Categories
books change chilling conspiracy Efforts feelings growing up Guide language Lessons life

Pronounsville

by:Tharun

There once lived a people, in a quaint little town. Called by the name Pronounsville, on no map could the place be found. The people couldn’t care less about, because neither was anyone moving in and nor anyone moving out.

Every facility here was common for all, be it the gym, the school, or the newly opened mall. The people of Pronounsville were an interesting lot. “Our is the mechanic, sturdy and tall.”, shouted out Them, spouse to It and chairperson at the Pronounsville Town Hall.

“Nothing in this town is owned, yet nothing is free ”, is the motto every Provillian follows to the T. Everyone looks out for Eachother, partially because Eachother makes Everyone’s heartbeat with glee. “Please do not mistake us for communists!”, peeped out Who, trying a hand at comedy.

But just as every happy story has to come to a close, the people of Pronounsville were leading down a rocky road. Out of nowhere, Us, the gatekeeper of the town heard a knock on the door. “Can I get your name to alert the chairperson?”, asked Us with an unassuming force. “The name is I. That’d do the job I suppose.”

“Pronounsville is a place unknown to most and visited by none”, said a puzzled Them, trying to put together one and one. “We have our own means and sources to get the job done.” We? “Yes of course! It’s not just I who’s come. Along with I are Me and Myself, and we’re here to have some fun.”

“The town’s motto is quite nice and sweet. But if I were, to be honest, this motto has become slightly obsolete.” For the first time ever, the Provillians were outraged and fuming with heat. “Please do not get offended, by all of this nothing personal do we mean. With Me in town, I (and) Myself will spruce things up and get Provillians back on their own two feet!” 

As naive as they come, Provillians entrusted the trio to complete the task. With no one to object and no one to ask, Me, Myself, and I tore the town apart. Now nothing was common and nothing was shared, “mine is mine and yours is yours” was the new motto to chant.

Soon enough Pronounsville fell out of rhyme.

I was oblivious.

Nothing mattered to Me.

There wasn’t anyone but Myself to blame. In the process of playing with Prounsville’s future, I had forgotten the name of the game.

Categories
change childhood Day Efforts feelings growing up Guide Happiness Lessons life Love people personal Thoughts

MEASURING IN LIGHT

by: Sutanuka

The light at the end of the tunnel didn’t really make sense to me until I was at the end of the tunnel. When you are at the tunnel, it feels like a long stretch of black cloth wrapped around everything you can lay your eyes on. It’s stretchable and it stretches and stretches.

Subconsciously, I had started to count kindness on my fingers. If you were like me, you barely got enough of it to fill in one hand, but I took what I could; I still do. I had learned to lick it in scraps, taking whatever I could and storing it in a jar made of hope and I took a bit more out of it than I should have every time I was told I wasn’t enough. Which was every day.

 The jar didn’t last long enough and there were cracks on the glass. I was not enough. Every fiber of my being was one touch away from being enough but I never could touch it.

 Enough.

Whatever that is.

 I was always short of being the perfect daughter, the perfect friend, the perfect person. I was always tugging it with my thread but those always tore in the middle and I was adrift again. In the emptiness of not enough and never enough and less than.  I was drowning in that vacuum. Years from then I still am not enough for anyone, and even when they tell me that I am, I am constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop – which I know it will – for them to realize that I have pieces missing from when I left them in my previous life. Or maybe the one before that.

But this is not what I am writing this for. I remember when I was fifteen and in a terrible place all around, I asked myself to rebel. One December, I wrote in this ratty tissue paper that I need to dye my hair a bright pink or orange – a color that my elders hated – for me to finally give that fifteen-year-old peace.

Last November, when I dyed my hair a bubbly pink, I did not remember the tissue paper letter, I remembered it long after I dyed it brown again. Ever since I go back to that December a lot. I think if I had to pinpoint a moment I knew about the light at the end of the tunnel, it’d be that. It’d be that moment when I was sitting in that salon chair watching my pink hair dry when I swear I could see the light. I could see it bright and clear as a day.

