Sleeplessness. I don’t know if that’s the first thing you are left with when an epiphany hits you. But it’s happening. I guess it’s been unfolding these past few months. Or maybe even been calling out to me these last couple of years. But, you know, stuff happens, and you don’t realize that it’s all one sign after another. And then, one day, it gets triggered. There is no mirror around, but you see yourself. For what you have become. An aged, distressed, disaster laden picture of Dorian Gray.
There is this image we all have started carrying – our “social media” image. And in constantly trying to project it on the world, we start believing in it. We start believing in our supposed flamboyance, our supreme talent, our aspiration-worthy lives. But lurking somewhere in a corner of the heart, still not touched by the need to prove, is a picture that taints with every pretense, every lie, every projection. And then, one day, walking across the corridors of introspection, you stumble across it. You cringe and crumble. Because now you no longer remember what you used to be.
Whatever did I used to be? Where was I headed?
That’s epiphany. Or something like it. It’s late in the night, and I have so much to write. Maybe I am being foolish. Maybe masks are a way of protecting yourself. But from what? Or whom? And why?
So yeah. Whatever did I used to be?
There used to be a blog. It was called Life In 2 Suitcases. I wrote for no one there. I just wrote. There was no tainted picture back then. Just a sense of being in the moment. No masks. It was so liberating because no one was reading it. There were no PRs and Brands lurking to judge your traffic, your social media followers, your “influence”. I wrote with abandon, like a child born to a beach swims. No boundaries. Just inner worlds laid bare through words. And it connected me to people who did not care what I put there. It connected to the untainted parts within them.
Are you reading this? Do you remember what you were? Before every moment needed to be shared. Every coffee mug had to be beautiful. Every book had to show how knowledgeable you are? Every shade of lipstick had to be broadcast to your followers? Do you remember?
I once went for a walk when it was raining. Alone. Sat at Marine Drive, holding an umbrella, still soaking wet, and chatting up a tea-vendor. He did not ask me to review his tea, or give me a list of deliverables. And yet, did not charge me for that cup of tea. There really was no blog back then. Just me, that rain, and that moment.
So, there is this tainted picture. I tried to sleep. Tried for about half an hour. Or more. I don’t know. Felt like a long time. This endless void has opened up in my stomach. Past few years of living through other people’s expectations. Creating an illusion. Air kissing. Hugging people I don’t feel anything for. I could retch my entire insides out. But that won’t clean the picture. It will have to be done, though. I am not good with masks.
Anger. Denial. Pain. Envy. Feeling worthless. Knowing deep down you are worth so much more. Wondering how you ever got to this point where a complete stranger stares back at you in the mirror. Might be a great plotline for a horror movie, but just doesn’t fly well in real life. What the hell.
I remember. Maybe not what I used to be, but parts of how it felt. And it hit me today. It had nudged me ever so often in the past few months. But today, it punched me in the face.
So yeah. Redemption.