Story #40: An Anonymous Note (The Anonymous Anecdotes Project)

Dear you,

I know you are suffering in your own, unique way. I know you have a story, a history and something that gives you pain. I know you have happy moments that you never account for, and sad moments you never forget. I know sometimes you hide your pain and mask your insecurities.
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Because I do, too.
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But I want you to know that you’re the writer of your own story. All the characters, living or dead, are the people you chose to be with, at that moment. Every episode you experience is influenced by the words you say and the things you do. Just like every turn adds on to you successfully getting to your destination, every choice adds onto making what your life is or will be.
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That being said, I don’t want to turn this into a sermon. We all know our choices make or break, but still, sometimes we end up saying and doing things that we shouldn’t have. Negativity fills us up. Things go bad one after the other, repeatedly, and everyone you’ve ever come to love seems to either not care, or be there for you.
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But in times like this, I want you to know that you have the power to change your situation. You always have the power to change the situation. I want you to believe that you do.
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Two years ago I had reached the lowest point in my life. I fell, hard; everything in my life seemed to be going wrong. I was sad, and I was sad all alone. To be honest, I still am. I haven’t recovered from it, but I’ve stopped thinking about it. I’ve learnt to focus my energy onto better things. I’ve learned to give into my emotions, but not too much. I’ve learned that emotions make you weak, and love makes you vulnerable. So I have tried to keep them both as far from myself as possible. I’ve come to know that I am alone, and that no matter what, friendship is, in the end, a beautiful illusion we distract ourselves with. Years spent in school together, times spent laughing, and sleepovers: they all dissolve into ego, selfishness and stop to exist. So I’ve just come to terms with the fact that no matter how much I may love people, they will never love me back as much. I will never be enough for anyone, and that is okay because people always have expectations, and expectations always lead to disappointments. 

This may appear to be a very pessimistic view of life, but I swear, I’m a very happy person and a self proclaimed optimist. Although, I believe now I’m turning into a realist. A realist who knows her flaws well; a little too well to hate them. A realist who for quite a long time didn’t look into the mirror because she hated the sight of her face. Anyway, I’m telling you this because I want you to know how I feel better about myself. 

I try to spread happiness. Try to. There’s something very satisfying in seeing someone smile; more so when I’m the reason behind it. So I don’t really care if its over something silly, or a story I just concocted. I just want to make people laugh. Maybe, I think, making someone happy is my way of making myself happy, because I never seem to be able to do it directly. Also, random acts of kindness. You have no idea how wonderful they make you feel. Wish the person who guards your front gate, buy the balloons from the little boy selling them at the red light, compliment your friend who’s insecure about her looks that she is beautiful, tell your parents you love them; there are so, so many little things that you can do that can literally brighten up someone’s day. They feel good, you feel good: it’s a win-win situation!

I know this because these are the things that no one ever told me. I also know this because I know it works. I wish someone would’ve been kind to me back at a time when I felt weak. I was still in school. I’d been crying for last thirty-five minutes in the toilet; that’s how I used to spend my lunch breaks. I’d stopped washing my sore, red eyes because I knew nobody cared enough to ask me what was wrong. This happened again, and again over different time periods in my life so far (I’m big on public crying, lol.) I’ve had multiple panic attacks inside fully crammed metros, and not one person has had the guts to ask me what was wrong. My point here is, in situations like this, people are afraid of being kind. Why? I don’t know. I just hope the people who are reading this aren’t the ones to turn their heads away when something like this happens. 

I want you to do one more thing. If you absolutely hate your existence, or you’ve just been experiencing bad things one after the other, do this: when you lie down at night, close your eyes and just say thank you to the universe for everything that exists in it for you, or rather facilitates your existence. Start with twenty things. The list will expand, day after day and you will realise the thousands of things that you need to be thankful for. I do this exercise at times when I feel that nothing is working out for me anymore, and it just makes me feel that I have way, way more things than I account for, and that my existence is magnanimous. 

I’ve babbled for quite a while now. I just want you to know that your life will go on; you are a unique, wonderful human being who is here for a purpose. I want you to know that right now is all you have. Smile. You’re allowed to cry. Let it out. Love. You will find love, inevitably, but for once try letting love find you? Everything good that is meant for you will come to you in good time. 

