This image I observed on Social Media is the reason for today’s post.The whole single – ready-to- mingle stuff. Why is there so much hype attached to it? If someone is single, people are always trying to set you up. People talk to you about :
-The security of a relationship
– Your biological clock
– having your ‘own’ family
– a home
– becoming responsible
And woe betide you if you are single and Indian and over 30! Book your package deal with a therapist because you are going to have serious confidence, self -esteem issues. Depression even. Apathy? That’s better than depression. Seriously.
But wait. Talk to people in a relationship (read marriage) be it arranged or self made – the list of complaints is not short either.
– I just don’t have the time for myself
– In laws, In laws, In laws
– What do you know about the pressures of raising kids today?
– I’ve been taken for granted.
– I don’t know who I am , really.
– My Hobbies? Interests? What? Are you joking? I have forgotten those long ago..
– Don’t tell my wife/ husband about my outing… Please!
– I have to buy a “responsible” family car not the snazzy one I’ve been saving up for
– Career of my choice? Can’t shift now. Too much depends on me.
– Aah.. those were the carefree days when I was single.
Sounds familiar? Well, I don’t understand. If you are single , you want to be in a relationship. If you are in a relationship you want to be single again. Or do you just want to be in that in-between- courting stage? What gives? Let me address each issue in the image above first.
1. I annoy people : Yes. I annoy people by being bold and standing up to them. I have thoughts. And opinions. Try to make me understand . I will respect you for that.
2. I am never anyone’s first choice : You might also not be mine. Wondering why Ms. PYTs Or Mr.Balloon bicep type seem to always find the right person, while you struggle? Funny, when you are strong…
3. I f*** shit up : So people avoid me, as they need someone to cover up for them, because THEY f*** shit up too.
4. I am just bad with relationships : People are used to others putting up with their idiosyncrasies, so when I tell it to them on their face, they feel they’ve received a slap. And I have received my share of slaps of this genre too. So, I am just as bad / or good at this as you are.
5. I am not liked : I have wallowed in this area for quite awhile. And I am not afraid to admit that. Everyone wants someone to love them and someone whom they can love, so where’s the question of like?- They wanna leapfrog that and go straight for the love part! And you are so brought up to be the person others like. Else you might be considered selfish. Well, I have just one bit of advice – Give as much as you TAKE!
6. I’m an ugly ass mother-f***er : Body stereotypes. The bane of our lives today. Who sets these standards? Blue eyes. Fair skin. Bronzed look. Long legs. Tiny waist. Short hair. Long hair. Curly hair. Curvy but not curvaceous. Swimsuit body. Be the natural you. Be physically and mentally strong. Respect the inborn strengths of your body. Ugly ass or not .. you will figure out.
7. I spend my whole life locked up in a dark room with food and a laptop : I think food and laptop are better companions than 90% of the people on the earth.
Not so much about the dark room.
And the rest?- books are a better choice! I wanted to use a lot of swear words here. Lalochezia and all that? Wondering what it is? Go read a book!
Coming back to the whole discussion about being single or otherwise. I have just one thought.
And then, for sure, it won’t be all paradise. Be prepared to work on it. Put effort. Shed some tears. Raise your voice. But if, at the end of the day – you feel safe in your head and thoughts and the opinions you want to voice. It is worth it.
GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn – REVIEW
What started as some in-flight entertainment, ended up being a book that scared me about the mind of people – men and women alike. For people who have already read reviews about the New York Best seller “Gone Girl” on Amazon / Good reads – would have seen words like dark genre, thrilling read, and etc .Here are my thoughts on the book.
THE PLOT : Perfect wife Amy goes missing on her 5th wedding anniversary, but only after having organized her traditional treasure hunt for husband Nick Dunne. Nick, the bored male in the relationship, out of a job as a writer, and barely supporting his family by owning a Bar (bought with his wife’s money) – is definitely not in a “ Happy Anniversary” place right now.
With Amy going missing, a nonchalant Nick is forced to turn his attention to her absence, rack his brains for information that would make look less a suspect in the eyes of law. A confused Nick who remembers the “Amazing Amy” he met and fell in love with – is forced to deal with her parents, news that she was recently pregnant, the media, flirty moms who want their share of media, his sister, and the police – all the time wondering – whether he should have put more effort into the relationship. The introduction to Andie – the 23 year old Nick has an affair with, makes us like him even less.
And then a U-turn, Amy is alive. Milking her disappearance to her benefit. Playing a game to send Nick a message that he cannot take her for granted. Or mess with her emotions. A game she has played before. She watches in perverse happiness as her carefully executed plot to frame her husband, unfolds. It is not justice she seeks, but control.
And as Nick senses he is being framed – he counters her every action through his. Some subtle power play and ego we read about here. Amy who is now in the clutches of her one-time stalker, carefully executes another sterile plan – that of murder. She returns home into the arms of Nick, with an effective fool proof story for the media. Cameras flash, the police are satisfied, and the case is closed. But Nick is not satisfied . Neither are his sister and a detective on the force. After all no one can plan a perfect murder. But Amy did. And got away with it.
And while we wait for Nick to be a normal man, who divorces his psycho wife and moves on with life – he stays in the marriage. Because Amazing Amy is pregnant. With Nick’s child. Yes, more devious planning to keep him in the marriage. Before you start sympathizing with Nick – wait to read his justifications and hers for keeping the marriage going. That is something I am not giving away here.
