Thank you for the most weird ride. It started with not the driver but my number being shared with my co passenger who called me to ask me if I don’t mind waiting for the cab another 10 mins as he is at a cross road where a left would take him home and a right will take him away from his home. I couldn’t argue with the guy who randomly got my number from a company that promises me they will not disclose my number to random people other than the 10000 employees. So in the totally confusion I said fine just go home and then send the cab to me. Thankfully the driver came in another 10 mins and stopped another 10mins walk away. So I have to thank you for making sure I am fit and get some exercise. The driver was kind enough to follow directions but while talking to his girlfriend the whole 30mins ride. I have to tell you the poor guy is harassed by a friend for money and is bullied. I usually don’t like eves dropping but my phone’s full volume was not loud enough for the super high decimal he was at in a match box wagonr. Then came in my other co passenger who smells of gutka and booze so bad that I wished that the car didn’t have ac in Mumbai heat. That in itself is saying a fucking lot. Then mr. Co passenger upped his game by removing his smelly feet out of the shoes that he has worn till the 1st dinosaur was born on Mother Earth. So one side I had a teenager trying to up his game with his girlfriend by thrashing a competitor teen. And the other end was extortion call riddled with flowery language and a drunk friend who was partying. So I was analysing how god must me showing me what I felt 10 years ago and who I will be at 20 years ahead. So am eternally grateful for ola share for adding another existential crises to my already long list.
I like how we are very quick to categorise people.
Oh that’s a smart dressed person . .
Can I roll my eye enough at that giggly teen 3 tables away?
Omg! they can’t keep their hands to themselves, get a room guys !
90% people agree to have had these thoughts and the remaining 10% say they didn’t are lying.
It’s not even funny how these judgments creep up. How quickly we categories people based on one behaviour, one action or one choice.
I decided to take up the challenge to understand how judgemental I am. As a psychologist I am shocked at how many I have and how easily they surface.
I am taking the liberty to mention only those that made me cringe at myself and I am comfortable putting out.
The first one crept in at 10:00 in the morning when my client refused to confirm appointment. At first I was like typical Mumbai. Time here is always subjective. As each one of us has his or her own time which in most cases is always late by 15-50 mins.
So judgement- people in Mumbai don’t know how to follow or respect standard time
They say everyone deserve a piece of mountain top. Even in this city where one can’t find one’s own tree to sit under.. nor can one find a tree actually.
So I evolve… industrial revolution evolution, my mountain top is a rickshaw ride. This is where I take time off, plan my day and clear my head. Today as I looked out I saw a group of guys at the small smoke shop. One of the boys looked irritated and fanned the air In front of him when smoke blew his way. I smiled at the thought…, no starch that … I smiled at the judgement I passed. That’s a girly guy.
My judgment siren when ‘ eeew awww eeeew awww’ like a ambulance in traffic. I am a girl I like to smoke. Not liking smoke in your face has nothing to do with gender. I did cringe at this one. The smile faded. The feminist and non judgmental side of me was ashamed, clicked their tongue at me while nodding their heads.
This is how deep the ideas of feminism and masculinity are one action or one expression is enough for me to judge a person’s gender conformity.
My next judgement was a positive one but I would still prefer not to have it as a categoriser at all. A NGO that I consult for to establish a mental health Centre send in their co ordinator. So we could discuss some fine logistic details. In came a girl, crisply dressed and on time. I immediately liked her. We spoke not only about logistics and mental health Centre but soon about public awareness for our respective fields. The meeting changed to a casual comfortable chat.
My judgement here was – a well dressed punctual girl is smart. That judgement made me accept her and be less critical of her. Would I be the same to another girl who came in late with the hair in the air like I always wear mine? I would like to say yes. But I do know that’s a lie.
However, do we judge only others; fortunately and unfortunately no. As I was waiting for my last client to come in. I knew he wouldn’t keep his appointment. I began questioning my self. Maybe last time I made a reflection he wasn’t ready for. Maybe my style of therapy is not best for him. These questions and more quickly led me to pass the judgement, I am not a good adult therapist. This is my anxiety cycle with adults counselling. I get anxious- I tell myself I am not good at it – then I don’t believe in my skills- I refer my clients to someone else. So I never do well with adults and thus the self fulfilling prophecy fulfils itself.
