I feel battle weary. Nothing like the true blue action in Amish's latest, but a test of will and perseverance all the same.
I brushed past another insidious comment today with a seemingly innocent one of my own, effectively quelling a potential confrontation. There have now been so many word wars I have avoided, I have ceased to keep count.
It was only recently, as I celebrated a year of being on my own, that I realised all that I didn't do, at the same time I noted all that I did. I didn't act as much as I observed. I didn't look back as much as forward. Finally, I didn't fight back even though I could.
I don't remember the first time my parents advised me to "pick my battles", but it's been repeated often enough since. I first let things go when I was barely out of college. Dictated by pride, convincing myself that silence was the hallmark of the dignified. But that only led to the fire burning inside of me instead of outside. The next time I smiled at a disparaging dig it was at work. I had smiled because my next decision, which had been to quit that job, had suddenly become so much easier.
Over the past month or so, the figurative demons I have been fighting have been the makings of my own mind - a potent mix of abundant hormones, a rapidly tiring body and a burning purpose to do work worth my while. Strange bedfellows have been my only constant thus far in my life, and this was no exception.
That was how I was discovered by the newer insurgents over the last three days, hurt and snarling. Pride dictated that I put up as normal a face as possible, but it barely lasted a couple of hours, crumbling in the face of constant querying, judging and commenting. Hankering for some peace and quiet, I put on my cloak of silence and found a cosy corner of my mind to sulk in. I had barely started licking my wounds, and was in no state to be the charming hostess that was expected of every daughter in law in an Indian household, urban or rural be damned.
Yesterday, by noon, I had felt dangerously close to a precipice. I had lost control over the mask that had now become my trademark inexpressive face, and had turned to spouting venom the moment I stepped out of the house and encountered another non-familial human being. I knew I was treading dangerous ground, because when I would search my memory for those interactions, I would remember nothing. The only time my excellent visual memory fails me is when I am raging beyond expression. Oh, this was so not good.
I napped my way through the stress, my already weak body crumbling under the mental strain. Only to be rudely woken up with a reminder of my non-dutiful behaviour - "We had guests at home and you slept through it all. You could have come out of your room and spent 10 minutes with everyone. What is so difficult about that?"
Keeping my tongue in control was difficult. Allowing such a rabid invasion of my house when I was in no state to entertain, let alone stand in one place for a few minutes was difficult. Most of all, keeping quiet through it all, when all I wanted to do was scream my head off and chase everyone out with a stick, was difficult. Compared to these scenes repeating in head, my napping through the afternoon felt like a hungry python whose snores are only rivalled by its stomach grumbling with hunger.
Now that we are all caught up with my non-issues, I replay the retort of my dreams for the nth time, open my laptop and begin to type out a blogpost.