Why don’t we say whatever the hell we want?

Actually no. We’re careful, very careful. We’re really watchful. It’s almost like the NSA and Edward Snowden telling us, “hey, watch it, you’re being watched!”. What are we afraid of?

Blog – watch it.
Take for example, writing a blog. The blog is not just about me expressing whatever the hell I feel like is it? I know I could get an audience, I could have a “following” in the thousands and someday before I die and do the right things on social media, get the right blog titles with “10 ways to get a fucking orgasm” (shoot, am going to be spammed by all the viagra selling trolls and porn sites, sick!) or “5 ways to tell your boss you are a fucking ass hole”, or “6 ways to become really rich really fast” or sell the right content, put up the right vine videos or emojis or GIFs or what have you, have a lot of track backs, hyperlinks, follow the right people, you know the whole shebang, I could be a internet millionaire. So can I really say whatever the hell I want to, unless I am Ash Ambirge, or Marie Forleo or Erika Napoletano? No way, come on!!! And even they say only for effect because come on they make a lot of sense, money, and fangirls, and they’re fucking good at it. I’m jealous and bitter and old and a fag and I can’t be like them. Ever!

Drivers – mind it.
Or for that matter when you would really like to thulp the auto driver who is constantly checking you out in the rear view mirror and making your skin crawl, you keep shut and look out the open door and suck in the temptation. You’d like to really smash his head in the same rear view mirror, show him the middle finger and say, “fuck off ass hole”, but what happens is you start thinking about how his bloodied face is going to stalk you in your nightmares, how he’s going to corner you with hoodlums in tow and how you’re going to be molested and how your life is going to be a living hell. You let it go.

Relatives – bite (your tongue) it.
When the uncle is too argumentative at home about matters that really are not significant to life as such, all you want to do is yell, “shut the fuck up”. But you know you can’t do that unless you’re really really drunk and have a really really really painful boil in your anal crack that makes you boil over. I mean who in the name of Hillary Clinton gives a flying fuck if the milkman came at 6.00 am with a pushcart or on a cycle and if he comes everyday like that wearing his galoshes? Or was it raining that particular day and if he was carrying an umbrella (or not) and why the milk packets were all wet? Really? And have a 14 mins. 30 secs argument about it? God, I could die! Well you know what I mean for God’s sake, don’t take umbrage I’m just being sarcy.

Mother/ parent – no way you can say it.
When your mother drives you up the wall with her stubborn rigid nature you want to throw things and say, “go to hell for crying out loud” and maybe you do, but what you really want to say and mean are, “please, please please I beg you, just let me do it my way and I’m sick and tired of you”. But how can one say it? She’s your mother after all, the giver of life, the unerring stalwart with great judgement and wisdom, the supportive, unstinting with her love and understanding kind of role model mommy, how can you bitch about her? And if she’s as old as my mom is, with a penchant for getting everything done just as the thought hits her, well, you can bid your patience, peace and “good-daughter trophy” goodbye.
She’ll dump the clothes in the washing machine just when I’m meditating and all I can do is abandon my meditation there and then and watch her as she sulks like a wounded animal because I’ve had the audacity to rudely yell at her. I could be more compassionate and understanding because poor thing she was tip toeing and opening and shutting doors in the innocent belief that it was soundless. Oh my poor old wonderful, amazing, mother! I’m the villain de piece, woe be me! How dare I!! Poor mom!! Tsk tsk!

Friends – lost it.
So you have a friend who you’ve known for years. Both of you move on in time, age, careers and are still single. You try and keep in touch while she honestly doesn’t bother. Not that you do much either, but you know in your heart that it’s over. You want to write to her and tell her it’s over, as you’re not sure if you have the courage to actually have a conversation about how hurt you are. You end up having conversations in your head and you show off your hurt pride and your crib list and your justification notes and comments and the flourish with which you end it. Whoa! It’s all in the head. But you see, you’re fed up of these “caring, cooing, protective, awestruck”  other friends and how she’s always so busy and how her bosses are so amazing and how she’s so indispensable and how much she has to travel, and how she’s lonely too but she’s got so much grace and she manages it all so well, etc. And then of course there is this whole thing about how we’re so connected and how because of our supposed soul connection the underlying message is, “forgive me, I haven’t or couldn’t be bothered to keep in touch, but hey, you’re there, I’m here, and we have an amazing friendship that transcends time,space, eras, lives, so can we get on with it?” (Gauri, for the record if you’re reading this ain’t about you, and am saying it out loud because I know you sometimes read this blog and you may assume that this rant is about you, so no, rest assured it isn’t, I love you). All I want to do is tell my friend, “listen you fraud, don’t pretend, because I can’t anymore, but am not rocking the boat too much because I’m feeling guilty about not doing enough, but I think you should feel even more so if you cared even an iota for me”. “I’ve had enough and our friendship is long dead and gone and I’m not getting anything out of it nor you am sure, but let’s call it quits shall we?”

