I have been thinking of how 2020 is such a ghost year but its really not – it is a period full of self-reflections if you allow yourself to just be. It has taken me quite a few years to understand the importance of silence. How silence heals way more than words can some times. At the same time, I feel that the art of doing nothing is so underrated in this world, at this time, when we have been conditioned to capitalise every minute of the hour – when what we really end up doing in dwell in endless despair and guilt that we are not doing enough, we are not being productive enough, we are not good enough because we don’t have skills and talents to show off on social media platforms, or that we can’t indulge in hobbies like others.
However, have you ever wondered –
what do the monks or saints do with most of their time? They sit with eyes closed and just be. What do the scientists do most of their day? They sit with their quests at hand, and dig in deeper. What do the creators or artists do? Spend hours thinking and ruminating, have long dialogues within their mind. Most of their outcomes is a result of diving deeper into their minds.
Personally, it’s always been a huge struggle to do that. I am a do-er and so obsessively focused on action and doing that not doing enough leaves me feeling disengaged, bored and just uncomfortable. I am struck with guilt when I am not being productive, when I am not working on something, when I am not “doing” something. Train care moving example.
So these Covid lockdown has been an exceptionally-rare time for me, and for a lot of you too I presuming, because when there’s so little to do – and there’s hardly any guilt too and even if there is – I am, somehow, at this stage when I am sitting with all my repressed thoughts and suppressed emotions – and my mind is telling me – now there’s no reason for you to run away, there’s no outing you can distract yourself from, there’s so little “to do” and engage in an action that you are finally here with me.
Let’s get to know me better, my mind persists.
Jump in, my mind seduces me during 3 am conversations.
Let’s clean up all that hoarded dirt that you don’t need to store inside me, my mind reminds me. And whoop! things start to surface, and resurface – in slow fashion, and yet so fiercely and aggressively. “I don’t know how to respond, I don’t know how to clean this all up, what if it leaves me more damaged than does any good at all” I ask in worry, yawning away as I fight the state of mind juggling amidst – insomnia, sleep deprivation and lucid dreaming.
My mind replied – I don’t know how it works either, but I know that it does help. It hurts when you treat a wound, but if you leave it untreated, it creates infinite knots, becomes septic and the more you procrastinate resolving all these concealed uncomfortable emotions, all the experiences you wish you never had – they imprint on you deeply, become more smoky and difficult to handle as time passes by.
I kind of agree with this, and I also understand this intellectually, but I tiptoed around it for the first two weeks of sitting at home, not being able to sleep, not being able to work, losing motivation and skyrocketing motivation day in and day out like my mind is some kind of stock exchange. How long can you ignore your mind for, after all, especially when it lives inside you, it is a part of you? It’s not a tech device you can switch it off or a phone you can put on airplane mode – it is your mind, always active, even when you fall asleep – it manages to creep in through its vivid visuals of dream.
Into the third week, with severe sleep problems, awfully abused eyes glued to mobile screens, watched plenty of series, binged watched YouTube videos, painted, sang, picked up on a new song to play on ukelele, wrote, danced, exercised, worked, all the inboxes unread – I finally come and sit face to face with the resurfacing emotions. It pops, creates bubbles, causes ripples – everything I say is impacted by it.
My mind is ruminating now. I can’t help but show it some light, now. It is painful, if I were to be honest. One incident that I can document here is coming out about a sexual assault to my friends. It turns out to be something every woman in my life has experienced – men making a move on you when you are fallen asleep, crawling of a hand, first on the waist and then it creeps on different parts of you. “You didn’t say no” and that’s how it was consensual you are told. “You are making it all up” you are shut down. Friends you thought would understand, mostly men, come up questions that shudder your spine: “bro, but did you say a no?” and your voice cracks up while struggling to fight back and say “but I was sleeping, how was I supposed to?” and before you finish a sentence in your explanation that you foolishly hoped you didn’t have to give, they throw another question at you “how can you name it assault?” you hardly can ever win an argument when you have to prove it to men, how emotionally damaging it is. They are entitled, unapologetic, they are shameless.
Self-doubts emerge on the surface, too. Self-blame inevitably comes hand in hand with an experience as haunting as this one. Now I tell my mind, “what good came out of talking about this? I was doing just fine” but my mind is stubborn, it tells me it feels lighter. The weight has been lifted off the chest.
I wonder how if every woman has experienced something like this, a betrayal of trust, a breach of privacy, an act so shameful that we must protect it with every inch of our self-respect – why do we not come out about this? Why do we not speak enough about sexual abuse? Why do we not call out our sexual perpetrators?
- Maybe because we are conditioned to feeling shameful.
- Perhaps, we have been raised to be a people-pleaser, polite to even those who do wrong to us.
- Most of the times, it is someone you know, someone you love, or respect, or share a good friendship with. It takes months to make sense out of it.
- We hardly have courage to speak about it, and every once in a while that you do, you are buried with a million questions – you know they don’t want to believe you. It was easier to carry on like this. This is looked at something as a disturbance to the normal.
- Then, of course, you are labelled. Oh, so horrendously labelled, and you don’t see any good in speaking out loud.
- Those you raise a voice against, they make up their versions of stories – it looks like, I was the one who seduced him, I am the one who wanted it. I asked for it. I didn’t say no and hence there was consent. everything then centres around “why did she take so long before she spoke about it?” and “why didn’t she go talk to him directly?” and all I can tell you is I really don’t understand, what exactly was I supposed to say.
I tell my mind, hope this chaos was worth it. I really hope that this trouble, this painful recollection of a suppressed memory in such minute detail was worth it, even if I can’t tell exactly how.
Everything is temporary, after all, my mind comforts me, as long as you don’t store it inside you and go through with it. Don’t you feel lighter now? Does it really matter if they believe you or not? Even if they don’t agree with YOU that they did wrong, at least you have let them know, and that knowledge would surely shift something in them – eventually leading to lesser victims. IF you let them get away with it, that is the lesson they learn from it. Don’t they?
While you sit and do nothin, you are healing. Remember that. 2020 is not a ghost year, 2020 is a year full of opportunity to reset ourselves as an individual on a micro level and reset the way the world works on a macro level.
Thank you for reading, and I truly recommend you give yourself a break from the compulsive activity, sit down and let your mind challenge you, confront you and then finally comfort you.