Days pass and night changes and I found people who love me. I am terrified of being alone, of being loveless, of being lonely. My friends like me and it’s been so long since it happened that I fight a dead mountain trying to believe it. I think about them a lot and I turn up clueless when I think, why do like me?

When you see the light at the end, you also look back and see the long way you’ve come, but then you also see the pile of stuff you missed out on. You see how many people love you so dearly, but you also see the mobilized fear of knowing they might not really love you. It’s a double-edged sword and you never really escape it.

I think about that fifteen-year-old often. I think about how in some parallel dimension or multiverse, she’s stepping into the tunnel for the first time, not knowing she’ll spend years there and in some other dimension, she’s stepping into it again until, in a thousand different universes, she’s stepping into it again and again and again and then some. 

I see the light now and it’s golden, like daylight, I see everything around me and I wonder if it’s here to stay. I hope it is.

Categories
change childhood Family feelings growing up Guide Happiness life Self social society

Confidence is key

by: Keerthana

“With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.”

Self-confidence is unequivocally essential to living a fulfilled life. Self-confidence is about having faith in yourself and your ability to achieve what you envision. Confidence originates from the word ‘Fidere’ in Latin which means “to trust”. So, self-confidence amounts to trusting oneself. It broadly comprises attitude, body language, habitual behaviors, and response.

Is it really that important?
Being confident in yourself makes others have a sense of trust in you. People that often lack this confidence follow or believe the ones that have greater self-belief. More often than not, having low self-confidence is unappealing in a social or work setting. According to a report, 40% of interviewers reject unconfident candidates from the first stage itself. Confidence plays a big role in furthering your career. It helps you to get rid of activities that aren’t needed to achieve the bigger picture. So, effectively it saves time and extra effort.

So, how do you know if you have low self-confidence?
If you often hesitate to pitch in your opinions or ideas in conversation, you might have poor self-confidence. People may quit on their goals before they have even started working on them because they lack the belief that they could accomplish it. It can even come in the form of feeling worthless or thinking poorly of yourself. If you always find yourself agreeing with others when you don’t truly feel that way, it may be a lack of self-confidence.

Then what causes this doubt?
Surprisingly, according to studies, some people are just born like that. They produce less of the ‘Serotonin’ hormone which adversely affects their behavior and personality traits. But, obviously, their confidence too can be improved.
People diagnosed with anxiety or other mental health issues mostly have a poor self-image. Being surrounded by negative friends or family members also affects self-confidence as it can damage the way people see themselves. Sometimes, people set unrealistic goals and they get upset that they haven’t been able to achieve them. This ultimately, makes them feel like they can’t achieve anything right.

What are the traits of a confident person?
They take the necessary risks to achieve their goals.
They are strong-headed and stand by what they believe.
They aren’t afraid to take help when needed.
They don’t give up trying too soon.
They don’t tolerate being disrespected and set standards for how they want to be treated.

Finally, let’s talk about how we can be more confident.
People around you influence your thoughts and feelings about yourself. Ensuring that you’re surrounded by more positive people can help change how you see yourself.
Studies have shown that exercising and meditation improve your confidence. It improves body image and even helps to recognize and accept yourself.
Catching yourself when you’re having negative or deprecating thoughts is important. This is because if you aren’t cautious, the thoughts just keep on accumulating. After catching these thoughts, the best practice would be to replace them with reassuring and positive statements. Over time it would help you to feel more confident.
Accepting failure is important. This would help you to set goals and not be too hard on yourself if you can’t achieve them. You would feel more confident in yourself and your ability by accepting that you might fail but you will come out stronger than before.
Acknowledging your past achievements are equally as important. It will remind you that you have made it quite far and you should keep pushing.
Talking to psychologists or counselors can help you strategize how to develop your confidence. By speaking to them, you would discover any issues that might have been holding you back.

Building self-confidence can be a tough process but not an impossible one. By giving yourself time and energy, you can improve your overall self-image. By understanding the importance and how to build self-confidence, you can improve the quality of your life and those around you.