Online dates – forget it.
I’ve had my share of online dates. Of course “dating” is not the acceptable term for women my age and generation, though it may be for Gen Y with Tinder or OK Cupid or Match.com or even Ashley Madison ruling the online world. For women like me who’re single, we’re on the lookout for (or supposed to be) men who are eligible grooms, companions, boredom breakers, singledom hackers and so on. When ever I’ve been attracted to a guy, I’ve convinced myself that this is “the guy”. I’ve been desperate, low on self esteem, self-worth and never really said what I’d love to say to them after about 5 emails, 2 phone calls and when they immediately ask me to come on Whatsapp and want an intimate chat and if I don’t, of course I’m the prude and they’re men of the world. Wow! At that moment, all I wanna tell them is, “Swines, can’t get enough of yourselves in the mirror, then why don’t you have a secret ceremony with yourselves and marry your alter ego, why do you need a woman, because it must be such a high to go to bed with someone you love, you?” Or, “just buy an inflatable doll you puffed up prick!” Really, the number of times I’ve felt like screaming and saying “listen I don’t really care about your children or your golf or your cooking skills, you are boring boring boring” but I haven’t, is beyond belief. Now when I look back, I wonder what was I afraid of? Of remaining single all my life? So be it. God saved me from insufferable ego maniacs because I’d have died of insanity, divorced or been accused of murder if I’d actually gotten together with any one of them. I must be insane to actually have thought of making it with any of them. Thank God literally and figuratively for saving me. Shmucks!

Well the list goes on. The guy snoring in the seat next to you in the aircraft, the man who looks at you in the elevator and feels his crotch, or the waitress who pretends you’re invisible, or that neighbour who dumps her little 3-year old pesky brat in your living room while she goes to get a pedicure, or or or..the list is endless.

We just shut up. The words are swallowed hard, the tongue gets bitten, the pride takes a beating, and the anger and frustration is always on the boil. There’s no closure unless of course you burst one day like a volcano and people look at you like you’re bat shit crazy, and you end up alone, loathed, avoided and socially ostracised. While there may be relief for you at that moment, it’s the beginning of the end of life as you knew it.

But think about it. Is life as we know it now, with the constant carousel of energy-sapping, mind-numbing anger towards people who we’ve allowed to get under our skin, hidden behind a veneer of pretence, really worth it? Isn’t honouring oneself more important than being in the good books of those who perhaps don’t count? I am sure there are different yardsticks for people who matter, be it spouses, parents, children, grand children, friends. But let’s face it, even they, every one of them can take you for granted if you let them. In fact it’s the people you care about who hurt you the most. And it’s the people who care about you who’ll stand up and respect you if you tell it like it is. Because while honesty is not the best policy in this 21st century for most things, (that’s the cynic in me), when it comes to honouring yourself vis-a-vis your relationships, it still is. It will give you more than a 100% ROI in the long-term. Go on try it. I might not live long enough to hear you shout Yay!, but I promise you, as I discover it for myself, that it’s the only way. Say it like it is, if it matters to you. Or you’ll never be heard. Only herded. You choose.

 

3rd time lucky they say!

So I have been a fairly prolific writer. I used to maintain 2 or 3 blogs at one point in early 2005. I started because I had a crush on a young man who actually wrote beautiful blogs. Today he’s married, has perhaps one child, is an entrepreneur, perhaps continues to write, really don’t know (and don’t honestly care) and the crush has thankfully worn off. It hurt for a while especially because my ego was bruised. After all when you admit that you’re attracted to a young man who in return is just not “into you” you tend to want the earth to swallow you.

Thankfully that was a decade ago. I’ve grown (hopefully), evolved mentally, emotionally, spiritually and today I write differently. I guess my blogs will continue to outlive me unless the Internet crashes and we’re closer to aliens bombing us out of existence. Oh well, the ether trail is what we shall leave behind for UFO bearing aliens to find and laugh long after we’re dead and gone.

