Life right now is exactly like that one meme with the dog sitting in a burning room saying “this is fine”. If you crept up to me and snapped a picture of me out of the blue right now, it would look exactly the same. No difference.
Last week was wild. Like, a level of wild I’ve never experienced before. YLAC had given us a target of putting out at least six posts on our handle (@green_shields_) and get at least 180 followers. Being the PR Manager that I am all the time, I went overboard trying to accomplish the goal. In the end, we ended up exceeding the goal and reached 200 followers in a week, but that wasn’t without my pretty valid apprehensiveness. A week before periodic assessments, I still hadn’t started any revision. I study for 20 mark exams two weeks before, and I hadn’t yet begun for 40 mark tests, so to say I was concerned about my study schedule would be an understatement.
Nevertheless, I kept my reserve, and persevered through last week. Somehow. Here’s the nutshell of what I learnt:
too much == bad
Too much Instagram is bad. Very bad. Your hands start to ache and you can’t think straight, cause the only thing on your mind is OH MY GOD DID SOMEONE RESPOND MY DMS OR DID THEY SEENZONE ME and it’s not a good feeling to have a week before important tests. So keep that it mind.
the process => enjoy it
Projects aren’t fun if you dwell on the fact that they’re supposed to be done. Take my advice on this: if you are doing or going through something that you’ve never done before, don’t overthink it. Be rational and enjoy the process. Don’t stress. It’s not meant to be that way.
feedback == good
As long as you have a large enough audience to tell you when you’ve done something good and when you haven’t, your work as a social influencer is half done. Believe me.
trust == nice
This whole thing is a team project, and I’m lucky to have such a supportive and creative team! I’ve gotten better at trusting people and their strengths, and I’ve learnt how to respect them. I realize more and more now that my job isn’t to fix people’s flaws, because I realize that that’s what makes them who they are. That applies to me, too. I trust myself more than I used to before, because I no longer feel anxious about what I’m doing.
rest == REQUIRED
This. This is the biggest lesson I’ve learnt. No doubt about that. I now see that there’s a fine line between breaking your limits and breaking your back, and the latter is not as fun or rewarding as the former.
I’d appreciate it if you could bribe as many of your instagram-using friends as possible and tell them to follow @green_shields_ thanks I’ll give you a chocolate 🙂
I think it would be a gross understatement if I said that my life is great. It’s blessed beyond belief, I say. But sometimes, I do fall into the trap of blaming myself for things happening in my life that I have no control over.
There’s this certain phase of my life that I’m passing through that had kept me more on the edge than usual. I don’t think it’s necessary to go into the deets of what actually happened, but it is safe to say that after a couple months of feeling this way, I finally am back in my normal head space and I’m currently enjoying being my lowkey self.
The most important thing I learnt is that it never does any good to be bitter about life’s lessons. It doesn’t help if you’re learning from your mistakes but you’re, at the same time, killing yourself for messing up in the first place.
There’s also a fine line between bravery and stupidity; between doing some new and something unnecessary. I think I’ve learnt how to distinguish the two.
There’s also a certain flair in being able to love yourself deeply enough to forgive yourself for your mistakes, but also rationally enough to stop you from making the same mistakes going forward, and that’s something I learnt in the summer.
One of the happiest things I’ve done this week is buy a ukulele and play it all the time. Whenever I get the chance. I was playing it before I started writing, and I probably will once I finish writing too. It is a beautiful instrument. I’m in love with it.
I feel like I’m back in the mindspace that I was in right after New Year, where everything was sorted out in my head, problems weren’t problems at all- just exercises. I flew right through my grade 9 finals without feeling a tinge of doubt or anxiety. If I felt anything in those 2 weeks, it was amusement at myself for ever thinking the finals were gonna be hard. I was never in a bad mood for more than 3 minutes, and that’s a fact.
I can tell, from the way I’ve been for the last week or so, that I’m going back to being that way.
Over the last two or three weeks, I have made a conscious effort to make my life better. I’ve been thinking happier thoughts, I’ve been more charismatic and easygoing around my friends, and I’ve done everything I possibly could to make my life better.
