2019 Rewind

On 31st December 2018, I picked Tarot cards with one of my best friends. The cards told me I will:

  • Get out of my comfort zone and creative rut (did that when I quit my job of three-and-a-half years)
  • Take care of myself better (did that when I finally decided to take medication for my depression and anxiety), and
  • Find love (LMAO)

I am here a decade after I started this blog. I was 16 and blogs were cool then. People actually read stuff on the internet. Cute. Today, I am 26 and sitting in my bed, doing exactly what I thought I would be doing at this age — living in Bombay and getting paid to work on the internet, a little less depressed.

Of course, I have new problems now. I am out of love and I crave intimacy. I don’t feel physically healthy. I feel like I should be taking better care of my finances. I feel lost at my job that in a new industry that I didn’t dream of being in. It’s not ideal. But I keep thinking to myself about how I just don’t have the problems I was begging to be rid of at the beginning of this decade… or even at the beginning of 2019.

It makes me… grateful.

It’s been 10 years since I started noting down what I learned at the end of the year and it made me laugh when I read what I had taken away from 2010:

You are eventually stuck with yourself. The saddest worst and happiest best of yourself is revealed only to the self. No one can or should get that. In a world where social networking is bringing the walls down, these simple things are like the room you can go back to and call Home.

It’s funny not just because I believe this even harder at 26 than I did at 17. It’s also making me smile because I haven’t believed harder in community healing than I do now.

India is on edge right now. Home doesn’t feel like home anymore because I don’t feel secure here anymore. In times like these, I turn to my friends and my chosen family to help me understand and process what is happening. We only heal when we build each other up. We have been torn down so much by the systems that generations before us built and here we are, bringing it all down. We have shoulders to cry on and shoulders to lift us up when we need it. None of this is possible in isolation.

I needed my friends and chosen family to be there for me to do that for me. I needed to do that for them to understand why we need it so much.

I have been lucky to have friends to call home in the last 10 years. Some friendships carried me through only the time that they were needed in my life. Some friendships lasted me so long that they’re now family. Some friendships lasted longer than they should have. But they’ve all taught me that I cannot do this alone.

Sometimes, you need help. And it’s okay to ask for it.

At the end of 2010, I also did not think I would be the kind of person to wear my heart on my sleeve and tell people I liked exactly how I felt. As anxiety-inducing as the moment, I have done it over and over in the last 10 years only to be rejected or to be met with an awkward pause and an “Oh.”

I did that again literally two days before I wrote this. I sent the risky text and threw my phone aside, crying. I was rejected again, sure. But I spoke to him. And as I did, I joked about how I’ve had a 100% rejection rate when it comes to telling people I like them.

And he said, “Sure, till you don’t.”

It struck me then that we, as a race, refuse to take risks when the rate of failure is as high as it is with dating. It’s a 99% failure rate. Till one person says yes.
And yet, we keep trying.

Even for someone like me who hates taking risks, I do this every time. And the more I do it, the more I am convinced that it’s the right thing to do. To just tell people how you feel.

Because all kind of love, whether returned or not, is worth the risk.

Take the risk.

And regardless of whether the cards were right, knowing you are deserving of a world of affection will get you just that.

I love you.

#4: Female Friendships

Why do you think female friendships have become so important now? Is it because we’re all fucked or because of social media?

Answer:
Historically, women have found solace in community. Often with my female friendships too, I have realised that reaching out when we need help has been the norm. When it comes to celebrating each other’s successes or walking each other through our failures, we have sought each other out.

I realised only very recently that this is not a gendered reaction.That means it is not restricted to women alone.

It comes from the idea of seeking a community with people who are just as oppressed. And God knows, women are. Women across the board and spectrum know what it’s like to walk into a room full of men and feel relieved at seeing another woman, because it gives us a sense of community and safety.

Disclaimer: Of course, my oppression is much less pronounced than someone from a marginalised caste, class, religion, POC, or someone from the LGBT+ community, for example.

In the last three years, especially, women have found this community on the internet. Whether it comes to memes encouraging friendship, bonding over the hatred of a white male narrative, our periods, or even when it comes to learning outside of our own bubbles of privilege, or talking about consent — women have found a way to connect across borders effortlessly.

The internet has made it easier for us to speak up with very little fear of consequence. In fact, in most parts of the world, women have used the advantage of anonymity on the internet to speak up against regimes and structural violence. While mainstream media stuck to male-dominated narratives, the internet offered women a chance to tell their own stories, thus helping build a network of more women across the world who could relate.

The internet has fostered a sense of sisterhood that mainstream media crushed by pitting us against each other. As the internet made sharing ideas more convenient, a lot of unlearning internalised misogyny led to women finding corners within themselves and with other women to heal from generations of oppression.

Women across the world have now just realised that building this community is only going to help set themselves free. Why be a lone wolf when you can be a pack sitting across the table from each other holding hands and saying, “I know everything sucks. Let’s bring this shit down together”?

To answer your question, the concept of friendship is not new. What is new is the celebration of it. What is new is understanding the depth of each of these friendships as a way of finding comfort when fighting against systems that were built to break us; and instead building systems that were meant to lift us up. Together.