Life, Women

My Vagina Has Enough Strength.

MjAxMy1iNjk5YTgxZmJiNzNkNzAzTo say that being politically correct in this generation of micro-second information-driven people is an understatement. Mind you, political correctness is not just a term that talks of educated and literate individuals, but also people who may not have the privilege that we do of increasing our knowledge. It ranges from being able to offend the “least” number of marginalised communities when you talk to your friends, to also taking a stand when your Dad says “faggot” one too many times at home. Needless to say, all of us end up abusing, insulting, and facilitating a further alienation of a significant percentage of our 7 billion population, which includes people who are homosexual, who are non-white, who have physical or mental disabilities, who are elderly, and who are female. Yes. It is women I am talking about (if it wasn’t obvious enough).

I don’t need to “grow a pair” in order to get over my social anxiety. I am not being a “sissy” by choosing to not drink tonight with my friends. I am not going to “man up” to get on top of my class academically. Basically, I DO NOT NEED A PENIS TO BE POWERFUL OR CONFIDENT OR COURAGEOUS OR BRAVE OR BELIEVE IN MYSELF. I have heard this, read this, and also, unfortunately, been a party to this misogynistic culture of promoting the penis as a symbol of strength and force. Not anymore. I do not agree with any part of it, because I have seen men run away from problems and I have seen women fight for what they believe in, even if it means putting themselves on the line. We’ve pushed you out of our bodies, men. What are you so entitled to with a piece of meat between your legs?

I am not here to emasculate you as men or to make women feel superior, but to make you aware of the language and values that you hold, and share with people, that propagate a sense of inferiority and helplessness when it comes to women. Women have been fighting for their rights to be seen, heard, and understood as equal human beings as men have always had a natural privilege of. Women have worked with, nurtured, prioritised, and encouraged millions who are related to them, but often with no recognition of her importance. Women have been on the back-burner for way too long, and every time they speak up, they are harassed, threatened, raped, murdered, burned, sold, married off, beaten, violated, or shot. Women have been silenced all throughout history, and by using slangs like “don’t be a pussy”, “have some balls”, “sissy”, “bitch”, “cunt”, or “whore”, we are dehumanising them and silencing them further. Why do you want to target them? Why do you want to make yourself feel better by putting women down? Why don’t you use a penis as a slang pejorative for someone who is considered weak or powerless or a mere sex object?

I have a vagina, and I am very proud of it. You should be, too. For me, it has enough strength to take out an entire human being, to fight for my rights, to punch bullies, to work towards my dreams, to be who I am, to be fearless, to be independent, to be powerful, to laugh, to cry, to support myself and my parents, to love, and to be brave. My vagina is courageous enough for me. I will not insult it by slangs used by ALL of us in our daily lives, and by letting people get away with it because it is “just a joke”. Call me butt-hurt (I know “meninists” and “feminist haters” already are saying it in their patriarchal minds), but I will not let you go unless you understand the sentiment and importance behind it. It just doesn’t make sense to be one of the thousands who support misogyny through their vocabulary, and then also be a hypocrite and say: “You can’t insult women. They are equal human beings.” So the next time you want me to be brave enough to face the crowd, tell me: “Ipsita, why don’t you just believe in your vagina?”. Maybe then I’ll set the stage on fire.

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Life, love, relationships

Crush On Whoever You Want.

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You fall in love with someone who doesn’t even know you exist, or maybe with someone who acknowledges your presence but that’s all the recognition you will ever get. You are not in their phonebook or Facebook friend list, but you spend time trying to figure out whether they’re single or not, where they live, what they like to do, and what their Instagram profile is like (if you’re lucky and it’s a public profile, that is). All of this for what? For a foreseeable future where you “might” bump into each other at the local shopping mart and just “hit it off”? Honestly, I don’t know what drives us to do that, but something does. I would know, because I’ve spent the better half of this year getting to know and be close to a guy I have a crush on.

