Ditching Comfort (for something better)

So for the last couple of days (or weeks, I’m not sure), I have been in this state of ecstatic pleasure. I don’t know when it happened, I don’t know how it happened, but I have just been unaccountably, extraordinarily happy. And satisfied. And content. And just very very very pleased with myself.

If you know me, you know that my mood changes faster than the speed of light, so having a state of mind that doesn’t fluctuate every millisecond was a surprising feat for me achieve, and I was so proud of myself. I didn’t let anything or anyone change the way I felt, and in the past, when I used to dread a challenge or a speed bump, I now found myself fearlessly saying:

Let the challenge come. I dare it to.

I was on a roll for weeks. I even managed to live through my school’s annual day drama – which was a playful spoof of The Three Little Pigs story – without having even a shred fear or anxiety in me. Worry I did, but only to make sure that our drama would be great.

And it was! We, the entire crew had one of the best annual day performances we’ve ever had, and we managed to make a lot of people crack up in laughter. It’s definitely our last annual day performance, because we won’t be allowed to participate next year, so this was a good end to nine straight years of participation.

Now, a week later, I find myself in a similar state of mind. I feel more ready to accomplish my goals. More importantly, I know what to accomplish and what to let go of. I am at my prime, and I know and truly believe that nothing can change me unless I want it to.

But something is nagging me. There’s the tiniest pebble in my shoe, that keeps irritating me, and the only way for me to get rid of it is to address it.

The last couple of weeks have had me on a roll because I believed that everything will work out, and I could just sit and let the world flow. Comfort had become a part of my daily wellbeing.

But here’s the thing: I don’t do that! I’ve never like the idea of things going unchallenged and unchanged. If I never would have changed, I never would have come to this thought. Ever.

Change is so integral to my personality that, whether or not I like it, I need it. I need it to make mistakes. I need it to fall. And I need it to learn. And I need it to become better.

I need it to do things I never would have expected myself to do if I had just stayed in the blissful world of comfort and certainty.

And so, as I end, I leave you with a quote about change and comfort:

“I have realized; it is during the times I am far outside my element that I experience myself the most. That I see and feel who I really am, the most! I think that’s what a comet is like, you see, a comet is born in the outer realms of the universe! But it’s only when it ventures too close to our sun or to other stars that it releases the blazing “tail” behind it and shoots brazen through the heavens! And meteors become sucked into our atmosphere before they burst like firecrackers and realize that they’re shooting stars! That’s why I enjoy taking myself out of my own element, my own comfort zone, and hurling myself out into the unknown. Because it’s during those scary moments, those unsure steps taken, that I am able to see that I’m like a comet hitting a new atmosphere: suddenly I illuminate magnificently and fire dusts begin to fall off of me! I discover a smile I didn’t know I had, I uncover a feeling that I didn’t know existed in me… I see myself. I’m a shooting star. A meteor shower. But I’m not going to die out. I guess I’m more like a comet then. I’m just going to keep on coming back.” 

― C. JoyBell C.




Why Too Much Success is Overwhelming (Sometimes)

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.

Thanks again.