Hello, dear reader.
I know you haven’t missed me. I have never been regular enough with my posting to warrant much missing anyway. But I have missed you. I have missed sitting alone with words that don’t have money chasing after them, looking into the white of the text block, and the dark of the void. I have imagined your face blurred and shy-of-focus, so comfortably anonymous.
For a long time, I have been finding myself unable to write here. I write for a living, and yet I hate it with a passion. It’s hard work. Soul-crushing, mouth-drying, energy-sapping, more and more so as I get older. I also love it with equally fervent longing. Bit of a toxic situation going on here, as you can see. But that’s the lot of the wordsmith, or so they say.
Writing is hard work, but that’s probably not the reason I stopped. For the longest time, I was using this blog to blow dry a blocked chest. I was trying to write away my Depression. I started this blog under the mistaken belief that sharing my thoughts will help lessen the weight building inside me (aided by pop psychology and South-Asian ‘wisdom’, no doubt, but that’s the subject for another blog).
News flash: Things did not improve!
I tried conventional wisdom again. Productivity was my new best friend. But the more productive I tried to become, the more I felt like I have so little to offer. Even in this blog, I tried to focus more on socially-relevant issues and translations, both of which originate outside me, and therefore, in my mind, were ‘useful’. I was questioning my worth, 24*7. There was nothing I could do well enough that it will help someone. At this point, I am no great expert into anything, I am kind of canceled in my social circle (this is still too raw to write about now, but I think I will, someday), and I have a feeling that I will continue to be a sore thumb in the current corporate structure for full-time work. Heck, I am not even following up on therapy to write with any authority on my mental health!
My self-esteem was at an all-time low, and the negative self-talk was reaching dangerous proportions. Extreme events were happening in my personal life, things that made me feel betrayed, ashamed, lost, and scared. My physical health went for a toss, anxiety was a constant presence, and I was slowly losing my grip on reality. Then I re-entered therapy and realized with a mortal fright that the old treatments were not working. I started seeing a new therapist, and after a few preliminary sessions the Pandemic hit and they suddenly stopped offering service. Of all the abandonment issues you face in life, abandonment by a therapist is probably the worst kind, especially if your issues are with self-worth. I, for example, took it to be a direct fallout of the social media cancellation episode at that time.
My writing had ground to a halt. As always, I was blaming myself.
What I did not acknowledge (and still find hard to do) is that I was busy. Busy dreading a crumbling planet and the rise of the Right-wing in my home and the world, busy fighting corporate greed that threatened to engulf both my society and individuality. I was busy in grief for the friends I lost forever, for the once-pristine ideology that will forever be tainted with doubts and caveats of lived experience.
But I was busy with happier things as well. I got married. I landed a full-time job during the Pandemic (yay!) and after working my arse off for a year with a shamefully exploitative wage I resigned from it (double yay!). I got a puppy home whom I would happily kill armies for. I reconnected with my sister and forgave my mother. I built new relationships. I got my first Benarasi, and first Baluchari as well. I discovered the dulcet joys and disappointments of neo-liberal self-care.
And so, after almost two years of absence (with a few episodes), I am back chatting with you here. How have you been, old friend? Look at my home; it’s so messy still. Dog food on the bookcase, and books on the bed. Unwashed laundry on the floor and unfolded laundry on the long-suffering chair. Nothing is where they should be! Sit on the floor, then, have a cup of coffee.
What will I do? I will ramble on, as I always have. About joy, sorrow, grief. About art and history, poetry and politics. About dreams, and nightmares too. But mostly I will talk about joy, I think. I seemed to have banished her from this room.
Time we call her back in.