It was July 2019. I was taking a ride home with a friend and watching the aimless cars driving by and wondering to myself – “How does everyone know where they’re going?” I turned to my friend and confessed, “I am not sure where my life is headed. It feels like I am aimlessly wandering around and trying to find some meaning but I don’t know what that meaning is.” After a moment, she said, “One day, it will make sense. Give it time.” In 2020, a friend and I were deep in conversation about a similar topic. I found myself telling her too, “I am not sure what I want in life. I feel like I have no purpose. It won’t matter if tomorrow I am alive or not, life will go on.” Judging by the look on her face, I think my words had scared her a bit. But, in my mind, there was nothing to be scared of. My rhetorical question meant – “What is it that’s going to give my life a purpose that if I am not around, no one can or will be able to do? What is it that I can bring to the table that no one else can so that my existence matters? So, that I matter?”
For the longest time, I have struggled to find this purpose. I have tried different jobs, projects, spoken to people who live their dreams, have read countless books and articles on self-help and spirituality but I must say, it got me nowhere. If anything, over time, I had convinced myself that I was not doing any good to myself or to those around me. All my habits needed to change. I needed to change to be “successful” and to be “accepted”. When I had too few emotions, I convinced myself that there was something wrong with me. When I had too many emotions, I convinced myself that I felt too much. When I didn’t think things through, I was told I don’t care. When I started to think things through, I was told that I overthink. When I didn’t care about where my job was taking me, I told myself that I was being complacent. When I started to care about the future of my job, I told myself that I am bringing in unwanted stress. How in the world can someone know their purpose when everything and everyone including themselves keeps sending the same message – “No matter what you do, you will never be good enough?” It’s either the wrong job, wrong place, wrong behavior, wrong mindset, wrong gender, wrong direction, wrong priorities, wrong person, or the wrong life.
Last year, my guide had told me to surrender. I had recently been introduced to a world that I couldn’t make sense of, didn’t understand how the world of spirituality differed so much from this reality, found it extremely unfair that I was given insights into a world that others could not even believe and was struggling to understand the point of people striving to gain any clarity when our spiritual selves and lives didn’t align with the truth of this world. Just like my friend, my teacher had also told me, “It will make sense someday” but that answer continued to disturb me. The term “surrender” never made sense either because, for the life of me, I couldn’t understand who and what to surrender to. That was until a few weeks back, I heard myself say – “It’s time to surrender.” So I did without questioning who or what to.
My surrender started with my visit to my home country after two years. I had been apprehensive about my trip because of the pandemic but something in me kept pushing me to go. So I did. I expected the trip to be full of struggles because of all the restrictions and regulations. But, it turned out to be quite a pleasant trip. Travel went seamlessly both ways and, most importantly, I got what I needed – a chance to heal my past. Seeing my family and friends after years felt like I was going back from a self-ordered isolation. Connecting with my friends reminded me of the deep meaningful relationships I had developed over time but that I had started to oversee in the past few years. The unconditional love that I had started to doubt met me again in the form of friendship. These friends have been by my side every step of the way and have, in their own way, guided me throughout my journey without judgments, with open arms, and with nothing but love. When I could meet one of my oldest friends only for a couple of hours, she took it upon herself to make sure that I spend my last night with my family and her family just so that we could spend some more time together. Another friend made sure that I stop neglecting my physical health and guided me about my next steps to take care of myself. Yet another, spoke to me about nothing in particular for hours and helped me meet the love of my life again – my dog, Muffin. Finally, another friend put aside her plans to move to a different city so that we could have enough time to share our stories. After hearing mine, she gave me the same message that I had heard all those years back – “I loved you before but I love you more today if that’s possible. I am so glad I get to witness this you. Regarding what happened, I know it doesn’t make sense right now. But, it will one day. I’ll just ask you not to wait for that day.”
Another part of the healing process was meeting my family. We’ve had some rough times in the past few years. We’ve had our set of struggles that not many people in my life are aware of. Sometime in the past, I had stopped opening up to them. When my friends felt excited to go back home, I used to wonder how their home life differed from mine. There have been times when I was met with a conflict of missing home and not wanting to go back. I had started avoiding speaking at home because I felt like I couldn’t be open to them about what I felt or who I was. When any person I knew witnessed this, they couldn’t understand why I didn’t talk much with my family, and I never explained. This time when I went home something felt different. I sat with my mother for hours and opened up to her without holding anything back. I explained to her the reasons why I had slowly started to pull back. I told her what I had experienced since I left home for the first time. I told her everything that had ever hurt me, the unhealthy measures I had taken to cope with that pain, and the way therapy had helped me regain parts of myself. I opened up to her about my spiritual journey and how I had lost and am still finding myself along the way.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of our conversation was me coming out to her about my sexuality. And, perhaps the most surprising aspect of that conversation was her response, “We have both masculine and feminine energies. Gender does not matter. What matters is what energy clicks with which person. Maybe when you feel for someone, it’s their energy that you’re aligning with. You fall for someone’s soul, not their gender. Isn’t that more evolved than those who go by genders?” I kept staring at her blankly for a few minutes while she explained to me how our souls do not care about a person’s gender. Throughout my life, this has been a part of me that I have ridiculed myself for and had hidden from most of the people in my life. Hearing my mom say that this is natural and that I am normal has by far been the greatest gift of my journey. While she still dreams that I find an eligible person from the opposite gender someday :D, her acknowledgment and acceptance of me was the highlight of this entire trip.
