free-writing: trance of unworthiness (2.2)

free-writing: trance of unworthiness (2.2)

Why wait until 7 P.M. when the heart is already bursting with so much sorrow, when the mind has already told me countless times this afternoon how I'm failing, failing, failing at this thing called life?


I wrote the above at about 3:30 PM, when I was alone at home, reeling from the 'trance of unworthiness' I had fallen into since morning, a feeling that had only exacerbated as the day had worn on. And then D came back home sporting a skinned knee, following a bike ride with KrA, and he was pretty teary-eyed and wanted me around, so I managed to get back here only now, at about ten minutes to seven.

Not much has changed in the interim, except for me shedding more tears, feeling pretty cut up about life, and feeling so lost, so adrift, and wishing I could just stop feeling like a 'loser' once and for all.

Without putting too many details here, we met someone we've known for a while and who is expecting her third child in September. I hadn't known about her pregnancy and the news was quite unexpected, but not surprising given how the local norm appears to be that of a large family with at least three children and a couple of cats and a dog or two thrown in.

I thought I had gotten over wanting that for myself, but clearly I haven't gotten over berating myself for not being able to do what seems to come so easily to so many people here.

When I really think about it, it's not even that I want to have any more than the one precious child I do have. What I lament is my inability to understand what it is I really want, and to make my peace in heading in that self-appointed direction.

Every time I see people growing – by means of expanding their family, or progressing in their career, having a new experience – somehow I manage to turn that narrative to reflect on the complete lack of direction I face in my own life.

Even though I've declared that I'm an author-entrepreneur, not a day goes by when I'm not riddled with self-doubt or find myself in complete apathy or burn with an intense desire to delete all my WIPs and go looking for a job in which I won't have to write a single word, not even an email or a text message.

I've been lost and adrift for so long I worry this state of mind has become a very familiar one to be in. Perhaps this is a pattern I'm striving to break out of, and because I don't know what it means to stick to my path irrespective of doubt or failure, I keep falling back into the same old trap over and over again.

I always feel I'm doing this wrong, even though I could argue in the same breath that there is no right or wrong way to 'do' life. Life just is. Right and wrong are meanings we assign to circumstances, and these judgements spring from our own biases and prejudices, what we've been told is a good life, a worthy life, so much so that anything apart from it feels like a betrayal to one's own self.

For instance, one of my long-standing worries has been that D will be lonely without a sibling. Even though both KrA and I have siblings by birth but with no real bonds of attachment or 'family', it is firmly ingrained in my mind that a 'happy' family is one in which two or more children grow up together. Let's put the blame squarely on Bollywood!

You'll also notice that single-child parents tend to say "I have only one child." "Only", as if it is an inadequacy, a shortcoming. Something incomplete. As if there should have been more, but unfortunately there isn't. Too bad.
And usually, alongside comes an explanation as to why there is only one kid in the picture. An explanation. An excuse. A need to explain ourself so that the other person would commiserate with us and not deem us unworthy of living up to the societal or cultural standards of a family structure.

But even though I can argue and put forth all these points in hindsight, in that moment, when I slip into the 'trance of unworthiness' as Tara Brach puts it, it ends up being a deep, deep slide into a bottomless abyss for as long as the downward spiral lasts. Eventually, it lets up. Often, I take the aid of ice cream or chocolate to pull myself out of this funk.

KrA tells me, and rightly so, that the reason I feel like this is because I am too hard on myself. And he's spot on.

If there is one thing that I truly want in this lifetime, perhaps it is this: I want to be my own true friend, my own best friend, one who can be patient with myself when I am lost and adrift, one who can tell me it's ok, one who will tell me she'll always be there for me, one who'll root for me when I'm down in the funk and remind me that I am only one more false belief away from freedom, from unbridled happiness, from all the joy that springs forth when I can manage to put aside my judgements and criticisms and self-flagellations, when I can emerge from the trance of unworthiness.
One who will remind me that I am worthy, I am worth itself, I am life itself, and that nothing outside of me is a measure of my intrinsic worth, my life, my self.

Image Attribution: Photo by O'car Johann Campos on Unsplash