Diary Entry #2 : Self Love

Dear Diary,

Today was an eventful day. Not in a way where a lot of things happened. But each one was more and more overwhelming.

A few hours in, and I couldn’t breathe. I was tired of running around in circles, trying to get everything done in time but getting nowhere. I forgot to take a breath! Or a break. I skipped lunch, as usual.

Then just when I had all but given up, staring blankly outside the window, the skies opened up and smiled. Have I ever told you about the magic of out-of-season rains?

They’re like little bursts of happiness, unexpected yet plenty. They are instant mood uplifters. You cannot help but smile as the first drop makes its way to the tip of your nose with a splat. They wash off all the grime, outside and within, and make you look at things anew.

The trees, the birds, the dogs and cats, all rejoice. And so, did I. I turned off my laptop, set aside my notebook, put my phone on silent and took a deep breath. I sat in silence with closed eyes, listening to the pitter patter and the thundering and rumbling outside.

And finally, I smiled. Because I decided to forgive myself today. I decided to apologize to myself today. I decided to love myself a little more today. So that I never forget to breathe again. So that I never forget it’ll all be okay in the end. So that I never forget to not always push myself too hard. So that I, can be just I..at times. So that the next time the magic of out-of-season rains find me, I’d be ready to welcome it with open arms.

Pep Talks?

If I were trapped

In a tiny glass enclosure

Would the transparent walls

Still make me feel claustrophobic?

Will they still appear to close in on me

Like a crumbling wall of bricks?

Would I find it to be dark and dank

Despite the light pouring in?

Would I suffocate

Despite air vents on the roof?

Yes, I very much will.

Because some walls are found closer to home

Will some reside permanently in the corners of my mind

So why do you think

Telling someone to cheer up

Because it’s a bright and sunny day

With your health in its prime

Would make his crippling anxiety go away

What makes you think

The cure to depression

Can be found in a bottle labeled ‘things you should be happy for instead’?

Congratulations, you just pushed the walls closer still.

Halfway to the weekend

Good evening, dear friends, and congratulations for making it halfway to the weekend once again! This is exciting for me also because my blog is halfway to 5K which reminds me to try the couch to 5K thingy as well.

However, before committing to weeks of running, I feel it to be of the utmost importance to first prepare my body for what’s to come. I can’t just throw it in the deep end of the pool without any inkling.

Now, I don’t know how long it’s been proven to take to make or break a habit, but I’m guessing half a week is a good way to start. And if you sustain it through the weekend, where all good things go to die and evil rules the roost, it is bound to be a good omen for days to come. My body can then power through.

So who’s with me to give half a week to bettering our mind and bodies by following the self care manual by yours truly?

And thanks to the whole lot of you for keeping me on your screens. Your constant support means more than words can ever convey!

Self Care Manual for Dummies Like Me

  1. Sleep early and sleep enough. Every night, for instance.

  2. Being bored is not equal to feeling hungry. Portion your meals and have them on time.

  3. Workout for 30 minutes (minimum) daily. Not for a summer or bikini bod but for a long, healthy life.

  4. Your body is a temple and your mind its reigning deity. Monitor what you consume, both physically and emotionally. Don’t eat crap, don’t take crap. Don’t drown yourself in tears pitying your existence while gorging on unholy amounts of french fries.

  5. Socialise. Share your time. Share pieces of yourself. Allow kindred spirits to enter your life. Allow yourself to be treated the way you actually deserve to be. Look at yourself from someone’s else’s perspective. It’s okay to have some alone time and well defined personal space but it’s equally important to get out of your comfort zone too.

Better functioning adults than me, please feel free to add to the list. Let’s all lift each other. There’s enough in this world to pull us down. Always remember the words of one very wise, albeit forgetful, fish, “Just keep swimming!”

It Only Takes One

One less rejected phone call

One more answered text

One less roundabout to avoid face to face

One more recognition of a sad smile

One less second spent in self absorption

One more minute to look around and care

One less whining over inconsequential matters

One more listening ear

And maybe

Maybe

We’d have one less person giving up on life

One more person beginning to live again

One less person consumed by depression

One more person spreading joy

One less soul lost to oblivion

One more soul saved and cherished

One less suicide

One more rebirth

It was suicide prevention day, two days ago, and I was too numb too write. Somewhere I felt, would it even make a difference? But somewhere else I wondered what if. So here’s my tiny attempt to remind each one of my readers, that it only takes one. Look around, reach out, spread love, we’re all in this together.

