Monday, 11 December 2017

Men who Don't Clean up After Themselves | It's a Thing | Shrink Tales

I took a major decision of my life in the time between the two therapy sessions. And as my family and my partner always suspected, Inji did have a role in it. Mother will be very disappointed and partner has already started making faces. Thank god his eyes are not that big or else for all those rolling and staring he did, i would have started getting nightmares.

So yes, i probably gave up a job offer that would have brought me good money and took up a job in journalism with which i am not even sure i will be able to sustain myself. In films, one is always shown to have attained a lot of happiness and freedom with such decisions. In real life, it feels like there is a hollow in my stomach and anyone can put their hands through it, dig up some of my intestines and eat it.

The new job will be tiring and will require a lot of travelling. All over India. In fact, i am not even sure i'll be able to do it but i'm giving it a try in an attempt to get out of my comfort zone.

When i read the aftermath and reached the part where i mentioned the series of sketches i had once started called 'The Broken Heart Baby and Other Stories,' Ish, my therapist, stopped and said that it was a deeply sad image. A child is usually a very vulnerable and pure and innocent thing and i had associated it with something sad and destructive as a broken heart. I was surprised that she saw it. When i had posted the sketch on Facebook, i had got the feeling that people thought it was funny.It could have been the way in which i sketched but i didn't see anyone who had understood that it had come from a place of immense sadness. I no longer remember what it was but i remember the feeling. Me feeling so hurt, feeling that i was born that way, that i would just have to learn how to live with it and that there was no chance of any of the sadness going away. It could be managed, at best.

The Broken Heart Baby - from the previous session

When i told Ish that i had again been absent minded and had taken an auto to the usual therapy location, she said that it was okay. She always said it was okay. But is it? Even when i don't have money i enter my film in festivals, pay the amount and later forget to send them DVDs. Ish said that it could be out of habit. It was the first time we were holding a session in a different location. Could be, i told myself. I hope not to make the same mistake today.

We had an interesting conversation on how 'projection' happened. I forgot what made us talk of it. For example, i never gave Ish the links to my films because i was sure she wouldn't watch it. This could be because when someone asked me to watch their work and give opinion, i never did. Or did it after two years or so.

But a more vicious form of this, i had noticed when i was fighting sexual harassment in SRFTI. Many girls - the ones who were hell bent upon saying that SRFTI was a 'safe space' and nothing wrong could ever happen there, said that we were lying. Me and other female students who had made complaints of sexual harassment against powerful professors who had fan following among students. I could never understand why anyone would think that someone would lie about being sexually harassed. Their argument was that we were doing it for attention and me in particular because i was also mentally ill. Later i realized how they were able to say such a thing. It was because they would do it. They were projecting it on us!

I told Ish how my partner had started sulking about therapy making faces when i mentioned it. Every night before going to bed, he now asks me, 'what did Ish say?' We laughed about it but Ish said that i shouldn't be shutting him off when he tried to speak about sex with me. I had done that the last time. She said that it probably took a lot of effort from his side to gather courage to speak about sex and therefore it was not wise to be indifferent or appear uninterested when he did that. It was true. I felt bad and guilty for some time. Over the week, i told this to him but he still hasn't initiated another conversation.

During the week, there happened an incident that scared me. Deep, my junior from SRFTI is staying at my place in Bombay. Over the elongated period of his stay, i learned how men never clean up after themselves. This was driving me crazy. Even my partner's behaviour really needed to change when it came to who cleans up, who does chores, in the house. After repeatedly telling, yelling, pleading and sometimes even been driven to tears i formulated a strategy. I would throw their things out one by one every time they did not clean up their mess. Even then they refused to clean up. If i wasn't taking the pills and going for therapy, i am sure i would have had long crying spells of helplessness over this.

So one day when i came home, i saw that Deep had not cleaned up something. I asked him to do it and said that i was going to throw something out if he didn't. He didn't. I threw his shoes out. When i did that, he got angry.

Then something in me changed. I felt nervous. Powerless. He said that i had crossed the line. His expression changed. I started getting scared. In my mind i knew that what he was doing was not right. He had long crossed the line and had troubled me so much - not cleaning up his hair, his beard after he trimmed it, the plates he ate out of and generally the hall in which he lived was like a pigsty. It repelled me to come back home to that. Yet, there i was trying hard to hide the fact that i had got scared of him.

He had no power over me. I was doing him a favour by letting him stay at my place. Without taking rent. I have been told that it is not common in Bombay. Yet, when he got angry, why did i cower in fear.

I crumble under authority.

What do i lose if he becomes angry with me? Some jokes? In fact, a big chunk of misogynistic things i hear every day will be gone if he stops being friends with me. In fact we are not close friends at all. We are not even close. But you know - that fear - that fear i felt when Professor N was flirting with me - that he would stop talking to me if i refused to have sex with him - it was that kind of feeling that i felt. Of course. Not that dangerous. Yet, even memories of the abusive relationship i was once in, with a theatre director in Kerala, who used to beat me up and rape me in hotel rooms and open spaces - they came back to me. In some hotel rooms, he would repeatedly beat me and when i dashed for the door to get out, he would just block it with a casual placement of his arm on the door. That was all it took for him to ensure that i couldn't get out of there. And of course, even if i got out of there, i would always go back.

The thought of me crumbling under authority - even pseudo authority - scared me.

So in the most recent conversation i had with Inji, she said that i shouldn't be comparing myself with Vai Vow. I had felt sad when i realized that he had managed to save what i saved in 8 months on a similar payscale within two months of his joining work. I felt like suing SRFTI for causing me all the expenses of therapy. In fact, i might just do it. But yes, i felt defeated - there - like a broken heart baby - when i thought of the fact that i could have earned much more if i didn't have to take pills or go to doctors or therapy. Felt disabled.

Yet, inji told me that the need to save was just not that important. It was to sustain myself that i needed a job. I spoke as if i had daughters to marry off. I spoke like my mother, she said. It hurt me. Not that i spoke like my mother but that speaking like my mother was not a good thing. I told her that i had problem taking money from my partner. He would have to pay my share of the rent in the coming months so that i can sustain myself on the meagre salary of the new job. She said that she had thought that i had gotten over it. No, i haven't. I feel that anyone who lends me money will then be able to have control over me. I wanted to be completely independent that way.

I cried during that conversation but yes, i am working on not trying to compare my earnings with Vai Vow's and also to not think of earning and saving so much. I thought of what to speak of. I remembered Ish saying that we would have to speak of Inji one whole session. One session? She would be giving one of her smirk shaped smileys.

Oh yeah, in the previous session Ish said that it was intriguing that i thought that me not noticing the maid cleaning up the room when i was in therapy was important. I don't know why it was important. It delighted me very much, in fact, surprised me, i think, that something like that could happen. I failed to notice that a human being had passed twice in front of me while i was speaking with Ish. Ish had explained how it was common. That people had failed to notice her pregnancy and were shocked when she informed them that she was going to go on leave. Just wonders of human mind and general astonishment i have when i learn things about it, i guess.