And it’s been working!
Two days ago, my friend and I won the city semifinals of a quiz competition, and won ourselves a trip to a 5-Star hotel in Mumbai for the finals, along with a Bluetooth speaker and a cash prize of Rs.20000. I cannot believe that that happened, because I haven’t had that happen to me in a long time. I am proud of myself for going through the uncomfortable process of doing new things because that has helped me succeed in various facets of life.
But everything has its limits, and too much of anything is bad. That includes being happy. And so, I hit a roadblock yesterday, when my recent success overwhelmed to the point of self-hate and despair. I went from being my best possible self to my worst, in a matter of hours.
I know that I want the most exciting, interesting and fun life I can possibly have, but it’s not worth it if I have to put the rest of your life away and make time only for novel experiences.
You know what the worst part about winning the quiz was?
The way people were reacting to this.
I am not ungrateful to anyone about this opportunity. In fact, I am very, very thankful to everyone who believed in me and made this possible.
What I didn’t like is the way people are cashing in on this success, and acting like I’m some “miracle girl”. Like I’d achieved something so great that the entire world needed to stop and appreciate me for my hard work.
I’m not undermining my feat. Nor am I undermining the effort I put in for this.
I just wished people would act professionally about this, congratulate me, actually be curious about what my friend and I did, and offer to help me for the finals.
But no! The people only care about congratulating me, glorifying me, saying yayyyy all the time, but they don’t actually care about ME.
This might seem very self-derogatory or self-defeating, but believe me when I say I have no little respect for myself than I did before this happened. If anything, my self-respect has grown by miles and bounds. I can’t express in words how proud I am of myself and how satisfied I feel.
I just wish I could deal with this situation in a better way.
It is a new experience, after all.
I know it sounds ungrateful that I felt sad at a time that I should have been jumping in joy, but the sheer magnitude of my success consumed me in the worst way possible. I felt like I deserved to congratulated for my efforts, but as reality was different, I felt rather disappointed.
Now, the next day, I have gotten over the sadness and I’m back to looking forward and thinking about my improvement. I learnt yesterday that the problem was that I had been carrying too much emotional baggage with me all the time, and any additional stress inevitably would have tipped my balance and made me buckle under pressure. I learnt that the key to letting of all the things that disturb you is not to discard them but to accept them and forgive yourself for any harm they ever caused you.
After forgiving myself, I continued to be my happy, quirky self, but now, I accepted every flaw that ever existed in me, realizing that my quirks are what make me different and make me succeed at things that mean a lot to me. I know that this is something that we hear all the time, but when we actually do it in real life, the process of letting go and accepting yourself and the world around you is the most exhilarating thing you can ever experience.
Thank you for reading this post, which is really something of an angry rant. Some of the greatest advice that I’ve gotten from my writer friends is that the best time to write in a flow is either when you’re very passionate about something or when you’re very angry about something. You could say that this post is a bit of both.
If you or anyone you know feels this way a lot, please leave a comment below or share this post, and I would love to have a conversation with you. It’s always great to talk to people who feel the same way about life as I do.
I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will. — Charlotte Bronte
Why Being Independent Matters So Much
It boosts your confidence.
Independence and the ability to hold yourself high is a big boost to your self-confidence and self-esteem. To most, the idea that they don’t need to depend on someone else for their own happiness puts them on a track of self-belief. To me, the fact that I can take care of myself is a huge motivator and this drives me to be my own hero!
Less reliance on others
The more you rely on yourself for getting things done, the more you’re likely to get done! But it is easier said than done. However, if you keep exercising your independence like a muscle, you will obviously get better with time. Soon, independence will change from a habit to a way of life, and you will achieve things that you never even dreamt of dreaming.
Better decision making
Self-reliance does something magical to your brain. It clears all the foggy, misdirecting thoughts and internal fears in your brain, making it easier for you to think with clarity. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to think clearly without any stress clouding your judgment, isn’t it?