So here I reproduce a blog I’d written when Roger Federer lost to Rafael Nadal in 2009. I don’t think any modern athlete has had such great control of my emotions as Federer. I’ve written about him here recently and also about Tennis Life Lessons. Yes tennis has that effect on my psyche. I do believe it’s about life. And I reproduce it here because once again when Roger Federer lost to Novak Djokovic yesterday at the Wimbledon 2015, I was despondent and felt like I’d lost the will to live. That’s what Federer does to me. I prayed for him, I had mental conversations with him and I somehow willed him to win. At some point I couldn’t watch the match either. I switched because I couldn’t bear to see my heart breaking into million pieces anymore. I’ve pieced my heart carefully after so many heartbreaks including thanks to the young man referred to above, that I know I don’t have the will or the capacity to piece them again if it does shatter. I’ve fortified myself and I don’t, can’t, won’t allow myself weaknesses such as breaking of the heart. In a world where I’m alone (as are we all) and I have only my arms to hug me or my voice to tell me it’s okay, or my gentle murmurings to console me, I can’t afford to let my heart break. And Roger Federer almost succeeded. Well, that’s what a genius can do. My only regret is that I haven’t seen him play in person and nor will I ever. That’s a tragedy and travesty of my hero worship of him. C’est la vie!

So here goes – a blog from the past – but still relevant! Enjoy!


Rafael Nadal won his first Wimbledon crown. Roger Federer stood forlornly as the dethroned but graceful champion and king, and probably the best grass player in the Open era or any era, ever.

Lessons learnt from both players:
a) Never never never ever give up. Even when you think and the world thinks you’re down and out.
b) Focus focus focus. The goal should be unwavering.
c) You may be genius, but you too are fallible. (Check Roger Federer’s unforced errors).
d) Age may be in the mind, but it’s in the body too. Speed, agility, tact and some
skill can make up for solid experience.
e) But the hunger to do more and excel more is not about age, but ageless. It’s an attitude and a part of your DNA.
f) Winning is everything (whether you like it or not – nobody will remember Federer’s 5 titles, his wonderful strokes, his will to come back from 2 sets down. Only ‘Rafa’ ‘Rafa’ ‘Rafa’ will be remembered for the victory).
g) Winning may be everything, but lack of skill, attitude, focus and determination won’t get you far beyond a few goal posts.
h) Without consistency you are nothing.
i) Never give all of yourself to every fight. Do save the best for last. Ironically you may not   get to the last if you don’t give your best. So work out the math yourself.
j) Money is definitely not everything. It’s just an escalator to a better quality of life.
Now what that quality means to different people is different so let’s leave it there.
k) Being calm, unruffled and determined under any onslaught and pressure, is the mark of   a leader. It’s also called grace under pressure.
l) But a show of emotions by leaders and world beaters is also ok. It shows you are
human.
m) Never tread on people’s bunions when they’re limping. (Notice Federer’s ‘You’re ok?’ when Rafa grazed his knee and took a tumble. He didn’t have to enquire).
n) Respect your greatest opponent and competitor, never underestimate his ability.
o) Be willing to give it your all again and again. Yes, never feel defeated. Just an
opportunity lost.

No more. I just know that I wanted FedEx to win his 6th. I feel miserable.

But tomorrow is another day!

If you say it doesn’t matter you’re lying!

How many times have you heard someone say, “what they think about you is their problem”? And had this thrown at you ad nauseam, “It doesn’t matter”.

So much BS! A lot of our life is devoted to gaining acknowledgement, be special, be recognized, be loved. So why do keep getting brain washed by all the best mentors, speakers, self-help gurus, inspirational leaders who say, “don’t worry about what others say or do or think, do what you want to, be yourself.”

Well honestly, I have never actually got beneath that statement enough to figure it out. I mean hey, are you seriously telling me that when you come first in the race, or manage to actually run the marathon, or sing in front of the crowd or get that role after auditioning for the nth time, or win the “star employee of the month” award, or when someone at work says something really nice to you about how you handled the presentation, or when the bus driver actually waits till you get on board, or when the guy at the pastry shop puts in an extra marzipan chocolate in your gift pack, it doesn’t matter? Of course it does. By Jove!

I know when I used to come first in school, what my grandparents or my aunts thought mattered.
I know when I chose an outfit and got it tailored (yes not very long ago, I used to get my dresses tailored), I was silently praying for the nods of approval from my cousin or aunt or friends.
I know when I did a good job with the content for a website, I would have my heart in my mouth (still do, after so many years of doing the same) till such time the client approved it.

