Sunday, 22 October 2017

When I Met Mother | Shrink Tales

I had slept very late the previous night. I woke up at 11 in spite of the alarms. I think my partner couldn’t wake me up because he too had slept late. Both of us were trying to convince a common friend that he had to get out of his abusive relationship with another common friend, one whom i loved very much. It was really painful. 

Once again, Ish, my therapist, and i were running late together. I was irredeemably late though and we had to have the therapy on phone. It was a little uncomfortable in the beginning but when i realized that Ish was the same as she is when we interact face to face, i eased up. 

We started talking about my weight and eating issues. She asked me a question. You know how it is? If you are up to something you know you are up to something. A question is all it takes to make you figure out something you’ve known all along. And when that happens with me, i feel like i am alone in a cave that is pitch dark and that some light seeped in through a narrow crack. When i follow that light i realize that i see more details. Say the carvings on the walls. 

Edakkal caves, Wayanad. The rocks in a perpetual kiss.

So Ish asked me about a contradiction in my life – one that i had not thought about or seen. She asked me why it was that i considered my body as something to hurt when i was in pain and at the same time went to extreme means to reach the goal called the perfect body. The answer emerged as i thought, formulated the words and articulated them.
‘Because by trying to make my body look perfect i am doing the same thing – hurting it – like how i punish my body to relieve my pain on other occasions.’

There. That was something i had never thought of. I don’t know what that realization implies. But it is nevertheless a realization that felt very meaningful when i had it. Like the very satisfying sound of a lock clicking open.

Mother – the only thing Ish asked me was if i had ever spoken to her about herself. 

Yeah, i guess, i thought. Stories about her childhood, poverty, her love story with Father. But no. I had not done that in a long time. Somehow, over the years, i had come to resent those stories. When Ish asked me to give it a try, i somehow felt that half my job was done. There was hope. And guess what? I have discovered a new Mother. 

I cry, and feel with her. I imagine myself as her. I even found out that we used to think the same way about love, at the same age. Like how i thought that my love could change the other person. She thought that her love could change Father’s alcoholism. I felt so sad, listening to her speak about how she began her life with Father. 

Over the week we spoke more and more and i felt closer to her than ever. It was a miracle. The most saddening part was that she was just waiting for me to ask her. It was i who had not shown any mercy. One question and Mother was opening up. I felt guilty. But then i realized that there is a reason why i am being able to do this now. It is because my own pain has disappeared, to a large extent. Otherwise, selfish as i am, i was always hunting down my pain and trying ways to deal with it. Mother’s or no other person’s emotions had place there. Now maybe there is some room because a big chunk of pain has just vacated the room. 

Every conversation i had with her made me closer to her. I took care not to say anything about me unless she asked. Pity that phone stopped working. [I didn’t get up on time to turn the tap off. Flat flooded and phone drowned.] I remember LJ educating me on love letters. That it is all about them. Not about us. I never imagined that would make a difference. Here Ish said 'Who is this LJ? I want to meet her.' I rolled my eyes and smiled to myself.

Was shocked to see the wonder that human mind is when Mother started responding kindly to me. The tenderness that i had not felt in years while talking to her came back. At an incredible rate that too. Brings back the memory of me rushing to her and hugging her after reading the screenplay of ‘The Sixth Sense.’ And that was maybe 9 years ago! 
Why do i feel that Ish asked me to do something over the week and i forgot?  

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