Of dreamless sleep and sleepless nights

I just spent the entire day sleeping, or on Netflix. I mean, sure, maybe that’s justified given the crazy past ten days of a big fat Punjabi wedding – full of loud music, sleep deprivation, and I swear I’ll shout out loud the next time someone asks me to dance on dhol – but what do I do about that guilt brewing inside me now? That guilt of whiling away a day doing absolutely nothing when everything around me demands my attention?

The house is a mess, for starters, it’s beyond embarrassing at this point, with the guest room now simply a dumping ground for all our baggage – physical only, I mean, at least you don’t actually see the emotional baggage (though the room would be much less messy if it were full of emotional baggage, no?) I literally patted myself on the back for actually doing laundry and ordering groceries online. THAT’s the level of work that I got done today. And as I try to convince myself that it’s perfectly fine that I did literally nothing, I really can’t let go of the absolute guilt of ignoring that novel of mine – the one that has been hiding in the corners of my laptop for ages now.

What right do I have to talk about having dreams, when all I’ve done all day is sleep?

How do you keep yourself motivated with the world dragging you down?

Ugh, I haven’t been to yoga in ages either.

Yup, this guilt is going to be the end of me.

Of forced detox and truth bombs

I remember the first time I got drunk. And no, it isn’t a fond memory. It involves a glass full of neat vodka (Romanov of all the brands, not sure how we drank that poison in college), a big bar of chocolate, and zero understanding of my body’s capacity to handle alcohol. Bottomline, it couldn’t.

But as all college misadventures, this was soon forgotten. And alcohol went on to become an important part of life – the party friend, the courage booster, the conversation starter, the relaxing hug at the end of a taxing day. No, I’m not an alcoholic, but I do enjoy the occasional drink and the social occasions surrounding it.

Well, until suddenly I couldn’t.

For more than a year now, my body has been rejecting alcohol. I tried every permutation combination possible, but everything ended up with me clutching my stomach, curled up into a fetal position at the end of it. Until recently, when I received a medical explanation for this – and was told that I can’t drink alcohol ever again.

They’ve taken away one of my joys, y’all.

You know, it frankly shouldn’t be such a big deal. I mean, I was never a very heavy drinker, I didn’t need my glass of wine at the end of every day. But until I was forced to not have alcohol, I never realised how many things in our life are so closely tied up with drinks.

Parties for starters. I don’t know when exactly it happened – but somewhere as we grew up, we replaced our joyous dancing with drunk dancing – but when you’re the only sober person on the dance floor, it just takes a lot more effort to get your feet moving now.

In fact, if you’re the only sober person at parties, it anyway takes a lot of getting used to. You’re either the person standing around wondering wtf is happening, or you’re the one who is de-facto responsible for other irresponsible humans. Neither seems very appealing.

Or if you’re out drinking with friends – well, there’s only so many iced teas that you can have one after the other – as the evening gets louder, and you’re invariably left with a headache.

And wondering just how boring you’ve become.

But that’s the thing isn’t it? When did the fun level of our personalities get tied up with how high we were? When did we become so dependent on the fuzziness of our heads and our clouded judgements to ensure an evening could be enjoyed?

So that’s what this year is – a forced detox.

And I’m trying my best to accept it with all the truth bombs about myself that come with sobriety.

And I’m trying to remember who I really was, before Romanov played havoc with my liver.

I was pretty fun you know? I mean, I think.

On the other hand, not being able to drink is great on the pocket (1 coffee instead of 4 sangrias –> yup, at least one good thing is coming out of this!)

Of kindness and self love

It’s a wicked world we live in today. I’m not really being philosophical as I say that. It just is a world which looks forward to kicking your ass when you’re down, and maybe laughs a little while at it too. Yeah, I know, I’m just full of happy thoughts and positivity, no?

But in all of this, it just completely takes me by surprise when I’m suddenly faced with an act of kindness.

I’m going to repeat that, it takes me by surprise when I’m faced with an act of kindness. I’m just so used to expecting the worst from people. And I know that’s a horrible way to live, to not believe in the people around you – to never believe in the strangers for sure (you know, because they all want to kidnap / rape you and can’t possibly be nice humans).

But recently, at a time when I felt like I was at the end of my rope, I finally asked for something for myself, and surprisingly the people around me understood. And agreed. And at this point of time I should have been ecstatic, for actually getting what I wanted, and needed. And instead, after I registered the shock, I felt this immense load of guilt.

Guilty about how I was putting other people in a tough situation, and how they were being nice to me instead. Guilty about asking for something for myself, from an extreme place of privilege, something that most people can’t even consider. Guilty for placing my need in front of everyone else’s.

And that’s when it hit me. How can I ever expect other people around me to be kind to me, when I can’t even be kind to myself? Why is it so difficult to give yourself what you need, without the burden of guilt? Why is it so difficult, to just be happy for yourself?

They say what you put out in the world is what you get back. But I think we missed a step here. What we put into ourselves first, is what we can then hope to put out in the world.

And hopefully, get some love and kindness back.