Categories
books change childhood Efforts Environment feelings growing up Guide Happiness Lessons life Thoughts

Teachers Day

by:Aanchal

Ohh well, it’s a teacher’s day. When does it fall? I am neither thankful nor unfeeling that a special day
has been dedicated for teachers, to thank them and to honor them for what they do. That too, the
day falls on the birthday of a very special person, Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan. No, I am not good at
remembering dates and events (and that is clear from the first line itself), it’s just that I loved his name
and went on to remember this.
My faintest memory of a teacher’s day is us going to school only to find our seniors dressed up as
teachers and taking charge of their duties for the day. All the teachers were sent on a trip to someplace, giving them a break from their schedule, a day to enjoy and have fun. Growing up and
changing schools, I witnessed a change. The teachers were no longer sent to trips, rather we wished
them a “Happy Teacher’s Day” in a monotonous sing-song every time the periods changed and a new
teacher entered the class. And yes, I was one of those enthusiastic kids who would make cards for my
favorite ones, expressing how much I loved them and what their presence meant to me. Our
relations with them kept changing, from us talking about fighting with friends or getting a scolding
from mom to us getting periods and assumed mental breakdowns that we thought we experienced,
to talking about what we dreamt of a university and how we would enjoy the freedom we would be
entitled to (although we didn’t get any freedom, thanks to the pandemic). Every phase began with a
new face, a new personality, but all of them were equally understanding and equally supportive. I can
closely relate to the quote, “We are who we are, because of who they are”.
From scolding us for laughing and talking in class because they thought we were wasting time, to
allowing us to cry silently even when sitting on the first bench because they somehow knew that the
tears were uncontrollable and that it was the only way to let things out. From arguing with them for
giving us fewer marks in tests, to thanking them after a meritorious result on the boards, we all grew up
and so grew the respect for a sometimes-motherly-sometimes-fatherly-and-sometimes-friendly figure
called teacher.
Now, now, I don’t have all the sweet memories of school and teachers. We all have faced some form
of punishment, be it not bringing a notebook or cheating on a test, or not doing homework, and I am
no exception. I have had strong, well-conveyed disagreements. But just one teacher not behaving
properly cannot overshadow the love of all the others, the well-deserving-worth-mentioning ones.
And now I have a change of mind, I am so grateful that they have a special day dedicated for them.
And why just a day? Why not a year, an entire lifetime of thanking those who shaped our lives and
thoughts and to whom excellence and brilliance meant much more than an A+ grade.

Categories
change childhood chilling Day Efforts Family feelings Food Friends growing up Guide Happiness journalism language Lessons life Love Opinion people personal Thoughts

The Stoic overflow

by: Prajjwal

Dinner table conversations at home are often unpleasant. It significantly revolves around how incompetent or inexperienced I am compared to other people of my age. I realized I wasn’t worthy enough to be a boy of my age.

Back in school, I was asked to man up whenever I went to seek help during distressing times. I learned that I should pretend to be fine when I am hurt, deep within.

One day I was shamed for not winning at a competition. I had to digest the fact that defeat was never an option in my life.

There are instances when I preferred to remain silent after listening to triggering statements or derogatory opinions. All credits to my conflict phobia.

Finally, I learned to tune myself with the norms and rules of society so that I could fit in and get some kind of validation for my existence, and this was when stoicism entered like a dreaded monster, extending its bloody hands to cover my mouth and cloud my emotions.

According to Greek philosophy, stoicism refers to the teachings or the ethics designed to lead a happy, virtuous, and wise life. It is regarded as a powerful tool for those in pursuit of perseverance, self-discipline, and master, or in simpler terms, it taught people to be free from any kind of passion, and unmoved by grief or joy. History’s great minds believed in stoicism and sought them out. 

Even though the core idea of stoicism is lucid and relevant, the modern version of it seems hyper-polluted. 

