Holding Onto the Old and the New

Relationships

“Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”

- Swedish Proverb

When you meet a person for the first time, you don’t just meet their body. You are introduced to their soul, heart, mind, problems, and personality. You meet someone who can entirely change your life for good or ruin it eternally. However, it is only possible if you give the other person the power to affect your existence. If you keep a person at bay, they can't possibly be potent enough to make even the tiniest changes in your life.

Since the day we were born, we have all come across thousands of people, but we haven't entertained each one of them. I am pretty sure that the ones we entertained were not the best people in the world and given a chance to correct our mistakes, we would probably go back in the past and exhort ourselves from fraternizing with that person. But have you ever considered that every person is a doorway to a new experience? Our lives would have been very different, and we would have been different people from who we are today.

I have certainly made friends with many people I wanted to remove from my life, and I am not saying that I didn’t, I did. I tend to abandon people easily, cutting off people has always been a cup of tea for me, and I have never really thought about them after I decided to push them away.

I have been abandoned by many people as well, and that hasn’t been much of a problem either. However, there have been certain people I have tried abandoning, but I just couldn’t. There was always something about them that I just couldn’t let go of, like their magnanimity, respect for our relationship, my affection for them or how they treated me, or how vulnerable they made me feel.

I am not a very easy person, I have been a pedantic person for some time now, but probity also has its downfalls. When I am vulnerable, I am hostile too, and I tend to hold back as if I am trying to protect myself from intimidation. The belligerence, however, has always killed a part of me that I didn’t know was there, and now that it’s gone, I can feel its absence.

My whole life, I have held back. There is a part of me that is scared to show my real self because I fear judgment and rejection. I am afraid that if I put my vulnerabilities on display, my susceptibility will be mistaken for weakness, and the idea of being impotent just doesn’t sit right with me. I can’t not have control over my life. After all, it is my life, I am holding the gun, and I want to pull the trigger even if it’s going to ricochet and that it has in the past, and will happen again, I am sure.

When I strip myself naked of my emotions, I regret it. It makes me hostile and defensive, and I am not really in favor of my bellicose behavior. I feel like I am at war with myself even though I am not. I am fighting with a part of myself, but which part exactly? The one who listens to her heart a lot or the one who uses her mind with celerity and alacrity, or the one who just wants to be treated right?

My friend told me that I am a person who claims to have trust issues but trusts easily, and I complain about not having the energy to deal with people, but in reality, I do, but I am just made to feel bad about all of it. But aren’t we all? We all have a saturation point, and even though we have the mental space to trust more or invest in people more, we just don’t want to.

We don’t want to because we are terrified of what is going to happen next and after that. We are afraid of the uncertainty that a new person brings along, but all we can do is trust, and if you are not ready to trust, how are we going to grow up and move on? We humans are not independent creatures, we are very dependent on each other. As a matter of fact, we are so dependent that we thrive on each other’s victories and losses.

We are intimidated by each other’s presence and absence so much that we have all done expedient things and have later come to contrite our actions. I think that mankind is arcane, it is so obfuscated that even when we try to understand the reasons for our existence, we are going to fail, it’s like we are designed for it.

Some of us are so terrified that we have chosen not to feel anymore, including me. When I am talking to someone, I just can’t keep up with conversations, I tend to zone out because I am terrified of what I might say, and that’s why being quiet and insouciant seems easy and the right thing to do.

We are never scared of what is happening right now at this moment, we are scared of what might have happened in the past or what might happen in the future. We are scared that things we have experienced in the past that have scarred us might affect our future. We are scared of failure, we are scared of ourselves. We are scared of our victories and losses. We are scared of who we were yesterday and who we might become tomorrow.

No matter how much you plan something, there is no certainty that the result is going to be desirable. It is never going to be exactly how we want it to be, and there are always going to be nuances, desired or undesired. Even though we don’t want to settle for less, we will have to accept the subtle differences or even major ones, because isn’t that how we are supposed to grow up?

I am aware that becoming inured is not healthy, but sometimes embracing the unexpected and undesired makes you who you are, it makes you a better version of yourself. Now, even though I am terrified of giving new people a chance, I also think that everyone deserves a chance.

You can never know how a new person can change your life in a good way if you choose to shut everyone out. But if they do end up making it worse, you will always come out a more mature person, and you will always have a new story to tell.

Simran Tuteja
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Simran Tuteja is 20 year old undergraduate student majoring in Mathematics from the University of Delhi. She started writing when she was clinically depressed and dealing with anxiety and she wants to become a successful writer. Simran enjoys writing short stories, poems and articles. Her poem ‘Little do they know’ got published in ‘In Real Life’, an anthology by Himanshu Goel. She is the Editor-in-Chief at Ananta, the Science Society of Indraprastha College for Women.