The most frequent advice that we get in the span of our lives is to be cautious. Though our fears serve us really well by protecting us against potential dangers, it turns sour when instead of being an ally, ‘Fear’ becomes our master!
Soon after I hit puberty and my body started getting feminine curves, I was advised to be cautious more often than I was advised to be happy. Although it was for my benefit, it took a toll on me when those bits of advice sneaked into my day-to-day life. “We think it’s inappropriate for you to play with the boys now”, “You better do aerobics, girls don’t look attractive while playing sports”, “You should be back home after the sunset”, “Never pick a fight”, “Don’t talk back ever”, and so on. Interestingly, these fire-arrows of advice bombarded me from all directions: at school, at home, from neighbours, relatives, their neighbours, family friends…from the entire world apparently! Result = I built a wall around me & lived within my imaginary castle. Overprotective, Overcautious. I clearly forgot to draw the crucial fine line between saving myself from potential dangers & avoiding necessary challenges & experiences of life.
What worries me today is not those minor instances during my teenage years, but how those instances shaped my behaviour and thought process. Consequently, I have chosen to be cautious even when I should’ve just let myself loose. I have avoided arguments even when I was right. I preferred not to talk back even when I knew I was being wronged.
But it’s beautiful how in life if you are in tune with yourself, your ‘inner conscious self’ connects with you & tells you when it’s time to unlearn behaviours that no longer serve you well. And it’s even more beautiful how subtle that mode of communication is! ❤
Once at work, to reach the shuttle boarding point I had to walk a long way before the entry cut. However, I noticed that the border was made up of metal railings which one could easily cross-over & reach that point sooner. Did I do it? No. Why? It was office premises & my image would’ve been compromised! While I was contemplating the scenario in my head, I saw two men casually crossing the railing. Was it a big deal? No! Was any rule being broken? No. Did it cause any discomfort to anyone around? No. So one fine evening, against my better judgement, I crossed the railing to board the shuttle. On another evening, I ran to catch my bus. Thankfully, I caught the bus, but right after I stepped inside, I lost balance & fell (I felt immensely happy & proud!). Similarly, I pulled my hair up in a bun one fine morning & went to work (Yes, I was once told by my supervisor that hair buns look unprofessional!), I took a solo trip to attend a yoga course in outskirts of Bangalore, I got drenched at Nishani Motte peak during a trek (after an eternity, & even the raincoat couldn’t help!), I opened up to strangers and LOVED the experiences, I learnt how to be assertive (neither aggressive nor passive) during an argument, & most recently, I climbed a huge tree in Lodhi Garden amidst several grown-ups & sat on it until I couldn’t feel my legs. All these things may prove that I’m crazy. But trust me, no matter how tiny or irrelevant these instances may sound, these were the times I was TOTALLY ALIVE! I was ‘in the moment’, loved myself & loved life! 🙂
I am not devil’s advocate. 😉 All I have realised & want to tell you is that, KNOW WHEN TO LET YOUR GUARDS OFF & do, for a change, what your heart wants you to do IN THAT MOMENT. As Seamus Heaney said “Walk on air against your better judgement” and who knows, you might end up loving the bruises! ❤