Fragile

The idea of boundaries gained a lot of favour in the last decade. For a generation ravaged by economic meltdowns and the cultural volatility caused by connectivity, it seemed important to move to some kind of structural safety. We were (and still are) otherwise living in schedules with no day, week or timezone reference points. We’re surviving cultures caught between outdated traditions and imported, alien rituals. Boundaries are our way of rebuilding the rudimentary structures of our identity, our community, our goals and purpose. I say rudimentary because these are the rough stone pile versions of a need that was earlier fulfilled by concrete tradition, cemented rituals and brick-hard roles. Yes, we need boundaries.

But also, we need to learn how to build them better. I find people militantly imposing boundaries the way they would stockpile ammunition. They ration the time they ‘allow’ people. They hoard empathy, doling it out in strict transactions. How can love, relating or for that matter, conversations flourish in a world governed by wordcount or a metered clock?

Boundaries were meant to be holders, not fortresses. A boundary that is bloodied is a warzone. So lashing out, being harsh or cold is not a boundary, it’s a defense mechanism. A boundary is a line in the sand, not a line of fire.

I think it’s a mistake to tie one’s identity to one’s boundaries. You are not just what makes you feel safe. The comfort zone is a waiting room at best, it’s not your entirety. If you define yourself by the outer layer that carries you, you limit yourself.

Boundaries that are too rigid become the outdated structures that our generation worked so hard to dismantle. Boundaries must be porous, fluid even. After all, we are all evolving and life is ever changing.

Skin is a good boundary. It stretches as we grow and it adapts to new conditions. It is as alive and changing as every aspect of our selves and life around us. Stay safe but also stay alive. You can only do that by letting yourself be touched by air, heat, water, food and other people.

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BOUNDARY The idea of boundaries gained a lot of favour in the last decade. For a generation ravaged by economic meltdowns and the cultural volatility caused by connectivity, it seemed important to move to some kind of structural safety. We were (and still are) otherwise living in schedules with no day, week or timezone reference points. We're surviving cultures caught between outdated traditions and imported, alien rituals. Boundaries are our way of rebuilding the rudimentary structures of our identity, our community, our goals and purpose. I say rudimentary because these are the rough stone pile versions of a need that was earlier fulfilled by concrete tradition, cemented rituals and brick-hard roles. Yes, we need boundaries. But also, we need to learn how to build them better. I find people militantly imposing boundaries the way they would stockpile ammunition. They ration the time they 'allow' people. They hoard empathy, doling it out in strict transactions. How can love, relating or for that matter, conversations flourish in a world governed by wordcount or a metered clock? Boundaries were meant to be holders, not fortresses. A boundary that is bloodied is a warzone. So lashing out, being harsh or cold is not a boundary, it's a defense mechanism. A boundary is a line in the sand, not a line of fire. I think it's a mistake to tie one's identity to one's boundaries. You are not just what makes you feel safe. The comfort zone is a waiting room at best, it's not your entirety. If you define yourself by the outer layer that carries you, you limit yourself. Boundaries that are too rigid become the outdated structures that our generation worked so hard to dismantle. Boundaries must be porous, fluid even. After all, we are all evolving and life is ever changing. Skin is a good boundary. It stretches as we grow and it adapts to new conditions. It is as alive and changing as every aspect of our selves and life around us. Stay safe but also stay alive. You can only do that by letting yourself be touched by air, heat, water, food and other people. ๐ŸŽถ: FRAGILE: STING #theideasmithy

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Island

I am not made for distances and arm’s lengths and fleeting glimpses through windows made of wood or bytes. When I love, it is tangible and solid. When I love is also a where.

I’ve been feeling disconnected from the city I’ve lived in my whole life. Now understand this is the same as my saying I’ve been feeling distanced from my body. Or disengaged from my thoughts. I’ve been feeling the way empty air probably feels when the shell around it cracks and crumbles away. The moistness, the humidity, the pungency, the saltiness of being held and beheld – where is one and who is one without it? I don’t know.

