Be Your Own Super Human!

Have you wondered how it feels to be someone who suffers from mild depression but the symptoms aren’t that deadly so nobody gives a shit?

Image credits: henn_kim, Instagram
Image credits: henn_kim, Instagram

Hold on, this isn’t any comparison or whatsoever. Every type of depression is equal and should be treated with utmost care and respect. This is NOT a competition. 

I have good days and bad. Mostly good days, but the bad ones are bad enough to overshadow the good ones by a long shot. I live a pretty, good privileged life and I should be thankful for it (which I am) but that’s not the point. I don’t cry my eyes out or have trouble breathing at random, but I still “feel” like shit most of the time. A minor inconvenience fucks up my entire thought process and creates indescribable disruption. I fall into pieces which only I can assemble back. I hear everyone say, “I’m here for you if you want to talk.” ; so where do I begin? How do I explain a lifetime of battling with anxiety and “mild” depression? How do I possibly put aside the fear of getting judged while narrating my sob story to a society which constantly disappoints and puts down every human being? Be it shaming a 3 year old for what her mother made her wear or a global female icon for getting shot and making something out of her misery. And mind you, it’s not just my gender that throws me further into the deep, dark pit of depression. It’s much bigger than that. 

I love how these supportive messages begin to pop up at the death of one famous entity. As soon as that fades away, so does the empathy for the dead person. It breaks my heart that people like me who are struggling every day, sometimes just to wake up and gather the energy to live a single day without overthinking, or without having to indulge in small talk, will have to keep on handling themselves because no matter what, nobody else can understand your pain like you do, nodbody gives a shit about you like you do. It’s borderline cynical but if you put some wise thoughts to it only you can save yourself, be your own best friend. The people around you, are all good just for casual encounters. 

Hold them close, but hold yourself the closest. 

Journalism & Its Voyeuristic Approach Towards The Blue Whale Suicide Challenge 

At first glance, this might seem to be straight out of a sick Japanese movie, but a brief inspection will tell you it’s closer home.

Below is a screenshot of one of India’s widely read publications, about the recent, controversial story doing rounds on the internet, “The Blue Whale Suicide Challenge”. It reads something like this:

Hindustan Times; Blue Whale Suicide Challenge Excerpt
Hindustan Times; Blue Whale Suicide Challenge Excerpt

What I’m yet to decipher from the whole article are a few points: 1. Horrifying for whom? We are talking of kids, who are potentially trying to kill themselves. Is it the horror that the journalist feels worthy of discussion here? Again, 2. Psychotic? 3. Macabre?

The world is in need of better, convincing conversations about matters pertaining to depression, mental illnesses, etc. Unlike this insensitive, almost voyeuristic, judgemental rhetoric passed off as “Journalism”. 

I doubt if the writer even paused to think a while, about the kind of impact their words can have on someone who is unwell, hurting, considering self-harm. Inaccurately labelling someone as psychotic, or an act of ‘macabre’, definitely pushes the neurodivergent community further into the realm of the other, alienates us and just makes for a lazy, awful piece of journalism. Honestly, pscyhobabble hurts. 

I wish people, especially those who have the power to change the world and the people who the world looks up to every morning in between the sheets of the black and white ink carrying news from around the world (like this author), would take some time off and attempt to educate themselves about the importance of using the correct language to address the subjects they’re not completely aware of. 

But then again, it’s not surprising to see this kind of journalism in a country which tries so hard to repress every kind of talk about mental illnesses. 

Anti-Social Extroverts? Yes, We Exist!

Yep, we totally want to come out partying with you on a Friday night, but not this time, or maybe never!

We could be the life of a party that we attend, become best of friends with your friends, get the right amount of drunk to gel with the crowd and then we’ll leave. Leave, to never ever party for the next 2 years or maybe 4. We are the often misunderstood section of the society; the anti-social extroverts.

So, don’t get us wrong. We love people. We love our friends. We love to talk, and go on and on about inconsequential things in life and world and never tire of it, but we also hate it, more like dread it at the same time. Because, we believe in this century-old saying “just because you love something, doesn’t mean you have to enjoy or pursue it.” And I, on behalf of the ever-small community of anti social extroverts have taken up on myself to clear the air that people like us really do exist.

Why is that introverts get a free pass for not participating in the hundred-crores of interaction platforms and occasions but extroverts are instantly looked down up on if they choose to skip the same? Why is it that we are forced to live up to our extroverted natures, everywhere we go? Hmph, the struggle is goddamn real!