I reach home exhausted and my pet jumps up and down with excitement and runs away to sleep. Quickly a magnitude of emotions jump up with Worry as their Commander in Chief. I ask my mom a list of questions and all of them in hindsight are blaming.
I asked her if she bath Ally (my pet) again?
Did she give that crazy massage again?
Did she carry Ally upstairs again?
After the fourth or fifth question my mind goes ‘ eeeew-awww eeeew-aaawww’ I see the judgment I have against my mother, that she will mess up.
So I ask her what happened to Ally why is she so sleepy? But I could see the damage was done.
Ally was just tired as she had gone to the doggy park and had ran for a good hour chasing other dogs.
Judgments are inherently interesting, but they do way more damage than good. While I was rereading or proof reading my rant, I felt that most of the paragraphs seems incomplete. I have left them unexplained or with no plan to combat them. Maybe on purpose so these judgments haunt me. Maybe cause I don’t have the answers to how to change them. Or maybe cause I believe knowing about them is half a battle won. Or maybe cause I am placing my faith on my internal red light ambulance siren to help me recognise them better and let them go through as soon as possible without causing damage.
They are not who you think they are,
not that you really give a damn.
Your judgements hurt people from the inside out,
but I guess that’s really all this life is about.
You play life as if it’s one big game,
but the consequences you create are never the same.
Everyone holds pain inside,
you’d see that if you really tried.
Judging people is pointless and cruel,
sometimes all it takes is a small amount of fuel
to make someone explode
or choose the wrong road.
One small word, harsh or kind,
Can work wonders to someone’s mind.
You can help them or destroy them,
crush them, or mould a perfect gem.
Build them up or break them down,
make them smile, make them frown.
It’s really up to you, and the choices you make,
So before you judge someone….
The word ‘Change’ gets the following response in my mind. “I HATE CHANGE!” I want to stomp my feet, puff my cheeks and pout with a growl like expression on my face. No I am not kidding this is exactly the reaction I see in my head, every time I hear the word Change.Like the movie Inside out, I picture tiny emotions people in my head. I have two very special characters. One is Anti Change, in a blue overall, which has stopped fitting long time back and is torn at various places. But no, Anti-change won’t bulge and change clothes. To top it of it is best friends with little miss Stubbornness, who is wearing a white dress which is now so dirty it looks black or brown.
The mess they create in my head with their friendship can be seen in my nightmares, restless sleep, ADHD and ridiculous lack of concentration.Don’t you dare ask me “ if you know what is causing you all this why don’t you just manage it?”
Because like really difficult children, nothing seems to work on them so far. Lets me list down what all has been tried to curb them so far.
Time out, I tired putting them both in time out, they played with my concentration pot and riddled it with holes of Self Doubt.
I tired Delayed Gratification, they retaliated by painting insecurities all over my dream wall.
I cajoled them with reason and logic, their Temper Tantrum’ed all through my Ability store. Now I can’t show my face there.
Like any parent with difficult kids, I have been giving a ton of well-intended advice on ways to manage them. From curb your Sugar intake ….( yes! Someone did actually tell me that nightmare and reduced ability to concentrate can be due to too much sugar/ chocolate) ….to….. Meditation. Did I use the advice? Well some of it at least.
Yes, I did reduce chocolate intake, not to save them from too much energy. Nevertheless, when you find yourself battling thoughts that provoke anxiety and play on existential fears, Chocolates and sweets do lose their charm.
I tired to ignore them, but they are like two gothic teens that have come to the exhibition, where you have exhibited the best of your abilities. All of which you have pain staking developed and build over all the years. You see them cruise through the exhibits ridiculing, insulting, criticizing each one of them and having a heart laugh. I fail to understand how are you suppose to distract your self. Its like telling a person, keep your eyes open but don’t see anything or stand in the middle of Sunburn music festival and not listen to music.
