Where are my shoes???!?

It’s wedding season in our family. Can’t say I hate it. It’s not always the smoothest from start to finish, but somehow, by the end of the two or three (or thirty) days, we’re all a little high and happy.

Sadly, my cousin’s at school, so at 11 am, I find myself alone, with three year olds running all around me, and I have several hours to waste.

Books. Ye

The last few months, I have been on a beautiful, albeit absolutely terrifying soul searching expedition, and all I can think about it how blessed I am to be living life as I am now. I have my best friends to keep me company as we throw our stupid ideas into the world and have fun in the process. My extended family, who I love to death (sometimes I very much would like to wish they were dead), is so much FUN to be around, although not necessarily when the only thing they talk about it when and who’s getting married next. Apparently, I’m not that far down the line. Even though I haven’t been sharing as much on this blog, I have been very active elsewhere in the online writing world. That said, it has been extremely, extremely emotionally exhausting, and I’m hoping this weekend will be a good enough break for me.

On three different occasions I found myself searching an entire hall for my shoes and each time it was in a place that I HAD NOT LEFT IT IN. Pre-wedding bday is getting increasingly chaotic.

With lunch done now, things have subsided a little. I’m about to go to my cousin’s and get ready for the evening, which people say is when the real fun will begin. My family’s claims have a reputation of being dubious.

My mother let me eat pan. Out-of-body experience

This side of the city is and always will be the most romantic aspect of the city. Everything about the people, and the slightly dusty but sweet smell of the air rings so vibrantly to the idea of home I have in my head. Everything is novel, but in a way that, after countless experiences, I’ve gotten pleasantly accustomed to.

Eyy

As we passed by all the college buildings in Osmania, I had a rush of memories flood back way back from fifth grade. My friends and my seniors had come to EFLU for a student project, and I remember it being one of the coolest experiences of my pre-middle school life. A couple of years earlier, I had visited my cousin at the university, and I remember being utterly amazed by the scale of the arts college. It looked like a mix between an amusement park and something out of Harvard, astonishing in scale and intricacy.

Now, as we passed the same building at 11 in the night, and students still huddled together in close groups around the building, I couldn’t help but notice how old it was.

I am a fan of chaotic energy. I am a creature of spontaneous inspiration, I thrive in unexpected situations and I feel alive, uncertain of what’s to come and what I can do.

I am not a fan of chaos.

It is one of the few things that I am truly, deeply, afraid of. Chaos. Ruin. The constant awareness that the ground that holds us all up could begin to tremble at any moment, whether or not we are to blame. Some might consider it romantic. I’d very much like such people to go to hell. It is worse than death. It’s oblivion.

I think a lot of what I’ve been thinking about for the last three months has to do with this fear. There is so much on my mind that I want to say and do, but every time I try to do something, a brick hits me in the face, reminding me that anything could go wrong at any moment, and I will have to take responsibility, even if I’m not responsible.

As music played through my ears and we drove past the Arts College, a ray of hope flashed through me. I saw that somehow, against all odds, we as a species have so far done a good job of dealing with this chaos. We embrace ruin, learn to live with it, and create a life we deserve to enjoy. And, even if for a while, I felt a little hope surge in me.

Trickster Trust

Photo by Karly Santiago on Unsplash


Also stolen from Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

(please don’t copystrike me)


I believe that the original human impulse for creativity was born out of pure trickster energy. Of course it was! Creativity wants to flip the mundane world upside down and turn it inside out, and that’s exactly what a trickster does best. But somewhere in the last few centuries, creativity got kidnapped by the martyrs, and it’s been held hostage in their camp of suffering ever since. I believe this turn of events has left art feeling very sad. It has definitely left a lot of artists feeling very sad.

It’s time to give creativity back to the tricksters, is what I say.

The trickster is obviously a charming and subversive figure. But for me, the most wonderful thing about a good trickster is that he trusts. It may seem counterintuitive to suggest this, because he can seem so slippery and shady, but the trickster is full of trust He trusts himself, obviously. He trusts his own cunning, his own right to be here, his own ability to land on his feet in any situation. To a certain extent, of course, he also trusts other people (in that he trusts them to be marks for his shrewdness). But mostly, the trickster trusts the universe. He trusts in its chaotic, lawless, ever-fascinating ways–and for this reason, he does not suffer from undue anxiety. He trusts that the universe is in constant play and, specifically, that it wants to play with him.

A good trickster knows that if he cheerfully tosses a ball out into the cosmos, that ball will be thrown back at him. It might be thrown back really hard, or it might be thrown back really crooked, or it might be thrown back in a cartoonish hail of missiles, or it might not be thrown back until the middle of next year — but it will be thrown back. The trickster waits for the ball to return, catches it however it arrives, and then tosses it back out there into the void again, just to see what will happen. And he loves doing it, because the trickster (in all his cleverness) understands the great cosmic truth that the martyr (in all his seriousness) can never grasp: It’s all just a game.

A big, freaky, wonderful game.

Which is fine, because the trickster likes freaky.

Freaky is his natural environment.

The martyr hates freaky. The martyr wants to kill freaky. And in so doing, he all too often ends up killing himself.

The Martyr vs. The Trickster

Photo by Fred Kearney on Unsplash


Stolen from Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert


We all have a bit of trickster in us, and we all have a bit of martyr in us (okay, some of us have a lot of martyr in us), but at some point in your creative journey you will have to make a decision about which camp you wish to belong to, and therefore which parts of yourself to nourish, cultivate, and bring into being. Choose carefully. As my friend the radio personality Caroline Casey always says: “Better a trickster than a martyr be.”

