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After much deliberation I decided to throw caution to the winds and write about something truly personal and special to me which occurred recently.
Ever since I can remember I have loved to read. My earliest memories of me involve reading, surprisingly. That’s not to say that I was quiet or an indoors kid. I was infamous for climbing trees, playing sports and more often than not getting home with a shoe missing or a tear in my dress and almost always streaks of dirt on my face.
But books have reserved a special place in my heart and soul for as long as my memory serves. They say books are the means to travel without moving an inch. That has certainly been true for me. I have travelled across continents and cultures, met thousands of people, been a part of their adventures, romance and sorrow, felt their pain and cried with them. I have shared in their laughter and mirth and every single time I am nearing the last few chapters of a book, my pace slows down considerably. The affiliation and bonds I form are excruciatingly hard to tear myself away from. The feeling of knowing that their story would soon come to a close and I would no longer be a part of it leaves me feeling vacant and upset.
PMS is a common syndrome that all women go through on a monthly basis and whose symptoms I usually experience when I am through with a book. Mood swings, irritation, twisted and knotted in the stomach, though these luckily pass ever so swiftly as soon as I get my hands on my next read. And this usually doesn’t take more than a day.
I had wanted to be a myriad of things as I grew up. Well surprisingly life turned out on those lines. Being a psychologist and working in the education industry, writing articles for school and college magazines, making attempts at photography, trying out various adventure sports like water skiing and bungee jumping, entertaining friends with my vocal styling’s and dancing away at parties and weddings, working with NGO’s and underprivileged and developing a sense of style (thanks to my sister!) over the years and travelling every single month – I seemed to have tried my hand at most of the possibilities I had dreamt of.
But writing is something that always stuck. I had always wanted to pen down my thoughts but wasn’t ever sure how it would turn out in black and white. It got me thinking last year, that if I really wanted to write I must do so without a care in the world about how it turns out and how others react to it. This came to me when the realization hit me that the only one I was writing for – was me. Issues and perspectives that I felt strongly for and wanted to talk about. That’s not to say that my take on it is necessarily always correct but it does happen to be my opinion. An opinion, which more than anyone else, I first needed to respect and value.
With innumerable talented people all around me, friends who seem to do so well and so much and have various skills and talents to their credit, I would always think that my journey into writing may turn out to be perceived as self absorbed. But for me, writing is cathartic as well as a means to reach out to someone who may be feeling the same and would perhaps gain the courage and resilience to live the life they want for themselves, as I try, every single day.
When I came across Women’s Web, I found it so interesting with the variety of articles on everything under the sun and the fact that so many women wrote so beautifully and were able to articulate their thoughts in the most wondrous manner. It took me a few days to contemplate whether I should send in an article as well. Would it be worthy of their writing standards? Would it even be a point of view worth sharing? I read through their guidelines and wrote an article on marriage. The more I tried to sound proper, the worse I found my article. Till the day I decided to just go with it and write as I thought the words instead of how they would sound to someone else.
I decided to forget about it as soon as I pressed the ‘send’ button as I knew the anticipation and expectation might not necessarily lead to the desired result. 3 weeks later while I was vacationing in Macau, I was checking my email while waiting for my coffee order and was beyond ecstatic to have received a mail from the editor that they had decided to publish my article on their website. What followed was me jumping around the streets near the Venetian and passers-by’s amused glances in my direction.
As the next few months rolled by I decided to give it my all, shed my inhibitions and write about whatever struck my interest. As I continued to write and have the pleasure and joy of seeing my articles published, somehow I still never felt a sense of pride and confidence to share my work with those around me. Even though my family and friends knew I was writing, something from within stopped me from sharing my work with those in my life. On a subconscious level I still felt it wasn’t good enough and wasn’t ready to put myself out there, completely and remove the veil of anonymity in a sense.
This month as I read about the Muse of the Month contest on a Sunday night, the writing cue caught my attention and I decided to send in my entry for the same. On a Monday morning at work the words came to me all of a sudden and tumbled out on my computer screen and before I knew it I had sent in my entry. Yet again I decided to forget about it for 2 reasons. One that I may have sent it in late as it was the last day for entries and thus may not even be considered. Second, as it may not be good enough to be a contest winner at all and might just be a mediocre piece of writing.
On a whim, I decided to log into my writer’s account to check the status of 2 articles that I had previously submitted. What caught me by surprise was the first entry on my account which mentioned that my contribution was one of the top 5 contest winning entries and was scheduled to be published in 3 days. As my initial shock wore off, I dissolved into tears. I could not for the life of me understand why I was crying copiously. In that one moment, having read that, I felt validated. There are certain moments in life one remembers forever – this was surely it for me.
Having struggled to come into my own and be happy with the person I am took time, effort and patience. Finally arriving at a place where I accept myself for who I am and loving myself beyond reason. In that one moment, the hat rack upon which I hang my dreams stood firmer than ever. It brought me a feeling of pride and self worth which many a times I doubted, diminished or just flat out refused to believe. This turned out to be a platform which was truly a Godsend.
Thank you Women’s Web, for bringing out the writer in me.
Pic credit: Sharon Drummond (Used under a CC license)
Soul centric and free spirited all the while living life through travel and adrenaline junkie
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