I did try meditation too; I put out scented candles, switch on soothing ocean music and tried to lock them up. I began clearing my mind of all thoughts… only to realize that now I can hear them, louder and clearer. Meditation is like giving these two a mike and podium to voice all their stand up acts, about my failures, short comings and anxieties.
I was also told, its just a phase, they will grow out of it, like American children they will move out soon. But what I don’t think anyone is understanding, is the fact that I am more worried about myself than them, I am more worried how will I be able to cope? Will I be able to build my Self Esteem Tower again. Will I be able to scrub all the Insecurity paint from my Dream Wall? Will I be able to get back on my Awesomeness horse, and ride into the dusk of Self Belief?
While I type all this negation and Self-Doubt, which is like feeding them more fodder for their next stand up act. I realised that the only thing keeping me sane and going, is consciously thinking about the other little people in my head. The tiny Achievement Pups, The Day Dreaming Boy, The (Future is Better) Optimistic Hobo, The Happiness Princess, The Caring Grandmother, The Memory Stall Vendor. Even though Stubbornness and Anti-change do take up most of my cognitive space, I know these other tiny people are also important. Especially, when they come up at least once a day, I know I am doing something right.
Exactly like the feeling parents have when they look down on sleeping children, thinking to themselves “No doubt they are difficult, but it’s still manageable.”
She sighed and wiped the tear off her cheek. Picked the baby up and asked her furry mutt baby to follow and walked with her shoulders squared.
Her four-legged baby kept eying her while walking in. Her god child kept her tiny hands on her cheek. She smiled and said “I love you too”
She looked around to look for the owners of the farm to tell them the good news. They had crossed their target of funds to raise by a phenomenal amount. She put the piece of paper with the amount of 1,39,45,678₹ in his hand with a twinkle and a mischievous smile in his hand. He looked at her puzzled and read the paper and his jaw dropped. He screamed an expletive and hugged her. Her mutt baby immediately barked as she knew her mother didn’t like tight long hugs, but he was really happy and she was uncomfortable but didn’t react. The baby wriggled and he let go. Joy and pride and fulfilment oozed out of his every pore. Words weren’t needed .
His wife walked in wondering what the commotion was all about I signalled him to keep it quite so the guest wouldn’t stop funding anymore. She was from a NGO she knew the money would be needed for one thing or another.
His wife and he hugged and kissed. She looked away. Remorseful. A tear slide down her cheek and she just hugged her god child close hummed a bit of ‘ in love with the shape of you’ sat down put her face on her dogs face and signed deep again. She let a couple of tears run amok before she squared her shoulders again. The couple looked at her confused. She smiled and said “happy tears”. Wondering if she had gotten better at lying or the only person who would catch a lie was the one she was missing the most. She could see his face questioning tilted to one side with an eyebrow raised. She should feel a smile on her face at that picture.
She looked up wondering why she had to lie. She should be happy. She just raised a phenomenal amount to help build a cattery, a free flight aviary and a beautiful barn, but most importantly her dream school for two and four-legged children. She should feel happy, proud that she could still achieve dreams. But the more she thought more the memory turned blue. She knew what she missed, she knew all she wanted was a hug from a loved person, his tiny smile that would reach the corner of his eyes. All she wanted was for him to be beside her. He wasn’t far he was a couple of tables away sitting with his colleagues.
She didn’t look that way. She just walked right up to her god daughter’s mom. Put the baby in her lap with a smile and walked right to the bar. Had a glass of wine just a sip and put in back.
Marched to the nearby table to make conversation and focus on being the host for the lovely fundraiser and see if she could damage their pockets more.
A perfect picture
A patch of shade Under a lush green tree Playing with fur and A chuckling toddler A perfect picture That makes me sad Cause not the kid Nor the furry dog Not the shade Nor the tree Not the love Nor the smiles Belong to me. Upset A tear sneaks away Sad The lonely heart aches As love not found For a long time Reeks of self-doubt And shame I want the dream I want my patch of shade Under a tree of love I need a home where I am loved