How far would you go for the well-being of your mental health? Understanding what’s working and what’s not? Even if that means taking some drastic steps which might cause uneasiness among your near and dear ones.
Recently moved out of my house. It wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment thought, executed hastily.
If I have to be brutally honest about my personal choice. I have to admit I wanted to move out, and live on my own way back when I was pursuing my diploma course in 2010. It wasn’t something I never intended to happen, in fact, I have been planning and wanting to get out ever since. Yes, maybe the Sherlock GIF is a tad bit dramatic but that is how I would put it.
I have been called strong by so many of my friends, it doesn’t really make me happy because deep down I knew I wasn’t strong out of choice. I was strong because I had no choice!
You know you take a decision out of pressure but that’s not exactly pressure because it is needed in that situation. When I look back at these decisions, there isn’t any regret, it is just plain confusion!
I am thankful for many things in my life but I am equally puzzled too. I used to hold myself back from moving out because I always felt guilty of leaving behind my single dad alone. It never felt right. But it wasn’t an easy journey, maybe we both were not ready to handle the second innings of my father’s post-retirement.
The life of a single parent is difficult! Post-retirement the loneliness magnifies and I saw a healthy, super-energetic man turn into an unrecognizable old man within months of his retirement. It was not easy to see his drastic transformation. Now that I have the headspace to analyze his 360-degree turn, everything makes sense now. Someone who has always put up a fight throughout his life, giving up looks sensible especially when your beloved wife is not beside you in the olden golden years, the last leg of your life. What must have gone through that man’s mind?
I have seen my father stand by us like a rock. What made him strong? His vulnerability to express himself. Also, his ability to change his parenting style to raise a teenage daughter. I saw him crying openly in front of us kids to mourn the loss of his wife and the mother of his children. That too when the well-wishers were advising him against it, because apparently parents crying in front of children sends a wrong message. I think since my father cried in front of us that made us comfortable to open up. That man changed his approach to raising me and made it comfortable for me to walk up to him anytime and talk about anything including, my menstrual health, boys, sex, relationships, politics, or life in general. It was a pretty bold move from his side. Is this where I made the mistake of presuming my dad as invincible?
Life post-retirement became a drag for my father, he did try to design a life where he wouldn’t settle into loneliness. Unfortunately, he couldn’t keep up with it and slowly slipped into a shell where all he could do was avoid meeting anyone and everyone.
Loneliness is insidious and I have seen its ugly repercussions on an energetic, intelligent 60-year-old man who was so full of life and ideas! I don’t get it when people romanticize the idea of loneliness. No, there is nothing romantic about not having anyone around to share your happiness or struggles with. Or maybe even a cup of tea in complete silence, or let’s just say even a fart where you can laugh out loud at the ridiculousness of the moment. Individualism is not being unhappy and a sad, lonely soul.
We need to know how to differentiate between enjoying our own company or being happy with ourselves and getting absorbed with our thoughts or becoming self-obsessed. Being independent, self-reliant and on the other hand a person who is drowning in their own sorrows and is ashamed to ask for help. Don’t confuse these two states.
I couldn’t make sense of what was happening and even if I did, I refused to accept that my superhero dad is not able to get himself out of his loneliness. I always kept giving him the tough love so that he shrugs off that lethargy and gets back to his old self. The man I knew, who used to get up at 4:30 AM and exercise, and take care of his health and was a voracious reader and liked exploring. I wanted the lively and energetic, Krishnamoorthy Jutta, back so bad, I simply overlooked the fact that he has given up on life.
Frequent bickering became a norm and somewhere down the line things got lost in translation, we became distant as father and daughter. I started resenting the fact that I had to rethink my life around my father (sounds extremely selfish, I know!) but I just couldn’t leave him alone. It felt morally wrong, and thank god for that feeling I never abandoned my father. That being said, things weren’t easy, when you have two strong-headed individuals, who also happen to be incorrigible, ego clashes are bound to happen.
Papa was being difficult to deal with and I, on the other hand, was being adamant in addressing the situation the way I wanted it to. Both of us were refusing to collaborate and reach a solution, that very well could have been the biggest blow to our relationship.
Relationships, of any kind, need a lot of understanding, patience, love, care, and work on our part. This is what I learned and it came at a heavy price. You can’t just presume and let things be the way it is, not when it is strained.
After my father’s death, I keep revisiting those memories, not to feel bad and blame myself for anything. I have accepted that I did try my best and couldn’t fully understand the gravity of the situation. I also believe there is a right time for everything. Back then I couldn’t understand, but now I see the picture, crystal clear.
I don’t think anybody related to the movie, Piku the way I did! I could get Piku’s scattered aggression.
This long ass backstory is a prelude to how and why I finally moved out of my house. It is easy and tempting too, to settle down in our comfort zone and complain, whine and pine endlessly without taking any action. I did the same but realized my fault while I had enough time in my hand. Took some major steps to get out of that complaining wheel, which I would share in my next blog.
Till then keep loving yourself, and take care of your fam and friends.