I do not know how to judge 2015. Is the year being cruel? Or, is it being kind to me in a dramatic fashion? Because, it’s been a year of perennial struggles. Although, it has been kicking me in the derriere, it has been teaching me some of the most crucial life-lessons.
But, most of all, the year seems to have taught me the art of letting go, and made me stronger.
In April, I had to quit my dream job, only because it began to suck my soul. I realised that I didn’t like writing for money, but I have always loved writing for myself… for my incurable addiction to words. So, to save my soul, I bade adieu to my writing job, and got back to a desk job.
Do I miss writing now? Not really. But it often occurs to me that some words have escaped my memory. I am not able to weave words with finesse. Forming a sentence seems daunting. I question myself if I would be able to continue searching for my voice. For the nonce, my questions don’t haunt me, for I have asked myself to just write, regardless of how terrible it might be. I just have to keep writing.
In September, my first pet Calvin passed away. He was 12.5 years old. I was fully aware that his time to leave us was just around the corner. My father prepared us for the inevitable by saying, “Every new day with him is a bonus to us.” Despite being prepared, when the inescapable happened, I was shattered. I am still in the process of collecting all the broken pieces of my heart. More than the void that I feel now, the process of letting him go was excruciating. He had to be put to sleep. Those morbid images — when I had to measure his body, as he was alive, to dig his grave, when I had to take him to the vet to put him to sleep, when I had to see him being dropped in his grave — have scarred me for life. But, I am happy for we made the best decision of letting him go. He was not in pain. That mattered to us the most.
I so wanted to conduct something like a memorial meet to relive some memories of Calvin. Since I wasn’t sure, how many of my friends would appear, I dropped the idea. While I was toying with that thought, I remembered this moving scene from Harry Potter.
(At Aragog’s funeral.)
Rubeus Hagrid: [talking about Aragog] I had him from an egg, you know? Tiny little thing he was when he hatched. No bigger than a Pekingese. A Pekingese, mind you!
Horace Slughorn: How sweet! I once had a fish… Francis. He was very dear to me. One afternoon, I came downstairs and… it vanished. Poof.
Rubeus Hagrid: That’s very odd, isn’t it?
Horace Slughorn: Yes, doesn’t it? But that’s life! I suppose, you – you go along with and suddenly… poof.
Rubeus Hagrid: Poof.
Harry Potter: Poof.
Horace Slughorn: Farewell, Aragog. King of the arachnids. Your body will decay… but your spirit lingers on and your human friends find solace, the loss they have sustained.
When I see the empty corners of my house, when I see Calvin’s dining table, when I try avoiding saying ‘Bye Calu!’ while leaving, when I use the phrase ‘my dogs’ by mistake, when I call my other dog ‘Calvin’ unknowingly, when I see everything that is black, I miss the old guy. Even if there was no reminder, the abyss in my heart would still echo his name. Calvin. ❤
And, finally, I have almost let go of the man, whom I loved for 13 years. We might not have completely figured out what created the chasm between us. But, I am telling myself that the relationship is now suffering a silent death. The man, who used to slay the monsters in my nightmares, seems to have become the very monster now. I must take the blame too for giving him the power. As it’s futile to do an autopsy now, I have been expending all my energy to rise above the worst adversity I have ever faced.
It’s been about six months since everything became rocky. I have been working with a psychotherapist to help me rediscover myself. And, have I really met myself? The answer is… yes.
In the last two months, I have surprised myself myriad times.
- I cycle to work
- I do yoga
- I read voraciously. Like never before.
- I write a journal. I even use a fountain-pen. 🙂
- I have redone my room
- I am working on a couple of short-term goals
- I have stopped being critical of myself. Well, almost.
- I spend a lot of time with my family and friends
Most of all, I don’t live in fear anymore. I am learning to live in hope.
Just when I continue to do nice things like clockwork, sometimes, I see myself relapsing, and slipping through the cracks. On one such day, when I found myself miserable, I met my therapist, who threw an accusatory glance at me that meant, “You won’t learn from your mistakes, will you?” Before I could justify my feelings, he said, “Just read Men who Hate Women & the Women who Love Them by Susan Forward.” I opened my mouth to say I loathe self-help books. He stopped me before I could complete my sentence. “Read it, and come back to me with your opinions and observations.”
After I completed reading the gem that he recommended, I have been experiencing an intense perception-shift. The book was enlightening, and to my surprise, it was absolutely not preachy. I recommend this book to every woman, who is in the clutches of a… erm… a misogynistic relationship.
I enjoyed the entire book. But I particularly relished these passages:
The emotional divorce is the most difficult time a woman will go through after breaking up a misogynistic relationship. Ending a relationship is much like experiencing a death in the family. It is the death of your hopes, of your way of life, and of your sense of yourself as part of a couple. As with any death, it has to be mourned. If you don’t go through this mourning, it will return later to haunt you. Recognise that grieving is essential to healing. Yell, cry, scream, pound your pillow, and most important, marshal all your support, comfort, and friendship you can find. Remember, it is strength to reach out for help from others when you need it, and weakness to give into the old inner voices that berate you for going through a bad time.
We all have a basic human desire to be close to other people and to be coupled. But being part of a couple should not mean having to limit your world or lose yourself.
Old behaviour doesn’t disappear overnight. Changes always involve two steps forward and one step back.
The most wonderful gift that you can give yourself and any man you become involved with is your sense of self-worth and, with it, your expectation of love and good treatment.
It’s all almost over. Of course, I don’t know how it would exactly end. But, I am not clinging on to it like a wailing baby that holds its dead mother’s sari in agony. Instead, I am cherishing quite a few warm memories, and ensuring that I don’t hurt myself anymore. And, that should just do.
This might be the year of letting go. However, like my sister put it beautifully in her artwork, I am watching the world go by, and most importantly, I am healing. ❤
Like Neil Gaiman said, “Things blossom in their time. They bud and bloom, blossom and fade. Everything in its time.”