The Stereotyped Men.

“Don’t cry like a girl”
“Be a man, carry the weight”
“Earn more, you’re the breadwinner of the family”
“Don’t play with dolls, you’re a boy, play with cars”
“Pink makes you look feminine, don’t wear it”
“Be strong, men don’t cry”

These are just a few of many sentences that men get to hear from their childhood. They are told about their roles from the beginning. When children start growing, their parents automatically start defining their roles and interests according to their gender which ultimately develops in their personality. This is how most of the households mould their children since birth. From “boys play with cars” to “men don’t cry” gender stereotypes are reinforced by society.

When a kid hurts himself and starts crying, people tell him to stop crying like a girl as if girls are born with the trait of crying and boys are insensitive to pain. When a boy plays with dolls, parents try to incline his interest in cars and superheroes. According to the society, an ideal man is the one who is strong, arrogant and little oppressive too.

Real men do cry.

It is found in a study that depressed men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. One of the underlying reasons for this is that men never completely express their thoughts and feelings. The society does not let a man express himself. He is expected to keep his emotions to himself. He isn’t supposed to cry because he’s a MAN and according to people men don’t cry. Crying is not deemed to be his trait as crying is a symbol of weakness and men shouldn’t be weak. This stereotype makes it difficult for men to express their feelings. They are mocked and made fun of when they cry. They are told to stop crying, puck up and be a man.

People expect a man to get settled and get married before the age of 30. I don’t think there’s an age limit to decide anything. Everything happens at the right time. Getting settled at the age of 35 is okay and finding love at the age of 40 is also okay. If a guy wants to get married at the age of 25, that’s okay too.

To every man out there- it’s completely okay to cry and express yourself, don’t make yourself suffer in silence to please the people of this society. Don’t be harsh on yourself. It’s okay to feel hurt and cry your heart out. You’re not always supposed to be strong and arrogant. Nothing is as important as your feelings. It’s okay to be sensitive, wear pink, cry, follow your passion and be yourself. No one can decide how you feel and express your feelings. You deserve to let out your emotions and you deserve self-love.

An open letter to my Anxiety.

Dear anxiety,

I was a happy-go-lucky girl before you showed up in my life. I used to be carefree, happy and enjoyed every moment of my life. I look back now and think that I was so much different a year ago when you were not a part of me. Everything was beautiful back then when you did not walk everywhere along with me. But now you’re a burden on my shoulder I’m trying to get rid of.

You along with your friend depression did not only make me mentally weak but physically too. You make my heart feel heavy even at the tiniest of inconvenience. Every little thing makes me worry and overthink because of you. You are like an uninvited guest not ready to leave.

You make my heart race at times when I wake up in the morning and it does not get back to normal until I take a shower. You make my body heat and burn as if I’m high on fever. Every little problem becomes so big due to overthinking because of you. I now worry about things that don’t even exist in the present. I worry about things that I never even used to think about before you walked into my life.

I overthink about my future and ruin my present too. You make me feel worthless. I doubt myself now. I doubt my worth, capabilities, interests and whatnot. You turned me to a quiet person from someone who would not shut her mouth up, dance around in the room singing and always smiling. You turned me from the most sorted and determined girl to the most complicated and difficult to handle girl.

How do you manage to destroy all the happy moments I want to be a part of? There are so many moments I could’ve enjoyed but I couldn’t because of you. I cut myself off from people and keep my feelings to myself thinking that no one would understand. You make me sulk in a corner and cry for hours. There’s no definite time when you hit me. You come at night or in the middle of the day, you come when I’m alone or when I’m in a room full of people. You make me shiver due to nervousness when something I don’t want to happen, happens. You make me gasp for breath when I climb stairs or run. I always feel guilty for no definite reason because of you. You are to be blamed for the way I behave now. I miss the old me.

You make me think about the memories I haven’t thought about in years. You make me go back down the memory lane from years ago and make me realize all my faults. You hit on my insecurities and make me anxious about them. I feel caged in my own thoughts and couldn’t find an escape.

Dear Anxiety, I’m tired of you now. It feels like I’m a part of you instead of you being a part of me. I don’t want you to tear me apart anymore. I’m done with you now and I will never stop trying to get rid of you.

