When was the last time you were alone? With nothing but the distinct thumping of your heart, the ragged sound of your own breaths? When was the last time you realised even silence has a sound?
Society has romanticised the concept of being with someone to a stifling degree. It’s always made to be shown like you constantly need someone with you. Be it a lover, a friend, a parent, a sibling, an acquaintance - but you just have to have someone with you constantly. Why? Society forgets, that being alone isn’t the same thing as being lonely.
And it doesn’t stop there. You need to be able to hold a conversation well. You need to be abreast with current issues to sound intellectual. General knowledge ceases to be a thing of curiosity or keenness to learn; it becomes a standard for judging someone’s IQ. You need to be fun, interesting, goofy, witty, sarcastic, humorous; when did human interaction cease being natural and start resembling a job profile? Why do you have to know every current pop culture reference to “fit” into a place? Why do you have to always have a topic in mind to be with someone?
When did benefits of human interaction turn into criteria for choosing humans for interaction?
Stop trying to fit in. Stop trying to chip off the edge in you to conform to the old that society gives you. Stop letting the weights that life throws your way succeed in weighing you down, leaving you gasping and spluttering in the water, desperately trying to catch a gulp of air and getting a mouthful of salty water instead. Stop yourself from having to sigh as you type “yes” to a group outing while you’d really like to just stay in your pyjamas with a bag of greasy, salty chips and tie your hair up in a messy bun, the entire evening spent burrowed cozily in your blanket with some movie.
Be alone. Be with your own thoughts - an entire swirling galaxy of numbing thoughts and ideas just waiting to be heard by you. Be with the quiet of your soul and the raging inferno of your spirit - feel the pull between the two as the stretch makes you feel alive.
Look at the momentous times you’ve had - the time when you were with your friends and all of you were almost broke but chose to go for that movie anyway, because it would be the last day of college together, before you saw each other after a period of over three months. The time you couldn’t sleep at night because you were that moved after having watched Dead Poets’ Society, a lump in your throat as you tried not to cry after the film ended. The time you stayed up all night writing something because the bug in your head was too insistent to get rid of, your body humming with a tired ache, but your mind active like never before, the words rushing over each other to get penned down as soon as they could. The time you got a grade worse than anyone you knew, a sinking feeling of guilt settling in your conscience even as you couldn’t help but resent the happy faces around you, realising that they didn’t know what they had. The time you felt so isolated and excluded from everyone around that you didn’t mind stomping on your self-respect and ego repeatedly and appear chirpy and curious about their activities, the broad grin on your face just a cover for the actual hurt you felt. The time you pretended like you didn’t hear them make plans without you, despite you being a mere couple of steps away from them as you pretended to be busy on your phone just to avoid an awkward situation with them.
Realise what an insignificant speck of dirt you truly are in comparison to the vastness of the universe, nothing more than a wing of a mosquito compared to the gargantuan size of the universe. Realise how privileged you are to be able to have a roof over your head, a meal thrice a day, water that you can drink without the fear of falling sick, the assurance of proper medical treatment even if you do fall sick.
Realise what powers lie within you - be it the ability to dip a brush in some colours and bring a blank white canvas to life with myriad shades and hues being created by your hands. The ability to recognise the beats of a song and with some dips and turns of your hands or feet or hips, break into a scintillating dance sequence. The ability to reach octaves higher than most can, drop to a pitch lower than possible, to develop a falsetto almost as strong as someone’s real voice. The ability to put the thoughts in your mind to coherent words and pour them all out, a gushing waterfall of emotions each time. The ability to perceive the truth in someone’s eyes even if their actions speak otherwise, to be able to just sit in silence with someone and let them talk, be the support for their shuddering outburst of truth. The ability to be able to dispel any discomfort with some humour, to feel blessed to be the cause for someone’s laughter, someone’s joy.
The ability to be you. A privilege, an honour to have. One reserved particularly for you.
Seize that opportunity and live up to it. Don’t lose sight of the person your younger self would’ve been proud to emulate. Chase every goal you set for yourself. Stumble, fall, trip as you fail to do so. Dust yourself. Get up and run at it again.
Submitted by Ananya Bhardwaj