Two things happened this month, both on whim, which is itself a foreign inclination to me but what is foreign and what is natural when one is not a being or even an existence any more? Two times, whim struck me like a doorway that hadn’t been there and suddenly appeared. Both times, I walked through it.

ONE, I saw an Instagram post by a blogger acquaintance I’d met briefly years ago, about a city walk. I just picked up the phone and dialled a stranger and asked if I could join them. And then I picked myself up and walked into a part of the city I’d never been to before. And out there, the tumult inside died away. Out in the big city, I found my quiet again.

TWO, I woke up from a medication-induced haze to a world of hate & anger. I made myself sit in the place of slowness and peace I’ve looked for all year. Then I heard that my counter-city, the one that feels most like my foe had been silenced. And I was seized by something. Rage? Worry? Solidarity? I don’t know. I just opened the door and walked out and into a crowd that flowed from the train, swelled to a throng, the sound of feet becoming voices, angry but never violent.

The first time I stood away from the crowd, realising fully the water borders that make this city an island. The second time, I dissolved into the crowd, understanding the land lines that represented power and anger.

Both times, the island and I became one. And just like that I am in love again. My city and I, we float. Always.

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ISLAND I am not made for distances and arm's lengths and fleeting glimpses through windows made of wood or bytes. When I love, it is tangible and solid. When I love is also a where. I've been feeling disconnected from the city I've lived in my whole life. Now understand this is the same as my saying I've been feeling distanced from my body. Or disengaged from my thoughts. I've been feeling the way empty air probably feels when the shell around it cracks and crumbles away. The moistness, the humidity, the pungency, the saltiness of being held and beheld – where is one and who is one without it? I don't know. Two things happened this month, both on whim, which is itself a foreign inclination to me but what is foreign and what is natural when one is not a being or even an existence any more? Two times, whim struck me like a doorway that hadn't been there and suddenly appeared. Both times, I walked through it. ONE, I saw an Instagram post by a blogger acquaintance I'd met briefly years ago, about a city walk. I just picked up the phone and dialled a stranger and asked if I could join them. And then I picked myself up and walked into a part of the city I'd never been to before. And out there, the tumult inside died away. Out in the big city, I found my quiet again. TWO, I woke up from a medication-induced haze to a world of hate & anger. I made myself sit in the place of slowness and peace I've looked for all year. Then I heard that my counter-city, the one that feels most like my foe had been silenced. And I was seized by something. Rage? Worry? Solidarity? I don't know. I just opened the door and walked out and into a crowd that flowed from the train, swelled to a throng, the sound of feet becoming voices, angry but never violent. The first time I stood away from the crowd, realising fully the water borders that make this city an island. The second time, I dissolved into the crowd, understanding the land lines that represented power and anger. Both times, the island and I became one. And just like that I am in love again. My city and I, we float. Always ๐Ÿ“ธ: @mumbaipaused ๐ŸŽถ: HOW LONG WILL I LOVE YOU – Ellie Goulding #theideasmithy

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If you liked this post, youโ€™ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. Iโ€™m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and Iโ€™m on Twitter and Instagram.

We All Need Validation

Why did this turn into a bad word? Human beings have always been social by nature. This includes needing to feel seen, heard, acknowledged, cared about. Neediness is the excessive form of this, which yes, is toxic. But it’s not the needing that’s a problem, it’s the imbalance.

We are told our self-esteem must not depend on other people. It must also not rely on what we earn or what we own. And we must find peace & joy in the lives we live. This translates to settle for callousness, never call out exploitation, do not expect kindness and further, paste a smile atop it all. Dissatisfaction is a reminder of how we fail each other. So the cruelty-as-inspiration school of thought relies on shaming a person for having needs, when needing is a sign of being alive. I reject this.