To read my previous attempt to spread awareness on suicide, click here .

As always,

Thank you for reading.

Love,

Varnika

Breaking the Cycle – Better Together

Hello, my lovelies!

Some of you may well remember my posts from way back in 2017 on physical and mental wellness (for a refresher, click here). I was in the best of shapes – fit in body and in mind.

Well, that was then and this is now. The past year I’ve really let myself go. It has been quite a slump, in more ways than one. And like some of my spirit animals (think sloths and, well, Po) I eat when I’m upset. Trust me, stress eating + comfort eating = deadliest duo. The more I was depressed, the more I ate. The more I ate, the more depressed I became at the declining state of affairs. And the vicious cycle continued.

Recently though, I lost my cousin to a heart attack. He was 18 years elder to me, but still young. He had always been in the prime of health, a martial arts and fitness enthusiast and could almost rival a monk in holistic, mindful eating. Yet, he’s gone. Leaving a wife he literally grew up with and a 3 year old toddler behind. When I was done crying, I decided to wake up. I cannot put my parents through the pain, grief and loss being suffered by my Uncle and Aunt right now. I need to look after myself.

Following up on the wake-up call, I’ve been walking-jogging for the past two days. But like they say, it takes a village. So this is me, reaching out to this beautiful community to help my along my journey to wellness and health. My lack of stamina and endurance is appalling, but what I don’t want to be found lacking in is motivation. So I’ll be posting an update everyday. Be my watchers? Pull me up for slacking off? Commend me for pushing the limits? Two minutes of your time a day might move this gal two further miles!

Also, if any of you are having trouble or need support in reaching your goals (most of us must already be off the new year’s resolution high), I am here. Let’s get fit together. Let’s get better together. Let’s grow well (-er…I know that’s not a word) together! It can be done. Believe me, I speak from experience. I’ve done it once before and I’ll be darned if I don’t do it again.

Drop me a line if you’re interested. Remember, a little love is all it takes. As a starter, I’m posting screenshots of my efforts for the past two days. I’d love to hear about yours.

Thank you for reading!

As always,

Love,

Varnika

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We’re All Mad Here

Holding on to the last dregs of my sanity

Hanging on precariously by a rapidly thinning thread

I was ready to give up

To let go

To enter into freefall

To make it or break it

Didn’t matter any which way

But you,

You, with all your care and tenderness

You made me give up the fight

With quite the opposite result

I found acceptance in your tender gaze

I revelled inside my mind

There was nothing wrong with how I saw the world

Even if there was judgment in how the world saw me

Sanity is relative

Normality, an illusion

And like the Cheshire cat said

We’re all mad here.

For more poetry, please click here. Please leave your thoughts and comments down below, I’d be delighted to get a feedback. Thank you for reading!

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Fault Lines

I wonder when I started to see

Myself as the faults that resided in me.

When did I start feeling I

Lived to be of use to you.

My thoughts, desires, habits and views

Were obilerated with every complaining venom you spewed.

Seconds, minutes, hours and days

I spent devising ways and means

To make you happy and to make you smile

While I kept coming apart at the seams.

I saw not what I wanted to see

I thought not what I wanted to think

I did not what I wanted to do.

And yet, it was to no avail

Since you were always ready to bail

One foot outside the door you’d kept

Just in case I faltered and proved to be inept.

I looked in the mirror and took me in

You couldn’t tell me apart from a storefront mannequin.

Yet, by the time you left I was a raggedy doll

Discarded, battered and torn

As the years of abuse had taken its toll.

Today, I decided to not be forlorn

And shed off the facade I had worn.

I was amazed at the wonderous transformation

I was resplendent, divine, devoid of trepidation.

So now begins my journey, dear

To start living without your fear.

Stitching up every bleeding wound

Looking till my old self is found

The me that knew how to live

Before you held me captive.

I’ll fly and soar without bounds

And, finally, even your shadow wouldn’t be around.

For more poetry, please click here. Please leave your thoughts and comments down below, I’d be delighted to get a feedback. Thank you for reading!

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Breaking the Mould of Peer Pressure

A question that sometimes drive me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?

Since as long as I can remember, I’ve been aware of the realisation that most of the time my likes and dislikes are quite different and distinct from the people around me. It would appear as if the whole world is obsessing over a certain fad at the moment while I’m unable to see any charm in that particular thing. More often than not, I absolutely abhor or despise it.

