Overhaul

Monday, March 17, 2014

For quite a while, I haven't been anywhere near social media. It had begun with Facebook, then everything else followed suit. I just decided one day to wipe the slate clean, so to speak. My life needed an overhaul.

I couldn't clearly describe the moment, or the trigger (if there ever was any), that had sent me into severing my ties with the cyber world. And having had acknowledged this vagueness, and because of it, I feel there is all the more reason to provide such a description - no matter how discursive it may be. So I will try to make sense of what had happened, but only to have a sense of closure.

Many months ago, my life was an intricate mesh of utter confusion, a swirling vortex of entropy. It was as if all my know-how of going about my daily life had just vanished and I could not recognize what I had or who I had become. I had spent most days lying in bed like an unborn child, fully awake but unwilling to open my eyes. There was too much frustration, and dare I say, a heap of angst. Each time I saw posts from friends that emphasize how life's been good to them, I felt a portion of my soul dying. It wasn't because I didn't want them to be awesome and great and all that, it's just that I was so so bitter for not having the life I felt I deserved. As a result, I had waged a one-sided war with my social media friends. For a time, my life was a bunch of ostentatious Facebook updates and Tweets and Instagram posts. It was like I was putting on a show for an audience that I wasn't even sure was paying attention. I'm ashamed to admit it, but there was a time when I measured my self-worth in "likes." I was, indeed, pathetic. 

This gaudy display of my life (which was, in truth, a mess, despite what my status update said) went on for a while. I tried so hard to inhabit the persona I had imposed on myself via social media that when I could not, I went insane. I became difficult to be around with, consciously trying to botch every kind of relationship I had. I lashed out at the littlest things, harping at every word and every deed. I was trying to chase everyone out of my life. I wished no one would care or love me anymore so I could stop existing. Not that I wanted to die or kill myself, I just wanted to be alone - in every sense of the word. I wanted to do away with the responsibility that invariably comes with caring for others and having others care about me.

So, yes. My soul-death was self-inflicted. It was tantamount to suicide.

One day, I woke up and found that I had enough sense left to rid myself of status updates and tweets. I was sure that this decision would resuscitate my dying soul. I was hopeful that after deactivating every social media account that I had, my life would start to become recognizable again. Alas, it did not work that way. While it was true I no longer felt I needed to put on a show, I also found I no longer needed to feel. I wanted to regain my soul, what I got was a half-dead incorporeal vacuum of nonsense.

I was a husk of a person. And I got my wish, to some extent, because I simply could not care about anything anymore. I was unable to feel and I knew it. So I started looking for stimuli. I reread the books that used to elicit a tear or a laugh. I listened to emotional songs. When those did not work, when I figured the words of others made no sense, I thought perhaps my own words would do the trick. I took to writing. I wrote stories and songs. I fashioned a world out of locutions. Each syllable became a landscape, every phrase turned into a character. I was convinced that simply knowing the names of things was enough. I was wrong.

"Do not let this sorrow become your doom."

Exactly a week after I wrote that sentence, my mom died.

I thought I knew "sorrow". I thought I knew what I was talking about simply because I knew what it was called. I understood nothing, and I was a fool for believing otherwise.

Emotions came hurtling towards me like an avalanche and I did not know what to do. I stood still while I got overwhelmed by a barrage of feelings. When something familiar took hold, I held on to it and owned it like I had every right to do so. It was anger that had latched on to my system. I welcomed it and cherished it. I was angry with whoever it was who decides when it's time to die; I swore I'd punch him (or her) in the face if I ever met him (or her). I was angry I had to repeat the account of what had happened. I was angry with my mom for dying, for leaving us. I was angry with the priest who said my mom was in a better place, as if he had been there himself. I was angry with the people who said at least my mom did not inconvenience us by dying the way she did, as if that would make us feel any better. I was angry with the fools who said it was bad luck to thank those who expressed their condolences, explaining it was like being thankful because we lost our mom. I was angry with everything that had to do with funerals, all the garbage superstitions. I was angry with those who said I shouldn't get tears on my mom's casket, as if my mom would be able to complain. I was angry with everyone who said I should stop crying because my mom would be in much more suffering, as if she had told them she would; like there would be something worse than death. I was angry with the old lady who insisted I gave a speech before my mom's cremation. I was angry at my mom for being too kind that she had died helping others. I was angry that I wasn't with her when she died; that I didn't get to give her the things I had promised her. I was just so incredibly angry.

My heart had no room for anything else during this time except for anger. And sorrow - the real kind, not just the word. For days, I could not close my eyes without hearing my mom's voice and seeing her face. Everything I see, everything I touch, reminded me of her. But ironic as it may sound, when I started to miss her, I knew my heart had begun to clear out. I wasn't angry any more. I was sad, and eventually, everything took on a familiar shape. It was as though the storm of tears I had shed had brought my soul back to life.

It's hard to find peace with the injustice of losing my mom. But I refuse to tarnish her memories by making her death another excuse not to make sense of my life. I will proceed. And I will make her proud.

Now, here we are - at the present. 

My life is far from what I envisioned it to be, but I now know where to start. I know where to go. I have found out what works and what doesn't, who my real friends are. I know what to do.

And I am ready for another adventure. 

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