Society’s paradigm is quite a complex subject. As you grow up, you are expected to be the ideal man or woman who is capable of handling responsibilities without any flaws and mold into perfect shapes and sizes to please the people around us. And, this is where the misappropriation begins. You tend to suppress your agonies and hardships without any display of emotions, just so that you can avoid getting called ‘the fussy one’ and when you fail or break down, you silence yourself with phrases like Do not give up, Keep calm and move on when in reality, it just starts to snowball and multiply your miseries. 

The societal norms which define the dichotomy between genders have posed an unspeakable threat to the modern world. At places where patriarchy reigns, you can find a crisis of affection, especially in males. They have no female companionships except for the ones at their home, thereby tricking boys to signal their masculinity. They tend to follow the same rituals for generations unless cooped.

I too am emotionally sterile at times. I constantly worry about the visceral way I cringe when I talk on video calls. I waste my time significantly in “What others might think about me?”, unaware that this very notion has the potential to cripple my existence one day. No wonder, Gen-Z has mistaken the word depression for sadness, failing to realize the existence of a thin line between both. There are days when I feel that I missed a great number of opportunities to express myself, cry, voice out my opinions, vent out my feelings. Maybe I was just afraid of grief, which might make me look weak in front of other people.

It is exhausting to keep up to the expectations of people around us, especially at times when you are grappling with your internal self.  It is worthless to bottle up your emotions and choke yourself with unforeseen consequences. We as humans have the power to express our inner self, vent out our opinions. It has a cathartic effect.

Stoicism is brutal. It is capable of taking a toll on one’s mental health. You may opt for silence, but the echoes inside will remain and thrive, to haunt you forever. 

Categories
change childhood chilling Efforts growing up Guide humans Lessons life people personal Self social society Sports Thoughts World

No monsters, only man

by:Harika

A few days ago, I was watching the Tokyo Olympics Swimming 100m finals and I was reminded of an incident that happened at our community’s swimming pool probably 5 or 6 years ago. What happened there transformed and shaped many of my opinions on humankind and I can never look at a swimming pool without being reminded of the mortifying sequence of events I had to witness that one dreadful day and I’m writing this because even to this day, I think of the boy who was there to swim just like me but became the victim of humankind’s nefariousness. 

And this is what took place on that one cathartic day.

As I see it, the swimming pool is an aggregation of not just water but a hundred thousand particles ready to conquer your throat and lungs, submerge you to make you their own: drifting, silent, dead. I stand in it, between the colliding currents that sway my knees, the blue grasping at my waist. A few meters away a man is wading through the thrumming liquid, his greying hair spots on his head, his bloated gut a ship’s hairy bow. Behind him a boy stands, his pale face twisted, black hair in wet, drooping spikes.

“Why did you throw your goggles and cap? What are you going to do now?” demands the man, turning to the boy.

The boy stays silent, or he mutters something unheard.

Either way, the man continues. “Listen to me. Your mother…”, and the man stops roaring with fury but I think what he wanted to continue saying was that ‘your mother is observing and listening, she is right over there: shut up, listen and behave. Your mother is watching, get yourself together and start swimming, with or without your gear.’ The breeze twists the other way or the water enters my ears, either way, I am too shocked by what just happened so I don’t hear what the man says.

Maybe the boy is now weeping silently, silver streams of tears bulging scars on his cheek, for the man erupts, waving his arms, “Why are you crying?”

The most entitled question: why are you crying? Why have you handed me a consequence, after I rammed the cause down your very throat?

The man inhales the wind, and in a sudden exhale it bursts out through his mouth. “Are you crying for sympathy? Pity? Let me tell you, boy,” and this he shouts, “the more you beg for the pity the less of it you have! Who will pity you?”

My shoulders shake. The boy, stunned, stands unmoving, his head bowed, his back bare. One day he will thank his wounds for being invisible.

“Retrieve your goggles. Retrieve your cap.” The man grabs the boy by his head. “I want you to succeed! What are you doing? Crying? I don’t want you to be a loser! Loser, do you hear?” The man’s booming voice bounces off the pool walls and pries into the boy’s ears, my ears, everyone’s ears, the ears of my cousin who spoke back to his father, my mother’s friend whose husband who would return home drunk at 3 am, all these generations and all these lives until the last hearing ear has been deafened. In his rage, the man spoke the language of humanity.