My story goes something like this:

I was in my college’s dance society, and went around participating in University competitions. One fine day, I sit down in the audience and watch a dance troupe of engineering boys perform on stage, and my heart melts away when I catch sight of the guy I have liked ever since. With all my inhibitions taking a back seat (without alcohol, surprisingly) I send a message on Facebook to their admin, and get a response that he isn’t single. My stomach churns, and I give up. I wish it ended right there, but it didn’t. A week after my courageous online enquiry, the guy I like himself sent me a message on Instagram, and, well, that was that. My heart skipped a million beats, my legs couldn’t stop hopping from one spot to the other, and my mind couldn’t really process what just happened. Since then, things have been fun. Although we aren’t on the road to being best friends, he made me feel like I wasn’t out of my mind to like him, because, of course, he has a girlfriend. And I know I’ve made peace with the fact that he isn’t going to be mine, because their photographs do not make me sad, but happy. So, one crush done and dusted. And I don’t regret a second of it. 

If you’ve never had a crush like this, I suggest you go out and get one so that you know how it feels. I am not joking when I tell you that every Snapchat notification of his or social media post used to make my hands shiver. I had to take a time-out to let my brain come back to its normal form after turning into complete mush in a matter of seconds. I liked every post he ever put up, I waited for him to text eagerly, I made sure my hair was in its best natural way when I sent a photograph across. I did EVERYTHING. It was always the little things that reminded me that life was too short to think of what the other person would or would not say. Had I NOT texted their Facebook admin, he would have never gotten to know that he had a fan-girl sitting in every audience he ever performed in front of. Had he NOT texted, I would have never thought that the day would come where I would actually share a couple of beers with him.

Do not listen to what the World has to say. If you base your life completely upon the opinions of your parents, friends and acquaintances, you won’t be able to live. You won’t be able to take the risks that you want to take, or pursue the dream that you have dreamt for YOURSELF. It is tough enough to live in a place which puts labels on everything it sets its eyes on, from “gay” to “ugly” to “impossible” to “whore” to “desperate”. Don’t let them put you in a box. Don’t just be a category. Love whoever you want to love. Get hurt. Get back up. Dust it off. And begin again. Don’t stop. Never stop.

love, relationships

Social Media Makes Break-Ups Harder.

I wouldn’t kid myself and say that breaking up is not painful. Whether self-initiated or from the other side, it is going to sting like a you-know-what. 3 months or 6 years, the impact will be the same. You will feel hurt, angry, confused, frustrated, helpless and directionless. No matter how much you deny it, you know that if you loved them with all that you had, you are going to hurt ten times more. What doesn’t make it any more easier is scrolling through your Instagram feed and coming across their face. Again.

For a solid minute, I just stare at my screen. Completely zoned out and falling down my own rabbit hole, to a third person it would look as if I had forgotten how to function. Then, after life slips in through a back door, I ask myself: “Should I like it, or block them, just for a little while?”. It took me more time to press the virtual heart button and scroll on than it took Trump to make anti-“everything rational” statements as the POTUS, I kid you not. After holding my breath for a few very crucial minutes of my life, I let go. I thought the whole point of breaking up was that you wouldn’t have to make tough decisions about and for someone you used to love anymore. Heh.

I did not have the ideal break-up thrown at me. It was a heat-of-the-moment thing, that finally boiled down to a permanent halt to our relationship. It has almost been a month now, and I am still figuring out how well it has worked out for me. As much as I would love to show the World a smiling face, there are certain things I just can’t fake, and breaking down from within is one of them. I loved as much as I could and for as long as I could, but something inside me knew that it wasn’t meant to be. We had our good days, but our bad days did not give us enough hope to hold on to. Whatever the case may be, if a relationship runs its course, please don’t hang onto it and kill yourself little by little. It honestly isn’t worth it.

As far as the pop ups of their posts on Instagram or Facebook are concerned, the mature way to handle it would be to do something that is congruent with what you feel. If you do not want to, do NOT pressurise yourself to like them. If you want to, go ahead. What they will or will not think is not something that you, unfortunately, would know. Take it one step at a time. Yes, more often than not, we do end up blocking the other person in hopes of hurting a little less. The choice is yours. How, when, why and by whom the relationship was put to rest decides the future path of your communication with them. There is no right or wrong decision here.

Just put yourself before them. It is about time, you see.

