Sunday, September 13, 2020

 There's a very good reason, I'm writing this when I'm writing—at 7 minutes past 5 am— a whole day and a few hours since I actually slept. I'm running on serotonin and some other stuff (is that adrenaline?) and honestly, it doesn't quite matter, these details, cause in the next few minutes you'll know why. 

I've not had the easiest or the best year. Hands down, this has been one of the more difficult ones. I have had to do the task of living with the idea of doing "nothing" and making "something" out of it, without my consent whatsoever. It didn't help that we're all going through a global pandemic and somehow, everyone sort of went cuckoo around the same time. 

I've been in therapy for close to 40 days and while I was reluctant to give that a try, it's been a ride. I've learned more about myself than I ever did. I learned what broke me earlier this year and then over the years and then some more about the patterns I've been falling prey to. This is not to say it won't happen again, the troubles and the situations I've been in with loved ones and acquaintances but more to say, I acknowledge yes, and now, onwards growth. That growth is not linear, I'm told. For now, we are good but maybe in time to come we won't. Hence, I'm accounting for it right now.

Coming to the point (it's five minutes past the time), I'm extremely overwhelmed by what this birthday was. I don't think I need to state what I think about birthdays and especially mine. It's been the biggest festival for me, each year and somehow, given everything in my life, I just did not want to conceive a single thought about it until a week ago. I went back and forth on even something as tiny as a virtual party/get together, something I would have found myself doing pretty much monthly otherwise but just, somehow did for this time. Almost like, yeah, okay, it would be good to see people.

This is what happens when you're going through some mental turmoil. You start thinking the world aligns with you, when it doesn't. 

While I had written off everything and everyone when I went off the radar (and off Facebook) a few months ago, I did not anticipate anyone reaching out, even on my birthday, which was admittedly a long time from then. 

It only got worse when I went off. I called spade a spade, lost very close friends. Friends who I thought had my back and wouldn't betray my trust. There were those who intentionally chose to hurt me in ways unimaginable and those who were insensitive. Between these spectrums, I brutally slashed each and everyone out and really felt light as a feather. It's been a heck of a ride around the sun and I have to say, quite a mental adventure. 

Anyway, today, I think I spoke to close to 100 people over texts, voice and video calls. It was something. I don't think I've spoken to so many people in a year, not even last year, when I was prancing around town. To each and everyone who called, attempted to reach out, drop a text and just dropped a wish, thank you. I may have replied in a rush and I may have overlooked at the time but believe me, it means a lot, especially in the light of everything I have written above. 

I met my best friend Sinner for the first time this year since February. She and her partner (who is better friends with me than our other friends, yay!) surprised me last night with a home-baked cake in one of my favourite dessert flavours. More than anything, just seeing her show up out of nowhere and drive all the way from across another city was overwhelming. I can't explain what it feels like to hug someone you've shared so much of your life with when you've been deprived of contact. We've not exactly had the easiest year with each other and for her to keep up with me and being there for me, I'm going to be eternally grateful. I told her last night how she has a thing for assholes, in the light of one of her favourite motorsport drivers and me and she agreed. 

Two of my other, music friends, who dropped by and sort of carried out the ritual of us being together for birthday meant a lot. We've been celebrating birthdays together since I turned 20. Nine years and many birthdays later, we are only separated by our spatial distance. We've travelled the city, the country and even the world together and have been with each other for better or for worse. To have that comfort zone I could return to and call it home on my birthday eve was extremely touching and nerve-wracking. 

My family has had to deal with a handful with me. Especially this year, from my mental and physical health both, they've kept up with everything and had my back, even when I believed they did not. I don't think words can do justice to what I owe them, to be here and writing this and doing this. It means the world. For everything today, yesterday and all these years, I can't thank them enough. I'm too proud to admit I love people but I'll make an exception here. I love them, each of them to bits, even when I say I don't. 

My friends who I haven't listed here—Ud, Mad, AJ, Kneeps, Pal, T-Dogg, Sloth, Mia K, SSA, US, AGN, Nyk, Pup,—have kept up with my erratic behaviour this past year. You have seen me through so much that ideally if things were okay (aka non-Covid) I would be completely embarrassed to resurface, but here we are. I have no shame whatsoever in owning to up the wild, wild cycle I've had with many breakdowns, nights of staying up and crying, and sometimes even talking to one or more than one of you and letting you in on my deepest, darkest demons. It's been a heck of a journey together and while it's not been easy, I'm forever at awe of each of you. Thank you for having me in your life and taking my shit, whether it's the frosting of the cake-related essay or ranting about the man I like who won't like me back (aka all of them, ever). 

I am superstitious about writing about people and giving whole dedications so like this entire piece cancels itself out but if I'm risking it, I have to thank May. It's not easy to have me as your best friend and deal with my birthday tantrums. From literally coaxing me for days to talk about cake flavour to taking my F1 memes and hearing me talk shit 16 hours a day, she should be awarded a lifetime achievement already. However, we have a long way to go so maybe we'll talk awards posthumously. But really, for someone who's so painfully introverted and positively hating on birthdays of one and all, May goes out above and beyond to make me feel otherwise, whether I want it or not. She's sorta tied all my rhizomatic group of friends together and honestly, as social as I am, I would never tag my friends' other friends (especially those who I personally dislike and do not approve) but she went ahead, did that. There are other unmentionables that will be discussed on another, perhaps a more private platform. However, for now, I am out of words to thank May and tell her how much I miss her. I only hope she knows that. It's been the hardest setback about the year (yet).

Here's hoping to be a better sister, daughter, friend, date, student, colleague, and maybe even a girlfriend to people in my life, Whether you've been named here or not, you know who you are and how you've been instrumental in my life. You all deserve a better version of me.

It's quarter past six in the morning and I've cried a fair bit writing this. That's the thing about love. It hits you, unlike any other thing. Thank you for showing me how much you love me in acts, words, gestures, and in edibles. Here's looking forward to tying the last loose end of the 20s in a tight ribbon with all of you (if the universe grants us all that). 

Birthday photographs, cake images and all the rest of it will follow soon over personal messages. 

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