Some of the points that would resonate with you selectively social/ambiverts/anti social extroverts are listed down below, don’t comment or try to strike a conversation with me post reading it, so I know it’s real!

  1. Plans getting cancelled at the last minute gives you a high

Believe me when I say it’s true. You make plans months prior to the event actually happening and each day you live with the stress of the day finally coming closer. Yeah, making plans, going out to chill is the real shiz and all that, but at times, we’d like to be left alone in our pretty little bubble, all to ourselves. But being able to cancel it? That’s a rush to the adrenaline.

  1. You love people. But the regular kinds

Contrary to common beliefs and myths, we do get enough of people at the end of the day. To be more specific, any kind of human interaction is a dead no for us after a whole day of being around them. But yet, certain people do make an exception. Like our parents, boyfriend, ‘best friends’ and how to forget? Our work-bff, who, if doesn’t turn up at work one-day, things start to shift a bit.

  1. You are the only one who understands introverts

No, you are not an introvert, or even close to being one. You’re not shy, either. But you totally understand the exhaustion the introverts feel post any bit of human interaction and you’d mostly stay away from guilt-tripping them into doing the usual stuff with you.

  1. Your ideal hangout space is your home

And you’re shameless enough to write about it. Heh! You enjoy hangouts that require zero social interaction. Nothing speaks volumes on how amazing a hangout is better than cozying up in your blanket like a burrito and binging on Netflix.

  1. You can’t stop talking…. to the people you love the most

All that extrovertism HAS to come out at some point of time. And this happens usually with the parents, boyfriend and the BFFs- who also are anti social extroverts.

If you could relate to the markers, you know we all are in this together. We do love people, sure. We just love them all from a distance. Like alone, in our room, by double-tapping their recent selfie on Instagram under 2 seconds of them uploading it!

Of Nudity & Art

The fetishising of the female body by male artists or photographers is so toxic. For them women subjects seem to exist solely as objects for their own desires or that of other male viewers. This isn’t art. I can’t see how it is.

Artwork: Rohan Rane
Artwork: Rohan Rane

This particular fetish isn’t to achieve anything other than do these three harmful things:

1. Serve as a prop for men to gaze at (understandably, since a lot of these photographers go on to shoot for brands who target men; the economically dominant gender).

2. Tell men that this is the sort of body (aided by the ‘Come here’ or similar provocative poses these models are asked to adapt) that they have the right of access to.

3. (Thus) also promoting toxic body image issues among women.

I wonder how all men would react if we exclusively started making a brand out of naked images of men, gyrating, sticking their crotch out, posing seductively. Nearly naked. All naked. Just one hand, barely covering their penises. Cupping their balls. Staring into the lens with deer-in-headlights, while we shamelessly stare at their genitals.

I wonder how all men would feel like if Instagram or the feed of every single person who puts the word ‘photographer’ in their bios was populated with this kind of nudity. Uncomfortable? Most likely.

I wonder what music videos would look like, with men in the background, wearing sheer underwear and dancing in the shower, so the outline of their organs begin to show; then have the cameras zoom in to examine the details of their ‘manhood’.

I wonder how it would feel like to have your bodies served on a plate for consumption by the opposite genders.

A note then, to the photographers to probably read and most importantly realise:

If you think your ‘art’ would only make sense with naked women in it, you’re only a terrible, repulsive rip-off who wants to appropriate the label of a photographer. You’re looking to grab eyeballs by offering breasts. But, of course, if someone were to ask you, you’d say “you’re against rape”, “against the objectification of women”, “you’re only doing this for art*”, wouldn’t you?

There’s nothing wrong with studying the human body for art, or having women as your muse. But there’s everything wrong with objectifying women and mind you, there’s a very, very fine line between the two.

So, where IS the line?

Gauge your art, what are you making your subject do? Pose to seduce/tempt? Pucker her lips? Put her hand inside her pink, lace panty? Cover her breasts as she lies across the floor, naked? Or giggle naked?

If you were to photograph a man, would your photos show his 5’clock stubble, his brooding eyes or his side profile as he gazes off into infinity? Truth remains, he would be afforded the respect your female ‘muses’ are never going to.

Art can exist in beauty, to make a statement, to be political, to make a point. And while art can also exist to seduce, this bread-and-butter variety of nudity isn’t doing anything productive, really!

And if you’re on Instagram and other photo sharing websites solely for that, you should probably examine yourself and come to terms with the fact that you’re simply aiding objectification and thereby – rape culture.