33 years old and a 1000 years wiser. But, still a fool.

There it is. Another year gone. Last year I was ranting about how I had nothing to show for my 32 years. You would think I would have gone ahead and done something great, something extraordinary. But, you see, I am a normal person. Like everyone, I liked to think that I was special and luckily, like some of the smart few, I realized I wasn’t. I am a normal woman who wants a normal, happy life. A satisfying job, a happy family, healthy parents, time to spend with my child, a few loving friends who have my back. There! I am doing it again!! Why do we want this long list of things? If you are asked, “What is the one thing you really want? Just one?” What would you say? Don’t talk about money, love, family or world peace. Just one.

I want to be happy. Just. Simply. Happy. Doesn’t that encompass everything? I am happy if my family is happy, if I am loved, if I am wanted, if I have what I want and need. There are too many things. Things which might not be in our control. Suddenly it seems like a very tough thing to do. Almost unachievable. And that’s where we go wrong. Why overcomplicate things? Life is really long (thanks to the immense advancement of medicine) and we have a lot of time to get it all. And, you can get it all. I am not saying I am going to get that Corvette Stingray and a 6 bedroom villa in the Mediterranean. I might, and it will make me mighty happy. But, I will be happy enough in my 3 bedroom house with my i10 (an Audi R8 won’t hurt) It’s about the happiness. The feeling. Not the material things we would accumulate around us.
This is why I called myself smart. Because I decided that I am going to focus on being happy. If I am happy, I will keep others happy. I didn’t get this epiphany on my birthday last year. It was a few months later. On New Year’s Eve. Let me just say, I would have rather curled up in bed and spent the evening being lonely than what I did. I was trying to do something which I thought would make me happy. Which once, used to make me happy. That’s when I knew, that 2015 will be all about myself. I will do everything I have wanted to do. Well, not everything. You should see my profile on bucketlist.org. I would take 20 lifetimes and a 100 sugar daddies to do it all.
Of course I slipped up a few times. That just makes me human and a very normal one at that. I lost focus and got sucked back into the hole I was trying to claw out of. But, I am immensely proud of myself for getting up each time and trying to move on. It’s all about… Shake it off! Shake it off!
I didn’t wait. Did what I wanted to. Went and met some old friends. All of us have great friends who don’t live around us. And we tend to forget what an incredible support system they are. There’s nothing like a quick reunion or even a phone call to remind yourself how loved you are.
I went on a solo backpacking trip. Living with strangers. Living in a backpacker’s hostel. Meeting so many new people. Soaking in as much as I could. The year was all about vacations and new experiences. Which turned out to be my road to self-discovery. I learnt so much about myself. Broke so many myths and preconceived ideas I had about myself and life. Funny eh? We don’t even spare ourselves. Preconceived notions for self….
So, thanks to my focus on self and lots of other people’s focus on me (most of the times, not in a good way) I learnt who I actually was. I learnt what I was made of.
I know, you don’t really care about that, but because you have started reading this, please just continue. After all it’s my birthday and you wouldn’t want me to be sad, would you?
I am a tough, ruthless, mean person: Ahahahahaha. What a bloody joke! I am the biggest (not in size) softie you would ever meet. Yeah I am tough when I have to be. Mean and ruthless? Well, I can be if I am pushed too far. Who won’t? But, the fact remains that I am actually a total softie. Can’t see anyone suffering. I am the one who is a puddle of tears even while watching Hachiko or Titanic or Love actually or even I am Legend for the millionth time.
So, all in all I realized that I wanted to be all of this. Maybe because that would mean I was immune to hurt and pain? But, I am not and I am happy with it.  I am who I am. Pass on that bag of tissues please.
I am an extremely confident and strong person: I always thought I was strong. Mentally and emotionally. The last year tested my strength in every way. I was proud to realize that I had the fight of a bull dog in me. As stubborn and as tenacious. I used to look at all these as my negative traits. And maybe they are at times. So focused and determined that I take monotasking to another level. My husband calls me hardcore. It’s all extremes. Work or relationships. Everything with as much passion as one can.