From,

A girl tired of you.

Let’s talk about PERIODS.

Periods are a significant part of a woman’s life so it’s really important to know and talk about it. In a developing country like India, talking about periods is yet not normalised. Around 71% of girls remain unaware of menstruation until they experience their first-period cycle. Many adolescent girls still struggle to understand what is happening with them when they experience their first periods. I too have faced this situation as no one told me about periods before I had them.

At the age of 12, I had my first periods. I was shocked and scared seeing so much blood. I didn’t tell anyone about it because I was afraid and had no idea what was happening to my body so I used some cloth. I was not able to sleep at night due to pain and heavy flow. Due to the discomfort and cramps, I even cried. But the next day my mother came to know about it so she gave me a sanitary napkin, explained to me how to use it and all she told me about periods was that it happens with every woman so there’s nothing to worry about.
There are many more girls out there, who aren’t aware of periods. Their parents don’t tell them about it as they still don’t feel comfortable to talk about it openly.

In many parts of India, menstruation is still considered to be impure. Even in some cultures, especially in Hinduism, there are a lot of restrictions for menstruating women which make no sense. Menstruating women are prohibited to enter the kitchen, touch other people, touch prepared food and eat a certain food item like pickles or curd. They are even told to sleep in a separate bed and wash their own utensils. In some cases, a woman is not allowed to wash her hair for the first two days of her periods. A girl or woman on periods is prohibited to enter the temple, offer prayers or even touch a holy book as she is considered to be impure. It’s a natural phenomenon and it shouldn’t be regarded as impure. There are many more countries which have their own menstruation-related customs and beliefs such as some countries in Africa and Indonesia etc.
All such myths and taboos affect the mental state, emotional condition and lifestyle of women so it’s really important to bust them. Both men and women need to understand that it is a natural biological process and not some kind of impurity or a disease. Menstruation education is really important to impart knowledge about periods and make people aware that it is natural and normal so that they can forego all the myths.

Lack of menstrual products.

In India, many girls miss their school due to the lack of menstrual health products such as sanitary pads, tampons, menstrual cups etc. Most girls don’t even have access to menstruation supplies and use rags, cloth, sand, ash and hay as an alternative. These alternatives are neither comfortable nor safe as they could affect health and cause severe infections. According to the National Family Health Survey, 2015-2016 approx 36% of women in India use sanitary napkins during their periods and the rest have no access to them. The country is under lockdown due to COVID-19. According to a survey conducted in April, 84% of women were restricted access to menstrual products during the lockdown due to lack of production and distribution, especially in the rural areas. Availability of menstrual products and proper disposal of them is very important to maintain menstrual hygiene. In view of spreading awareness about menstrual hygiene, 28th May is celebrated as Menstrual Hygiene Day.

Government, as well as various NGOs, are taking the initiative to spread awareness about menstrual health and providing access to menstrual health products to women. We are moving forward and things are changing but still, there’s a long way to go.

Memories.

There are certain days when I reminisce about our special memories,
the burden of which my heart carries.
I think of them quite occasionally
But today I feel them more fiercely.

Today is the day I felt your love for the first time,
And suddenly everything started feeling fine.
I remember how our eyes met and said all the unsaid things,
how the taste of your love made me forget all my sins,
and it seemed as if we were attached with some invisible strings.

But I’m only left with the remembrance of it now
as everything changed and I don’t even know how.
With time we broke all our vows.
I wish I could feel your love all over again somehow.

A confession to YOU.

Hey you. I hope at least you’re doing good because I’m not. It’s been months without you now but it still seems like yesterday you were here telling me that you love me and will never leave me. I’m still stuck there. To be true, I miss you a lot. Every single day feels so heavy and empty without you. I’m still going on with my random crying sessions. There are days when I blame both of us for everything that happened but there are also days when I think that it was none of our faults. I feel guilty now because I realize that you were right so many times but I never listened to you. We had to compromise for something which isn’t going to happen right now. Things could’ve been so much sorted and better if only we had the power to see our future.