Then, the soft afterword. “This is for your own good,” the man finishes, calmed after an outburst. “Retrieve your gear, let’s swim.”

This is the thing with people: they vow on your life, praise Satan, talk about helping you get your life on track while all they do is ruin it, and then end with a smile, saying, “This is for your own good.” No, this isn’t for their own good. The boy is going to remember this incident for a really long time, probably even for his entire life, and even begin to detest swimming. For all I know, he could’ve been an Olympic swimmer if not for the man scaring him for life. And I think to myself, in a barbaric world where people are dreadfully cold, there’s no one who will do anything for ‘your own good’. That is when I came up with survival rules for the boy and for myself; rule number one, I think to myself and the boy, don’t believe him. Rule number two: hate him but don’t fear him. Rule number three: smile at him, smile and obey, smile and listen and nod, this is your life, you can change it but not now. These are the rules of the game.

While I watched the entire incident unfurl in front of me, I haven’t seen the man showing an ounce of love or empathy towards the boy instead all I could see was the man’s envy, anger, and hatred. 

Envy is a vice. Instead of focusing on your own goals, your goal becomes to throw other people’s goals off the rails, and at the end of the day, you gain nothing but a mischievous satisfaction that you have destroyed someone. 

It has been years since the occurrence of this incident but I can still recall the fear in the boy’s eyes. What was supposed to be a fun day at the pool changed my perception of the world entirely and a swimming pool, to me, was never again just an aggregation of water but a hundred thousand particles of human piss, saliva, snot, and tears, scoldings, quiet rivalries, and violent pledges, gushing into your gasping mouth and open throat. 

You swallow it and they make you their own.

Categories
change childhood culture Day death Efforts Environment Family growing up Guide Happiness humans Lessons life Self social society

Of Gratitude and Affirmations

by:Prajjwal

Gratitude and affirmations. We all might have come across these two words several times, maybe on our socials, or whenever we surf “How to be successful in life” or something congenial to this. This article is basically a review/experience of how gratitude has transformed, not just my life but the greater good as well. It does sound philosophical or scholarly, to begin with. I, for one, found it worthless and stuff even before I could go on to discover it, only to realize its actual power at a later time, especially when I hit the rock bottom. Everyone does experience their ‘rock-bottom’ phases in their lives. You might be just stuck with some work, you might be in a dilemma on how to proceed further, unable to pull off the burden upon you while you are left with no other assistance to heal your mental wounds. And this is when gratitude can prove to be your knight in shining armor. Also, this is not some kind of a summary of Rhonda Byrne’s gratitude books. It’s just one of my little ‘secrets’, I’d like to share with you.

There are a zillion things out there that go unappreciated or for which we are ungrateful. We all have succumbed to a mundane robotic routine of ours. How often do we realize the importance of people in our lives? How often do we feel lucky to have a roof above our head, pure air around us, the pettiest things we use daily? Be it our gadgets, accessories, or trivial stuff around us. How often do we thank our own existence? To start off with, I’d suggest you maintain a gratitude journal. You could savor your gratitude to all the things or people to whom you are grateful and appreciate their existence. Take a vow to recall moments of gratitude associated with the ordinary events, your personal attributes, things that pique your interests, in order to interweave a sustainable theme of gratitude in your lives.

Second off, practice affirmations. Gratitude and affirmations go hand in hand. Want a new car? Crave for a new outfit? Want to overcome your bad habits? Want to improve your grades? Affirm it! (Nothing to boast, but the secret to all my exam results lie here:)) And slowly you start manifesting what you affirm. You start to attract what you speak. This is the whole concept behind affirmations- the law of attraction. So make sure when you stand in front of a mirror the next time, to affirm good thoughts instead of holding an empty gun pointing at your head. Every syllable we speak manifests energy, towards or against us.

The science of gratitude is omnipresent. It is vast. It is relieving. It isn’t unrealistic wishful thinking. Luminaries such as Plato, Socrates, William Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, Einstein, Newton had discovered it way back and have delivered the same through their works. 

