Being Free

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Mashal was sitting in the car, waiting for her parents and 7-year-old son to bring things from the mart. They were going on a vacation together and her son loved to munch during the journey.
Her car was parked a little away from the store, the pole light next to the car illuminated the street ahead of her. In the faint light, she saw a stooped figure moving towards her car. His tattered clothes and unclean attire told her he was a beggar. She kept watching; skeptic until he crossed her car. He went by, but for the second he was passing, made a little seed of worry grow in her mind and she thought; I don’t want to die.
She laughed at her little scare; He wasn’t going to kill you. She unconsciously looked towards her right, from where the mini mart was in sight, her thoughts drifting away.She thought how people and circumstances changed you and your entire way of looking at life. I don’t want to die, was, All I want to do is die, a few months ago.
Her mind took her back to the sting of his sharp nails scraping along her cheeks, the pull of his strong hands plucking her hair out of her scalp, the maniacal voice tearing through her eardrums. That lonely sitting in the dark, for hours, after the storm of kicks and fists subsided. When she picked up her broken self and cleaned the mess of bruises and purple blotches, the storm always left.
Later she found herself listening to the traumatized rant of her mind;
I want to die.
I want to die.
I want to die.
She was amazed how at one point of life your circumstances can make you feel so trapped that you wish for death and how when they change, when you find yourself getting free, the idea of death sounds rather distant. How, now, the idea seemed very strange but still oddly familiar. Now, after she was free, from the demon that had trapped her for 10 years.
She thought about the demon. Should she refer to him as a demon? She was glad to ask this question of herself. This was new too.
Because now that she was out of that bubble in which both of them were trapped, she could see he had his own demons. Unsolved, unattended mysteries or rather miseries which came out as strong outbursts. She could see his demons now in the form a violent mother and a ghost of a father.
She wished him a free life too and decided not to call him a demon from now on wards. He also had the right to live normally and she had seen little remnants of the normality after their marriage, in the initial years, when his addiction had not taken full control of him.
Happy footsteps and laughter approached her bringing her back from her detour to that dark niche in her mind, which,  she was happy to realize was getting lighter day by day. Her son came running towards her and started showing her all the munchies, he had brought for the trip. She smiled and put an arm around her son’s shoulders and absorbed all the excitement and thrill dripping from his face.
The circumstances change; as the former have, maybe these will too, but she wanted to remember every bit of these. She wanted to enjoy the fact that her surroundings made her think; I don’t want to die.

On being shortlisted and baby steps..

So, I have mentioned this before how writing has become an important part of my life. The past few years of my life have been messy.I have been drowning in an ocean of failures. Starting this blog and writing became my safe haven. I have been writing my whole life in one way or another but after starting this blog I realized just how much I enjoy it (as I haven’t been enjoying anything else). With this realization, began this new hope that maybe I can take writing to a bigger level. So, I started searching for writing competitions. For a person who had been so depressed and thought so small of herself to compete with anyone, this was a big step! Competitions were triggers for panic attacks. After a long time, I had the courage to fight again.

So, yes I entered a short story competition and sent some pieces to magazines. I got passed on by a few. But it didn’t bring me down which was, again, encouraging. To say I entered this competition and forgot about it would be wrong. I waited for the results badly. When I sent the story, I got the reply from the editor that it was a “Powerful” story. That made me so happy and also hopeful. I didn’t expect it to be in the top 3, but I did hope to make it to the “honorable mentions”. I wanted a win so badly.

When I say badly, it means that the deadline for the entry was Sep 15, I waited for it and after it every day I waited for an email. I know it’s crazy, but that’s how badly I wanted a hope. In this time, I realized that in my school and college life I knew where I was because  I had a base to step on and move forward. A base of achievement and confidence that I am able; I am worthy. This basis made me take risky decisions; unsafe decisions, because I believed in myself, I believed that I could handle it.That basis got shattered  in university and I fell face down into despair and self-doubt. I wanted a little achievement to build the basis again.

And then I got it, the email, telling me my story was shortlisted in the contest.

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It took me back to my early teens. I had a big fat book of quotations which belonged to my father. It was my best friend.I used to spend hours reading quotations on Life, Love, Friendship, Confidence, Faults, Self-doubt, Anxiety and whatever was the problem of the day. It helped me to process. So, I remembered this above mentioned quote and I thought that I had stopped believing in that. For a long time, I stopped doing a lot of things because I never thought I could. Now, this got me thinking maybe I can?

Of course, there is this other half of my brain. The doubtful part of my brain.(yeah it’s always there :S) it asks me if I can? If I was really worth it? Or I will be worth it in the future.But then I shut it and try to concentrate on the present. This is a long journey and I’m taking baby steps.I am really happy about this first step.

The present is that my short story was shortlisted in the Brilliant Flash Fiction freestyle Writing Competition 😀

This story is close to my heart and now always will be 🙂

You can read it here.

I’d love to get feedback from you guys. Good and bad both.