As a school-going girl, I remember being more intimidated by girls than by boys. And indisputably, every girl must have a story to tell that features a ‘mean girl’. You must have had a friend who laughed together with you the other day in Chemistry, and then just walked past you with an army of girls flanking her in the school hallway. You must have dreaded going to school or college someday because you simply lacked the energy of dealing with a bunch of cool girls who made you feel like you were beneath them in some way. One day, you must have walked into a room wearing red lips for the first time and felt attacked by not men but by women. And then you grew up and stumbled upon such girls everywhere – work, clubs, cafés, parties, or even at the road as you walked minding your own business. Maybe, you were that girl yourself.
My child-hood friend struck a conversation with me on self-care the other day. He said that he devoted every Sunday to a jamming session with a couple of friends, followed by a salad lunch that he wasn’t exactly a fan of, and allowed himself an hour of video games every day. That was his way of taking care of himself, he said. He asked me what my way of self-care was, and I showed him an image I had stumbled upon on the internet. It said I had to let myself have a long soothing shower sometimes, treat myself to a wholesome spread of breakfast, read a book, write down my thoughts, and explore the city on my own. And he frowned then laughed.
Men and anger go a long way – their display of aggression is almost natural to them and for people around them. It’s nothing unusual. So when that anger intensifies and joins with reckless and risky behaviour, it simply gets rolled under the rug in the name of normalcy.
Let’s assume, two weeks before the New Year, you are in the middle of a goal that is either personal or professional. It could be something that you’ve wanted to pursue since a long time but been unable to do so because of personal inhibitions. At the back of your mind, you know the year end is approaching and it means two things – celebration and starting over on a fresh slate. And since, New Years can also take the form of imaginary bridge over which the goals and baggages can be transferred from one year to the next, your current goal also gets pushed over with a pinch of procrastination.
Ever received a star on your palm by a teacher back in kindergarten? Then you’d also have been made to stand out of the class as punishment in your school years. Such punishments have had a part in framing your mind and personality as kids and so have rewards when you did anything praise-worthy. And, that is exactly what we have been missing as adults—the combined benefits of punishing ourselves as well as rewarding when we do something even the slightest bit good.
Share a bottle of wine with a friend, and you’re most likely to discover this unnerving fact. Between conversations of the same old stories around jobs and random tittle-tattle, that friend’s silent suffering of depression is also likely to spill over. Alternatively, it could also be you spilling subtle hints about your depressed mental state. However, on second thought, what if it isn’t depression at all?