Time and time again, I’ve tried to ascertain the reason behind this discrepancy, because, like everyone else, I wanted to fit in or felt pressured to do so by peers. I failed to understand if I did not want to follow the beaten path merely because so many others were doing the same or was there some other factor involved? Would I have given the object/substance/matter in question a fair chance in vacuum without knowledge of the fact that people were going bonkers over it? It was baffling and somewhat disconcerting.

As of yet, I have no answer. Over the years it had become more and more difficult to define my own choices, to choose my own desires. It was easy to get swayed by popular opinion because of the tendency to be one of the flock. Any deviation from the ordinary is usually looked upon with scepticism and I really did not want to draw attention to myself. Was I being true to myself, however, was an entirely different question. All the lines had gotten blurry.

What I do know, today, is that it’s alright to be different. It’s alright to think differently, to choose differently and to decide differently. Peers are just that. Peers. They are not you. You’re your own person. It does not matter why your wavelengths don’t match those surrounding you. What matters is being unperturbed by their existence and concentrating on your own. So many children buckle under peer pressure. So many college kids get goaded into doing things they don’t like to the extent that it they end up ruining their lives. It is important to learn to say no. To put your foot down and draw the line between what is acceptable to you and what isn’t. No one can take the right away from us. All that’s needed is a simple assertion from our end. Within no time at all the notion of fitting in would look like the smokescreen it actually is. Sooner or later, invariably, everyone ends up finding like minded people. Thus, it is imperative to thrive in your individuality rather than to suppress it, to let yourself grow into what you’re meant to be and not what others would like to see you as.

At the end of the day, and also to answer the questions I posed earlier, remember the words of the good ol’ Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland – “We’re all mad here”.

More than Breath and Bones

They will remember for a year,

They will talk for a month,

They will mourn for a week,

And they will weep for a day.

You’ll become a name

To be taken with a sigh

Till their minds are shattered

By another tragedy.

They might hold a wake,

They might create a memorial,

They might build a sepulchre,

They might even sing an ode to your sorrow.

Yet, in the end,

It does matter.

The life you’ve lived, the memories you’ve created, the love you’ve given and the love you’ve received.

You’re more than the sum of your parts. You’re someone’s hope, someone’s inspiration, someone’s support, someone’s desire, someone’s family, someone’s entire life.

So when you feel you’re falling,

When the future seems too bleak,

When you feel like giving up,

Take a long hard peek,

At the pages of your life,

At the imprints left by people,

At the threads interconnected,

At the lives interwoven.

Then pull upon the spirit of human resilience,

And show your demons

That they can’t get you down

Because you’re not alone in this battle,

You’ve got an army by your side.

Then rise,

Rise again,

From dust and dirt

Because you’ve undergone a trial by fire

And proven to be more than just

A whisp of breath and a skeleton of bones.

The world is still reeling in the aftermath of Chester Bennington’s suicide. I, for one, am yet to come to terms with the fact that Robin Williams, the quintessential joker, suffered a a similar end after battling depression. There are thousands of other souls who have given up or are in the process of losing their hold on life. Every day is a struggle, each moment, an insurmountable challenge. I wish I could do more to help them. I wish there was an instant cure, a remedy that could take away all their ailments. There isn’t. But what we, each one of us, can do is spread the word on the importance of mental health. Break the taboo surrounding mental illnesses. Uplift these tribulations to the same level of concern that our physical well-being is regarded with. Because, for lack of a better comparison, mental illness is akin to cancer, a tumour that gnaws at us from within. A parasite that lives within us and thrives on us. And in the end, it eats us whole. An early diagnosis and apt treatment, however, is still our best and safest bet. So reach out, recognise mental ailments, get their victims/patients the help they deserve. Do not undermine their pain, alleviate it. Do not make them pariahs, their own minds do that enough. Every step, be it counselling, therapy, or medication, helps. So let’s vow to open our eyes and gently, but surely, in the words of another troubled soul, heal the world. I am urging everyone because more often than not the victims of mental illnesses will be unable to identify their symptoms, but the people around them can very easily notice red flags. So let’s all do our bit and help our fellowmen.

To read more on the importance of mental health awareness and a poetic description of some illnesses and how they affect victims, click here.

I would also like to thank Christine Ray, who has a wonderfully inspiring blog – http://www.braveandrecklessblog.com – for the title and last line of this poem. “Breath and Bone” was a writing prompt challenge hosted on her blog and although I’m too late to submit an entry for it, I do wish to thank her for coming up with words than can be interpreted in a myriad ways and depict the struggles faced by us.

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