Something so wonderful about real friendships

Uncertain. Unstable. Unbalanced. Life’s full of these ‘un-somethings’ and it’s always going to be. It is not going to be what you thought it was going to be when you were 14 and all excited to come out to the real world and be free. In that process of growing up, in that process, in that excitement of wanting to live a life where you are no more grounded by school rules and you are allowed to roam around with your friends, you grow up and without realizing it, a lot of things change.

Do you remember when you used to hang out every day with your group of childhood best friends and maybe just have a cup of tea together and talk all day about anything and you felt happier than you ever were? And then suddenly you do not have time to do that because you have your own life and your career to look after. Your friends have probably moved to another city or another country or they have really hectic jobs, and so do you. And amidst the rush of trying to do better in your life, you feel lonely. You miss them. You miss how amazing these were a few years back. You come back home after a tiring day, and see a new picture of them on Facebook or Instagram – maybe with the group of their new friends, maybe it’s a really happy photo, maybe they won something on a competition or topped their class, and in that loneliness, you feel so proud of them. You feel so happy for them, and you know they are proud of you too.

Maybe the daily chit chats have turned into video-chatting once a month or shooting each other messages every time something exciting happens, but you know that your friendship is still real, it’s still strong. You probably only meet once a year, or sometimes, you miss that meet because of your own commitments, but you know that you are going to hug them and maybe shed a tear when you meet them because you have missed them so much. And in that hug, you realize that the friendship has not changed, it’s the same. Maybe you have made some new friends, and probably lost a few, and it has changed you but that friendship with the people who have seen you grow up from a cranky little girl to a crankier a-little-older girl, that friendship is special.

These people have wanted to disown in public because you embarrass them by talking too loudly or acting all crazy but instead, they act crazy with you. They don’t let you be alone. These are the people with whom you had all those serious talks about what you would do after your school was over. These are the people who know about all your stupid crushes, and flings and still don’t judge you. These people know you’re not feeling okay if you send a ‘hi’ instead of an over-excited ‘Helllooooo’. These people know your fears and also know why they exist. These are the people who were ready to slap the person who made you cry, and slaps you too if you were crying for the wrong person. These people are your real friends.

Maybe they are not with you right now, because you study in different universities, because you are in different cities or different countries, because you both have very hectic jobs. But, you know, they are there to pull your hair or sing a crazy song for you or just talk to you when you need them. These are real friendships, and yes, they exist.

Pratiksha Rajopadhyaya

Renewed hopes, and a little selfish smile

And then.. she decided to smile again. But this time, it was different. She smiled, not because her parents liked it when she smiled, not because her boyfriend thought she looked pretty smiling, not to make a lot of friends. She smiled, but this time, for herself. She smiled…. because she realized that she, like everyone else deserves to be happy.

She looked at those people who hurt her in the eyes, but this time, not with the feeling of anger or hatred or vengeance or anxiety. She looked at them, smiled to herself and felt relieved. Relieved thinking how she was happier now, – now she was open to positivity. The days where she locked down her own happiness for the happiness of others was gone. Because she didn’t have to please them anymore, neither did she have to hate them. She had moved on, and now she looked at them and smiled, in her heart, she told them, ‘Thank you’.

She thought about those scars left on her, – on her body, on her heart, on her soul. She remembered how she looked at them before, and felt the pain every time, every day. But now, the pain had healed and all she felt now was a breath of fresh air.

Now, she was free. She no longer had those pent-up emotions. She no longer felt sad or alone. She felt free, she felt happier. She realized that she had much more going on for her than she believed she had. She went back home to her dog wagging her tail at her, and her family sharing a laugh together, and somehow she couldn’t stop her tears. But those weren’t the sad tears she cried of loneliness, it was happy tears. The tears of hopes being renewed and positivity being bestowed. The tears were of happiness. And she was no longer scared of loneliness.  She, was now, happy. She was smiling, and this time, it was for herself.

Pratiksha Rajopadhyaya

Background noises.

I walk into my classroom and approach to talk to a person I feel most comfortable with, and the first thing that person says after seeing me is,
“Why are you wearing pink today? It is making you look very fat!”
Or, “Your boobs look really huge today, how many bras are you wearing?”
Or, “You look so dull today, didn’t you sleep all night?”

The normal reaction to all these harsh comments is probably a smile followed by a joke you make on yourself. Well, that’s what I do normally. I smile and let it go.

I am sure many of us have been through this situation where people comment on your behavior or the way you look or act and you feel very vulnerable, it breaks you down, it breaks your self-esteem. People don’t care about the constant battle you are fighting to love yourself no matter what, to love your body and to appreciate it. People don’t understand that maybe you didn’t sleep all night because you have been facing insomnia all your life, and what’s it like to have trouble falling asleep. People don’t understand that you stood in front of the mirror for so long just to make sure your breasts don’t look big. People don’t understand. All they know is to comment on you and then to expect you to be fine with those comments.

I grew up listening to all those comments about me being fat and dusky and socially-awkward. I, who used to a happy-go-lucky kid, started having social anxiety because of all those comments. It broke me down, big time. I lost the confidence to even go to a shop to buy something I needed. I started staying up all night thinking about how I was going to face those people again the next morning. Before I knew it, I became an insomniac.

I have always let people define me, I have always measured my self-worth on the basis of people’s opinion about me. When I was in seventh grade, one of my teachers told me that I was talent-less and I believed him, I didn’t believe in myself, I only believed him. One of my friends commented on me saying I chew too loudly and I stopped eating properly every time I was with that person. But as I reached that moment of clarity, I realized that those comments do not matter, they are just background noises. And if you choose to unhear it, it’s possible to actually unhear it.

One fine morning, you are going to wake up, and what that girl said about you looking fat, it’s not going to matter. You will realize that you have so much potential stored in you and those background noises can not stop you from achieving your highest potential.

I have realized that my relationships do not define who I am. Its me who is going to choose who I want to be. I love my body, regardless of the fact that I am fat or thin. I have a curvy body, and I love it. I accentuate my appearance as it is, and its upto me if I want to change the way I look. Nobody can tell me to do it. I am the writer of my own story.

I know, many people growing up feel the same way that I do. They diminish their worth for others which is not worth it. I did the same thing and the only thing I achieved was feeling bad about myself. So, to all the young people who are facing the same things I did, I suggest you to love who you are. Those comments are eventually going to fade in, and you are going to come out a stronger person. So, take your time, reflect on it, and love yourself, every version of yourself.

Pratiksha Rajopadhyaya