More time for personal development and creativity
Letting go of external circumstances that influence you can have a big effect on your daily lifestyle. When I was less independent than I am right now, I would waste so much of my time at home, going over situations that I believe could have gone better. Whatever I’m doing, a nagging voice in the back of my head would keep whining, ” The day has gone bad, and it’s your fault.” This self-defeating self-talk would kill my willpower and happiness, forcing me to depend on someone else for my mental health.
But now, I don’t care about what circumstances that come my way, I just accept it and move on. As for that evil voice in my head, I’ve put it to sleep for good. My focus has been shifted to improving and nurturing my own personality.
“Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.” — Bruce Lee
Increases your self-value
Making the decision to stand up for yourself teaches you the importance of self-worth. When you realize the true extent of your strengths as an individual, you strive to do everything in your power to protect those strengths and nurture them. You accept yourself for your flaws, for your innumerable cracks and quirks, because you now realize that these are a part of your core personality. You take pride in knowing that you are everything you want to be, and everything you will be in the future.
How To Increase Your Independence In Your Daily Life
Learn to enjoy your own company.
Embrace the feeling of being alone. It might seem pessimistic and introverted to distance yourself from normal surroundings for a while. But in a world increasingly focused on speed and competitiveness, solitude is precious and something to be treasured.
Solitude gives you time to reflect on life and greater meanings of the world. Every day, try to spend some of the time you spend alone to focus on yourself. Make time to be introspective and think about your life. Consider where you are and where you’re going. Think about your short and long-term goals. It will help you find calmness in a world of growing chaos.
Engage in tasks that require your best efforts.
When you force yourself to focus only on the tasks that require all of your concentration, you block yourself from all others distractions that can lower your self-esteem. For example, whenever I’m feeling a little depressed, I play the guitar, sing or write. These are tasks that need me to be 100% in the moment, keeping my mind free of any distractions that will negatively affect me.
This also works if you’re trying to be more independent. If you do things that put you in a state of extreme focus and concentration, you’re more likely to do it on your own. The more you do things this way, the less dependent you’ll be on other people.
Talk to yourself. Understand what you want and what you need.
Please, please, please read what I’m saying very carefully: NOTHING MATTERS MORE THAN THE FACT THAT YOU NEED TO KNOW YOURSELF TO HELP YOURSELF. It doesn’t matter whether you just want to solve a personality type test or if you’re trying to get yourself out of a situation of self-despair. If you don’t know what in the world your mind thinks of itself, you’re busted. Why? Because you don’t know what you really want in life. You don’t know why some things make you smile and some make you cry, and so you don’t know how to make yourself better.
Getting to know yourself isn’t a cakewalk. But just like getting to know anyone else, it requires time and effort. It requires that you go out of your way to make sure what you’re doing makes sense and feels right not to your friends, your relatives or your pet cat, but to you. You must be willing to be vulnerable to yourself, in order to fully, truly be yourself.
Independence in my life has opened me up to a beautiful, vivid world outside of my bubble of fears and doubts. It has allowed me to treat life, not as a task to tick off a list, but as a gift. I have stepped way outside my comfort zone, something that I never would have done, and in doing so, I have been able to enjoy my life with clarity and a sense of gratitude. I have stopped looking at myself as insignificant, and I have started believing that I do have some value in this world.
The last one week has made me feel much more alive than I’ve felt in a long time. I’ve tried new things, made a fool of myself, pushed myself to new limits, and most importantly, GROWN FROM THE INSIDE.
But opening up to myself at such a level was not easy. to do. It was something I had been putting off for a long time because I was too afraid to know myself. But now that I have, I feel free.
If you’re reading this, first of all: thank you! You successfully read an 1100-word essay! Second: Thank you for your time and attention. It really means a lot to me that my writing gets noticed so much, and words cannot express my gratitude towards every single one of you who reads my stuff.
This post has been pretty personal for me (not that the others aren’t) because it’s made me think about my own struggles with self-love. It’s made me realize that ever since I started blogging 7 months ago, I’ve become WAY stronger and happier than I was, say, a year ago. I’ve learnt to love myself on a scale that I’ve never done before, and all the credit to my happiness goes to you, dear readers. You have made my life colourful, exciting, and full of amazing opportunities.
