Dr Ziaa Kochi India
TROUBLE IN PARADISE
It would seem crazy that there is a pandemic and I can still muster enough ego to write about a privileged individual's personal struggle. Lol. I am writing this primarily to calm myself. I am sitting in my room, trying to finish "the secret" in a day and start preparing for my very imminent and life defining pg entrance exams. Yet, I have this really creepy and strikingly unbalanced feeling in my chest. I'm sitting at home on my bed surrounded by people I love, responding vivaciously to the incessant jokes my cousin makes. But my heart is racing and I invariably feel a tightening in my chest. I live with this feeling on a daily basis, that rationalises this question I continuously ask my psyche, " Why the hell do you live in a flight or fight mode in your own home?". And I need to figure out the answer. And this is my attempt.
I am a 26 years old. I still feel like a 15 year old weirdo teenager who gets confused between the East and the West on a map, but on paper I'm a 26 years old. Woah, this discrepancy is already dampening my spirits. Lol. But this cannot be the reason my heart doesn't seem to be on board every time I laugh or smile. Right?
Growing up, I was the kinda kid who did every thing that was expected. I was no spoiled brat, got excellent grades, and won enough prizes and accolades that allowed my parents to show me off gloriously to their peers. I took it upon myself to follow through the Indian ritual of a smartass ending up a doctor (no complaints though; I am in love with my profession). I did everything expected of me because, it never occurred to me to question the existence of the road not take . Damn it, I didn't understand the real meaning of that poem for a really long time. I also swallowed the idea of spirituality fed to me; that there existed an all knowing god, who got angry if I questioned his existence ever. I loved him because I was asked to and lived in fear of him, because it was expected of me. At the same time, I wondered the existence of the 1000s of dieties and the possibilities of their conflicts of interests on running this planet. I attempted asking these questions to few elders and was given unconvincing responses. I was cautioned against having these thoughts planted in me by Satan. So I subjugated these voices and continued unquestionably fearing and adoring God; kinda like a death eater to Voldemort. Lol. I also found it incomprehensible that sleeping beauty's happy ending was being kissed or that the glass slipper invariably refused to fit any other girl in the country except Cinderella. I mean, for the love of god, wasn't there another girl with the same shoe size in the entire land. I adored Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood; But had no idea why. They were just fun to read about; I thought. I didn't understand why Paulo Coelho would write about a veronika who decided to die; but at age 12, I declared the book as my favourite read. I imagined I would grow up and be content. That's all I basically cared about; I wanted to make it, be happy and make my parents proud. I also believed that if I made it, my parents had no option but to be proud. And then I grew up.
I guess I forgot to mention that I was a girl all along. I had also failed to recognise that I was a girl and that expectations follow us to our grave. Growing up I never dreamed of being a bride, never played dress up, in every fantastical dream I had, I beat down a group of thugs adorning my leather jacket; in every one of my dreams I saved the day. I never wanted to be a wife or have a partner. I never saw it as giving in or giving up; I just never longed for a marriage. I understood it; I also knew I would be happier without it. I never knew why, though.
So today, I'm a 26 year old doctor and all that my parents, friends, family or society can see when they look at me, is an irrational woman stubbornly refusing the glory of marriage, and preparing for a life of doom. And when they ask, " why no marriage?" , I honestly have no answers to give except, " I really don't want it. I am happier without it". And when my distraught mother suggests therapy to fix me, all I know is, " This is not an ailment to cure. This is just who I'm. And how I choose to be happy. This is as simple as tea and coffee for me. I like coffee more. I understand people who need tea, but my thing is coffee. I guarantee I would forever be blissful if I could have my coffee and nobody chastised me or tried to fix me for choosing coffee over tea. "
But the pressure is too much. It's all any aunty will talk about. My father screams at me and calls me a disgrace. My mother thinks emotional abuse and name calling can help change my mind. My friends don't understand me because according to them logic and reason seem to work against my love for being alone forever. My cousins are convinced I'm gay because why else would you not wanna have a legal document stating you are bound to another person for life. If someone isn't worried about me, they pity me. The entire world is convinced I'm ruining my life thoughtlessly and that I need a rescue. And yes, therein lies the answer to my question as to why the flight mode and the anxiety. And the answer to my friend's question when she asked me today, " but why do you seem afraid of marriage. What is the reason?"
I am not afraid of marriage. I am merely convinced it is not the path for me. I do not want it. The reason for it is that I'd rather be alone because I'm so much fun alone. Lol. I panic and worry because of an entire world built focusing on chastising and reprimanding a choice that is very normal and personal to me. I seem afraid because I live in a society that would rather assign rules to how I lead my life and not respect my choices. I'm in a constant state of flight or fight because, maybe, my subconscious perceives this incessant abhoration of my will, as a threat to me psyche. So yeah, it makes sense, that I laugh at my cousin's jokes but internally want to run away from a place that would yield zero respect for me or my achievements if I'm not attached to a man. I understand the desire to flee. But where to. And I respect the need to fight. But it's tiring.
So I guess I internalized Hermione Granger or Luna Lovegood in preparation for the fight I need to ensue upon. They never gave in and was unabashedly themselves, and with pride. Maybe I was taken to "Veronika decides to die" because the universe knew it was imperative to myself one day understanding the world differently. Or maybe these books shaped the person I am today. What do you know? If I read princess diaries or shopaholic, maybe I would be be eager to walk down the aisle. But , I read all those books too. Those women were strong too. They have my respect.
I am no rebel. I just think, it is up to me to decide my happy ending. I am stubborn about it. And that entails listening to my heart every time, she screams, " I don't wanna marry, dude".
I can deal with the panic attacks and paranoia to give her what she wants. I owe her big time. Also, I don't think I need to feel guilty about disappointing a society who forgets that I'm a freaking good doctor, an amazing friend and devilish fun to be around, only because I desisted one of its laws. I only hope I am strong enough. And maybe I am enough. You never know. Do ya?