Change your perspectives, drink loads of water, exercise daily, think of grace, gifts and reap your rewards. You do feel a gush in feel-good chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin once you shift your thinking from negative to positive. Replace your feeds with gratitude pages, group your apps on your home screen with affirmative titles, consider yourself lucky if you see repeating numbers, download apps that help you practice gratitude, practice freelancing, start writing letters (it’s okay even if you don’t have to send them), and reinforce positivity back into your lives.

Categories
change childhood Day Efforts Family feelings Friends growing up Guide Happiness humans Lessons life Love Opinion people personal Self social society story Thoughts

Live in the moment

by:Abhinav

Have you ever thought of what will happen to all your dreams and goals when you die? All the places you wanted to go, all those trips you wanted to go on with your friends, and all the other things you wanted to do. Where will they all go? You will never know. Because you won’t be there to try and achieve them. It is really good that you have your future all planned with all the things you want to do. But you never know what life has in store for you. It can be good or bad. Living in the present sure has its pros and cons. One major advantage of living in the present is the fact that you don’t have to bother about what happens in the future. Not that you do not care about what happens in the future or that you don’t care about the repercussions of your present deeds. It just means that your mind is free of all the things that may or may not happen in the future.

This is especially very true for people like me who tend to think a LOT about things that may happen in the future and get shit scared about stuff that has a 0.001% chance of happening and do not look at the better outcomes which have a higher chance of happening. I tend to believe in the worst that can happen and keep my expectations low regarding any future event. This has sometimes clouded my judgment and thought process which has affected me very adversely when making decisions about stuff that matter at the moment. This can also bring out the frustration you feel about something that you think is going to happen in the future (say, a bad outcome in a test you gave) at the wrong time and on the wrong person.

This in no way helps anyone and is counterproductive. One solution to this is to stop thinking of things that may happen in the future. We can surely prepare and brace ourselves for things which we can control to some extent, like a VERY difficult test that is scheduled sometime in the near future, by planning ahead. But certain things like exam results or the fear that you may get infected in the global pandemic and damage your lungs to an extent that you may not be able to take part in the cardio heavy activities you always wanted to do. The 140.6-mile Ironman you always wanted to finish will remain a dream. The 1000Km bicycle ride you dreamt of going on in your 12th grade will remain a dream.

So what do you do? What can you do about the uncertain future? Nothing. You just have to live the moment. The 140.6-mile Ironman may not be possible in the current situations but what you can do is a 42.2K run. A 1000Km bicycle ride may not be possible with the fitness and equipment you have right now. Maybe try for a 100Km ride or even a 70k. Slowly reach the goal. But do not waste your time and energy dreaming about a shiny and happy future. The future is never happy. Life keeps surprising you and the surprises are not always pleasant. If you keep thinking about when to start, no time seems right to start.

What I want to say is, the future is not in your control. Sure, you can plan all you want but no one can say what is going to happen in the future. Who knew 2020 was going to be all at home and who knows what 2021 is going to be like? Act on your plans and live in the moment because you can never live the same moment twice. 

“There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is yesterday and the other is tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do, and mostly live.”

~ Dalai Lama

Categories
change culture feelings Guide life Opinion people personal Self society speculation Thoughts

Ace-in-the-hole

Author: Aaditya

“If you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” ~ Maya Angelou

Alright. First off, can we all just agree that heteronormativity is the absolute worst? I mean the amount of overthought and confusion that it has caused in me, is almost inexplicable. With that out of the way, let’s proceed with the article. 

For those of you who don’t know what heteronormativity is, it is the belief that opposite-sex relations are the ‘normal’ mode of sexual orientation. Heteronormativity assumes gender to be binary, and considers hetero, often marital relations to be ‘better.’ This is a  highly problematic thing. To name a few reasons–people with gender and sexual identities that aren’t heteronormative are often forced to explain themselves to people, or justify their sexuality or gender identity. Assuming that everyone is straight leads to erasure of sexual identities. Heteronormativity leads to severe implications for those who aren’t heteronormative– discrimination, rejection from their families, mental health struggles, to name a few. 