I love all of you. Thank you for making my life beautiful.
Of all of the rich G20 nations, India has been labelled as the worst place to be a woman. But, how is this possible in a country that prides itself on being the world’s largest functioning democracy?
The fact that we’ve had a female president and a prime minister means very little to the everyday scenarios faced by Indian women. Even with the growing feministic mentalities throughout the world, are reserved bus seats the only measure India has taken?
Perceptions matter. Perceptions dictate who we like, what happens to the economy of a country, and who becomes the government of a country. Perceptions on how women should and shouldn’t behave create rape cultures.
Indian women today are so accustomed to constantly feeling fear, that vigilance is an inescapable trait for them. Truth be told, no democracy is a democracy when half its population is still living in fear. And the way the problem is tackled is ignorant too. We divert the blame on the victims saying they brought this upon themselves when really we are ignoring the misogyny and casual sexism that we have insidiously induced into every last bit of the society. And the people in power, the ones with the ability to enlighten, have views that are far from progressive.
And the more ignorance we show towards tackling social barriers, the larger the population with the same unthinking, unchanging mindsets we create.
Women in the past had dignified roles. There were hardly any pre-described roles set exclusively for men. Until of course, the Muslim invasion. After the invasion, patriarchy started settling in slowly. And we allowed it to.
It wasn’t just men who caused the oppression, but women too. The idea of misogyny was rubbed into them for so long that they themselves became slaves to it. They didn’t realise the personal stake which was involved in what they were supporting. They started falling prey to orthodoxical and cultural barriers that confined them to doing chores and overlooking their potentials as individuals with minds of their own.
But things are changing, you could say, women are taking up more diverse jobs. But in each of those jobs are women who are still struggling to reach the same status as is given to her male counterpart. One shouldn’t be mistaken; women are just as driven to power as men. But, it is unjust that we have reached the shores of technological advancement while so many people are still struggling for basic rights.
School has been bittersweet for the last one week.
Actually, most just bitter and cloudy, with intermittent rays of hope and joy during basketball class and TV time.
This whole last week, until yesterday, I had my FIRST unit tests of 9th grade. I can’t really say that I enjoyed it, but neither can I say that it was miserable. It was, for a lack of a better word, okay. Just fine. The whole experience has, however, made me feel extremely burned out for some reason. I have been pushing myself to do everything from getting up in the morning and brushing to reading and, to my surprise, writing.
I usually like to schedule my posts because I am a very organized person, but this is the first time in weeks that I have no posts scheduled and no ideas whatsoever. I am literally building this post up as I go. So clueless, I am.
I actually feel like that’s a good thing because lately, my posts haven’t made me feel a solid connection between what I’m writing and what I’m actually thinking. It is true that a well-worded post with valuable information and insights is a good post, but if it isn’t able to connect with the author herself, then there’s no way it can connect with the audience properly. That, I think, is one reason my blog’s views have gone down in the last 3 weeks. It’s not that views matter, but the number of views I get is a reflection of how interested my readers are in reading my content. And lately, Y’all have been bored. Honestly, so have I.
I have, however, been researching A LOT about creative writing sites, clubs and resources online. I’ve also been working on a short story that I intend to put up on Wattpad in time for this year’s Wattys. You can follow me too. Thanks if you do.
Despite the fact that last week was largely boring and dissatisfactory, I was able to keep my spirits high most of the time, thanks to basketball. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of sports in making my life a hundred times better than it already was before. Basketball has opened me up to new people, who are all on the way to becoming my good friends. Right now, it is the biggest aspect of my social life as a human being (besides, of course, school and the internet). I cannot thank my friends at basketball class enough, for lighting up my week with positive energy. Thanks, guys.
whew. that felt really good.
I’m glad that I can finally write freely after two weeks of intense study preparation, and I will do everything I can to make my writing more comfortable, instead of it feeling like I’m writing my posts with a gun to my head.
Song of the Week: Strawberries and Cigarettes by Troye Sivan
Everyone in the class is eagerly waiting for the bell to ring.
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.”