This 10-day trip brought with it more realizations and healing than I could have imagined. With my dad, I opened up about how our relationship had changed in the past few years and, for the first time, saw the man behind my father. For the first time, I saw how my dad is just another human being, trying his best to get through life and meet the expectations of himself and his family. My conversations with him also helped me realize another reason behind my pulling away from him. My dad is a protector. Whoever he loves, he protects. Be it a friend, his family, or anyone in need. Sometimes, at the cost of his mental and physical health. My dad loves to solve other people’s problems as if they’re his own. He loves to take it upon himself to help shape a better life for everyone around him. If he doesn’t, he feels like he has failed the other person and himself. Whenever I tell him a challenge that I am facing, my dad goes into this problem-solving mode. While I could recognize that he did it out of love, I always took it to mean that he didn’t trust me enough to take care of myself. This meant that over time, I stopped sharing my stories with him. I couldn’t tell him that I just needed a listening ear, and he couldn’t tell me that his providing me guidance was his way of showing me that he will always be there for me. Well, that realization rang a bell and made me realize how I am more or less a carbon copy of my dad. I love to protect people I love and I love to solve their problems. When I asked my dad to sometimes just be a listener and not offer advice, I realized that while this aspect of our relationship had pulled us apart, I had somehow subconsciously learned this as a way to show my love and appreciation for the people around me. While protecting and helping people solve problems is a good trait to have, doing it without being asked for help can sometimes smother those we love. Like any other aspect of life, protection and guidance also require balance. It means that if someone is not asking for help, then, not to provide them help and let them find their way while letting them know that you’re there if and when they need you. Speaking to my dad helped me realize, that I don’t have to be this protector or problem-solver anymore. I realized how I have a choice to change this pattern in a way that does not hurt me and does not make people around me think that I don’t trust their capabilities. Sometimes, you just need to have faith and let the other person know that they can tackle any challenge in life and that you’ll be there if they need you. Sometimes, we have to realize that we don’t have to protect everyone we love, and just trust that they will reach out when and if they need or want us.
With my brother, well, things were a bit different. We got into an argument a day after my arrival, had a full-blown “fight” a day later which resulted in me again leaving my house for 3 whole days. However, our argument this time was not like it had been in the past where we argued over things that didn’t matter. In this heated argument, we got to the crux of what had pulled us apart. Words that were never said were put out. Feelings and emotions that had long been held back were shared/yelled at openly. The result of this argument was seen a day before I was about to come back when he gifted me some 5 items and a card. That was his way of saying sorry and telling me that things will change. After a long time, I felt like I saw my brother again. After a long time, I felt like I had a family again.
There was another part of this trip – Me sharing parts of my story and healing journey with my family and friends. Surprisingly, there was no encounter where a conversation around mental health didn’t come up. By the 5th day, I had started to see what I was bringing to the table while I was telling my story. By the time I was about to leave, a friend had started to look for therapists, another had decided to give her a life a try, and yet another had started receiving Reiki as a way to de-clutter her mind. My parents are now 1st Level Reiki practitioners and my sister is planning to give meditation a try. My brother has promised to introduce some long-needed changes and for, myself, I went through long-due hypnosis with a clinical hypnotist to heal parts of myself that I was too scared to encounter.
I had started blogging in March of 2021 with one aim – creating a repository of items for someone who I thought might need it someday. Well, I must hand it to myself to try and protect someone else when I was the one suffering. However, that blog had evolved into my personal journal and had helped me heal myself in more ways than one. After writing more than 50 blogs, I had reached my limit. I couldn’t write anymore because, with every blog, I was healing a part of myself. Healing is totally worth it but it can be emotionally and mentally exhausting. And, I just wanted to take a break. I had reached a point where the inner healing process had taken away every ounce of strength I had left in me. The wounds that had surfaced got too much to bear. And, after I wrote my final blog, I was done. I wanted the healing to stop and I wanted to rest. I tried to not blog for several days but kept coming back as if something was pulling me back to write more. So by the October of last year, I had deleted the original website along with my social media to stop myself from blogging again. I just wanted to go into a shell and not come out for the foreseeable future.
This trip back home gave me the break that I had needed for a long time. It brought into reality at least a version of me that I had been waiting to bring to life. Hearing my friend tell me how much I have changed and transformed was the motivation that I needed to know that I got something right. Taking a step to healing my relationship with my family helped me see that there are more ways than one to live our lives. It helped me see how oftentimes we let go of something meaningful because we’re scared of being vulnerable and don’t understand the importance of communication. It helped me see how all it needs sometimes is a simple apology, a simple confession, or a simple chance to mend that we have deemed as broken. It helped me see that at the end of the day we’re all humans and it is our birth-right to make mistakes and learn. Most of all, it helped me see, that we can’t heal ourselves or our relationships until we are our authentic selves and are true to ourselves about who we are, what we want, and give ourselves a chance. I realized that after all, we’re not alone in this world and that all it takes is a leap of faith and a step into the unknown to find that unconditional love that rests in all of our hearts. I have been scared of being myself for a long time because of the expectations that I had put on myself and because of the fear of being rejected for who I am. I had been scared of acknowledging my emotions, my reality, and accepting myself for who I was because I was scared that my reality would not go well with those around me. In my fear of rejection, I had continued to reject myself. This trip brought me back to telling my story in the best way I know right now – through my blogs.
So what is my purpose in life? My sister from another mother had told me years back, “Maybe our purpose of life is just to make a small impact on someone’s life. Maybe that’s it but won’t it be worth it?” Well, I will say it’s worth it. If healing myself is a way to heal my relationships and provide someone a few tools to heal themselves, then, it’s worth it. If my story can influence a single life, if my words can reach a single person and give them some hope or guide them through their journey, then, it’s worth it. I found my purpose by surrendering to that inner voice and giving myself a chance to speak my story. My purpose was here all along, nothing big, nothing small – just me using my words to tell my story and help heal whatever needs to heal.
This is me surrendering to myself and finding the meaning that had eluded me all along.