What’s the difference between a martyr and trickster, you ask?

Here’s a quick primer.

Martyr energy is dark, solemn, macho, hierarchical, fundamentalist, austere, unforgiving, and profoundly rigid.

Trickster energy is light, sly, transgender, transgressive, animist, seditious, primal, and endlessly shape-shifting.

Martyr says: “I will sacrifice everything to fight this unwinnable war, even if it means being crushed to death under a wheel of torment.”

Trickster says: “Okay, you enjoy that! As for me, I’ll be over here in this corner, running a successful little black market operation on the side of your unwinnable war.”

Martyr says: “Life is pain.”

Trickster says: “Life is interesting.”

Martyr says: “The system is rigged against all that is good and sacred.”

Trickster says: “There is no system, everything is good, and nothing is sacred.”

Martyr says: “Nobody will ever understand me.”

Trickster says: “Pick a card, any card!”

Martyr says: “The world can never be solved.”

Trickster says: “Perhaps not … but it can be gamed.”

Martyr says: “Through my torment, the truth shall be revealed.”

Trickster says: “I didn’t come here to suffer, pal.”

Martyr says: “Death before dishonor!”

Trickster says: “Let’s make a deal.”

Martyr always ends up dead in a heap of broken glory, while Trickster trots off to enjoy another day.

Martyr = Sir Thomas More.

Trickster = Bugs Bunny.

Song of Perfection

Poem and artwork by my fabulous teammate, Drishhti Mangar. More on our Instagram handle, Body+ve. Go follow. You’re welcome.


And I bet it hurts not much

For it pricks you no more

We’ll hum the song of perfection dear

Until they all march out the door,

The insecure have named,

The jealous have framed,

All of them had put you through shame,

The heartless yet “faultless”

Were the ones who tamed.

We’ll paint you perfect honey

We won’t spare a single freckle for sure

We’ll hang on you a price tag too

And you’re ought to be allured,

We’ll dig you a deep grave

And you can toss your soul within,

Forget not to embrace it with all your flaws

Lastly to strip down

Your namely “faulty” skin

Oh wild creature of the cosmos

Swaddled in the shimmer of stars

Your quirks and untamed beauty

Are a crime here

And they’ll attend your funeral with

Plastered smiles and paper flowers

~

Let’s Deal With Disappointment, Shall We?

The tension in the room is palpable.

Everyone in the class is eagerly waiting for the bell to ring.

5…4…3…2…1

*ringggg*

Once the teacher leaves, we all rush to the nearest bulletin board on our floor. All of us want to know whether we cleared the test, or failed.

No, we weren’t looking at the results of our final exams.

We were looking at the I-Section entrance test results.

Every year, our school conducts an entrance exam for secondary school students to test their smartness. Then, they segregate the “smart” kids into a different, Integrated-Section.

Yes, I’m in this section. No, sometimes (such as now) I don’t like it.

So our results are on the bulletin board, but I already know my marks- 45 out of 50.

I don’t want to say this, but – oh god – I was disappointed with my marks.

Sometimes I wonder whether I could be the definition of a typical Indian teenage nerd- smart, constantly worried, over-analytic about marks, overpressured and overburdened. Ok, the last part is a bit of an exaggeration. Seriously mom. I’m fine. Don’t send me to the counsellor or to math tuition.

The funny thing is, though, that even though I got through by a big margin, I still felt kinda uneasy. Like I hadn’t done enough to prove my nerdiness to other people. Even though I had accomplished my goal, my mind was too fixated on the smaller picture. Marks.

My whole day went past me like a blur, while all I thought about was how bad I was at acing tests and how much I sucked at them.

That afternoon, during my bus ride back home, my history teacher, who’s a very sweet person (I’m not being paid to say this), asked me if I was sick or something. ‘Cause apparently I looked like I had a fever.

I told her about my rather disgraceful test performance, and she just broke into soft laughter.

“Don’t worry so much, ma. If the teachers are happy with your results, then it’s fine! Don’t take it so seriously.”

Those words gave me just the perspective my naive mind needed. My mood went from sullen, brooding, contemplative and disappointed to accepting, and ready to make a change. I was ready to change my day into one full of opportunities at my disposal.

Here are 5 things I did that evening to lift my mood. You should try them too.

Talk to a friend.

If you’re feeling low, pick up your phone and chat up with an old friend. The feeling of having someone who listens and talks to you can be therapeutic at times.

Tell yourself that it’ll pass.

Because it will. You know that. Stop for a moment, tell your little irrational brain to shut up, and remind yourself that whatever you’re feeling is perfectly normal, and your despair with come to an end.

Throw your responsibilities away for a day.

One primary reason for disappointment is high expectations. From anyone. So since you can’t control what others expect from you, the best you can do is control what you expect from yourself. Don’t push your limits for a few hours. Just. Relax.

Play a sport.

Sports are awesome! They are also scientifically proven to reduce stress and depression. So if you have a basketball court or just a park in your neighbourhood, call a couple of your friends down and play for a while!

Write about it (as I am now).

Writing helps because nothing provides perspective through self-realisation quite like writing. The minute you put a sad feeling on paper, it loses its dramatic, overestimated impact on your mental wellbeing. There’s no need to amplify a situation through writing. As long as you write down the bare facts about what happened and how you feel, this works.

That day, I learnt that no matter how bad a day goes, I can always change how I feel about it with a simple shift in mindset.

I learnt that if I just change your mindset from one of disappointment to one of acceptance and growth, everything will be okay.

Hopefully, you learnt that too.

“I’m sad, hurt, angry, mad, disappointed. But you know what? I will put on a happy face and move on. It will hurt but I will survive.”