Conditioning my brain to think positive

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BK via flickr

Here I am with another rambling post.February has been busy. Busier than most of the months after graduation. The highlight being this Poetry workshop I joined. Remember how I had nothing “next” in my life but I said I wanted to keep writing. I did. This blog has been going good and all my readers have been so kind.

 I was both afraid and excited to go to this workshop. Its was a workshop for spoken word poetry. I love spoken word,  I  knew that I could handle writing but wasn’t sure about the performance.Keeping in mind my low confidence and how it was further killed in university.It took me a week to gather enough courage and sign up for it. 

It was a four days workshop. One day per week.

Let’s start with DAY 1. 

I almost didn’t go. I had a massive anxiety attack. I took me a few hours to calm myself down. Stop the tears. Muster enough energy to go there.

I did.

Jittery and nervous at first but I managed to be in the present. Just go through the 90 mins with a receptive mind. 

I managed the first day. I felt happy, genuinely happy, deep down to my bones. I met these amazing people who were there not to judge, not to ridicule but  for their passion; poetry. They were there to learn and to listen and to teach. 

And I met my mentors Zainab and Zohab who are absolutely amazing at what they do. I should probably do a separate post about how good they are. For the first time in my life, I understood what a mentor is. They were generous enough to help me express my deepest fears without the fear of judgment, they created a safe space for all of us and I will forever be grateful for that.

DAY 2

I was excited to go. It was again a great change. I felt scared but I didn’t hold back.

We were told to write about something we really wanted to write. I chose to write about “Finding myself” as this is the most important thing in my life right now.

The first piece I wrote was really bad according to me.  I took back some fears with me. 

It took some time but, I gave another try to the same topic. I  came up with something more honest and it was better in terms of writing too.

DAY 3 

By this time, we had learned quite a few writing techniques and were concentrating on that one topic.

 I read them the  poem, I had written, and got a real appreciation. I was told to edit it  so they could help me make it better before the final slam. Which was one week later.

The first response of the edit that I got was quite detailed and  scary. I was told not to  get scared by all the mistakes highlighted.But I did get scared for a while. I saw the document and closed it immediately. I felt bad and my confidence faltered.

Again I had a choice to surrender to my fear of Redoing. I could edit again or I could just sulk and sulk at how bad I was.

I did not surrender.

Redoing the poem not only made it better but also helped me realize a few things about my life, my mistakes, my demons. 

I didn’t want to repeat all that.

DAY 4

By the last day, I had redone my poem 4 times. It was more concise and polished.

I was sad for the workshop to end because I enjoyed something and for the first time I didn’t want things to end.

I made new friends. I enjoyed those moments to the fullest. 

I had two fears in my mind:

1) Performing in front of so many people.

2) Why would people want to hear about my story?

I kept feeling this till the very moment my name was called to come on stage and perform.

I went up there, started the poem and after the first few lines, I froze. I forgot the next words.  I went blank for a few seconds…

but then I recovered and completed the poem.

I got an average of 8/10.

It was over. It was done.

Everything on my checklist was done.

  • Get out of the house
  • Start something 
  • Interact with people
  • Be in the moment
  • Face your fears
  • Don’t let the  fears win
  • Complete what you started

I did all those but where was my happy feeling? Why the hell was I crying? I was supposed to feel accomplished and proud after this then why wasn’t I? Why was I numb and why were my eyes leaking. I couldn’t understand what was happening.

The only thing I could think of was the second in which I forgot my poem and the words of this lady from the audience – what happened to you, you were doing good but somewhere in the middle you messed up.

I messed up in front of so many people.

My first reaction was I am never gonna write again and well performance was never my thing why did I even try??

I couldn’t process my feelings and I desperately wanted the tears to stop. Why did I need to give logical reasons to my mind to make myself believe that I accomplished what I wanted. Why didn’t I automatically feel happy and content, why was I still feeling crappy as hell.

Thanks to my vampire friend ( yeah I have a vampire as a friend, that makes me cooler than you :P) who made me realize that my brain has been conditioned to feel wronged over the past five years of university. I don’t blame my university, entirely, because  I am a worrier and I concentrate on the negative, it’s in my genes. But this thing was triggered and cultivated more and more to the point where the only thing I knew about myself was – I am a loser.

I realized I have to condition my brain to concentrate on the positive.

So, let’s go back. All the good things that happened during this time are in Purple and the bad ones are in Red.

7 vs 1

That’s a good enough score, right?

It won’t be fair to me to let those few seconds cancel out the hours in which I tried and succeeded.

It won’t be fair to let the words “you messed up”

cancel out

“you are good”

“I love ur writing”

“I am proud of you”

” You are a powerful woman”

It won’t be fair.

Even after this, my mind tells me that they were saying it to make me feel better because they knew I was struggling.

But my mind doesn’t have a counter argument for this guy who was also one of the judges.Who came to me and said:

” You were good. I hope you win”

He didn’t know me. He didn’t know anything about my struggle. He didn’t have any sympathy for me but he managed to come up and tell me what he felt.

Yeah, screw you! You over-thinking brain!

I have to say even while writing this, concentrating on the purple, the tears still haven’t stopped. The red is still chasing me, haunting me.

But I am on the road to recovery and that’s what matters. I have two major milestones as well.

1) When my story came in the top ten of a competition.

2) This workshop.

It’s a long road. 

It’s a hard fight.

But I am not done, fighting.

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