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Life, Uncategorized

Your Pain Is Important.

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More often that not, I realise that I am upset. For the last few days, I could feel my heart sink within my chest cavity because I was taking care of a litter of puppies, and 3 out of the 6 had died in a short span of 5 days. A few nights ago, I caught myself hiding a humungous tear because a friend of mine told me I was not worth his time. To sum it up: yes, my New Year hasn’t been off to the greatest start.

I have tried to avoid my sorrow, but the only way I can deal with it is by facing it. What I did not anticipate was that, when I would share my problem with others, a few of them would tell me that there were bigger problems in the World than my broken relationships or the pups I buried.

I say: NO.

No. My problems are as important as the matters of National Security that the President has to deal with.

No. My pain is as pertinent as that of the doggie who lost 3 of her kids.

No. My insecurities are as valid as your broken promises.

No. You cannot tell me that my troubles don’t matter.

They matter to me. They make me who I am, and, sometimes, they hide underneath my skin, slowly tugging away at my soul.

Own your flaws, and conquer your fears. But be proud of all the tears you have ever had to shed. Crying is not a weakness. Breaking down is not “crazy”. Hurting yourself is not a joke. Tearing your hair out is not just erratic behaviour. The people who tell you that there are bigger problems than yours, are not doing you any favours. So what if there are? Is that going to help you stabilise yourself? Is belittling your own conscience going to help you feel better? It will NOT.

Everybody preaches that each and every human being should be respected for who they are. Well, broken or not, you are still you. Your scars are you. Your love is you. Your happiness is you. Your sorrow IS you. Do not think that your problems are trivial. Do not push your pain back into the closet.

Believe me, it is already full and it is waiting to be cleaned up.

lessons, Life, love

Priorities Matter.

The thing about people is: they will never fully satisfy you. They will never be the prototype of what a perfect person should be like. They will never be the only person you want to be associated with. They will never make your dreams turn into reality. Well, that’s okay, because perfectionism is something you strive for in your summer holiday project and not in relationships. The only thing that, for me, makes or breaks a relationship, is effort.

You will DEFINITELY meet two kinds of people in your life: people who try and people who do not try. You may like hanging out with both the kinds, but you would want to call up only the former when you are down. That is the case with me, at least. Even if I go out with 10 people  in one go, there will only be 2, or maximum 3, out of those 10 who actually mean something to me. For me, quantity was always more important than quality for a very long time, but, as time went by and I became more aware of my own needs and aspirations, I understood why it was the other way around that was necessary.

I have had expectations built up and destroyed time and again, but I have always forgiven the ones who tried to make things better. I have decided to not do the same for the complacent ones. They add no value to my life. They will butter me up by saying that I am their priority, but alas! It is me who ends up trying to hold things together, while they are happy with not lifting a finger. They suck up my energy and drop me down the rabbit hole, and say: “You need to lower your expectations.” Yes, from you, sure. I don’t expect anything from you anymore, because to expect is to hope and you are hopeless. I don’t expect remorse from a irresponsible jerk, and I don’t expect understanding from a juvenile freak. Honestly? I don’t expect you to ever be better than me, and I am proud of that fact, because I have been beat down time and again, but never once was I convinced to change myself to impress a superficial person like you.

Precaution is better than cure.

You are the disease with no cure. So I am going to go ahead, leave you behind and save my own self.

Life, people

My Life’s Course.

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Human beings are the most complex species I’ve ever encountered (not that I have come face-to-face with a lot of other mammalian species, but you get it). For me to understand the nitty-gritty details of how to lead a good life, it’s overwhelming, and more often than not, quite disappointing.

Growing up, and I think I speak for all of us when I say this, I had a perfect vision of what my life would be like. Good education was not really a priority when I had to choose between homework and playing with my Barbies, but a perfect life, for me, was a handsome husband, a beautiful house, two adorable kids and a white picket fence. No jobs or politics or relationships or exams to worry about. Just follow the script from all the cliched movies you’ve ever watched, and it will land you where you always wanted to be. Well, as it OBVIOUSLY turns out, that is not the case at all.

