The other day, while talking to my mother-in-law, she told me “dear, you have been living in isolation at home for the past 6 months, you must make phone calls and talk to people more often. Call your friends, cousins..just talk to them regularly about anything that’s bothering you and which you can’t discuss with us oldies. It’s always good to get things off of your chest”. I know it was a well intended piece of advice from someone who cares a great deal, but as if on autopilot mode, pat came the reply “No thank you, I don’t need to share my problems with anyone”. The reply was brazen and there was an uncomfortable, awkward silence for a few seconds before I said “I am fine. Really. Don’t worry”, in an effort to get past this awkward juncture in the conversation.
Truth be told, the sheer bluntness of my reply caught me by surprise. And am sure it surprised her as well. Because, anybody who knows me, sees me as a bubbly, cheerful, talkative individual. And it is true. I am that. I am comfortable talking non stop, even with strangers!! I love socializing, meeting people, be it family or friends, having pleasant conversations. Forwarding double meaning WhatsApp chats 😛😛. You can talk about anything under the sun. And I will have my 2 cents to add to that. I am easy going and have no airs or pretences. I am just as comfortable with someone I met recently and know nothing about, as I am with my oldest friends.
But that happy go lucky exterior is just a part of me. A part that all people see. The part that I want them to see. And like I mentioned earlier. That part IS me. I am not faking it or pretending. But there’s a whole other part which is unknown to the world, including many I have known my entire life.
This is the part that is fighting a silent fight every moment of every day. The one that’s in constant pain. Physical pain? Yes, very much so, due to the myriad health issues. But much more than that, it’s the mental pain. Pain of not having so many things I wanted, of not getting to experience so many things that most people take for granted. It’s the part that lives in constant fear, anxiety and grief. The part that’s always afraid of what the future holds. The part that always overthinks, over stresses and over analyzes and is basically in panic mode 24/7. Most people who know me have no clue about this other part. This other side of me. It’s like 2 dual personalities coexisting, almost like the story of Jekyll and Hyde. Just that, here it’s not a case of good and evil. Rather, a case of happy and sad.
This brief conversation really got me thinking. Why is it that I find it easy to share my happiness with others but never my sadness? Share the little joys but never the sorrow? After all, that too is as much a part of me and who I am. And it’s not that people haven’t reached out to me, offering to listen with genuine intent. But the moment that happens, I freeze. Unable to speak, unable to communicate. Unable to share. Unable to open up. What am I so afraid of? Being judged? Being perceived differently? Being labeled a crybaby? I pondered over this question for quite a while. And even now, I don’t have a 100% clear answer to that. But I think I figured out a few possible reasons for that.
Maybe I don’t share my sorrows because I don’t want to look weak, or maybe because I don’t want anybody’s sympathy. God, I know I hate that when people say ‘oh poor you’, ‘don’t worry everything will be fine’ and other such well meaning stuff which are probably said out of genuine concern, BUT no, I don’t want it. I don’t want to be the sad, hopelessly depressed soul who people start ignoring and avoiding after a while, coz ‘oh she’s such a drama’ or ‘oh she’s such an epic bore’, or ‘poor thing, she’s been through so much, no wonder she’s so sad’. No, certainly not what I want.
Because you see, I really believe that some fights are personal. Some battles are best fought alone. Just like the good and evil are always at war inside us, so is the happy and sad. And just like good triumphs over evil, on the days or moments, when that happiness triumphs over the sadness…..well that’s a battle well fought and won. And each such moment, when I choose to keep aside the sadness and decide to BE happy (not fake it), it’s definitely worth celebrating. To pat and tell myself ‘Girl, you did well!!’. It’s like a party thrown by me…For Me!! After all, who can understand you better than yourself? Who can really push you and be your biggest motivator? YOU!! 😀😎
So for the outside world, I’d rather be the gal with the cherubic smile. The one who’s fun to be around. The one with no worries. And maybe eventually, I will BE that person. FULLY.
We’ll see how that goes.
Here’s hoping. 😀😀
Ps. All images are from Google.
Edit: seeing the comments, I should clarify..my mom in law understands my need to do this myself and we are totally cool. We immediately patched up and are back to chit-chatting, including some family gossips 😜😛😂