Those You Love, Don’t Define Who You Are

I finally figured out how to loop the digital radio through the lounge speakers yesterday.

A rather smooth unplugged version of 90’s “ghar se nikalte hi” is streaming through this early Sunday morning. There’s a slight autumn chill in the air but the sun streaming through these huge overhead windows over the lounge is beautifully toasting everything including my cold toes. It’s been a long while since I’ve just quietly sipped coffee on a Sunday morning like this. I’d like to use the word ‘peaceful’ but after months of turmoil lately I’m afraid I’ll jinx that word again.

I’ve moved again, dear Reader. Packed the same green duffle pull bag and my Country Road canvas sack from uni days with all my belongings, put all the assets I own in my fraying backpack, got on a plane and moved to yet another city. Except this time, my nomadic heart wasn’t so light.

I thought I had it figured. I thought the last few years, I was doing pretty good. I was settling well and finally at place in life where perhaps I was beginning to find a home for me. I was busy building and building and what looked like it was finally taking shape – came crashing down like a stack of legos.

Now I don’t know if life’s chosen me as a one-off special case or does this happen to everyone? The moment I find my stride, get the hang of things, start being fine with everything – life flips me over and says “nah, bitch – not yet”.

Never is a very stubborn word. I think it’s one of those words that come alive once you’ve used it to spite you. To punish you for your sheer audacity to use it. I said I’ll never go back to a corporate job and be part of the rat-race again – I’ve been in one for the past 2 months. I said I’ll never go back to construction full-time, I’ve been working 10-hour days again. I said I’ll never pay taxes in another country, I’ve been contributing to some pretty un-thought out infrastructure plans for my new economy.

How did I get this wrong? Did I love too much? Is there a quota to how much one should expend without overspending? Is it even possible to love people more than it is required?

Do those we love, define who we are? I think us humans let this one slip through us. We let those who we love, start defining us.

But you see who we love has nothing to do with who we are (and it’s taken me a lot of sleepless nights to figure this one out!).

Love, there is no explanation for this concept. People have tried. Poets, scientists, neurologists, writers, Rumi, scholars, you, me. We tried explaining how it makes us feel, the chemicals our bodies release, the wires that fizzle in our brains and groins, we’ve described it in stanzas and thesis’ and yet we still can’t collate all the findings on this subject, state a conclusion, bind it all together and file it in the archives as the holy truth when searched for ‘what is love’?

Perhaps that’s why she keeps going back to her abusive husband or he can’t cut off ties with his toxic mother or despite the disrespect in relationships, some still bear it all.

We can’t help who we love. It’s not a choice you’re given. We just do. But in no way, those you love, should define the person you are. I’ve been so unkind to people in my life who were weak in love. Always thought your choice to love someone, defined your strength and character. But we can’t help the families we are born in, the families we get married into and those relationships we sometimes don’t even have a name for. Well, I got taught, didn’t I?

So what does one do, dear Reader? What do you do, when you realise that all the love you’ve given, is not coming back to you?

One can decide to stay or move.

And this is what that does defines you. We can’t help who we love nor there is a plug we can use to purge it out or stop it. But we can choose what we want to do with those relationships. Your choice to wait or leave those relationships – this does define you.

So here I am in my ripe middle age, starting over again. But in it’s own way, the universe has made this work out for me. In ways I didn’t imagine possible a few months ago.

I’ll let you get back to your Sunday coffee. I’ll have to fix myself a new one because it now has more salty brine dripped into it then milk!

I have yoga in an hour, I’m holding out my asanas longer than ever! There’s a deli around the corner from my new place that sells the most scrumptious rolls, I’ll probably get one on the way back from the gym. And all this in itself, is not bad at all.


Happy Sunday, dear Reader. Stay in gratitude. You never know what life has planned for you next.

In gratitude.
Shyamni. x

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