I like being liked. I find joy in shared delight and in relating. Yes, it is succour and support. In contrast, I find myself struggle when I feel disliked, hated, unsupported. My efforts are around making a more comfortable, inspiring life for myself and the people I care about. I reject most labels but this, I embrace. I am defined by my willingness to care for and about other people. This includes allowing room for people to participate in my story. It involves trusting that humanity is larger than my self and has a role for me. It means to let love play a part, not hostility.

I matter enough to myself to let other people matter. Because I share a planet with 7 billion of you and it’s too burdensome to live it pushing all of you away.

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WE ALL NEED VALIDATION Why did this turn into a bad word? Human beings have always been social by nature. This includes needing to feel seen, heard, acknowledged, cared about. Neediness is the excessive form of this, which yes, is toxic. But it's not the needing that's a problem, it's the imbalance. We are told our self-esteem must not depend on other people. It must also not rely on what we earn or what we own. And we must find peace & joy in the lives we live. This translates to settle for callousness, never call out exploitation, do not expect kindness and further, paste a smile atop it all. Dissatisfaction is a reminder of how we fail each other. So the cruelty-as-inspiration school of thought relies on shaming a person for having needs, when needing is a sign of being alive. I reject this. I like being liked. I find joy in shared delight and in relating. Yes, it is succour and support. In contrast, I find myself struggle when I feel disliked, hated, unsupported. My efforts are around making a more comfortable, inspiring life for myself and the people I care about. I reject most labels but this, I embrace. I am defined by my willingness to care for and about other people. This includes allowing room for people to participate in my story. It involves trusting that humanity is larger than my self and has a role for me. It means to let love play a part, not hostility. I matter enough to myself to let other people matter. Because I share a planet with 7 billion of you and it's too burdensome to live it pushing all of you away. ๐ŸŽถ: EXPRESS YOURSELF: Madonna #theideasmithy

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A Box of Pain

Pain can be addictive. Science will tell you that your brain releases a tiny amount of dopamine each time you feel pain (perhaps to help you weather it). Dopamine, that pleasure creator that is responsible for our taking action towards a reward. But also the one that keeps us addicted to things we know are bad for us because we’re chasing how it feels when we get hurt. The high of pain.

I think we all know deep down, that labels are painful boxes to stuff ourselves into. Maybe we’re chasing the comfort of a womb or maybe we’re after how good it feels to hurt.

As someone with a certain intelligence, who has consistently made bad choices with people, I can only say. Don’t beat yourself up for this. A love bite is also a bruise. Forgive yourself for needing some pain. Go easy on yourself if you associate hurt with love. Relax when you find yourself chasing patterns you know will cut you. Don’t hate this part of you. Because it is you as much as the intelligence, the sensitivity, whatever fog the dopamine puts you in, even the dopamine itself. And self-hate brings on no dopamine highs. Only despair.

This helps me. Go out into the vaccum, not back in a box. Let the labels fade. Let the sharp words, the defined voices die out. Let it fog, let it mist, let it all blur. Fall into the craving without feeding it pain. Watch yourself hunger but don’t allow yourself to bleed. Feed just enough so the wanting doesn’t become pain either. Find your breathing without the hacking. Your sleep without the dreams.

This is bearing witness to your pain without being caged by it. Pain can be fascinating to watch, even more than it is to feel it. It will pass. The pain, yes and the wanting too. This time.

I can’t guarantee that this will cure your pain addiction but at least it’ll be a time you didn’t imbibe. One day at a time. One nap at a time. One breath at a time. One blink at a time. Choose yourself boundless, over a box of pain.

