The Neurotic Me & The Wise Me

Neurotic
The Neurotic Me

Sometimes I feel my world is going to collapse. I will not be able to do anything in this life time, achieve anything in this life time. I would just sit gabbing and waste my life. There are times when I feel my time just passes away, without my control over it. A friend calls or a sudden work crops up, it is amazing to look back at the day and see nothing has been achieved during the day. In the earlier times my mother and my grand mother used to actively look into household matters. The spices were freshly ground, the food was well thought out, the family expectations were met etc. When I look at myself today I realize that, I am doing none of that and yet my day is filled with activities and I am tired at the end of the day. Tired at the end of the day literally doing nothing. This fills me with remorse for myself. This remorse transforms into creating excessive activities for myself and my children, where I am just engaged in dropping off or picking them up. At the end of the day I feel yes I am doing a lot and doing it all for my children. A feeling of gratification helps me get through the day.

However if this continues even for a week then I am again filled with a sense of ‘What am I doing with my life?”and I start looking for new work opportunities. And as if the universe is keenly listening to each word of my want, it opens up flood gates of work. Of course I am judicious about the work that I pick, so I take work as per my liking and appetite. As I start to work sometimes I realize, that it is getting too much and it requires me to be away from my family and friends for too long. Then I wonder what is it that I want…may be I just want a break. I would plan a break and in the break I wonder there are so many other things that I want to do. I sit and dream about my own enterprise, a school for children perhaps, or something that would make my life worthwhile on this planet. Writing a book or a series of books, creating a movie…so many thoughts crop up as possible options for a more purposeful life. But no, as soon as the break is over, my neurosis takes over and I am back to my daily grind and supper issues. However because I feel a little neurotic after a break I am ready to go on with life as it was earlier without any change until it is time for another break…

I have come to realize that the Neurotic me is just a part of me. She is a young mother and career woman around 30 years old and has a lot on her plate. Nothing she does is ever enough, she has no time for herself and lives in a constant struggle of achievement and purpose. She has difficulty resting and is scrambling from one place to another. After she has run around and complained about how tired she is, she sits down and rests her head on the study table. As she relaxes her breath becomes slower and rhythmic, a gentle snoring follows as she sleeps in peace for now.
———-

The Wise Me

As soon as the Neurotic me is off to sleep, the wise me wakes up and takes the mantle…

This constant struggle between the being and doing has manifested itself into the human world since time immemorial…animals don’t seem to go through this struggle…they can just be all the time. They act or do only when required. But humans have ‘higher consciousness’ and supposedly a ‘higher purpose’ so whatever they ‘be’ they can’t just ‘be’ for a long time….their neurosis would take over and they would push themselves to the brink of insanity to ‘do’. They would judge themselves, abuse themselves into ‘doing’…We judge our being all the time…even when we say we are celebrating our ‘being’. Celebrating our being is also ‘doing’ and neurosis is active here. We just keep getting better and better an conning ourselves into saying we are ‘being’ when we are actually waiting for finding out what do we ‘do’…

The real ‘being’ is devoid of explanation, it is devoid of illusion of any creation. Everything that had to be created has been created, nothing awaits your attention. The abundance is there, the life you want to live is there, everything that you wish for exists all ready….but we all are entangled in the illusion of our doing…our creation…our story…The lesson of our being is best learnt from the trees that surround us. They become a witness to our doing in their being.

There is and will be nothing truer than the being of a tree,
Knowing and experiencing that being will truly set you free.

Image Courtesy: http://www.magforwomen.com/

Bed Ridden Patriarchy and My Issues with Self Acceptance

Patriarchy

I am the eldest of the three daughters and was raised by a single working mother. Being independent is not only a value but it runs in my blood. I was raised to believe I am no less than a man and there is nothing I can’ achieve. My growing up years were filled with brawls with my school boys, self defense practice and studies for earning money while I was growing up in Mumbai. There was also something else, which I can’t forget, a lot of pity from people. People who believed that not having a father or a brother made us helpless and hopeless. So I took the role of the elder brother and my mother became the father. So in our family actually it was mother and elder sister who were missing. But I guess no one realized that.
I would bully any boy or girl who tried to patronize my sisters and also bully my sisters into doing what I wanted them to do. Me and my mother became the patriarchs. I also created new story about my family structure just to ensure that I was not pitied by the society.
I grew up to be extremely successful in a man’s world, I made money, travelled the world and most importantly I was considered powerful. Since success of a woman was equated with dysfunctional marriage or no marriage, I proved the hypothesis null and void by getting engaged to a successful man of the same caste belonging to a extremely patriarchal family approved by the patriarchal society.
Now I was one with the society, my close family and larger family was awestruck with what I had achieved. I was now a part of the society and was trying to learn its ways constantly. But I was still not sure which role I was in my family.
 Men will eat first, they need to be served, I need to wear a Saree and seek my in-laws approval, I shouldn’t sit on an equal seat as men…I started to mould myself to fit in. I was a coward trying to rebel from within my self, not knowing what is it that I looking for. I was torn.
My mother and sisters were shocked at my self transformation from a bullying teenage girl, to a powerful career woman, to a subservient daughter-in-law ( the patriarch in me believed, that is how it should be).
I became an unhappy and angry wife and started having issues with my husband. Latent anger and rage started affecting me physically and mentally.
In this story I am not the central character. The central character is my father-in-law the carrier of extreme patriarchy which took me 500 years back in human evolution. He and my mother-in-law became my teachers who helped me realize what I really wanted and what I will not accept.
My father-in-law’s conversations were degrading and disgusting. He spoke of women like slaves and objects. I started having deep feeling of abject resentment of myself when he was around. He would just sit or lie down the whole day, only getting up for his bath or defecation. During his bath or defecation the warm water had to be filled by my mother-in-law, she was an epitome of a great self sacrificing woman- always ready with “Garam-Garam roti”
Today after eleven years of my marriage my father-in-law continues to sit and order around while my mother-in-law serves like a chained slave. Now he believes that as he is growing older, she also needs to feed him, put water in his mouth, give him a bath and wash him after defecation. This man has no Physical issues, no diabetes, no heart problem, no cholesterol, no obesity. But my mother-in-law does whatever he expects her to do. It fills me with disgust when I see them in the act . I cannot relate with them. I do not want to relate with them, I seem to have come to my senses after many years of trying to learn “How to sacrifice self for others?”. It is like a cosmic jolt to my own camouflaging Patriarchy.
Who brought me to my senses? Do not be surprised, It is my mother in-law. These days every morning she comes to me with tears and pain in her eyes like a whipped animal, and says “Forty Four years, this man has ruined my life. God why don’t you just give me death.” This man calls her to serve him every five minutes, so she can’t be anywhere but near him. When he says “I have had a great life, I have done a lot for my sons.” I just want to shake him up with all my rage. This is a man who stopped working at the age of fifty and has been sitting or lying on his arse since then. He talks endlessly about morality and what a great man he his, how the coming times will be horrible, how the food we eat is horrible, how Mumbai will drown in a horrible Tsunami, how everything is horrible. This man for me is bedridden hopeless patriarchy within me, which is acting like a vegetable but its voice will be there for another twenty years, testing our hope for a bright future.
I have tried to detach myself from the voice but now I think this voice is my path to self acceptance.

I still don’t know what to do about my situation? but I know what to be….I will be myself, I will follow my instinct and wisdom in  my daily interaction. If I do not agree to any statement I would practice courage. Although I know I will get to practice a lot about self preservation and self growth while they are around….but I still want them to leave my space…NOW!!