Asexuality and the myths around it

To many, asexuality seems to be a new concept around human sexuality. However, asexuality isn’t a new concept, it is just gaining much more traction now than it has ever before.

Nearly 1% of the global population today, that is around 70 million people worldwide, are open and out as asexual. And, quite a few more people are in the closet. This is a significant number. Despite this, the concept of asexuality is not very well known, and there are some myths and misconceptions around asexuality. This article aims to analyse and deconstruct a few of these myths. In addition, I have tried to study a few of the problems faced by people from the asexual community. 

For starters, like all other sexual identities, being asexual isn’t a choice. Asexuality is not a mental disorder, it is not a ‘phase’ that people go through. It is not a fear of having sex. People who identify as asexual aren’t just people who haven’t sexually ‘matured’ yet. Asexuality isn’t caused by mental health issues or traumatic experiences. And, asexuality is not the same as  celibacy or abstinence, both of which are things people CHOOSE to practice, for  various reasons– personal, religious, health and hygiene, etc. 

Asexuality and aromanticism aren’t the same thing. One can be asexual and aromantic, and they could be asexual but still want to be in romantic relationships. This misconception arises because people assume romantic and sexual attraction to mean the same. Sexual attraction stems from a sexual desire towards someone or something, whereas romantic attraction is wanting to have a romantic relationship outside of sex. 

Another common myth around asexuality is that it can be ‘fixed,’ if asexual people just had sex. This often leads to a problem called ‘corrective rape.’ More on that later. Furthermore, asexuality doesn’t mean that asexuals cannot or do not have sex. Asexuals have sex for a few reasons, most often to please a non-asexual partner, or sometimes even for purposes of reproduction. Last, but not the least, asexuals can and do masturbate. Masturbation has more to do with libido than with sexual orientation. Masturbation is something that is personal and depends on person to person. 

Unfair exclusion from the LGBTQ+ Community

There has been a debate for quite some time around the inclusion of asexuals under the queer umbrella, since the term was reclaimed by members of the community. Some people within the queer community believe that asexuals aren’t ‘queer’ enough, and are not considered a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Others believe that asexuals haven’t been oppressed, or discriminated against, in the way members of other communities have. This is a form of in-community acephobia known as gatekeeping– which is policing the ‘gates’ of spaces of certain demographics. Gatekeeping is a more general term, which can apply  to other members of the queer community as well, it is prominent with ace and aro people. And, some asexuals choose not to associate themselves with the queer label– sometimes, people believe that there is unnecessary baggage that comes along when someone identifies as ‘queer’ or as a part of the lgbtq+ community. Others just don’t prefer the label, as they feel that asexuality is different from being queer. Asexuality is as valid an orientation as any other, and people from the community must be included in the queer community. However, with that said, identifying as queer is a matter of personal choice, and no one should be forced to adopt certain labels. 

Oppression and Discrimination

There is a belief that people from the ace community haven’t been ‘oppressed’ or discriminated against as much as people from other communities have. This isn’t true. Asexuality has received its fair share of oppression and discrimination, and most of these problems are different from what others in the LGBTQ community experience. 

Ace erasure is denying the legitimacy of asexuality as an orientation. In addition to systematic erasure, there is a constant insistence that even the problems faced by asexuals aren’t real, or that they face little to no difficulties. There is a severe lack of representation of the community in the media, and due to this, information and awareness are very less– not a lot of people outside the community even know what asexuality is. This sometimes leads to sexual harassment and assault, and something known as ‘corrective rape.’ Corrective rape is forcing someone to have sex in order to ‘fix’ their sexuality. This is experienced by other members of the LGBTQ+ community. A lack of proper representation, sometimes almost no representation, leads to a level of disbelief, hostility and even prejudice towards people from the community, both by heterosexuals and other members from the LGBTQ+ community. Most people consider the ‘A’ in LGBTQIA+ to stand for ally, and not asexuality. 