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A BOX OF PAIN Pain can be addictive. Science will tell you that your brain releases a tiny amount of dopamine each time you feel pain (perhaps to help you weather it). Dopamine, that pleasure creator that is responsible for our taking action towards a reward. But also the one that keeps us addicted to things we know are bad for us because we're chasing how it feels when we get hurt. The high of pain. I think we all know deep down, that labels are painful boxes to stuff ourselves into. Maybe we're chasing the comfort of a womb or maybe we're after how good it feels to hurt. As someone with a certain intelligence, who has consistently made bad choices with people, I can only say. Don't beat yourself up for this. A love bite is also a bruise. Forgive yourself for needing some pain. Go easy on yourself if you associate hurt with love. Relax when you find yourself chasing patterns you know will cut you. Don't hate this part of you. Because it is you as much as the intelligence, the sensitivity, whatever fog the dopamine puts you in, even the dopamine itself. And self-hate brings on no dopamine highs. Only despair. This helps me. Go out into the vaccum, not back in a box. Let the labels fade. Let the sharp words, the defined voices die out. Let it fog, let it mist, let it all blur. Fall into the craving without feeding it pain. Watch yourself hunger but don't allow yourself to bleed. Feed just enough so the wanting doesn't become pain either. Find your breathing without the hacking. Your sleep without the dreams. This is bearing witness to your pain without being caged by it. Pain can be fascinating to watch, even more than it is to feel it. It will pass. The pain, yes and the wanting too. This time. I can't guarantee that this will cure your pain addiction but at least it'll be a time you didn't imbibe. One day at a time. One nap at a time. One breath at a time. One blink at a time. Choose yourself boundless, over a box of pain. ๐ŸŽถ: HAND IN MY POCKET – Alanis Morissette #theideasmithy

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Beautiful

Do you remember when beauty was joy? Shiny objects, pretty colours, soft textures, nice smells.

I remember being so thrilled at the very sight of a brand new pack of sketch pens. The symmetry of each pen, identical but in different colours. The uniform ridges on the white plastic covers. The smooth transparent packet they came in, with a barely visible flap folded over, still allowing one a view of colour. I loved being able to see. I still do.

But I find, my sense of joy stuck in my gut. I now have words and form to give to that feeling. But there are layers of foreign things these words have to go past. I am realising the world does not like beauty. And I’m part of that world.

Beauty doesn’t always inspire joy and exhilaration. It provokes envy. It triggers resentment and rage. It instigates a desire to sully, to destroy. I see it in the vicious words about celebrities. I read it in the defacing of monuments. I find it in the demolishing of lovingly created structures. I notice it in the misogyny of most men towards most women. I even find it in the self sabotage of relationships that were thought to be beautiful.

Maybe as we got older, beauty became something we thought we should possess. Maybe we feel ugly for not having our personal label on beauty. Maybe the inability to own beauty inspires these destructive responses.
We forgot that beauty exists only in the eyes of the beholder. As soon you look away (to price tags, to labels, to flags, to things that assert ownership), it stops being beauty and just becomes an object.

If a flower blooms in a world with no birds, no insects, no lovers or poets anymore, is it still beautiful? No, it’s just a vessel of reproduction for a plant. Pluck it off that plant, bind it in plastic and paste a label on it. Have you become the custodian of beauty? No, you’ve just become the owner of something that will die soon and leave behind trash.

Don’t lose your source of forever joy in the quest for ownership. Your witnessing is what makes beauty, beautiful. Enjoy it.

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BEAUTIFUL Do you remember when beauty was joy? Shiny objects, pretty colours, soft textures, nice smells. I remember being so thrilled at the very sight of a brand new pack of sketch pens. The symmetry of each pen, identical but in different colours. The uniform ridges on the white plastic covers. The smooth transparent packet they came in, with a barely visible flap folded over, still allowing one a view of colour. I loved being able to see. I still do. But I find, my sense of joy stuck in my gut. I now have words and form to give to that feeling. But there are layers of foreign things these words have to go past. I am realising the world does not like beauty. And I'm part of that world. Beauty doesn't always inspire joy and exhilaration. It provokes envy. It triggers resentment and rage. It instigates a desire to sully, to destroy. I see it in the vicious words about celebrities. I read it in the defacing of monuments. I find it in the demolishing of lovingly created structures. I notice it in the misogyny of most men towards most women. I even find it in the self sabotage of relationships that were thought to be beautiful. Maybe as we got older, beauty became something we thought we should possess. Maybe we feel ugly for not having our personal label on beauty. Maybe the inability to own beauty inspires these destructive responses. We forgot that beauty exists only in the eyes of the beholder. As soon you look away (to price tags, to labels, to flags, to things that assert ownership), it stops being beauty and just becomes an object. If a flower blooms in a world with no birds, no insects, no lovers or poets anymore, is it still beautiful? No, it's just a vessel of reproduction for a plant. Pluck it off that plant, bind it in plastic and paste a label on it. Have you become the custodian of beauty? No, you've just become the owner of something that will die soon and leave behind trash. Don't lose your source of forever joy in the quest for ownership. Your witnessing is what makes beauty, beautiful. Enjoy it. ๐ŸŽถ: THE GIRL FROM IPANEMA – Antonio Carlos Jobim #theideasmithy #SoulfulAcceptance

