The Invisible Man

He has always followed me. Everywhere. Everyday. Every moment. For 19 years now and who knows for how many more. Now, he is nothingness, a non-existent entity, an irreplaceable permanent hollow in my heart, that no one can fill. No one. Never. Ever.

I remember his voice, his laughter, his handwriting, his kind, green eyes. I also remember how it felt to hug him, the excitement of receiving his letters and the joy of seeing him in person, as I felt the lump in my throat knowing he would leave in another 10 days. Time must stop. I remember how hard it was to see him off at the railway station, holding back my tears as I waved him goodbye, putting up a fake smile, for he had told me it would be painful for him to see me cry. I remember the ghastly absence I felt after I returned back home from the railway station, not knowing how to process this pain I felt and only knowing it will be a long long wait until the next time I see him.

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19 years back, this wait turned permanent, along with a lot of other feelings.
Pain.
Loneliness.
Melancholy.
Lack of faith in people and relationships.
Suppressed, exploding anger.
Absence of happiness.
Fear of rejection.
Hopelessness.
Guilt.
Insecurity.
Feeling of worthlessness.
Longing to feel safe.
Not having a sense of belonging.
Confused sexual feelings.
Need to build survival mechanisms.

Life became a performance there on. An act of hiding my pain from people. The constant exhausting marathon of running away from loneliness and worthlessness.

He will always be the most endearing invisible man to me. The never-ending search for his presence leaves an unavoidable void in my heart. I still feel caught in time. Only this time, time has stopped. I still mourn his death. I also mourn my stagnated emotions, unprocessed pain, undissolved anger, unexpressed love, masked fear and sense of fulfillment.

The Black Sheep in My Family

At the risk of generalizing, Indians love worshiping their parents. Parenthood has turned into a mindless glorified festivity. You cannot question, argue, reason, debate, converse, convince, disagree, disapprove, stand up to them & still love them. There is a certain choice you make – please them & be unhappy yourself or disagree with them & you are on your own. The socio-political-finacial aspect of this relationship cannot be ignored. Y often says, the underlying question always is :

Are you ready to be the bad person?

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I don’t want to get married this way. I don’t want to study engineering. I don’t like these relatives. I am not religious.

2014-06-16-lifetoddler5 It is important to humanize parents. They were kids once. They have their own set of experiences & biases. And they are not always right. The nature of obligation & guilt is complex and it is difficult to identify it and separate it from a parent-child relationship. It is important to understand the role of power in this relationship. No one has been able to escape these vices, no parent either. Age & education doesn’t necessarily have an effect on these –

  • Pride
  • Ego
  • Maturity
  • Opinions & perspectives
  • Principles & political views
  • History, culture, society, heritage
  • Acceptance beyond disagreement
  • Love beyond conditions

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Am I ready to see them as people and not as someone larger than life?

Yes, I don’t exactly idolize them.

Am I ready to help them understand that I am an individual with opinions & ideas?

I have often told them about my opinions & they more often disapprove. I haven’t succeeded at making them understand.

Am I ready to argue, debate, disagree, reason with them & help them accept it?

Yes, I always do this & get rejected in return.

Am I ready to do the right thing, even if it means my parents might abandon me?

Abandonment is a slow & not so obvious process. And it has already started for me.

Am I capable of loving them as people?

I am not sure of this and still figuring it out. I sometimes like to imagine meeting them outside family and that gives me some clarity on whether I like them as people. I instinctively feel protective about them & sometimes understand where they are come from but I would like to give myself the choice of not liking them. This choice is often followed by guilt.

How important is choice to me?

I am very democratic in nature. Choice is extremely important to me. I need a detailed argument to convince me otherwise. Force hasn’t worked well for me. 'One day when you write your book you'll thank me for this'

What does my family mean to me?

Y & me & little M. We have together set up an environment for ourselves in which rationality, objectivity, freedom, choice, health, respect, empathy, sensitivity, love, peace, productivity, honesty, equality & growth are extremely important. Shame & violence are highly discouraged. Us & this space that we have created for ourselves is family to me.

What is the role of my parents in my life?

Not exactly role models but I crave for for their approval & I know I am emotionally dependent on them.

Am I helping them grow? Or have I given up on their capacity to grow?

I have partially given up on them. If I don’t see them change in the near future, I will most likely give up on the remaining hope.

Do I see growth in our relationship or has it stagnated?

Stagnated.

How far am I ready to go to work it out with them?

I am convinced that honest conversations haven’t worked well with them. I think I have exhausted my resources to work it out with them.

If it isn’t working out, am I ready to go my separate way?

It would be a huge struggle for me but yes I am ready.

How far am I ready to go to defend my sense of freedom?

Being the black sheep somewhat relieves you of your fear of abandonment. It is liberating in a way. Sense of freedom & choice are equally important to me. 359-black-sheep-lemming

What if I don’t love my parents anymore?

I wont deny the possibility. Will work on accepting this feeling and keeping my distance.

Do I love them or is it my fear of abandonment?

Both. Fear of abandonment is an equal part, won’t deny that.

How do I deal with my anger towards them?

Anger always finds it ways, however hard I try to suppress it.

Am I ready to forgive them?

Ideally, I would want to. But their ego & adamant behaviour puts me off all the time.

How will I deal with their death?

I believe honest & sincere conversations are the only way of resolving issues. Death makes you feel lonely & sad but it doesn’t bring you forgiveness. Unresolved issues get buried and keep living in our thoughts. Closure is a life long process. Sometimes, talking might not yield results, but it will surely bring you closure. I can still live with closure.

What happens to my sense of belonging?

I have often struggled with my sense of belonging, be it parents, family, society, culture, nation. Sense of belonging comes with certain stereotypical attributes attached to it. I feel caught in these attributes. Not belonging is often perceived as a sign of arrogance. ME_122_Parents