In my family, issues either live under carpets or are aired publicly. Arguments happen loudly, meanly, between egos who were never taught to feel or communicate. The aim is to win not to solve. You are left to pick between oppressive silences and cacophonous battle cries. Not much can grow here, let alone thrive. I hadn’t aimed at it either, I had come home to rest.
I had a few loose startup-y ideas “fix it at the core”, “create a system that doesn’t need you to run it”, “disruptive change/ideas don’t benefit in the long run” in my satchel. I never intended to apply those at home. But I hadn’t fathomed what I was getting mixed up in. I didn’t know that I would want to fix things, I didn’t know that the core was so deeply buried and tangled that it nearly didn’t exist.
My therapist calls them tiny revolutions- to live here and not change for worse. Every day I lived here is a revolt.
Setting up mummy’s mental health system was the biggest one: getting an old-school doctor to do virtual catchups with mummy, who hated the name of the doctor and the medicines that felt like a prison. It took months of looking, searching, being disappointed, railway station rescues, secret message conversations, and a lot of crying at the side of roads. Getting 30 seconds of this world-saving doctor’s time for this call is a weekly revolution. Mummy’s stance from “I am not sick. You guys give me meds to hurt me” became “I am feeling sick…can’t get thoughts out of my head. I should call the doctor” was series of tiny fatal revolutions that my mindbody almost didn’t survive.
Re-writing experiences and undoing hate, one triggering anecdote, one painful memory at a time, like a suicide bomber, carrying stories, making dangerous connections till my mother and her in-laws could stand breathing the same air. The easiness of evenings spent cocooned between sunlight, laughs and inappropriate jokes feels offensive, frivolous even, for something that took my blood to accomplish.
I gave a talk to my parents- stoic patriarchs who I didn’t dare talk loudly to – about how they can be better allies to their neurodivergent spawns. The pat on my back, “I am with you in this”, “I am here to support you” at the end of a heavy day, my war prize.
Wearing spaghetti straps, toe rings, getting new furniture, using skincare items, knowing Niacinamides from Hyaluronic acids, going on a sabbatical, writing, writing like a suicide bomber ready to hurt herself for a cause, drinking gin, sitting in poojas meant for the son-of-the-house and not participating in them at all, were all slow, loud, painful revolutions.
This week was a reminder that holding this body is a revolution: carrying it through triggered, activated painfearhurt into a future neither foreseen nor looked forward to, throwing it between dominos so the system- which somehow amounts to be bigger than the sum of its parts- can exist. It is the cost and the weapon of war. And revolutions are only glorious in textbooks. When lived, they take more energy, mental space, will to be hurt, and big chunks of life from the revolters. No one should have to do this.
I am tired.