I was always a very confident person. I was always comfortable in my skin. Happy knowing who I am. Until recently.
I was continuously told I wasn’t good enough. Everything I did or said was ridiculed. My accent, my pronunciation, what I wore, how I reacted to a situation. Each and everything. Frankly, I know I was gaslighted. But, I refused (and still most of the times do) to acknowledge and accept it because the people involved were someone I held really close to my heart. I still want to give them the benefit of doubt that they were immature and didn’t know what they were doing. But, the fact remains that it crushed me. Slowly and steadily. I turned into a self-doubting nervous wreck who couldn’t form a sentence right. Someone who would google a word’s pronunciation or spelling before talking. Sometimes so scared that I would choose to stay mum than to speak. Hesitate to go out because I am probably not dressed right. I am not fashionable enough. Feeling sick when I don’t know what everyone is talking about, even if it is a trivial topic like a band or a form of music.
It took a long while to gain it back. But, I did. One step at a time. So what if I can’t pronounce certain words properly? I am a girl who grew up in a small town in North India. I started using English for verbal communication only after I moved to Hyderabad, during my undergrad. With no other common language and the Hyderabadi Hindi too beneath my clear and right Hindi (Past tense. I adore the Hyderabadi Hindi), I had to start speaking in English. So, it slips in and well, so it does. It just is that a joke is funny the first time, maybe a little the second time. But there on after, it becomes a taunt, a nag, a caustic snide. I can’t go explaining this to the rest of the world but I can ignore this and be happy with myself. Which, I am. So, I present to you, the uber confident and strong Deepika Rao 2.0!
I get what I want. I don’t care what the world thinks: Oh yeah. I am too cool to care about the world. I am the rebel who lives her life the way she wants. That’s a dream and just stays one. (For most people) Getting what I want… Well, I usually have. Because the things I usually have wanted are something I could work towards. And, as I have already spoken about my legendary monotasking, it wasn’t very tough. But, as life progresses and gets complicated most things you want and need come from the others around you. They are dependent on others’ lives and happiness. Now you can’t always get what you want. Sometimes you are happy to let go, knowing that this choice is what one of your loved one wants. And sometimes you are left disappointed, knowing you’ll never get what you want because the person who can give you that, won’t.
Who was I fooling thinking I don’t care what the world thinks? I live in this world, don’t I? I have to constantly interact with its inhabitants. So, I have to care about them and keep them happy. Ok, let me just drop the act. I don’t HAVE to care. I DO care. I am extremely sensitive to people around me, especially my loved ones. I have a tough time saying “NO” to a random stranger if I could help him out. And if I do refuse, I am stuck with guilt wondering if I should have. So, it’s impossible for me to not care. This sometimes makes my life hell because I am so engrossed and involved in making others happy that I feel trapped unable to do what I want. But, well. What is a life if it is lived for yourself? And how can you not be there for the people you love? Not care about what makes them happy and what doesn’t? So, if I can, I would always be there. And, this is something I would not change about myself.
I have control over how my body looks: This is a myth I am very sad was broken. I have always been on the skinnier side. Most people on my dad’s side of the family are. Through school and college there have been constant remarks on how thin I am. Actually if you look at it, I wasn’t this skinny earlier. But, I never took any of these comments seriously. I was always sure that I can put on weight whenever I wanted. But last year, due to various reasons I started losing weight at an alarming pace. I did turn into a bag of skin and bones. I knew it but it didn’t help when it was pointed out amongst giggles. How does it not to occur people to wonder why it was actually happening? If you don’t care about that part, you probably shouldn’t care if I was plump as a berry or skinny as a twig.
Is there an opposite of fat-shaming? Not the stupid concept of fit-shaming! It’s a sick concept invented by a company who did a big boo boo with their equally sick marketing gimmick and now don’t have the balls to gracefully back out. Is there a skinny-shaming?