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I Wear: A Bengal Summer

I’ve been waiting all winter for the hot, sunny days to return because that’s what feels most natural to me. It may have something to do with the fact that I can breathe better in warm weather, can swim (which always keeps my mind & body healthy) and don’t have to struggle with fabric allergies along with usual food and respiratory allergies. It’s COTTON SEASON again!

The saree is a Bengal cotton handloom, of the kind of delicate lightness only that state knows how to craft. I thought it deserved the traditional drape as well. Accessorised with wooden earrings & bangles. I hope I can also borrow the badass attitude from my Bong sisters.

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When A Writer Chooses Boundaries

I have been quiet, of late. Conversations felt overwhelming, hurtful and most of all – dangerous. This is the fallout of engaging with people who are angry. Angry people are destructive people. Even self-destruction has a massive fallout radius. And anger, yes, is the most common emotion that people express, online and offline.

Many of us have never learnt how to manage our emotions. I am still learning. Disappointment is a normal occurrence in urban living because of the sped-up pace and throning numbers. And it seems to morph into fear, that emotion that triggers the primal fight/flight response. And thus, the default of living is attack, denial, withdrawal, lashing out, outrage – all aggressive acts of dealing with reality.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to survive this. I know a few people who are relocating to other cities. I don’t think this actually escapes the issue. I also know a handful that are trying to build lives in quieter, less urban spaces. But human living shifts towards the urban for several reasons and it doesn’t seem sustainable to escape it. What would I do in a place that had patchy connectivity? How do I deal with growing health issues that depend on the complex healthcare system in cities? How safe would it be for a woman who has only ever lived her life navigating urban dangers like robbery, sexual predators, corporate exploitation and white collar crime? I don’t think ‘getting away’ is an actual feasible option.

I’ve lived my whole life believing that I should not be a burden or have a negative impact on my surroundings. And that the world will function and life will be good if I do so, no matter how difficult it is. But this makes me vulnerable to those would prefer not to do so themselves. This includes people who will not take responsibility for their own responses (“I am angry/struggling/deprived/sick so it is okay for me to be destructive”). It is also people who pin the blame for their bad feelings on other people. It is those who associate justice with revenge. It is people who value rage, one-upmanship and dramatic gestures (no matter the cost) as victory. Is it possible to completely cut off people like this? I don’t know.

I’m pondering the word ‘boundaries’ that is coming up often in conversation. As with any other popular word, I see this one also being hijacked to suit the above agenda. But it feels like a powerful idea. I know it is intended not as another rage-weapon, not as another excuse to shirk responsibility from one’s responses. I think it is supposed to build your own immunity to external vagaries (whether it other people’s toxic responses or situational disappointments).

So how does one establish healthy boundaries? I feel like this means I have to examine where I am vulnerable and understand why. This is why I’ve been quieter. Going into different situations, watchful, examining what hurts and what comes up.

I realised that I already knew, even anticipated beforehand how people would hurt me. I learnt that I prefer flight response. And when I didn’t flee, I was confronted by violent responses couched in convincing justification. I was stuck here. The negative responses of people I cared for, didn’t hurt beyond a point, because I’d learnt to insulate myself in a cocoon of logic, feeling superior to those who were messy with their reactions. I did not want to do this. I did not want to feel superior (because it’s a form of distancing). I did not not want to continue hurting. And I didn’t want to cut out every close association in my life. I feared it would make me cynical and the belief that all human relationships would be that way, would take root.

