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Fairy tales, with their happily-ever-afters, do not prepare us for life. When life’s harsh realities hit, we wake up from the dream we would prefer to live!
This realization is after living life for more than 30 years. Ask me about it! I am a 30+, soon-going-to-be-single, not a mother, hopelessly lagging on the career front, and a practising procrastinator. These are definitely not the reasons to bring happiness in anyone’s life. And amid all the nonsense that I live with, I have to deal with serious life changing moments.
I swear I didn’t want these ‘exceptional’ harsh realities in my life. I thought it was cool to read about them but, definitely, I was not ready to live them. It was always happening to a neighbour’s daughter or son. And even before I realized, the drama started unfolding in my life.
This is when it hit hard. I am neither Cinderella nor Beauty. I definitely don’t have a knight in shining armour, who’ll come and rescue me from the mess I am in. In fact, most of the mess has been because I was with my knight who was riding a white horse. Okay, I’ll be honest, it was a car. And I gifted it. Silly! This wasn’t required.
Nevertheless, life is giving me lemons one after another and I am just waiting for a melon. Why, you ask? Because a melon is sweeter, and much bigger in size than a lemon. But above all, I believe, this is because we all wait for the sweetness to return in our lives. In this process, we completely forget that sour, too, is just another flavor of life which must be enjoyed to the fullest.
Slowly but steadily, I have realized – this is the story of life, it was neither a bed of roses, nor it will ever be. It is always about falling and failing. It is going to hand over an out-of-syllabus question paper to you, right when you feel you’re least prepared to tackle it.
When Disney scripted Cinderella or The Beauty and the Beast or The little Mermaid all they told the young girls watching – with your prince, it is a happily ever after. They never told us that at times, even the best looking men come with a malevolent glint in their eyes. They ignored the fact that, even those doe-like, innocent looking eyes can turn into a cold and devilish stare with the intent to destroy.
Life, at times, is also about falling out of love. Or even worse, realizing it was not love. It is not that myths are broken every day. Yet, when they break, they break you in places where perhaps you can never be repaired. Hell! Disney and all those mushy love stories never prepared me for this.
In hindsight, I know, nothing can prepare me or anyone else for any circumstances. It is only the hope to which we all cling, that helps us pass those tough moments. But those moments, I wish I can tell how painful they are. The pain is so real, you can almost touch it. The breakdown is so bad you can’t ever think about it again.
To all those men and women facing tough times in life, you’re not alone, there are a whole bunch of those ready to give you company. Some have worse stories to share and some have a different perspective to offer, but each one of us has at least one lemon to share.
As I see these super, successful, happy, rich, beautiful, flawless, amazing women on the cover of magazines, I feel such a loser. I am in my plus thirties and I have to start all over again! I don’t even have a great career to fall back on. And not even a gorgeous figure. I am just so normal, so ordinary. A loser would be a small word to define me.
Yet, the urge to keep going, to keep kicking is so orgasmic, I want to do it again and again. In its own subtle way, life has taught me that to be extraordinary, I will have to excel in the ordinary first.
Failure is just a temporary state and so is success. What is permanent is the will to move on from point to point. In those awfully lonely moments of despair, what kept me going was the hope to see the next moment. This unrealistic, faint hope, gave me enormous possibilities to survive my drowning moments and love myself hopelessly.
So here’s what I wish to say, life is definitely not a fairy tale and you don’t need a prince to survive your struggles or your failures, or to celebrate your happiness. You need you. Your body is not a temple which can be destroyed or desecrated. Before you give up forever remember, there is always another time and life is full of such other times.
So rebel and love yourself to the extent you offend the system, the society and those who benefit from your self-doubt.
If you or anyone you know is severely depressed or feeling suicidal, here are some of the helplines available in India. Please call.
Aasra, Mumbai: 022-27546669
Sneha, Chennai: 044-2464 0050
Lifeline, Kolkata: 033-2474 4704
Sahai, Bangalore: 080 – 25497777
Published earlier here.
Image source: depressed woman by Shutterstock.
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