We don’t need the Olympics of pain

On May 15th I stood in front of a bunch of people and gave a speech, voluntarily. The purpose of this entire post might just be to tell you all simply that because I am so proud of it! πŸ™‚ Okay, it was a very messed up speech and I got way too emotional but nevertheless unlike my master thesis defense I didn’t faint at any point, so good job me! As May is mental health awareness month, our support group was chosen to be part of the global Ally program of a mental health NGO based in Chicago (details after June 5th when we become officially a part of them). We are the first group based out of the US to be chosen so me and Livia were pretty stoked. We hosted an Art for mental health event and talked Art, suicide and self awareness, there might have been beers involved, but come on, its Germany!

All of this talk about suicide has become so routine that sometimes it bothers me how much it doesn’t bother me to talk about it now. But in all of those talks there are some details that I always conveniently side step, for instance the why of it, not because it emotionally draining to talk about but I am embarrassed by it, so terribly embarrassed. There wasn’t any point getting up there and talking if I couldn’t be honest to myself and others. So here is what I did, I told them a story first, the story of a space shuttle flight. It goes like this,

In 2003, mission STS-107 space shuttle Columbia took off for a fifteen day orbital mission around the earth. This was the 115th flight of the space shuttle program and a pretty routine one at that, but for the whole of India it was a pretty special mission since Indian born astronaut, Kalpana Chawla was on board as one of the mission specialists. As we all now know Columbia didn’t make it back to earth, it disintegrated on reentry, killing all seven astronauts on board. Until that day there hadn’t been a loss of crew for NASA on reentry so this was a complete shock to the entire space community. All the subsequent space shuttle missions were shelved and the investigations went on for two years, what the committee found out at the end of the investigation was pretty heartbreaking.

When Columbia took off fifteen days before the fatal accident, a piece of the foam insulation from the external fuel tank hit the right wing of the shuttle. Now, this was obvious from the launch footage. Nobody thought it could have done any serious damage  for two things, one- this has happened in a number of previous space shuttle launches and two-because it was a piece of thermocol (which is lighter than air) hitting a structure made of carbon reinforced carbon ( which is, well as strong as it sounds ). But, it did do damage to the heat shield and the shuttle didn’t survive the heat of the reentry.

Here is the deal, Columbia accident could have been easily prevented but no-one absolutely no-one saw it coming.

The point of me bringing up this whole story was just to say that sometimes we realize the breaking points only when we get there. For Columbia it was a piece of foam and for me it was a handsome Mexican boy.

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Credits: wuukasch

I know that I am stretching the story to the limits here, but my fuck-patriarchy-feminist-self needed something to lean on when telling a bunch of people (friends and strangers) that I tried taking my life for a boy. There might have been a whole bunch of repressed childhood trauma that might have made that depression as bad as it was but I cannot kid myself out of the truth. I am ashamed of it, but that is may be exactly why I had to say that. Because we are not running an Olympics of pain here my dears.

It may be high time we stop trying to one up our trauma stories and stop romanticizing heartbreak (of any kind) so much. Because there was absolutely nothing romantic about wanting to die day in day out. Out of all the heartbreaking suicide survival stories that people have told me over the past two years my reason is the silliest but that isn’t going to stop me from telling this openly again, because for all of you out there who are feeling shitty about feeling all the things that you are feeling and not finding a good enough excuse for it, here, you have a person who messed up big time for something very very silly.

As you can see I am very good at making circumlocutory stories πŸ˜€ in the next post I would write about the art and mental health part of the speech and put up the video if I feel adventurous or may be not! Let’s see.

Its been long again. How have you all been?

Love and hugs

Jo

 

 

Finally, could this be it?

” Troubled as the future was, it was the unknown future and in its obscurity there was ignorant hope.” Dickens

He was the most handsome boy in my class. In the first ever conversation we had, he clearly established his hatred for the harry potter series. He just didn’t hate it he HATED it. So that was it, there was no chance of us becoming friends ever. I can be friends with a muggle, but a muggle with no respect for magic, no freaking way. But, he was also the most handsome boy in my class and I enjoyed looking at him. If you ask me my love life history I can tell you about my three-year imaginary relationship with the cricketer Parthiv Patel or my two-year long imaginary fling with a gay boy from my neighbourhood. So you can sense the pattern, I fantasise about guys where there is no chance of anything ever happening. My therapist told me it is the fear of abandonment but whatever.

When you keep subtly stalking a person on a daily basis, along with noticing the subtle variations in his stubble growth you also accidently end up noticing that he keeps looking at the most beautiful girl in the class. So there it was, nothing was really going to happen between us, he likes somebody else and hence my guards were down and I gave myself full permission to crank up the fantasies.Β  I couldn’t think of anything coming between the relationship of the most handsome guy and the most beautiful girl in the world my class. So they could go live their happy life and nothing was going to hurt my rich, poetic fantasy romance.

Our class had only 30 people- among that 30 only 15 of us had the intention of having a life outside classrooms, 11 of us were hanging out together all the time, 5 of us were living in the same dormitory and only two of us were living in the same building. Guess who the two were?

So the most handsome guy in my class became my friend by proximity of homes. And, if you had asked me a month later, handsome would be the last word I would have used to describe him. We started spending weekends together because it was easier to make plans with a person living next door.We went on long walks, drank cheap german beers and watched mindless American comedies. We became buddies, we became as he would always say- Goodfellas.

I started putting kajal and my pretty dresses for our movie marathons. I started baking eggless cakes because he was allergic to eggs. And, I was always waiting by the phone for his replies.

I had hopelessly fallen in love with the muggle.

Being in love with a person who does not love you back is hurtful, being in love with your best friend who does not love you back is torture. It is never having enough with always having a lot.

There is an arrogant ignorant hope that comes with unrequited love, the delusional belief of having a happy ending.Β  Every girl who came in between me and him was only a distraction until he was to realise his true love for me. What was the worse that could happen? even if it wasn’t going to end well, the feeling of being in love was so worth it I told myself a million times. Kafka wrote his best novels after his hear was broken. So worst case scenario- I would be the next Kafka. I was going to be a love martyr.

My stomach started making knots whenever he mentioned other girls. My life became an eternal wait, waiting for him to call, waiting for him to text, waiting for him to come over and waiting for him to turn around and fall in love with me. Every decision to move on after a cancelled plan lasted only until his next sorry text. Every little action of his started holding some sort of meaning to it. Nothing was simple anymore. Every time he called my heart would race with the hope, Is he calling to tell me that he has fallen for me? Finally, could this be it?

There is quote from Susan Sontag that goes something like this, “The amount of crap you are willing to take in the name of love is like the level of messiness of you can tolerate in your room, everyone has a different limit, you don’t know the limit of it beforehand but you will know it when you reach it ”

It took me two years and five months to realise it was never going to happen.

Letting go of him was the hardest thing I ever had to do.

But I did.

I felt free.

In the new found cockiness, I asked myself, ” You cannot simply be friends with the man you are in love with, what the hell were you thinking? ”

Last weekend at my class reunion I saw him after the longest time. He hugged me like only he can and said, “hey, haven’t seen you in a while”. That is all it took for all the feelings I had tried so hard to bury to rise back up to the surface.

My mind started racing, He said hey, haven’t seen you in a while, what does it mean? Finally, could this be it?