I know it matters. I know what others think, say, do, about how you look, feel, or treat you as a person matters.
I’m not sure what the context of “it doesn’t matter”, “be you,” “be true to yourself” really means, because at the end of the day, each of us is really playing out a role, trying to somehow win some kudos, some recognition from the “other”. We start off on a mission with the faith that we can do it. But why do we start out “doing”? What is the “driving force”? Isn’t it a doffing of the hat from others as you pass by saying “well done?”. No? Then why?

Let me know. Because I refuse to believe that Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg or Ariana Huffington did what they did because it didn’t matter what others thought or said or did. Where would they be if no one bothered about Apple or FB or Huffington Post? So give me another yeah?

So next time someone says, “don’t worry about what others think”, think about it. Think about if the person saying it to you actually believes in it himself. We’re geared to please others. In the process if we somehow develop a mindset of actually believing that what others say doesn’t matter, how others treat you doesn’t matter, as long as you have unshakeable belief and faith in your ability and have a really tough and thick hide, well, goof for us.

Acceptance doesn’t mean you’ve given up!

 

Acceptance

It’d be good to accept.

 

I’ve grown up fighting acceptance. For some reason unclear to me, acceptance was equal to defeat. And defeat was equal to failure. And failure was anathema. Complete unacceptable.

But I’ve grown to realise that acceptance actually is a good thing. Non-acceptance of things can drain you of energy and occupy some really pricey real estate of your mind and heart. It’s a depreciating liability, not an asset.

How and why did I come to the realisation that acceptance is good for the mind, body, soul?

I think it’s a combination of many factors: growing older and perhaps wiser, maybe more vulnerable, maybe short on energy, maybe willing to actually let in a new experience, perhaps seeing the futility of hanging on to something that was unproductive, yes, many many factors.

So:

a) when I found myself unwilling to commit myself to a goal loftily stated, emphatically underlined, remembering that goal repeatedly over the weeks, months and years, without taking action to bring it to fruition, I knew I had to accept that this goal was not to be.

b) when I found that I spent far too much energy getting het up about some people’s habits which weren’t changing despite my loud, angry protestations, I knew I had to accept that it was me who had to change my approach.

c) when I found that I was happy to crib about everything that was wrong with the world without ever doing anything to change my attitude, habits, or contributing to change, I knew I had to accept that the world was going to continue as is.

d) when I found that despite how hard I tried, I couldn’t bring myself to like people due to my own hypocrisies, I knew I had to accept that it takes all sorts to make the world including people like myself.

Change the changeable

Accept change

e) when I found that Life continued to march to the beat of its own drum and was far too proud to succumb to my exhortations of maybe granting me a BIG favour or two, I knew I had to accept that Life was what you made of it.

So okay, I realised that acceptance did not kill you. It did not defeat you. It did not make you look small. Because you were accepting of certain things, did not mean you were cringe-worthy or were a ‘small, pathetic creature’. No, of course not.

On the contrary, acceptance of certain things can liberate you. It can make space in your mind, body and soul for new thoughts, attitudes and goals. With one fell swoop of acceptance, doors close and others open. You are no longer slave to your ego that denies the existence of acceptance as a good sister. You are free to chart a new course.

Not going to complete college and get that degree – just not you? Sure, accept it and move on. Who knows you could be the next Steve Jobs!

Not going to ever get the ‘ms popular’ title in college or be asked out on a date by the pretty cheerleader, accept it for what it is. Don’t cry buckets or feel vengeful or loathe yourself. Move on and make way for events and people that truly matter.

Not ever going to be a great parent, husband, wife, lover? That’s okay, accept it. Maybe you are a good friend or care giver. Not everything in life has to be like Gone With The Wind.

Not ever going to be able to complete the marathon? Big deal! Maybe you can do a 10k. But first accept it.

In my book, acceptance is honesty. Whoever said being honest was giving up? Honesty requires courage, a deep insight into yourself and willingness to do what it takes to blossom into a good human being. Flawed? Sure. But who wants to be perfect?

Yes, it’s time to accept that sometimes you’re not strong enough, or brave enough or smart enough or competitive enough or talented enough or healthy enough or understanding enough or compassionate enough or beautiful enough or wealthy enough or ambitious enough or knowledgeable enough. It’s okay really. Because in accepting you’re also giving up that which drains you but gains you a new inner calm and confidence. That you are enough.

Life and acceptance

Look forward to life

What are those areas of your life that you find are holding you back because of your stubbornness of non-acceptance? Identify 3. Think about why it makes you angry to accept it. And just say, “ok”, that’s it. And sleep over it. Tell me what happens next.