And, in general, our society believes that having sex and being in relationships is what defines us as human. People who don’t desire to partake in sex are considered unhealthy, or even abnormal. There is a notion that humans should aspire to achieve sex and relationships. 

I couldn’t figure out how to conclude this piece, so I thought a lot and finally decided to do this: 

Here are some useful resources that’ll help in learning more about asexuality. 

1. AVEN – The Asexual Visibility and Education Network – https://www.asexuality.org

This has become somewhat the “official” website on asexuality, mostly because it’s been around for quite some time. The forum on this website is extremely vast, and has a lot of useful information.  

2. The Asexuality subreddit on Reddit – https://www.reddit.com/r/asexuality/

Reddit is an extremely resourceful and helpful platform, and it also has a well established Asexuality sub, which has also been around for a while. The subreddit itself has a lot of resources that people can use.

3. The Asexuality Archive’s Glossary for asexuality related words- https://www.asexualityarchive.com/glossary/

Other than these, there are some useful pages on Instagram and channels on YouTube. I don’t have specific links, but you can just search for the keywords you’re looking for.

Categories
change Efforts Family feelings Friends growing up Guide Happiness humans language Lessons life

A VALLEY IN TIME

by:Chitteshwari

I’ve been thinking about why I am unable to do the things I want to. There is some disconnect in the circuit between the part of my brain that wishes and the part that acts and I’ve spent the last year wanting to fix it. Wanting to fix it, because like I said, to do isn’t possible. My problem keeps me from finding a solution, which is to say, I am the hurdle.

Every month or so, I am struck with a breakthrough about some behaviour pattern, either of mine or others in general. Sometimes the breakthrough is a new problem that I’ve recognized and at other times, it’s an explanation – why it is the way it is. The solution, however – how to try and no longer make it a problem – is a never-ending mystery.

I’ve been told I use a lot of fillers in my speech. Words like “like”, ”um”, ”uh”. Words that apparently have no relevance or hold no meaning. Words I say because there are vacant spaces in time and I want to plug the holes. Words that I wear as a mask, as I try not to make it obvious that I am oblivious to my own train of thought. 

There are also a lot of filler spaces in my day, big chunks of time in between finishing one activity and starting another, spaces that don’t really count as rest or work. They simply exist, adding (again, apparently) no meaning or value to my life. Something usually referred to as a waste of time. Is it true though? Can anything you say or do, not amount to anything? Isn’t every activity that you do or don’t do, propelling you further, nudging you just a little bit harder towards the person you are becoming?

Before starting this piece that you are reading right now, I started (and deleted) more than a few drafts, because no other thought was coherent enough to expand itself to this word count. And despite the little corner in my head that is skeptical of myself, I know that every word I have ever written, even if it was erased almost immediately, has lead up to me writing this sentence here. What I’m trying to say is, there is an understated struggle lying in the underbelly of every single day, and the seconds that go into wading through that river aren’t worthless. I recently watched a video about how these filler words in our speech are not just important but are irreplaceable. While a pause could indicate an abrupt end, your um’s and your like’s let the listener know that there is another word that is on its way. Words that say, “Wait, I’m not done yet.”

Which is to say, every time you spend an hour on your phone in the morning before you get out of bed, it’s an hour that indicates that there is something significant incoming- that you are about to begin the series of events which will start your day. There is a deadly pandemic around us and life feels like it has become static but this is just the filler before the calm (yes, I made my own version of “the silence before the storm”). Something is approaching; something aglow with possibility and hope. 

I know there might be sentences in this piece that don’t add much to its meaning (Whatever I am, I am self-aware). But even after I write the last word and begin my process of editing and proofreading, I know they’ll stay. After months and months of the biggest writer’s block I’ve ever faced, these are the paragraphs that whispered to me that something worthwhile was on its way and that I must wait.

You could consider this another small breakthrough, where I have gained an understanding, a new perspective on an old issue. I mentioned earlier that I never find a solution, only an explanation at most. But when explanations make you realize that your problem isn’t even a problem in the first place, who’s to say that you can’t call them solutions?