I feel like I lost so much. I always feel something missing since you left. I miss your presence in my life. I’ll always have a part of you in me. At the end of the day, I’ve no one to share my feelings with. I’ve no one to tell how suffocating it becomes sometimes and how difficult everything is to deal with now. Life becomes so complicated as we grow up. We see and experience so much as time goes on.

I don’t know if you love me anymore or not or if you even think about me now but, I still love you. I can never get you off my mind. You live in it and you’ll reside there forever. If only it was that easy to forget you. But I hope you know that no matter where I am, I’ll always be there for you whenever you’ll need me. I’m just a text or call away.

I still wish for your success and wellbeing. As I always said, I’m proud of you. I feel happy when I get to know about your achievements. You know I’ve always wanted you to pursue your passion and I’ll be the happiest person when you’ll accomplish your dreams.

In the end, I’ll just say that it’s really hard at times. It was never easy to let you go. I realize that many times you were right and I should’ve listened to you but sometimes I was right too and you should’ve listened to me. I’m tired of crying and being upset all the time. I feel alone and empty. I don’t think you need me now but I’ve always needed you by my side. I still believe in you and wish the best for you. I miss you.❀

RAPE.

And there she laid with the oxygen mask on
thinking about what happened with her at dark.
Tears rolled down her cheeks without any pause
by just thinking about its cause.

She remembered how she said a NO
and requested them not to do so.
But their fantasies were bigger than her cries and requests.
They proceeded without any disgrace.
All she could do was cry and weep
but there was no one to listen to her on the street.

Their hearts didn’t melt as she cried,
they were crude, wicked and vile.
They found their happiness, she lost her smile
and there they left her dying.

The Indian marriage system.

Indian marriages are all about show off and wastage of money. People spend millions of rupees on marriages. Marriages in India are like a business where very little importance is given to love. People here expect you to fall in love after getting married. In India, arranged marriages are more prevalent than love marriages. There are many cultures prevailing in India some of which even forbid love marriages. According to research by Statistic Brain Research Institute, around 90 per cent of the marriages across India are arranged. If you go for love marriage, you’re judged by people and labelled as shameless and characterless.

I’ll give just an outlook of how marriages are arranged in a few cultures in India especially by the family of a girl.
The family firstly searches for an eligible bachelor or appoints people to search for an eligible bachelor for their daughter. Also by eligible I mean a person who earns good, is respected by society, has a good family background and obviously looks good. I’ve just prioritized the traits according to the Indian families. They don’t even ask the girl about the kind of partner she wants to spend her life with. They search for a guy according to their own specifications. After that, they look at his pictures, judge him according to his looks, ask about how much he earns and take out a thorough investigation of his family background as if they’re FBI or something. If they get satisfied with all this then they meet the family members of the boy to know more about them. And then, when they’re on the verge of finalizing things, they meet the boy. After that, they give the girl and boy a few minutes to talk alone and then ask them if they’re ready to get married to each other. Just imagine two people who barely know each other are now going to get married.

Parents here think that because they’re older and they’ve seen the world, they exactly know what is good for their children. They think that they know who would be the perfect partner for their children way better than their children themselves.

Sometimes girls even compromise with so many things just to get married to a stranger. They compromise with their career, change their personality, the way they dress up and so much more. All they tell a girl is that they’ve to adjust and compromise after marriage and to me, this sentence makes no sense. Sometimes both the partners are left with no choice but to make themselves fall in love with each other due to family pressure. I do respect the concern of parents regarding their children but just so you know, parents aren’t correct always. I’ve seen arranged marriages failing too.

The Dowry System.

The dowry system has its roots in India since medieval times. Under the dowry system gifts, cash, jewellery, property etc are given by the family of the bride to the groom’s family. Sometimes, after marriage when the bride’s family is not able to fulfil the demands of the groom or his family, the bride’s in-laws even torture her, kill her or drive her to commit suicide. Dowry violence is prevalent in India. The growth of greed by the groom’s family results in the physical, sexual and mental violence against the bride. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 7,634 women died in 2015 – 20 every day – due to dowry harassment. They were either murdered or left compelled to take their own lives. Seeking a dowry has been outlawed in India since 1961 but families still expect them. It is rarely reported as a crime and many families still give and take dowries without even objecting.

