Last month, I wrote about how moving countries has meant a lot of things for me and asking for help forms a huge part of it. This month, I am going to share something I have been thinking about for quite a while.
I am a 27-year-old woman and it is my first time living without/away from family. I now live in a house with three lovely women who extend much warmth and support towards me every day. I am the youngest and as opposed to others, it is my first time living independently. Suffice it to say, there is a lot that I was unaware of about living this way. I never doubted the grit in maintaining and running a house (and a life) but now I am amazed by everyone who does it every day of their lives. From feeding yourself to ensuring you have fresh laundry and a clean house and no more drains are clogged, there is so much that is easy to miss, yet each part is so essential in ways that you realise only once you have forgotten about it and reflecting on my privilege. I have been thinking about how much my life has changed in all these aspects and how these were never big enough concerns for me before. But that is not the trouble. The trouble is that instead of opening up space for myself to be curious about these changes, I have been shaming myself for learning about such basic and necessary things “so late in life”. I have been ashamed of my not-knowing. I have been ashamed of not being a good enough adult. Or not being an adult at all. I have been ashamed.
As I write this, I am reminded of what Brené Brown wrote,
“Sometimes shame is the result of us playing the old recordings that were programmed when we were children or simply absorbed from the culture.”
I am not proud to say that this has been my inner voice despite believing that we grow in messy, meandering, magnificent ways. And that growth looks different for each of us. Yet, I have been holding myself up to a rulebook that was never mine. This has made me wonder how often we do this and how unkindly we treat ourselves in the process.
What standards are you holding yourself up to right now? Are they standards you set for yourself or did the world set them for you and told you they should be yours too? How can you be kinder to yourself right now?
Along with the four of us, we also have the most wonderful Lola living with us. I have wanted to live with a dog since I was a child. But as I am sure most of you would also relate with, that never happened because my parents were reluctant. Now, so many years later, I get to witness the beauty and the warmth of a lovely lab who makes me seen (literally and figuratively) by following me around the house. Because I am not used to having a dog around, I forget that I share the space with a dog. But she always remembers. Even when I am just waking up or coming back home after a long day, she’ll be there looking at me to pet her and tell her how much I love her, always reminding me that she sees me.
Meet Lola! :)
‘Daring Greatly’ by Brené Brown
I read this book a while ago. I was on a spree of reading as much of Brené Brown as I could. Some of the things she writes make you feel as if she has put into words something that you have thought about but did not entirely know how to process or make sense of. If you have not seen her TED talk, I would also invite you to watch it.
Below is an excerpt from the book:
“Shame dervies its power from being unspeakable. That’s why it loves perfectionists-it’s so easy to keep us quiet. If we cultivate enough awareness about shame to name it and speak to it, we’ve basically cut it off at the knees. Shame hates having words wrapped around it. If we speak shame, it begins to wither. Just the way exposure to light was deadly for the gremlins, language and story bring light to shame and destroy it.”
‘Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette’ on Netlflix
This recommendation has been a long time coming because I have loved this special since the day it came out. But I also keep feeling like I cannot capture what it means to me that something like this exists in the same time as I do. And what it meant to me when I watched it for the first time.
There is a lot in this special that I absolutely love, but I will share some screengrabs that made me sob.
Note: If you plan to watch this, please make sure to take good care of yourself because it can be very distressing and triggering. Trigger warning for sexual violence, misogyny, homophobia, suicide.
Hugs in Words
I believe that we are all striving to be better versions of oursleves every day. It looks different for each of us, but at the end of the day, the fact that we resort to being so harsh on ourselves is because we expect ourselves to do better. And while the outcome (being harsh on ourselves) is harmful, the intent (expecting ourselves to do better) is very hopeful.
So, I want to thank you for striving to lead a life of kindness and compassion. I want you to know I see that and value that immensely. I want you to know that the awareness that we are all trying to minimise the hurt we cause in this world is what keeps me going. I want you to know that when you talk down to someone and come back feeling a strange sense of discomfort, I see you. The hope lies in the discomfort. Whatever that discomfort might look like for you right how, I hope you are able to hold yourself with kindness because the path of shame is not the one that’s ever going to lead us to where we want to go.
Love and light,
Note: As you know I have moved countries, I am in a different timezone. So the usual time for this newsletter arriving in your inbox (on the morning of 15th every month) is also going to change a bit. You should now get these either on 15th nights or 16th mornings.
A Request: If you would like to monetarily support my work and help me keep this newsletter going, please donate here or you could contribute directly to adishi@icici. Thank you! 💛