My bubble burst when I was 14 years old. Dating a 7th grader, I didn’t know any better than to start planning out my entire life with him. Fast forwards a couple of months, and we’re broken up. Why did we break up? Was it because I thought I was better than him? Was it because he wasn’t what I wanted? Do you really think I was smart enough to know the answers to all these questions? I broke up because the people I was surrounded with interfered. They said things, did things to make me see what was wrong and what was right. But I was immature to go with what the World had to say. That made me a different person.

When I was 18, I fell in love and got my heart broken a couple of times. I drowned and surfaced over and over again, until my lungs gave in a few months ago. I didn’t want to come up. I wanted to be there, in the agony of the water filling up my lungs, and I wanted to experience the worst life had to offer. I didn’t rescue me. Nobody rescued me. That made me a different person.

A year later, I am still indecisive about love. I don’t know if I should love too much, or pull myself back a little. I don’t know if I should let go of the afflictions of the past, or hold on to them just a little longer. I don’t know if I should depend on people, or try standing up on my own emotional two feet. I don’t know if I will ever be able to be happy for an entire day, or if I’d prefer going through each day with a mask on my face to hide my fears.

I don’t know.

I’m still learning. I’m still growing.

No love lost. No love found.

society, Technology

Our Instant Need.

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“I don’t want to look at my phone anymore.”

My thoughts every time I wait for a text, staring at the screen, analysing how much time the person on the other end takes to respond after being online for almost half an hour. They’d never know that I am sitting with such thoughts in my mind, because who wants to sound like such a nag?

Is my worth in somebody’s life equivalent to the time lapse between a text sent by me and their response? Is my importance gauged by how many photographs my partner has put up with me on Facebook for the (Virtual) World to see? Is my amicability measured by the number of people who text me every day? Insanely enough, yes. That is what I think these days, because that is all people seem to care about.

As much as I am grateful for the technological advancements we have made as a species, I am also afraid of all the pitfalls they bring with them. One thing that I’ve learned the hard way is that, with instant communication comes instant need. The need to always stay in touch, or the need to know what is happening in another person’s life, or the need to solve arguments in the absence of the person. What happens when your need gets thwarted? You feel like you don’t belong, that people are too busy for you. This “need to be needed” is an epidemic which does not have a cure.

For me, a text message is not just a message communicated via a medium of technology. It has become a life-or-death scenario. “Why is she not replying?”, “Who is she talking to?”, “Why does this always happen?”, “Should I talk about my insecurities?”, “Do I sound like a drag?”. As if matching up to the physical, emotional and psychological demands of the society were not enough, now I have virtual expectation of myself, and others.

If you know what I am talking about, I am sure you would be as afraid as I am about losing your mental peace over this. To some it may seem like an individual problem, but believe me, it’s not. I know people myself who constantly worry about not getting messages or getting responses too late. It’s not a mental illness. It’s just a dangerous trap laid by us, and we have to learn to tip-toe around it without hurting ourselves.

Coincidentally, as I write this, I am waiting for a text myself. I feel myself letting my energy get sucked out by, what? A text that isn’t even real? I know the aim of advancing technology is to make things more accessible and easier for us, but I am an old school girl who would prefer letters or flowers or something tangible to be a part of my reality. I don’t want long, tedious texts of apology that don’t even mean anything; I want to feel your remorse. I don’t want promises of video calls or FaceTime to get me through my day; I want surprise visits. I don’t want love to be uploaded on Instagram with meaningless hashtags; I want you to feel the moment with me.

It may seem like I am an anti-technology person, but I am not. I am typing on a laptop. I use a phone everyday. I surf the Internet. I am a habituated user of technology. Dissing technology is not my aim. My aim is for you to stay connected not only to the outside World, but to your own feelings and senses. I would always love the sight of old letters, coloured with the past. I would always be in love with the “lost art” of making conversations. I would always prefer meeting a new group of people than uploading photographs on Snapchat of the dinner I just finished.

You are your own responsibility.

Your happiness is your own responsibility.

The honest truth is that if you were important enough, people would make time for you.

Live for yourself. Learn to take in the moment, instead of losing its beauty by trying to capture it.