It’s weird, but I do have a phobia of arranged marriages. Thinking about all this makes me restless and anxious. Thinking about marrying someone I don’t even know makes me feel uncomfortable and uneasy. I’ve seen people around me who’ve been married for 20 to 30 years or more. Some of the people married are so different from each other and don’t even seem to be compatible but still, they’re married and love each other. And the reason for this is that at their time they were left with no other option but to love each other. They never opposed but agreed silently. So many women at that time killed their dreams and desires because their family got them married and all they were left with was managing household and bringing up children. Unfortunately, few women are still doing it till date.

I might not be completely correct about all this but don’t we learn and acquire from what we see happening in our surroundings?

The value of touch.

Touch is so underrated.

You’ll never value someone’s touch
Until you lose it to an extent that you’ll never be able to feel it again.

You’ll remember how their touch
made you feel safe, comfortable and loved.

And how the warmth of their hug
made you feel at home.

You’ll cry your heart out just to feel that touch one more time.

The touch of hope.

The touch of love.

The touch which would give you goosebumps if you ever get to feel it again.

You never knew that someday you’ll yearn for just stroking their cheek
or how much you’ll someday crave for
just running your fingers all over their skin.

You’ll need that touch
to make you feel relaxed.

You’ll always need that touch
to embrace you and remind you
how special and loved you are.

“At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet.”

~Plato

Depression is serious.

Depression is one of the most serious issues, so no one should underestimate the seriousness of it. People dealing with it aren’t just sad or lonely but so much more. Depression makes them feel demotivated, gloomy, hopeless, upset and angry. It makes them even start hating themselves. They start feeling caged and fight a war every single day within themselves, a war no one knows about. The void and emptiness they feel eat them up. They get intertwined in their own thoughts and couldn’t find an escape from it. There’s darkness in their heart and emptiness in their mind. All they come up with is negativity and hopelessness. They feel worthless, hopeless and criticise themselves.

I don’t think that people understand the seriousness of mental illness. But it’s high time now, people need to understand that depression is important. It even leads people to death, a death full of sufferings.

No, people dealing with depression or anxiety are not crazy and those going to a psychiatrist are not mad. None of us has a right to judge and label them that. No one wants to feel left out or unaccepted. No one wants to be treated differently or mocked and shamed for being who they are. But this hypocrite society we live in will never understand this because people are too busy judging, passing comments and bringing each other down.

People dealing with depression need love, care and support. All you could do for them is to listen to their feelings without being judgemental and tell them that you’re always there no matter what. Depression isn’t a joke, and people dealing with it aren’t mad or insane. It is needed to be dealt with patience. Be a compassionate listener to people dealing with it and let them pour their hearts out in front of you and listen to them without judging or calling them crazy. Be supportive of them, motivate them and tell them that you’re always by their side. Tell them how wonderful they’re, what they mean to you and let them know their importance.

Telling them that it’s all in their head or everyone goes through tough times won’t help. They don’t need your solutions or suggestions. They just want to get heard. Meet them, give them a hug, and assure them that you’re there to listen to them. Let them lighten the burden they’re carrying in their heart, mind and soul.

It is completely okay to not be okay. Let us all stop being rude and mean to others instead start being kind and supportive. Let us all stop bringing down others instead start appraising and motivating them. Start accepting others for who they are instead of taunting or disgracing them because we never know what people are going through. Even smiling and cheerful faces hide a lot of secrets within them.

Mental illness is important. It is needed to be talked about. Spreading awareness of mental illness is very important. One is never too late to bring about a change and we together can do it.

I can’t stop falling in love with you.

I fell in love with you
when I first met you.
I could’ve stopped myself there,
but nothing was worth unloving you.

I fell in love with you
when you hugged me for the first time.
I could’ve stopped myself there,
but nothing made me not holding you back.

I fell in love with you
when you made efforts to make me smile.
I could’ve stopped myself there,
but nothing was worth losing that happiness.

I fell in love with you
when you cried while leaving me.
I could’ve stopped myself there,
but nothing made me stop loving you.

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