I hope you’re happy, wherever you are. 
I wish you well.

Yours. 

P.S: I listened to this song when I was going through a very low point in my life. It made me cry, a lot, but I also felt really better. I want to add it on here, because, I don’t know, maybe if you too are going through something bad, this could help. I hope it does. 

A Little Too Much (Shawn Mendes)


I cannot believe this is the last time I writing this after-note!

We all at some point feel exactly like the writer has described in the episodes of their life. Sadness, dejection, disappointment and what not. But really, true happiness lies in making others happy- be it through lame jokes (if you’re like me) or acts of kindness. These words have really struck a chord in my heart, and I think I will come back to this story, again. I hope the words have resonated with you just like they did with me. 

On that note, I declare The Anonymous Anecdotes Project as closed! I’m so thankful to everyone who’s contributed and/or read the stories; be it one, two or all forty.

Loads of love!

-:-

Any opinions, comments or ideas that you may want to put forward to the writer of this story can be mailed to me at ratti.priya5@gmail.com. Positive feedbacks and constructive criticisms are more than welcome. 

(The Anonymous Anecdotes is a project under which anyone can send me a memory, a story or an experience from their life that had a profound impact on them. It requires people to write their respective experience along with the way it changed them or their perception of life. According to the project, these stories are being published anonymously, with the intent of spreading a positive message and a hope that anyone who reads, relates or learns.)

 

Story #21: Was He Even There? (The Anonymous Anecdotes Project)

Was he even there?
Was that a commitment?

Or maybe, his attempt to come out of something, something even more disastrous in his past. Or maybe, he really meant what he said when he held my hands.

I suppose it was his convenience of not being able to stay alone for quite sometime. If he had really wanted me to stay, stay where I found my home, he would have cared enough for my fears, my dark and my pain, my worst and my all. He was aware of the dark, the grays and the blues but always expected the spring of me. He, who said he won’t leave, had left because now he realizes the world shall shower spring upon him but not me.  The whirl of wind and darkness are heavier than any armor. The dreamer in me did not stop loving him. I just stopped putting it up into my sleeve and making one last effort, every time when it’s the last time.

I already knew why it was necessary to give up on humans, friends and the dearest of friends but wasn’t able to do it any time but now I am trying to figure out how to give up on emotions. They tend to incapacitate you from applying your senses, basic logic in your dark times and leave you shattered with every drop of hope, expecting, imagining, venting yet hoping that this time if he’ll return, he’ll return with no part of him belonging to his past.


Sometimes when people love us, they unconsciously place us within the bounds of terms that are impossible for us to reach; these terms make love hard, and carve out vacuums in relationships where heartbreaks are born.

Love does incapacitate you, but it is beautiful at the same time, in the sense that you fight, you disagree, yet you still work towards an agreement. That is love. Anything that does not require effort is practically a joke. 

So don’t be afraid of walking away from anything that does not give you happiness; let go of expectations to live a happy life; and most importantly, let emotions only so close as to let them wash your feet, not drown you. 

-:-

(The Anonymous Anecdotes is a project under which anyone can send me a memory, a story or an experience from their life that had a profound impact on them. It requires people to write their respective experience along with the way it changed them or their perception of life. According to the project, these stories are being published anonymously, with the intent of spreading a positive message and a hope that anyone who reads, relates or learns. If you’re interested, you can send me your story at ratti.priya5@gmail.com.)

Story #20: Words I’ll Never Speak To Anyone (The Anonymous Anecdotes Project)

It maim so bad I just want either to talon out of my brain or pick and peel at my skin until I can uncover some emotion within.

It’s 5 am. There’s no sleep in my future, no release after consuming 80 mg of vyvanse and a few gallons of caffeine to study for exams. When your brain is this hyper-focused, it doesn’t take much to start thinking about the pile of bullshit that you are. It won’t shut off, it won’t ever.

Being this self-reliant and self-serving takes a toll on relationships. For a while, people think you’re just a free spirit. Eventually, they understand you’re just an emotionless block of ice. I can’t open up to anyone. It’s like I won’t let myself care for someone too deeply because I want to save myself from being hurt or scared or abandoned or used, treated right, appreciated, loved, counted on.

