What my teenage soul would say to me now

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Laugh a little quietly.” My irrefutable father would say to me and my cousin as we would frolic in the backseat of the car, laughing, looking at each other's faces. We were seven and everything was funny to us back then, the way our parents talked, the way people walked with their stern faces and suitcases in hand, the way the wind blew the hair in our faces and the times while playing cricket, I would always lose the ball by hitting it far off into the nowhere lands of our neighbors. Well, not so funny to the brothers playing with us but still.

I was thirteen and would visit my grandmother quite a lot of times in a year. It was my happy place. A place where you could clearly see the stars at night, hear the birds chirping at dawn, the wolves howling at night and watch as the emulating fireflies flutter up towards the sky, to compete with the stars.

I was fourteen, needless to say, I loved exploring. Me and my cousins would run off into the fields, watch the scarecrows scare the crows away, watch the people bathe in the cold water that came directly from the wells then curiously enter the well house to stare down the dark abyss and take a step back, just in case.

Smile, Laugh more. Go out” My father says to me now.

Over the years a lot has happened and a lot has changed. I've been blessed with the gift of a wonderful life but overwhelmed with it at the same time. I've always narrowly tried to keep up with its fast pace, stumbling my way into its new challenges every now and then. And I wonder, what would that little girl say to me now?

She would say:

When you’re a teenager, a lot of people would call you a rebel if you told them that you love to travel and explore. They’d ask you to grow the fuck up, to stop playing with water, to stop laughing too hard, to stop running and start walking lightly on the ground.

They’ll throw words like ‘Indecent’, ‘Immoral’ and ‘Invincible’ at you. What a shame they’d say. When you’re fifteen, you’ll have problems you won’t be able to share and things you won’t be able to say because of how the society perceives it. 

And Reading books is a waste of time and playing guitar is just a hobby. Keep that in mind.

They’ll throw a big word called ‘career’ at you. And for some time you’ll juggle with it, not knowing what to do with it, but eventually you’ll be able to handle it. There will be a lot of people to help you through it with IQ tests, Aptitude tests, Creative ability tests and all, what’ll then generate a list of careers you could go for.

There’ll be times when you’ll fail. Fail your parents. Get rejected by the colleges. Fail an exam. And you’ll cry but you’ll get over it, eventually.

So, you hang on.

What I would say to my teenage soul now

I would ask my teenage soul to laugh as loudly as possible, to think as wisely as possible. If you make mistakes, do not be disheartened and do not drown in a pool of guilt of what could have been and how differently you could've approached the problems because there is only so much damage you can manage to control when you’re small and your hands reach out only as far as to those few people who are willing to take it. Do not abstain from life when you’re let down by it. Discover what your talents are, what your obsessions are, what drives you and what brings you down. There's no amount of IQ tests out there which could tell you what you feel in your heart about a subject, how your fingers stumble upon all the right words that you need to write for your history paper or how prodigiously you figured out all the notes played in the song you just heard.

Don’t beat yourself up, there’s someone out there whose happiness depends on your happiness. Do not wish to have known the person special to you when you needed them the most and how things would have been different if they were there. Be thankful that you know them and how they've made things better and different for you. Remember, wishful thinking is alluring but it’s also a stairway which knows no end and when you’re tired, it’s already a long way from the bottom to reach back to the realities of your life: the present.

Be passionate about what you do, don’t let the need to beat others override your passion to actually be better at it than you were yesterday. Change takes time but it happens as it is not an event but a process. You have to allow yourself to witness the process and not be embarrassed by it, and when someone else changes, for good or for bad, be willing to accept it. But take your time. Speak up, your discernment matters. If it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter. But if it does, you've invited other peoples universes to collide with yours. You might spark a fire for a new discussion, you might learn something you've never known and believe me there is no end to the knowledge that you could gain by simply communicating with the mind of the intellect.

Open your heart and mind to new possibilities every day, good or bad. Seek the path to growth by welcoming new adventures, new relationships and places. Let go of any expectations you or anyone else have of you. Develop your powers of concentration, empathy and humility. Your time is too precious for you to indulge in meaningless activities where your mind doesn't grow and life becomes stagnant, your time is too precious to give it to someone. So, choose wisely.

And I probably can’t stress enough on how vital it is to read and to read right. Reading books is not a waste of time but a better fuel to the brain than most people choose to use. Reading might be for escapism but it does not mean you’re actually escaping from your life because you’re not happy about it; you’re escaping because you’re here and there’s a whole Universe out there waiting to be explored. You read because that is the only place where you can’t argue with someone to do things your way or have things done their way. The characters will die, fall in love with wrong people and you won’t be able to do anything about it (kind of like real life). There is something shattering and overwhelming about the restrictions of a story, to know the tragedy, to find yourself connecting with a stranger that it feels like you've known them all your life but you’ll never meet them, to find solace in their words. So, read. And read right.

I am writing this because it's my last year as a teenager and I am allowed a little nostalgia.

I am writing this to my past self yet at the same time starting over with my present self as I find myself culpable for not having known better. I know I am contradicting myself when i say to her, not to drown in the guilt of what could have been but I am not drowning, no, not yet. I am learning to swim, finding serenity in my sins.

This is an ode to my future self. I am starting over, I am starting right now. I am reading again, learning the big words to scare the demons away.

(P.S Guitar is not just a hobby, so play it till your fingers bleed.)

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