All that we feel is valid

An amazing first date can sometimes go downhill because of “the one thing”. The one thing could be the other person’s way of perception or literally anything in the world. It is subjective and personal for everyone and often cancels out all the amazing parts. For instance, a man goes on a date with a single mom and says, “some single moms are desperate”. There is “the one thing” during family gatherings that make an excellent and relaxing time not so relaxing. The one thing for me is the need for some people in my family to put forward their concerns about my life decisions and spend their time coming up with reasons to prove them wrong. The family conversations revolve around each of the teenagers in the family becoming the only shark in the sea. The shark is talked about until another shark comes forward. 

As grateful as I am for the family that I have, the time spent is sometimes so much or so overwhelming that I end up wanting to feel differently than myself. I want to be the same as them because the only feeling that feels more dreadful than being sad at a family gathering is the feeling of estrangement. For as long as I can remember the feeling of indifference has always felt invalid. 

The feeling of indifference, invalidity, and estrangement kept me from enjoying the little things in life and relationships until I went to Mumbai after 6 years for my sister’s wedding. The wedding preparation made the days go by faster and slower at the same time. When people hear about an Indian wedding, food, grand decorations, beautiful outfits, and fascinating events come to mind, as much as it is true, there is so much going on, it is difficult to be in the moment and grasp the time. There are various events on the same day, multiple dance performances, and tons of relatives to attend to. The wedding is no less than an annual school function that lasts for days. The chaos and the communication gap had got the best of me, the feelings of invalidation and indifference were stronger than ever. 

इतनी स्मार्ट होकर भी मनोवि ज्ञान (psychology) लि या, वि ज्ञान (science) लेना चाहि ए था। मबंु ई आजाओ, मैंतम् 

ुहेंडॉक्टर बना दँगू ा।“, said my uncle. 

बारवी क्लास मेंकम मार्क्स आया था क्या बेटा?”, said my grandmother.

I was the shark often. I was a teenager, a psychology student with glasses who loved to read and spend time alone. My relatives were unhappy with my decision to study psychology. They would persuade me to change my career choice and choose something that has career stability and certainty. Less to say, they were happy to keep me at their homes and pay for my education. This was “the one thing” of my visit to Mumbai. The sea was only so big for me to hide, so I concealed the layers of feelings I felt, trying to make myself understand that what people were saying was true about the wrongs in my decision-making. 

Often, I’d let myself out on the balcony. I believed I didn’t fit in with the family and the conversations. Most of the time my 26-year-old cousin would join me. He’d sit in silence with me and ask me to talk if I liked it. As much as I feared opening up and judgment, I talked to him. I appreciated him coming and staying with me, while everyone inside was having fun. It took me days but I told him all about how I felt. I described the years of invalidation I felt from myself and my family and how I felt other people were right and I was wrong about every decision and every emotion. I didn’t want him to tell me to forget all this and just enjoy it and he didn’t. Once he said, “I understand how you feel, and as much as I hate to say it, you’ll feel it for the rest of your life. You’ll feel invalidated by people and yourself. It is valid to feel anger during times of sadness and it is valid to feel sad during a happy time. It is valid to feel anger when people say something about you that is not true, but it is invalid to feel that what people say defines you. It is valid for you to feel too much and feel that you made the wrong decision, but it is invalid to feel that you don’t know what you need. Always remind yourself that whatever you feel is valid, it may not be the correct emotion to show, but it is always valid. You are the only person who can do that for yourself. ” 

The small life we live will never be all rainbows and no rain. Choices will be made, decisions will go wrong, and we will be betrayed by ourselves and the world. Acknowledgment and validation of what happens can be a good way to learn from the mistakes and understand the rights and wrongs in our decision-making. My brother taught me to enjoy the process of life and believe in the power of self because there was no fixed deadline for the life we have. Being the shark has taught me to validate the differences and the essence of individuality we have and invalidate the constant need to be like others. We could feel all that there is to feel in the world in a way no one else has felt or we could skip on all the new stories we could tell or become.

One thought on “All that we feel is valid

  1. The introduction really grabbed my attention and I couldn’t stop reading. Your personal narrative is without a doubt at its best when you give vivid details of the day and moments from your perspective, which is, alike you, a very unique one and you didn’t get tricked by the its/it’s thing yayaya. Good job! :))

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