I received help when a friend pointed out that I was building justifications for people’s reactions myself. I’d become adept at building coherent stories explaining (to myself) why people behave badly with me. This lesson hit me like shell-shock. I don’t want to be good at letting people hurt me.

But two writers’ meets this month brought another realisation up. I’m good at building a story. It’s silly to treat this as a weakness. I create stories and can choose the good ones. Stories that empower me, stories that keep me honest, stories that build empathy bridges between me and the world. In the past year, I’ve focused especially on keeping what I say online peaceful and positive. And it has been noticed.

But I cannot do this in isolation because even a writer is not making something out of nothing. We work with our observations and emotions. I need positive reinforcement and I need reminders of where I do not need to expend my efforts. This can only happen in conversations.

I had a revelation today that I must write. Often, daily even. Writing is how I have made sense of the world, since I was 9. In my teens, when it felt unsafe to share this process, I wrote in secret diaries. And later, on my blog as an anonymous ‘IdeaSmith’. The reactions stung but I was able to distance them when I shut down my computer.

But in the recent years, I’ve come out (a decision I took under duress, preferring to own my narrative rather than be outed). It’s easier for external things to disrupt and poison my process of making sense of the world. But I must believe that the years have also brought me strength and sense. When I refused to flee, I found people’s monstrous reactions were just that – monstrous reactions. These did not have to do with me.

I’m holding on to that thought to find my way now. Maybe the first lesson of healthy boundaries is choosing not to fight or flee. If that works (and it has so far), the next step is disregarding the temptation to engage. This means not attack, not freeze out but detach in a peaceful, non-dramatic way. I do this online by muting trolls or simply stepping away from conversations where the other person is clearly not listening. Because I have decided rage reactions are not my world and so that is not about me.

My physical health has always mirrored my emotional state. I’m still struggling with allergies (which I know now are hypersensitivity to upsetting things). I wake up every morning barely able to breathe. And the company of some people, being in certain places brings on a new bout. But I’ve been taking a few minutes away to focus on my breathing and get it back to normal. It has a way of calming me. In the worst of those attacks, I’ve also had to take the next day off and stay in bed. But I’ve allowed myself to admit that these have been misbehaviours on people’s part and it is not for me to build a justification. I get better after that. And I think I’m getting better at doing this too.

At my writers’ meet yesterday, I spoke about how I felt stuck in a rut and wondered if I had anything new to say. But I think not writing is not a choice for me, which must mean I still have things to say. I’ll figure it out, one word at a time.

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If you liked this post, youโ€™ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. Iโ€™m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and Iโ€™m on Twitter and Instagram.

Flying Solo

We live in a time of believing that life owes us something and that other people exist to give it to us. But life is full of unfathomable randomness. There really is no gameplan. No such thing as an equation that balances out neatly. No certain reward for specific actions. No guarantees. And also, no you-targetted agenda. None of us matters that much. The universe is too large, too bountiful, too complex for it to revolve around us.

And the things that hurt us, that impede us, that scare us, these are occurances in our personal journeys. Some of us like the idea of this being part of a larger tapestry, a story and each occurrence being a plot point. The only trouble is forgetting that the story is of our making, a net we are trying to cast over the watery illusion that we get to have a say in how things go.

I don’t think anyone else truly has an answer to the questions burning foremost within me. What will happen next? How can I avoid pain? Where am I going? And most important of all – Who am I?

Faith is a useful tool in navigating this scary journey. I struggle with more traditional faiths, given how they’ve been turned into instruments of violence and politics today. But the fact remains that one needs to believe in something in order to live, to truly experience that thing called living.

