than I could have thought possible. I’ve spilled some secrets but I’ve kept many more. I’ve lost every ounce of self-confidence that I had developed over the years only to find it come back in the greatest way possible, stronger and more comforting. I’ve soared with the blessings of love -- of every kind -- I’ve received when I least expected it, and continue to receive. With it, I’ve felt limitless. And yet, I’ve plumbed the depths of sadness, confusion and self loathing; felt the discombobulating grip of an insecurity I never knew existed. I’ve found true beauty – not the kind that lies in someone’s view but of the Grecian urn kind – within me. And more, importantly, I’ve found ugliness too, within me, of a kind that shocked me with its darkness. Who knew.
I’ve done other things too. I’ve lost weight, I’ve regained interest in things I once loved and had forgotten about. I’ve realised that no matter what I will always wear my insecurities lightly because if I hide them, they’ll stay; if they’re challenged, they go away; and so in the past couple of years, I’ve discovered new insecurities only to have them crushed with the gigantic weight of the knowledge of what I am capable of. Some of the best inspirations for me have come through in the last year. Friends, people who know me for years, who have stood by me during times of aimlessness and despair, have come forward to promise me their faith and their confidence in what they see as my talent, but more importantly my ability to be happy. Casual remarks, references to the me of the past, have turned my day around from a scary, light-sucking prospect to glorious ones that shine with promise and accomplishment. It is the last year, I have realised the true merit of the friends I have.
Apart from self-indulgently dealing with my own chaos, I’ve had to be there with my two gorgeous, wonderful little kids (bless their little souls). I’ve probably done them lasting damage with my temper and impatient dealing of them but it humbles me to say, inspite of me, they’re great kids. And so it is that in this tough time that I’ve had the utter and complete realization of what my friends mean to me and, this is more important, by what yardstick they’ve decided they’ll stick around.
There’s no delicate way to say this, or in a way that will make it less boring.
A while ago, much to my amusement, my friendships and the way I make new friends was judged by someone who, as it often happens, had no clue about who I was. But what a blessing in disguise that was because it gave me the rare chance to review my friends and my relationships with them. Every single place I've moved to, and I've moved a lot, I have made friends to whom I can say, while completely sober, "I love you" without feeling like they'll wonder if it's too much. In some cities, it's just one person; in others, there're more. And since we're a bit dramatic here, I will say I can write this in blood on any paper that will hold up in a court of law (for extra fortification) -- these are friends who will, should I ask them, lay down their lives for me. If the choice was between eating me up to stay alive or feeding me to help me do so, they'd choose the latter. No questions asked. This month is an anniversary to those friends who knew there was a better me to channel when I was at my worst.
And so coming back to anniversaries, this month celebrates love in my life. I've never been short of love -- from my doting family, from my very generous friends, from men, from women. And this month celebrates that. It celebrates the intensity I am capable of feeling, it celebrates a certain baptism by fire that cemented one of the few permanent things in my life -- the feeling of always being loved.
This has also been the year I have enjoyed my kids more than any of the last three years. If I were to start talking about them, like any mother, I have a lot to say, because really, they're bright beautiful children, and not without a hint of darkness in them. But I'll save that for my mommy blog, which I plan to resurrect. For all those of you who are considering children, if you can wait for three years or so to begin enjoying them, I'd say go ahead. But otherwise, I will actively discourage any such life-changing decisions.
Thank you all for reading this self indulgence.