Hinduism talks a lot about fulfilling your duties while also making sure you don’t worry about the fruits of your actions. To put this simply (and to put it into perspective): Do what you need to do without that desire for reaping the benefits. This is difficult to do today with the pressures of being successful and important and capable. Like, how can I passionately pursue political science without worrying about my ability to become a politician? How can I enjoy my education and the process of accumulating knowledge without worrying about my GPA? How can I do ANYTHING without worrying about how people will view me and my work?
*Trigger Warning: Although I do not go into details about my self-harm, I would still like to put this here.
You know, self-harm is a very difficult thing to write about. My family keeps telling me to stop writing about sad things. My grandpa told my mother that my writing was beautiful, but that I needed to start writing about happy things. My mother told me the same thing after a recent Instagram post. Although I can understand how reading about my tribulations may be sad, writing about them makes me happy, because it is a reminder of how far I’ve come. It is a constant reminder of how I’ve progressed, of how I’m able to introspectively understand who I am. My essays on the difficult times on my life aren’t meant to be sob stories that leave you with feelings of hopelessness, they’re meant to be stories of strength that leave you with feelings of inspiration and hope. When I write about something sad and turn in into something powerful, I think that is what people should notice. I want to make an impact not only on readers, but on myself.
I’ve written a lot about my self-harm and my depression but this post is different because it’s not about those times I stayed up late crying and wondering why I am alive. It is not about those times my anxiety and depression got in the way of my social interactions. It is not about any of that. It is about that light at the end of the tunnel; the good stuff. What came after all of that. With bad comes good, and although it’s an awful pattern and we hate the anticipation, it’s life.
I told my parents that if I didn’t attend an Ivy League school (or even an ultra-competitive school) I would kill myself. This wasn’t something I casually said over dinner or inappropriately joked about – I was 100% serious. After attending a summer camp at an Ivy League school and making other high-achieving friends, while also setting a standard for myself at my very own high school, I felt that I had something to prove to the world.
I am not here to shower you with “social justice warrior” rantings.
I am not here to give you a history lesson on slavery or colonization.
Nor am I here to tell you your political views are wrong.
I am here to tell you what it feels like to be a student of color, and to walk to class across the words “#ALLLIVESMATTER” and “TRUMP2016” chalked onto the sidewalk.
It is difficult to stop myself from beginning this post with an apology and an explanation for my absence. I can’t really, fully apologize for not writing on here for THREE MONTHS, since the reason I started this blog was because I hate writing in my journal; I prefer typing, which doesn’t seem as beautifully antiquated as journaling is, but it is the truth. This blog is my diary, my professional diary! I shouldn’t punish myself or feel bad for not writing too often. Although it is healthy to journal daily (which I do, sigh – I write a couple of sentences everyday in my quintessential black Moleskine journal that I carry around everywhere), I like to write quality entires, and I haven’t had the motivation or the creative fuel to do that lately, since I am channeling most of that drive into my papers for school and my pieces for Rookie. Nevertheless, spring break is in less than a week, and I am able to effectively distribute my creative fuel.
The dawn of adulthood is scary, and it is even scarier at the age of eighteen because I am at the weirdest stage. Like, I am an adult, but I am also not an adult. I’ve been struggling trying to figure out how to effectively transition and how to handle feeling out of place in the world, but I recently realized that there’s no perfect way to transition into adulthood, and that this odd stage is the best time to make the decision of accepting adulthood (you know, the other factors of adulthood besides maturity. I am talking paying bills, making good/bad decisions, doing LIFE things) or continuing to be a teenager and living in the mindset of a teenager. I have chosen the former, mainly because it’s what I have been waiting for my entire life as an only child. My desire to be independent has finally been given purpose.
This post isn’t just about me and my awfulness and my tragic mistakes. It’s about the potential you, the you that could also experience similar awfulness and tragedy. It’s hard to write this and not because I will be writing about everything I went through, but because I have to emotionally recollect everything I went through. I wish I could ignore everything that happened but I can’t because sometimes if we tell other people about our past and the things we’ve learned, we can help them.
I’ve done a lot of wrong and I try to find loopholes to excuse myself for the pain I caused and the dishonesty I poured, but when there were times that it wasn’t my fault, I presented those loopholes and excuses to the person that didn’t deserve it. Don’t do that.
This post isn’t just an emotional outlet for me; it’s for you.
Here’s something that I must admit after years of trying to shove it down the deepest parts of my mind and conscience: I am boy crazy.
Now, I am not as boy-crazy as I was up until the beginning of my sophomore year of high school; probably because I had a boyfriend (actually, I don’t know what he was – man candy? Beau? Fwb? My man friend? My plus-one? I still don’t know) for quite a long time. But before that, and yes, during periods in which my Beau and I were taking a “break”, I seemed to desire love not dissimilar to Young Adult Fiction. I am almost 99.9% positive that this boy-craziness is derived from reading too many Young Adult books at a too impressionable age.
Today as I was driving in the car with my friend I asked him, “Hey, have you ever had someone be jealous of you? Like, could you recognize it?” He shrugged and said, “I mean, yeah.” I asked him how he did this. I had always pushed that idea out of my mind; I never wanted to think or admit that someone could be jealous of me, because I thought that could lead to being detrimentally egotistical.
I am here.
I am so unbelievably lucky to be able to say that and feel that and understand that. I can commend my own strength and my mother’s love, but there’s more to it.
I spent many nights during high school crying and self-harming, and it is so hard for me to think or talk or write about it so I’ll have to leave it at that. I wish I could find a way to translate my pain better so it can be emotionally comprehensible but it’s probably best if I don’t.
Waking up for school was more like a preparation for what was to come during the day; uncontrollable feelings of isolation and self-hatred and vulnerability. It’s painful to say but I am surprised that I am still here and that I am better. But despite the pain I feel when I recollect how I felt throughout those four years, I am overwhelmingly excited about graduating in four days. And I am here to do that.
I watched this documentary the other day called The Unbelievers. In short, it’s about two scientists who travel across the globe to speak publicly about the significance of reason and science, rather than religion, to explain the origins of our existence.
I was born into a Hindu family so I have familiarized myself with temples and poojas and complex mantras, but recently I have been questioning religion, in general. At first I was extremely scared for myself, and I didn’t want to feel spineless for easily being persuaded by a one hour documentary (Woody Allen was in it, so it was kind of hard not loving the film within the first few minutes). But then I realized that it is okay to question your religion, I mean we have the ability to do so, so why shouldn’t we?