I choose to place my faith in me, the best possible idea I can conceive of me. I choose to believe that what I build in my head is righter than what anyone outside me can imagine. I choose to invest my energy in what I build inside my head. I choose to keep it clean and safe and wholesome. I choose to prioritise it over external noise, over fashionable traits, over the majority opinion. I choose to commit to it feeling like home always.

I have to choose and keep choosing choice also. This means letting go of the luxury of blaming other people, luck and other things. This means no crutches but no cages either. I choose to believe in flight, to want it and to reach for it.

I choose to fly.

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FLYING SOLO We live in a time of believing that life owes us something and that other people exist to give it to us. But life is full of unfathomable randomness. There really is no gameplan. No such thing as an equation that balances out neatly. No certain reward for specific actions. No guarantees. And also, no you-targetted agenda. None of us matters that much. The universe is too large, too bountiful, too complex for it to revolve around us. And the things that hurt us, that impede us, that scare us, these are occurances in our personal journeys. Some of us like the idea of this being part of a larger tapestry, a story and each occurrence being a plot point. The only trouble is forgetting that the story is of our making, a net we are trying to cast over the watery illusion that we get to have a say in how things go. I don't think anyone else truly has an answer to the questions burning foremost within me. What will happen next? How can I avoid pain? Where am I going? And most important of all – Who am I? Faith is a useful tool in navigating this scary journey. I struggle with more traditional faiths, given how they've been turned into instruments of violence and politics today. But the fact remains that one needs to believe in something in order to live, to truly experience that thing called living. I choose to place my faith in me, the best possible idea I can conceive of me. I choose to believe that what I build in my head is righter than what anyone outside me can imagine. I choose to invest my energy in what I build inside my head. I choose to keep it clean and safe and wholesome. I choose to prioritise it over external noise, over fashionable traits, over the majority opinion. I choose to commit to it feeling like home always. I have to choose and keep choosing choice also. This means letting go of the luxury of blaming other people, luck and other things. This means no crutches but no cages either. I choose to believe in flight, to want it and to reach for it. I choose to fly. ๐ŸŽถ: EVERY DAY IS A WINDING ROAD – Sheryl Crow #theideasmithy

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If you liked this post, youโ€™ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. Iโ€™m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and Iโ€™m on Twitter and Instagram.

I Wear: My Tribe Identity

About 10 days ago, I returned to the site of an early trauma. I was doing this because I thought it was the only way to reconstruct my narrative (in simple words, create a new habit of how I responded to attack). It was an unnerving experience, with bullying, ganging up and slut-shaming (for my saree-wearing). But this time I was able to discern how it came from people’s limited ways to express themselves & relate to each other. I was able to walk away rather than internalise the hate piled on me as I used to, when these people last knew me.

That doesn’t mean the burns didn’t sting for awhile. Over a week later, I found myself thinking more than I have in recent times about whether I should wear a saree or not, considering the level of hate it attracted in that week. I finally went ahead with it, albeit very nervously, my delay making me late for the writers’ event I went to, with Ms.Shanta Gokhale.

I’m glad I did, anyway because it was a reminder of where I find my true tribe, my identity and my home. It’s with other people who love words and stories. It’s other women who persist in the face of gendered aggression, but in steady, non-combative ways. And it’s with people whose lives are filled with purpose, rather than self-loathing and misplaced hatred (which is what all bullying is).

This is what I wore. Mom called it ‘a freedom fighter look’ which made me . Later in the evening, a reader commented “Aren’t you one though? You are always ready to fight for our rights as humans.” Another person in an unrelated conversation on the same day, called me one of the most empathetic people on Twitter. Both of them were balm for my emotional bruises and they helped me articulate why I like sarees. It’s because the saree expresses the feminine and the individualistic with strength and without aggression. It feels right so it sits right.

#IWear: South cotton ikat saree with a cotton peasant blouse & obi belt. The necklace is a 25 year old minakari set that wasn’t very expensive even back then.

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If you liked this post, youโ€™ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. Iโ€™m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and Iโ€™m on Twitter and Instagram.

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