In my last post, I wrote about how the dream and desire of having my book published saved me and motivated me to have faith in the future. Have faith in life.
That dream is going to be a reality. Very, very soon.
My book, The Reluctant Mother: A Story No One Wants To Tellis being published by Hay House, which as you all know is an international publisher operating in 5 countries across the world.
So today, I am here to thank you all – every single one of you from the blogging community, and readers from outside the community- for staying by my side on this journey, for sharing my joys and sorrows, for reading and commenting here and letting me know that I wasn’t alone.
First and foremost, I want to thank Kathi Ostrom Gowsell, who was the first person to suggest, way back in 2013, that this story should be given the form of a book. We may live on separate continents, and may have never met each other, but I feel connected to you in a very special way, Kathi. Thank you for being you !
Other bloggers- mothers and fathers- other writers and readers, you have all been such a huge part of my journey.
I cannot tell you all, how much it has meant to me over the years, to read your comments here, and to get private messages from so many of you, asking me to keep writing, telling me that I was brave to write the truth fearlessly, and telling me how much my voice resonated with you, for it spoke of the stories of your lives too.
There are no words to describe my gratitude for the love you have all showered me with- especially those of you who told me that I was your voice- for I was speaking of the truth reflected in your lives too, but you couldn’t speak out because of all the judgements and restrictions the world heaps upon us all. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me the strength to speak this truth and take this dream to culmination.
The launch of the book has been delayed for a bit, owing to the pandemic, but do watch this space for the happy announcement, and I promise that you will be the first to see the cover as soon as it is launched !
Meanwhile, here is a picture of the first page of the book, of the final draft PDF version, and merely looking at the title on the page before me, fills me with gratitude and joy.
There is a word that I have taken from Paulo Coelho’s book, and quoted it in my own book. I shall just end this post with that word:
Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf. Both were feminists and magnificent writers. And both committed suicide.
Sometimes I feel afraid of how much I identify with them. Not just as writers and feminists, but as women who ended up taking their own life. I shudder at how tantalising it feels to view myself as the disturbed intellectual woman who couldn’t take life anymore. It makes me afraid.
It’s not death that I’m afraid of, though. Death and I have been strolling hand in hand for a very, very long time. What I’m afraid of is throwing away my life.
I could kill myself. Easily, so easily. And yet, I don’t.
What stops me? What do I live for?
I could be the virtuous mother and say I live for my son, but that would be a lie. I do not live for my son, and I do not give myself so much importance as to think that he would be lost or destroyed without me. I lost my father at 9. And yet, here I am- in a fairly good place, by any measure. A woman in a man’s world and yet I reached where I wanted. My son, along with inheriting his mother’s fire and his father’s steel, would have all the privilege that comes from being a man in this world. He’d do just fine without me as well- not that I’d wish this on him or anyone else for that matter.
I could say I live for my mother, and it would be the right thing to say. It would also be the noble thing to do.
But I don’t.
I could say I live for the man who holds my venomous grief carefully in his palm, smiling like it were an elixir, and drinks it all in, just so he could save me even if he died. The man who married crazy-me and steadfastly refuses to hand me over to the mental asylum.
I wish I could say I live for him.
But being the selfish woman that I am, I live for none but myself.
Paulo Coelho in Brida spoke of the virgin, the saint, the martyr and the witch. The saint lives for others.
The witch, on the other hand, lives for herself. For pleasure. Purely for pleasure.
For the myriad pleasures that life brims with.
The last time I deliberately chose life, it was by convincing myself I needed to see my as-yet unpublished book in my hands. That was something I needed to see. It was my labour of love. It was my pleasure and my pain. I had to be alive to see it come to life.
And that worked for a long time, until the darkness closed in again, until Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf began to be tantalising again.
And I was forced to ask myself, over and over- why do I live? What is it that I live for?
People live for different things. For family, for success, for love, for serving others.
Me? I live because I love life. Life, which brims with endless possibilities.
A wise old man once said to me, We are all in a state, not of being, but becoming.
As long as you are alive, there are infinite possibilities of becoming. Every second, every breath, every blink of an eye is a new possibility. And that is the greatest beauty of life.
I live because life is a gift. A gift of endless possibilities.
It must never be thrown away.
Yes, I have done all the things that are written in the good books, too. I write my gratitude journal and list the things I’m grateful for. I list all the things I’ve achieved in life. I list all the milestones, month after month, year after year. But in the end, none of those things seem enough. None of those things seem to tell me- this is what you live for.
Even if I achieved nothing in material terms, even if I had no tall claims on life, even if I had no one by my side- even then, even then my life would be worth living. It’s not achievements, success, relationships, love, even family – they’re not the only reason for living.
It is you.
You alone are reason enough for you to be alive. This alone is enough- that you have the gift of life.
All those other reasons could be fuel to the fire. They could keep the fire in you burning, they could keep pushing you ahead in life. But what’s most precious and worth living for is your own self.
The more I searched, the more I found that the one and only thing that has always kept me alive is the endless possibilities, the endless beauty of life.
Every second that I was alive, I have infinite chances to become anything and anyone I wanted to be. No matter how black or grey my hair turn, no matter how many fine lines I get and no matter how much my skin begins to sag. Every moment, every moment I can explore endless possibilities. Yes, every moment is going to be a fight, but every moment is also an opportunity to win that fight.
Only as long as I am alive, though.
Death seals everything with an air of finality. Death is solid. Life is fluid.
And that is what I live for. The fluidity of life. Oh, the witch always lives for the fluidity of life.
There was a time, 22 years ago, when 10 year old me used to gaze longingly from her front door at thunder storms and lightning streaking across the pitch black night sky, and wish that she was standing in the huge park just opposite her house, arms flung wide open, embracing the storm. She wished she could stand all alone, drenched to the bone, enveloped by thunder, enwreathed in light. She wanted to be the storm.
Ten years after Paulo Coelho wrote Alchemist, the story of a boy who learns to become the wind, a little girl who had never even heard of the book, stood at the door of her house, watching lightning dance, and longed to be the storm. (And Coelho wrote this book in 1987, the year this same little girl had been born.)
That intoxicating, intense moment is the one moment in all my 32 years, which symbolises perfectly my wild, witch-like love for life.
That, yes that, is my reason for staying alive.
All I have to do now is to take that feeling and wrap it into a gift for myself, a reminder for all the times the darkness comes crashing – a reminder that even in the midst of darkness, the thunder and the lightning can deliver you to life. To the fluidity, the endless possibilities.
All of these are just my reasons for living. What are yours? What are the things that drive you to be alive? Are you the saint, the martyr, the virgin or the witch? Tell me in the comments below!