My fingernails are bitten to the quick.
All I want is for it to shut off.
All I want is to shut off.

Is being alone worth being unbroken? Or is being alone more detrimental? Any damage done is all self-infliction, the most shameful brand of injury.

It’s great at first. Being on your own. You are your own best friend, your own protector. For a few years, you’re confident in yourself and people like you. You laugh more; why not when you are the creator of your own happiness? She doesn’t care what people think. But then, she’s unreachable; she’s like a star that’s burning just a little too far away. Still dazzling, yet just out of reach. Just when you think you’re getting close, when you think you have her in your viewfinder, the clouds roll in. The thing about stars… The brighter they shine, the hotter they burn.

You can pretend all you want; you can put on a show for yourself and the rest of the world that everything is smooth sailing. Eventually, you either are going to drown in the facade or you let yourself be rescued.

These are words I’ll never speak to anyone. They would never come out. There’s going to be a day where I give up; I’ll throw all my hopes of actually being happy and confident and loving someone right down a wishing well. It will be bad for a while; there will be a lot of booze, strange men, and little self respect. I’ll finally treat myself like the empty shell I made myself.

One day, when it’s time to settle down, I’ll find a nice, successful man but not start a family. I’ll continue to smile always and care for my own, but by then I’ll be nothing. I will be another empty soul suffering through daily life because that’s what strong, respectable people do. My kids will grow up like me, non existential : good neighborhood, the means to be successful, plenty of attention, but with the detached love of a mother who really isn’t a person anymore.

Broken people always live the longest, most cruel lives. People of my kind are too proud to end it all, even when they are the burden.  I’ll live in a nice home somewhere warm, somewhere sunny. I’ll take my breakfast facing the west to watch the sunrise. Dinner, the east for the sunset. Watching the sun paint each and every day, wondering which one might be my last.


I find this piece written out so beautifully, laid out like a rhythm my ears are growing fond of, yet it is impossible to ignore the pain lying latent beneath these words. This isn’t an anecdote: this is an account, a converging point for the authors’ past, present and future. Its again one of those stories, I think, that has too many lessons to teach, and a different meaning every time you read it. You can’t gulp it down in one read, no. 

I, for one, read it several times and couldn’t help but relate. I just realized how I could relate to some or the other element in every story- it’s funny how we all experience almost the same things; the same kind of pain, only  dressed differently.

From the need to be self-reliant, to eventually throwing all our hopes down a wishing well; from sleepless nights to nightmares about the future, we’ve somewhere experienced each one of these things.  We all have things that give us pain, experiences that weaken us; for most people it is a battle with their own selves. What makes the difference is how you fight it, and if you give your weaknesses enough power to win or lose. 

-:-

(The Anonymous Anecdotes is a project under which anyone can send me a memory, a story or an experience from their life that had a profound impact on them. It requires people to write their respective experience along with the way it changed them or their perception of life. According to the project, these stories are being published anonymously, with the intent of spreading a positive message and a hope that anyone who reads, relates or learns. If you’re interested, you can send me your story at ratti.priya5@gmail.com.)

Story #12: I’m Not Real (The Anonymous Anecdotes Project)