A plump person is struggling to lose weight and cribs about how she/he barely eats anything but she/he doesn’t seem to lose any weight! I say to that, “Oh come on! I see you eating all the time!” What are you going to say to that? Maybe, “WTF!! That Deepika is a rude insensitive b****!” Correct? So, why is it ok for you to just shoot down and disregard my struggles? When I say, I eat well but I am unable to put on weight, how is it ok for you to say, “Na, she doesn’t eat anything.”  How do you know? Do you cook my meals or do you sit by my side and feed me? Have you seen me guzzle down banana shake day after day? Have you seen me eat constantly through the day, so much so that people working with me kid about making me a research topic? Have you seen my disappointment when I stand on the scales and I have put on a meagre 200gms after 3 months of struggle?!! No right? So, please keep your observations and assumptions to yourself. And I am gonna keep calm and gulp that shake down!
I don’t ever give up: Giving up was never an option. You try try and try. Even if you don’t succeed, you know you gave your best. And, that would let me sleep at night. Whether it was an academic or professional target or a relationship. Try till my last breath with the last ounce of strength left in me. 
But, I did give up. I did give up and give in. Multiple times. It felt easier to let my troubles drown me than to struggle to stay afloat. I am not proud of those moments. But, that helped me accept the fact that sometimes I might get overwhelmed and it’s ok to ask for help. It’s ok to let someone know you are hurting. What I am proud of is that I got up. It was a crawl but now I am walking. I do stumble and fall and I know I am far away from running, but atleast I am up. And, that is proof enough that I am still not giving up.
Unconditional love: One tight slap!! That’s what you get if you believe in this. Love is never unconditional except for when it’s a parent’s love for his/her child. Then again, mine is an adorable 5 year old right now. Maybe I should talk to a few parents of teenagers
.In every other relation, conditions apply. I learnt it recently. And how!!
Please do put conditions. That keeps the relationship in safe territory. Like we need laws and rules for a better and safer world, we need conditions to keep a relationship stable and sane.
I do not enjoy being alone: I am a people’s person.  I can’t survive without tons of people around. I love crowds and thrive on my group of friends. That’s what I thought and lived by all my life. Till I decided to travel through Germany alone. I always wanted to travel alone and as 2015 was supposed to be my year, I decided to finally take the plunge and do it. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. I was sure, I will hate it and my idea that I can’t stay alone will be reaffirmed. Correct? INCORRECT!! I love being alone!! It was refreshing and liberating.It was great to meet new people and have the time to interact with them instead of being stuck with your travel companions. It smelt of freedom when I could plan what I did, when I did, where I went and what I ate according to my interests. By far, the best experience of my life. (apart from my son’s birth) I think I am kind of spoilt by this and might not enjoy travelling with people anymore. I would need to do a little more research into that. My trip helped me regain my confidence and understand and face a lot of things. And, I would choose this experience over anything else.
When you really love someone, there is no ego or even self-respect: And that love is doomed from the start. Like my disclaimer in my earlier posts, the love here doesn’t mean only romantic love, it’s any relationship where you are emotionally invested.
I made this mistake. Like I said earlier, everything I do is with an intense amount of passion. So obviously the number of people I actually, truly love are a handful and I can go to any lengths for them. Which is ok. Its good and I hope there are a few people who feel the same way about me. But, it is wrong to love someone so much that, you, your presence, your self-respect start disappearing. It starts with small things. A petty fight or argument. You give in and make the first move even if you are not in the wrong. After all, you love that person, why let ego or pride ruin it? But, what if you are the only one doing it every time? It stops being about ego. Its self-respect now. You decide what is self-respect, this is pure love and you are going to forget, forgive and move on. Slowly, your self-respect and your being is shattered. You feel needy, like you are only one who wants it. And, that is a very very sad place to be at. To feel that it was only you who was trying and the other person wouldn’t have even noticed if you were gone. You bend so much that you break. So, after a very hard lesson I have decided to never let go off my self-respect. I will still love that hard but I will not forget myself. I choose myself and respect myself. And, the people who can do that too are the people I give my love to.
