An Ode to Survival

[2019-2020]

In January 2019, NTA UGC announced the results for the December 2018 NET/JRF examination. At almost 2:00 am of the 5th day on the year 2019, I learned that I had qualified Junior Research Fellowship and National Eligibility Test with 100 percentile marks in my own subject. Unbelievable as it was, this news was a faint glimmer of silver in quite a long time. And, I was super elated.

All of a sudden, my brain went like, “Okay. So, you have overworked me enough and I really need a break now. I am done.”

And I said, “Of course. Why not? I will be just fine without you. Go on. Take a break.”

And with that, 2019 turned out to be the most brainless year of my life.

There were, purely by God’s grace, a couple of life-saving sparkles of wisdom here and there. But, by and large, I went through 2019 in some sort of a trance, high on life and completely devoid of any good sense of judgement.

It was not until December, 2019 or January, 2020, in fact, that I, terribly embarrassed and tearfully joyous, welcomed my brain back from its year-long vacation. Thus, began a trek onto emotional resilience and self-acceptance.

I had the melting down “Don’t you dare leave me ever again!” conversation with my brain. My brain, to the best of its ability, took charge of every possible damage control mission and went on auto-pilot, cursing the hell out of me every now and then, and quite rightfully so. By now, I had completely given up and was drained of all vigour and life.

My mind, in the meanwhile, began to nurture eternal gratitude for a number of people, and pawsome creatures, in my life who looked out for me, saw me through what I never thought I’d survive, never gave up on me, supported me, listened to me, understood me and continued to be so extremely patient with even the most troubled, crankiest, irresponsible picture of me.

The return of my brain also marked the return of times gone by. Times. And patterns.

Patterns of what happens to me. Patterns of my negative reactions to all the unwanted that happens. Patterns of me turning so very difficult for my people. Patterns of me becoming a product of what happens to me and walking away from who I am. How every attempt at clarifying misunderstandings only made things worse. How being doubted seeps into the mind as an incessant urge to second guess every thought, every word, every action, every decision. Being abandoned. Abandoning my own self. I shuddered with the spine-chilling fear of becoming a negative, toxic, narcissistic, disordered mortal. I was scared I had already turned into everything I absolutely hate.

What if this is who I am now? What if I can not find my way back? What if there is no way back?

Once again, I shattered.

I hand-picked the best out of the heap, threw out the pieces I no longer wanted, crushed some in desperate frustration, held on to every last bit of my being I treasure. But, for the life of me, I did not understand how to put it all back together again. I kept piecing it into one whole, and every few days, sometimes in a few hours, a few minutes, it cracked up and fell off and crashed into dust.

The brain can be such an amazing double-edged sword, I tell you. It is like Gryffindor’s sword and Dumbledore’s Phoenix stuffed together into the Sorting Hat – it can kill you and then resurrect you back to life. Or so I have come to believe.

And then, this darling brain whispered, “You do not have to be a complete silhouette. Pick as many pieces as you can hold on to for a day and live with it. One day at a time. One tiny little bit at a time.

No questions asked, I accepted the thought.

After all, I cannot afford to, choose not to let my brain abandon me ever again.

I accept this mirage of my dream self a little more every day. I continue to find peace in such unconditional acceptance. I continue to choose this tiny spark of content, this one fleeting moment of happiness a day.

N.B.: This post has been updated only as a little back story to what inspires the (un)Adulting Snippets.

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