I’m Not Real
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They say that psychologically it takes 3-4 months to know a person.
But I believe that you know people
The very first time you meet them.
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The kind of words they choose
After all those permutations and combinations of all the 26 letters of the English language.
The kind of look they give you,
Despite of being unable to maintain an eye contact for more than 5 seconds.
The way in which they sit a bit aloof
Just to maintain “the space”
Without risking the fact that you might just know everything about them.
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People say that eyes don’t lie,
I believe it’s a lie
Because the only thing in human body that doesn’t lie
Is this patch of terribly tiny mountains on your flesh.
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But according to behaviourists,
Children observe and learn.
So when I was a child, I learned that truth is never rewarded.
That human beings have multiple layers of flesh
To hide away their goosebumps.
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So you know,
I became black-listed.
For people who too often searched for compliments.
For those whom I told they weren’t in love with me
That love isn’t a feeling that can be summed up in 3 words.
That the color of love is translucent and not red.
So that we could see each other
Destroying one another.
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On the days I’m myself
I climb stairs of sophistication.
And stumble and fall down
Whenever I have someone to hold onto.
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You see,
My hands do not quiver the moment I start reciting my poems.
Because I know I’m pretentious
And they are all broken pieces of different stories
Joined together.
And in their gaps,
I hide myself.
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That artists are nothing but clowns in disguise.
We paint our face white
With peace, paradoxical to the cyclones we could never survive.
We apply an extra layer of red lipstick to our smiles
So that we get an extra syrup of attention
Over the icecreams we binge eat out of loneliness.
Because you know,
Deserts have been my first love,
And stayed.
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And I just giggle about the way
People change the topics
As if they are standing at the sea shore
And I’m the tide.
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They say that phobia is an irrational fear of something
And that it’s ok for me to cry in public.
But whenever I try,
My eyes get stoned.
The windows and doors of my house close down
As if there is an automatic alarm warning me of an intruder.
And I’m the biggest miser of them all,
For I cannot shed my possessions.
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And I solemnly admit that I’m not real.
I fake my Hello’s.
I fake that I’m contended when I’m just holes
Into which people pour love
And suck it whenever they find a better place to invest it in.
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I fake that I’m strong
When I have these tiny mountains growing bigger and conical
Underneath the layers of flesh
That are like the chihuahua barking over a terrorist.
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I fake that I’m a child in this body of a 20 year old
Tired of people trespassing the line of control
Saying that they are refugees
And my empathy is a shelter for them.
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I fake that I’m fake
Whenever I mistakenly behave as the truest version of myself.
So, agreed. I’m not real.
Just as you all aren’t!
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When we talk about stories or anecdotes, we rarely contemplate them in poetic forms. But here is a version of someone’s reality, so unique and laid out in this beautiful verse. 

I can’t summarize or enlist my learning from this poem because I know each read has lead me on to a different interpretation, a different conclusion. But that’s what poems are. Open for interpretation.

So all I’ll say is this: how many of us are ‘real’ anymore? Every day, we’re going farther away from who we are. Tell me then, how do we learn to love, and be at peace with our real selves?

-:-

 
(The Anonymous Anecdotes is a project under which anyone can send me a memory, a story or an experience from their life that had a profound impact on them. It requires people to write their respective experience along with the way it changed them or their perception of life. According to the project, these stories are being published anonymously, with the intent of spreading a positive message and a hope that anyone who reads, relates or learns. If you’re interested, you can send me your story at ratti.priya5@gmail.com.)

Story #9: To My Passion (The Anonymous Anecdotes Project)

I learn everyday.
I change everyday.
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I was 10 when it happened. It was a co-incidence, nothing more. It wasn’t a big deal initially. But gradually, over the years, it translated to one of the best things I own right now. It’s a passion. I have stuck to it for 9 years, and everyday it taught me something new. It taught me something amazing. It gave me perspective. It helped me through my lows and celebrated my accomplishments with me.
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I changed everyday.
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What began as a hobby formed most of my life, who I am today. And I don’t think I can ever repay what it taught me. My passion gave me a drive. It gave me courage to face anything. It gave me something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.
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I change everyday.
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I do apologize for a being a little philosophical about this. It’s in my nature and I cannot help it at times. I wasn’t really sure what else I wanted to write in this anecdote other than things I already have. But then I got thinking. 
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I believe we all have different personalities for different places, we might be different at home than at our school/ college. We might be different when we are out with friends, and you get the point. But I believe that if one wants to discover their true self, they should look in that passion. Who knows, one might even be surprised.
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I am not basing all of this on philosophy, I also called on my good friend experience (we are new friends, by the way.)
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At times, I have been lost myself, but I was always able to find myself, or rather, it (my passion) found me. In the darkest of places I have ever experienced, it never let go of me, or this time around, I never let it go. 
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Anyone reading this post might think that I will pursue my passion as a career. That’s a no. I cannot. But I am not sad about it. I’m just glad I found it. I don’t believe that one always needs to follow their passion. One can just keep it to themselves for the rest of their lives and learn what it has to teach. Everyday.
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To my passion
Thank you.
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My project was titled ‘Anonymous Anecdotes’, so obviously I had predicted to get life experiences from people in the form of anecdotes. This entry, however is one of the few that stood out because it talked about something so positive and inspirational.