I can give, give and give. I don’t expect anything in return:  How did I ever think that was possible? How can you keep giving without any expectations? How does any relationship work without expectations?
You know what happens when you do this? You become empty. You keep loving and giving without getting anything in return. That drains you out of all the love. Leaves you hollow and bitter. I was stupid enough to love some people so much that I opened my heart up and poured all the love and care I had in me. I thought I didn’t need them to reciprocate. But, when the going got tough and you were already empty because you gave everything away, your survival becomes difficult.
Someone told me recently that I was selfless, full of love and concern and I can’t expect others to reciprocate like that. That, my friend, felt like a slap on my face. So, you find me amazing that I am selfless, don’t hesitate to take from me but, you can’t give me back anything because I am great and you aren’t? Ermmm. WTF?! A relationship (any kind) is made of two people who give each other what the other lacks. And, if you are in a place where you can give but aren’t going to get anything in return, it’s time to walk out.  So, unfortunately I can’t stop caring for the people I already do (A trait I absolutely hate in myself) cause, once in my circle, you are there for life. But I can consciously distance myself and only be there when I am called for and I hope, they all know that they can call for me anytime.
I have no patience and I can’t forgive and forget: During my masters I had a friend who got so involved in her friend’s complicated ( so they said) relationship, trying to support her, help her and even resolve it for her that she ruined her own relationship. Well, that’s what people said. And people say a lot of things. The world’s favourite pastime being making assumptions and speculating. And isn’t that the most fun thing to do in your early twenties? You think you know and understand everything. You know the world and have learnt the meaning of life. But, you couldn’t be more wrong. Of course some, irrespective of their age have more wisdom than others. But, my dear friend, you haven’t seen a thing. 20s are the most beautiful time of your life and you ought to enjoy it. Learn but relax. I am glad I did. I remember being heartbroken over issues which, by the way I don’t remember about anymore. I remember swearing I won’t forget or forgive certain experiences or people.
I strongly believed in that. I can’t forget or forgive. And that I have no patience. Glad that I was proven wrong. I thought I was learning to be patient after becoming a mother. Which I did. But that was literally child’s play compared to what I had to go through later. Adult relationships are complicated and need a lot of time and patience. And when you really care for someone you get all the patience in the world. You don’t think that you can’t forgive. You don’t even notice when you have forgiven them and moved on. I have forgiven people for things which I would have never expected out of me. But, I haven’t forgotten. Because that would be foolish. If I didn’t care for them as much as I do, by now they would have faced my full on Scorpio revenge mode which is a very scary and ugly place to be in. So, here I am patting myself in the back, applauding my maturity. You can join in too.
I cannot trust easily: Still true. I never been too trusting even as a kid. I think it’s mainly because I am naturally a private person, I would always be on guard. As I grew up, I did let a few people in. But, always just a few steps in. No entry inside the fortress I had built. Finally when I decided to take the leap of faith and open up, I was shown why I was correct in mistrusting all my life. Now the wall is 100 ft. tall with the windows and doors barred. I know I want to open them some day. At the same time I know that day is far far away. But, I did open up and trust and I know I am capable of doing it again. Hallelujah!!
I will never have any regrets: Hell yeah! And, I don’t! Not one. The good, the bad and the ugly. All of them are what they are. Of course I have made mistakes. A lot of them. But, everything I did, I did from my heart. Every right and wrong decision has made me the person I am today. And, I like this person. Without them, I wouldn’t be me.
So, this is me. Deepika 2.0 with all her frills, plumes, horns and claws. You want me? You get all of them. You don’t get to choose to play with the frills and run from the claws. (Sounds extremely weird) A friend was complaining that one of my post was too long. I am sorry that this is longer. But, how do I cut short while talking about somebody as incredible as me?! 😛

Like all my posts, this is for me. But, this one more so. To remind me how far I have come and how far I still have to go.

This reads like an annual progress report. Not surprised as, dependencies, challenges and progress are all I think about now. This should make my boss mighty happy.
Oh well! Happy birthday to me!

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