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. 

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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.

2016: The Year That Is Done!

2016: The year of making smart, sane choices. 365  days of positivity & happiness. Can safely say, this year has given me a lot to be thankful for.

 Moved out of a wrong career choice, a wrong relationship. Started over to find happiness lies in the smallest of things.

Applied for a dream job and got it. Met some absolutely amazing people and realised life is much more and beyond anxiety and overthinking. 
Got rid of people, got rid of negativity, of the voices in the head that held me back from doing things I love. Smiled more often. Changed as a person. Grew out of toxicity. 

Travelled. Travelled a lot more than I had imagined I would. Spontaneous trips and doing things I was absolutely terrified of doing without batting an eye, said yes to life and no to fear. 

2016 would have sucked if I hadn’t let the past years’ mistakes empower me. 

Time flies. Don’t live a life you’re not proud of. 

Happy New Year. 

Stop Romanticising Depression!

Of late, I have come across a bunch of hoodwinked people who assume and believe that Depression and Anxiety affects only the less privileged part of the society. Clearly, these people have never faced uneasiness, random pangs of sadness, overpowering them and eventually bumming them down!

Honestly, Depression was never about those temporary bouts of regular old sadness. Depression is certainly not some black and white image with goth boy staring out of a window and some stupid quote caked on to it.  It’s just like your regular illness that you wish went away, but worse. Because, nobody comes out and says “I have a disorder” or “I need help.” For whatever reason, opening up about it isn’t something we all do. Nobody hides the truth, but at the same time none of us are facing it head-on either.

It’s almost impressive how worthless depression and anxiety can make you feel. Here’s the thing, get it straight or get out: People get sad. People get depressed. And people cry. No one has the right to say that they can’t and worse, to be happy and say “it’s just a phase” because it doesn’t ever get better.

Depression can hit anybody, regardless of their sex, age, or country. You might have a lot of friends, but you might feel like curling up in a corner and not have any human interaction for days at all. You’d skip sleep but at the same time feel never to get out of the bed. You skip meals because eating feels like a chore. Your friends and family worry about you but eventually they get used to your absence every now and then. They stop asking you what’s wrong because they never get the right answer. What would you say to them anyway? You might have a hundred thousand people by your side when you don’t need them but the moment you do, there’s no one at all. All your nightmares begin to seem to come to reality. And the voices in your head, oh the voices never die.

This is what depression is and if people knew even one fourth of what it feels like to go through the this, they wouldn’t joke around about it. They wouldn’t tell people that it’s ‘spur-of-the-moment’ thing or to get over it or to look at the bright side. There is no bright side for us.

So, don’t let people tell you that your problems are less important than the problems somebody else might have. It’s never the case. Don’t make them make your tough situation any tougher.

‘Could-have-beens’ and other things I dislike

Do you, dear heart, and do it well. Someone said ‘there’s something missing in the world and I think I’ll have to create it’, so do. Create what’s missing. Use your voice for something that matters — little boys and girls in homes and in the streets, for men that feel the need to drink at 9 in the morning and then struggle with getting a print of their ration cards because they’re too poor to have learned to use a computer even though their child needs that print to get into school. Use it to speak about your own madness, use it to correct the wrongs that were done to the mouth you kiss every night. Speak for the ones that can’t, because you have a mind and limbs that can get you places. If the sight of the homeless makes you feel guilty about the Starbucks coffee you drink, then let it. Let the shame wash down your throat and scald you, let it propel you into action, because there is little else that’s worse than stifling what makes your heart cry out. If you want to cry, then do. If you want to draw, dance, mix music, then do.

Create what’s missing. Just don’t die with ‘could-have-beens’.

Until next time, love.

Forgive yourself

Only now am I figuring out that it’s okay to be ‘me’, to not necessarily ‘write every day’ to be able to qualify as a writer, to not read the exact prescribed amount, to question the established notions of what ‘should be’ or not. Make of life what you will and permit yourself to alter this life as needed.
I read an article today that said ‘writing begins with forgiveness’. So does life. Forgive yourself for not being the A-grader, the class beauty, as-skinny-as-her or getting-paid-as-much-as-him. Forgive yourself for your heart and your hair, for your quirks and flaws, for your voice, for your temperament. This is the heart and hair you will live with, this is what you have, the best and the worst.
Forgive yourself for setting standards for yourself that were defined by someone else, ages ago. Forgive yourself for hating on yourself for not matching up to them. ‘Success’ is subjective. I hope you remember that.
Life, truly, will begin with forgiveness, then, I hope.
Forgiveness births acceptance and someday, hopefully, you’ll look at the world you’re in with eyes that are as beautiful as any, with a heart that’s full and happy and you’ll begin to finally live. Without disliking yourself. And then maybe, for the first time, you’ll know what it’s like to love – truly love. Not for validation or because you need to be loved, but honestly, begin to give yourself to your passions, your vocation, your people.

Until next time, love.

Live the Little Things

We all carry certain words around in our back pockets like unspoken mini mantras: tiny terms that seem to pop across our minds with weighted frequency, that slip surreptitiously into our everyday speech, that we doodle into the corners of our planner pages. They’re either words we’re trying to escape or words we’re aiming to embrace. If you had to boil your current life down to one tiny bead, that’s your word. Chances are, there’s a specific way you consciously see it manifested in your day-to-day: the “hustle” in your ambitious career search, the “shame” as you give up on yet another diet, the “trust” as you settle into a relationship that feels real this time. But chances are, if you look across every aspect of your life — work, leisure, family, fitness, romance, friendships, self-care — that same word is seeping into each and every one, in heaps of ways you hadn’t even realized, both positive and negative. It’s probably affecting the way you wear your hair. Your walking pace. Whether you make your bed every morning. If you have one square of dark chocolate for dessert, or none, or a full bar. The good news is, if you don’t like your word, you can change it. A million times. Whenever you want. You can even make one up. Just make it a good one.

Until next time, love.