Only some of us succeed at finding that ‘one true passion’ in our lives; for that one thing that motivates us, moves us to action, and is always by our side; and I think we can look up to this story for inspiration. 
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This story does not only set an example, but is also a huge inspiration. To love something so much, to have something that you’re passionate about- be it art, poetry, music or a sport, and to stick to it for so long; imagine all the amazing experiences and lessons we’d have to learn to get to know something so well. It becomes both our strength and weakness, and it changes us in different ways. The repetitive “I change everyday” in this story just goes on to show how big of an impact a certain passion has had on this person. 
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So, discover your passions! In the words of Charles Buckowski,
‘Find what you love, and let it kill you.’
Without love and passion, what are we really living for?
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-:-
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(The Anonymous Anecdotes is a project under which anyone can send me a memory, a story or an experience from their life that had a profound impact on them. It requires people to write their respective experience along with the way it changed them or their perception of life. According to the project, these stories are being published anonymously, with the intent of spreading a positive message and a hope that anyone who reads, relates or learns. If you’re interested, you can send me your story at ratti.priya5@gmail.com.)

Story #1: Taking Chances (The Anonymous Anecdotes Project)

The Anonymous Anecdotes is a project under which anyone can send me a memory, a story or an experience from their life that had a profound impact on them. It requires people to write their respective experience along with the way it changed them or their perception of life. According to the project, these stories are being published anonymously, with the intent of spreading a positive message and a hope that anyone who reads, relates or learns.
Here’s story number one.


Ah! I have spent several hours choosing which story should I tell. Should I tell the story of my magical encounter with Abhinav Chandel in the majestic hills of Dharamshala or should I describe the never-before told stories of my solo Goa trip? (It involved me dancing on a pole.) After much contemplation, I have decided to share a short heartwarming anecdote which is rather simple and sweet. Here I go.

This is the summer of 2016. My exams had just ended and I as always decided to spend the evening in the hidden corners of the American Library. I brought a thick Robert Frost Poetry Collection and then decided to have a subway. Before I step in the Subway, let’s pause and let me give you a little bit of introduction about me. I have been silently observing people for as long as I can remember and because of that, I have developed a mild hatred for the human race. I had begun to see all people as the same. Same ambitions, same superficial relationships, and same shallow lives.
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Now, because of that when I stepped in I did not see the man standing before me as an individual; I saw him as a member of the human species, nothing out of ordinary. But thank god for he still had some bright life left in him.
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He engaged me in a conversation about my books and as we shared a table, he told me all about the solo trip he was beginning that very day. We talked and laughed for almost an hour and then walked around Rajiv Chowk, talking so honestly as though we had known each other for years. Certain magic arises from wands and cauldrons, other most often is exchanged in laughter and honest conversations.
It was when we exchanged good-byes that I realized I had laughed with all my heart with a man whose name was still a mystery to me.
We did exchange our names at departure and left with no promises but just a lovely memory. I found his e-mail address, e-mails being very special to me I wrote to him with an open heart. We exchanged e-mails for a little while and then eventually agreed to stop the conversations. One final promise was made, to write to each other after a year and be one another’s time capsule. I think our love for Before Sunrise played a part in that. Now you must be wondering: did he write to me in a year or did he forget?
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I will not tell you the answer to that question because that will take you far from my point to romanticism or cynicism.
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So here is what I want you to take from this, life can surprise you if you let it. If a person as dull as me can experience magic then so can you. So smile more, talk more and just be honest, there are many people waiting just for someone like you. A little bit of brightness can go a long way. Look where it got me, to this most unlikely encounter with a stranger, who knowingly or not taught me how to open up my heart and love life again. I will forever be grateful to my stranger and to the lovely Robert Frost.
Cheers to the wonderful surprises life has in the bag for you.
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Love,
A stranger.
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“Certain magic arises from wands and cauldrons, other most often is exchanged in laughter and honest conversations.”
There’s nothing about this story that doesn’t make me happy. I share the writers’ mild hatred for human race and love for poetry, and understand how the sameness of things can sometimes be boring. So boring, that we often overlook the wonder small things have in store. Its amazing how this story has inspired me to believe in the virtue of goodwill, and the belief that life is full of happy surprises: all you need to do, is to open yourself up to them.
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I hope whoever is reading this does, too.