MY THOUGHTS : The book starts of in quite an average manner. Moderately paced, Nick and Amy narrate their versions – each person characterizing the other through their own experiences and emotions. You understand Nick through Amy’s eyes and vice versa. You empathize with both of them in your mind. The narrative keeps trudging along – you are almost bored with the detailed descriptions of their life events.
And then the author does a 180 and steps up speed. Suddenly you are thrown into the vortex of Amy’s brilliance, her cunning, premeditations and patience. Just when you want to support her for not taking the situation lying down – you are stunned by how affected a person can be when they place too much importance on their own emotions and ego. For Amy – till now an above average person suddenly progresses into an unemotional, manipulative person – efficient in planning to kill, be killed if necessary and to ruin people’s lives devoid of guilt.
I quote Amy’s thoughts from the book “I was told love should be unconditional… Love should require both partners to be their very best at all times. Unconditional Love is Undisciplined love …”
And in the words of Nick Dunne “ … I write down everything about her day, her likes and dislikes… I am a great husband because I am very afraid she may kill me. The fact is , my wife is a murderess who is sometimes really fun.
This whole scenario scares me and would continue to if the roles / gender were reversed. Is this a trend in today’s world? Nick and Amy seem like a normal couple who go through the regular hills and valleys of life. Is this how people think now? Are they manipulated to stay in their marriages / relationships? Would they want to kill / frame someone they loved before? Is it all about power play and being in control? Having the last word at all cost?
In a life where we don’t get to choose our families and our own genes – we do sometimes get a choice of our partner. Someone we think might grow to be our soul mate. Granted we are on our best behavior during the courting phase – that is but a normal reaction. We preen, we coo, we coddle, we exhibit the best side of us. But when you end up sharing mind space for a long time, physical space, or even room space – you are bound to let your guard down. You are just who you are.
You know that their best behavior did not last. Maybe it shocks you. Surprises you. Hurts you too a bit. But News Flash : Neither did yours. He picks his nose. You snore. He is sloppy Joe. You whine and nag. No one is perfect. You need not be. For that would be unnatural almost.
Its good not to take things for granted. But to pretend? Lifelong? Is that a solution? I quote the author’s words here :
“ We pretend to be in love… and it feels almost like love sometimes… Reviving the muscle of early romance”
Early romance. The key words here. That beautiful period of discovery. Euphoria and Peace. Fear and Courage. Talk and Laughter. What poets write about. What films are made on. And then it changes? Does it fade? Or change? Or grow? I have no answer.
In true style of the book – here is my Quiz.
If the period of early romance is so special, how do we make it last?
A) Experience the “early romance” with as many people and move on when it fades out?
B) “Pretend” to be in the “phase” with your partner for as long as possible?
C) Accept some changes as growth but keep some silliness going?
What would you do? Have you felt all the things that Amy and Nick felt? Its time to think. Before committing to a person, folks – wait to think. Am I in love with the person? Or am I in love, with the idea of love. Its not the same. At all.
For a person like me – where a book transports me to a different world, where I visualize the characters as someone I interact with or observe – it terrorizes me. Are people like Nick and Amy people on my Facebook List. My whatsapp groups. Do I know them already? I hope to God, I never have to interact with such people on more than a superficial level. Peace out!
In the past 4 months of 2013 – I have heard 4 similar stories , almost one for each month – that of estrangement of relations. One was between a very close brother and sister, the other between a mother and her son, the third between a girl and her long term love who married someone else suddenly, and the fourth a divorce. Most people exhibited common feelings of betrayal, confusion and anger. What I have attempted to do – as an observer -is to just filter out the top 3 feelings that I felt most of them encountered.
3. Ego – “Relationships never die a natural death, they are killed by Ego, misunderstanding and lack of trust” . Most of us would have come across this quote at some point. Most of the people I spoke to – lost out on a relationship, because they kept waiting for the other person to initiate a call, or apologize or something that they decided the other person must do or vice-versa. Needless to say, with this conviction grows a chasm too large to cross. Well, if you think the relationship is important – then the logic of fair/ unfair has to take a back seat. Bury the ego and save what is important.
2. Taken for granted –This was the other negative emotion that came up during most of my talks about relationships gone bad. Parents felt they were being taken for granted, same goes for wives, brothers , mothers… the person who felt victimized at the end of it. While most of them talked themselves into looking at it as the closeness or lack of boundaries that their relationship had erased, definitely felt used and felt that they had NO role whatsoever in the other person’s life. This feeling of pain and hurt was a trigger to ending the relation, or unwillingness to patch up the relationship. Nothing is worth your unhappiness. If you can, walk away before it causes you more pain. You have the choice. Chances are you will feel more relieved than guilty.
1.Lack of Self-respect and thereby low self-esteem–
This was the top emotion that came out during discussions. The feeling of estrangement and distance that one felt with a loved one, became much deeper when people viewed it as a lack of self-respect. They regretted the time invested in it, the mind share one devoted, the power you give a loved one over your feelings and emotions and how it felt when all these emotions were trashed by their loved one! And with it a lot of guilt. “Maybe it was my fault. ” “I am such a loser.” ” Did I not do enough?”
Well here is some good news.
Obviously dealing with a lot of negative thought can make you feel as though ,all these social and familial relations are just not worth it.
But a little distance between people, a few rules and regulations, and lots of comfort with yourself would probably help reduce the feeling of validation we seek from our close ones, thereby giving them infinite power over our happiness. A bit more self worth and a little less emotion – that should be the key to get out of this vicious cycle.
Best of luck all!