You don’t define me

How do we stop others from defining who we are? In a large part, what we think of ourselves comes from what others think of us. This starts when we’re much younger. “Oh you’re so clever,” a teacher might say. Or “she’s so pretty,” a mother might say. And these adjectives then become in a large part who we think we are. It’s like these opinions are our mirror and we see ourselves through other people’s eyes.

What happens then when a boss says “he/ she is more driven than you” Or a friend says “you’re not built to do xyz.” There are 2 ways to deal- 1. Roll over and let whoever that is , with their limited vision define you. Or, 2. Go ahead and do whatever you believe you can achieve. Sure, 2 sounds amazing in theory- but it’s hard and there will be millions of moments where you’ll let yourself down, where you’ll start believing the nay-sayers, where you will doubt all that you believe in… but if you push through you can break their distorted mirror of you and make a cleaner more perfect one for yourself.

No one knows this more than I do. I went into hospital on Friday 2005,May something or the other. Between Friday and Monday- I remember nothing. I do believe I had a few MRI’s and I do remember people trying to keep me awake and then there is just darkness.

When I awoke on Monday, I was on a bed in Breach Candy hospital with a strange man looking over me. “I am sorry,” he said ,”you came in too late. Your brain has been compromised and you are left side paralysed and will not be able to move again. There’s nothing more we can do.” When I stared at this man disbelievingly, he challenged me – “Don’t believe me- try and make a fist with your left hand… go on now… try!” And as he goaded me I tried to earnestly to make a fist, to prove him wrong. He was right. I couldn’t and so my right hand held my left hand and closed it into a fist. He nodded as if to say I told you so. And then he left.

We can let others decide who we will be or we can get up and live the life we think we deserve to live. It won’t be easy and it may take years to get to where some people take minutes to go. But who is to define our lives except for us? We get one life. Why should we allow other to get their own lives and ours? Shouldn’t we take ownership of that ourself?

P.s. (Palat says)-: Our personal mirrors may not be rose tinted or even clean, but we can create our being in the way we’d like to see ourselves. Let’s stop blaming others for defining us and let’s define ourself.

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Today I feel good.

Start your day saying this.

Even on the days where everything hurts, nothing wants to wake up and where the bed is your only friend.

Today I feel good.

Say it when everything is going stupidly wrong and when no-one around you is even trying to make sense and all that you created or worked for is shot to hell.

Today I feel good.

When deadlines close in.When bosses are mean for no reason at all. When nothing makes sense.

Today I feel good…

Say it long enough and loud enough and guess what, you may just trick the universe in to giving you the most amazing day!

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I’m not a survivor.

Yes- I have Multiple Sclerosis. Yes- I have a Pituitary Tumour. Yes- I have a tremendous amount of pain every single day… but I’m not a survivor… I’m a WINNER :)!

I learnt a while ago that there are 2 ways to approach anything this serious – 1. Let it control you. 2. Don’t !

I choose to not let fear nor pain nor the fear of pain rule my life. I am incredible and I am all that I am because of the M.S.

How ? You ask?

Well sure.. when we were first told about the disease I was shattered… I didn’t understand it… no one did and it left me fearful. I was left side paralysed and I couldn’t speak… For an actor and especially a person as talkative as me… the not speaking thing was harder than the paralysis…! I could think it …it was just too hard to say so many words…!

And then I tried. I failed. I tried some more. I failed some more. And then I started from scratch. I got to re-learn as an adult how to be Divya and what fun that was!! My Dad and sister would read me the gossip columns of my favourite newspapers…My Mom would watch Oprah with me and Aditya would watch all my favourite rom-coms and comedies with me… and I got to spend all that amazing time with my family who made me realise how cool I was because they were so cool! My Doctor played catch with me and though I pretty much always failed in that…we got some good laughs every evening and I looked forward to the new day with childlike enthusiasm…enthusiasm that I had lost a while before that when work became WORK and family became FAMILY- the 2 things you were committed to but didn’t love the way you should!

And work? Well I decided to focus on MY COMPANY- BALANCING ACT PRODUCTIONS… and when I got up…I put heart and soul in to theatre and the company and it gave me purpose. i was proud to get up every morning because I was the coolest boss to work for! I had no fixed timings…I did short film direction, taught theatre, produced plays, directed videos, directed television shows, wrote television shows, wrote films, created tv properties for clients, ideated, acted,directed, produced and even sang! If I thought it…I did it!

From waiting hours for a shot, and waiting endlessly for the phone to ring I now had no empty minutes…and the phone rang off the hook!And I had to start saying no to work…so I could try something even more new and incredible !

And the travel… Aditya and I traveled every where and we’d pick a country and devour it! Days of research, months of planning and every trip was more exciting, more unforgettable and with more moments than I’d ever imagined possible…

And then last but definitely not least…I married the man of my dreams…someone I’d have only married 2/3 years post 2006 had the illness not happened and all that would have done would have made me miss out on living with my best friend, my partner in crime and my better half (in every way)!

So I didn’t survive… I live, I thrive and I win… and I wouldn’t change my life with all it’s ups and downs because it’s made me me…. and I’m pretty darn awesome!

 

i FEAR!

Fear.

We sell fear. We buy fear. We live in fear.

We wake up in the mornings and the newspapers scare us. Where we live is unsafe, what we’re eating is wrong, what we’re doing will destroy us…we wake up to fear.

We then go to work, fearing the repercussions of a boss who may one day fire us, a client who may one day not need us, a job where one day we’ll prove we’re replaceable by someone younger, smarter and more ambitious. We work in fear.

We come home trying got do everything the same way we have always done, faring change; lest the wife leaves us, the children hate us, the neighbour bitches about us, the friends prefer other people to spend time with. We come home in fear.

And then we exercise for fear we’ll get diabetes or a heart attack or die. We eat what the newspapers say is good for us till another study prints that all that we thought was good is now bad and we may die any way and then the fears just grow and grow and grow!

Fear starts when we’re young and our parents tell us if we don’t go to sleep ‘the Boogie man will come for us’ and then as we grow older the Boogie man becomes our jobs, our marriages, our life choices …even our food!

We fear the newspapers…we don’t celebrate the victories- big or small.

We fear our jobs- we stop enjoying them

We fear our marriages- love goes out of the window

We fear our health- an the fear causes stress and a whole new set of illnesses.

We live in fear and stress and then the fear and stress finally kills us.

I don’t know how this will work… but this week’s resolution (and I say this week…. because it’s going to be tough to retrain a system which has only been taught stress and fear)- is to HAVE NO FEAR…. I mean… think of the incredible things that I could achieve just with hard work…not worrying about a negative consequence… the possibilities are truly limitless!

Try it with me? And let’s check back on how this felt!