Ever traced your way back to how you met someone? How the conversation began? How slowly they became a part of you? Well, here’s me tracing my way back to a general meet…
Have you ever seen a kid with a lollipop? No I’m not talking of how adorably she looks at it. I’m talking of the moment it falls off her hand. And that my friend, is her little moment of heartbreak. She’ll keep staring at the fallen candy for as long as she can, trying to relieve the remnant on her taste buds, wishing she was little more careful while handling it. You can always buy her a new one, well, it was just a lollipop. But she’ll take some time before accepting the new one, feeling guilty if it would be okay to let go of the earlier, fallen friend of hers…
Stupid, isn’t it? But if you think closely, we all behave the same way as the kid. Maybe, we don’t really grow beyond that kid version of us, or maybe we are afraid none of the candies would taste like this. I’m not exactly sure which it is. With age, it is just the lollipop that changes to toys, books, people; the behavior remains the same. Maybe because we feel that this toy, this book or this person is the one we belong with and we are afraid, we may never find another one like them…
When we first meet someone new, the hi-hello episode, I think it’s full of enigma. We try to put forward the best picture of us. It’s like going out for a party- the best dress, the matching shiny shoes, the perfect hairstyle, the perfect make-up to cover up your scars( it’s not time yet you see! ). You have to create the perfect façade, show that you are happy and contented with what you have, enjoying your own company. Smile often. Sit properly. Appearances, though deceptive, are of utmost importance. Somewhere we are accustomed to think that the beautiful is comfortable, peaceful. And the ugly reflects our inner self- confused, tired. We have been taught that angels are white, beautiful and comforting; the demons, well they are ugly, unfriendly, boring. So the bottom line is that the covers better be good, because books will draw attention to its story only when the covers are sparkling.
But let me tell you a secret; we all want to belong somewhere, with someone, who accept us as we are. You know what’s my favorite part about meeting new people? The phase after the hi-hello episode; when you slowly start feeling comfortable. It’s all a vibes game until then. There is always a fear working at the back of your mind. But the heart says, let’s give it a chance. You share your dreams, the big ones obviously (the small ones? Well it’s not time yet!); calculate the possible interpretations before speaking, wait before replying because you don’t want to sound desperate, looking for little details and remembering them. It’s a lot like standing at the door of a castle you haven’t been permitted to enter yet. So you just try to get a view through the half closed door. Little things. Anything. A glimpse of what is inside…
But days goes by and you are still stuck at the door. You do want to ask but that’d be too fast, too desperate. So you give up, and continue the hi-hello phase. The frustration, agony, unspoken words pile up at the back of your mind. After all you are on the verge of missing another story here.
‘Everybody is special, everybody is a hero, a lover, a fool, a villain. Everybody. Everybody has their story to tell…’
So one fine day, on some brief note, you get angry. Not because you are hurt but because you not are being let in and standing on the doorway is getting boring. Through those normal words, your anger peeps in; damn, you had been hiding it for too long I believe. So you shout out saying, ‘But you never tell me anything, how am I supposed to know!’
‘….I thought you’d never ask!’, would be the reply.
After that, well it’s a bye to the hi-bye phase. It’s like slowly crashing in the soft blanket, adjusting to its warmth. You slowly start shedding off that perfect façade- the heels give in to the flipflops, the dress gives in to the loose bermudas, the make-up gives in to the dark circles, the smile gives in to the weird faces. You start becoming vulnerable, weak, share yourself. You know you might regret it later, the brain flashes the memories of the previously failed adventure, the wounds still seem fresh. But the heart says, ‘It’s ok! I’ll catch you if you fall….’. So, you share that ugly side of you slowly, you know now you won’t be judged, you won’t be belittled. Instead, you might just get a ‘It is ok! There must have been a reason. Even if there wasn’t, it’s ok!’
That’s the thing about us humans, we have this never ending desire to belong. We are ready to go to any length for them once we know someone has our back. We want that someone, with whom at the end of the day, after taking off all the masks, we can just sit and sip coffee; you can talk little yet say a lot, because they already know the background story, so your jokes don’t fall flat on them. It’s the touch we desire; the one that makes you feel safe, you feel like you belong there! We crave for the one, to whom saying,’ I want you to stay’, won’t sound too desperate or weird…
But more often than not, we slowly scare people each other in the last phase. Maybe our demons are too ugly, too scary. Maybe our scars aren’t comfortable with each other, our insecurities choke each other.
You begin to crawl back into your shell, packing up to leave. Don’t fight it back. Don’t resist. Know that your stories were meant to diverge.
Collect as many memories as you can. Don’t look at them now. They’ll make you angry. Keep them away, somewhere safe. Divulge in the ’Why me?’ phase for now.
Time will pass, you’ll slowly let go of the anger. Open up the memories now. They’ll still make you smile. Give in to the urge to revisit the person or rather your version of the person. But do not wish to have them back. You’d only end up hurting yourself. Learn to feel at home with yourself. Know that there are no people. There are just stories; once the book ends, there is no way of knowing what happen to the characters beyond it….
So pick up another book, make yourself vulnerable again. I promise you are not the only one. Even the toughest person wants to tell their story. Give them your time. Show them that they matter, I promise it won’t be a waste. And if it breaks you in the end, know that you had dived too deep into the story, and lived for real!