July 28, 2020

Screw that Perfect Insta Pic—I’m a Happy Mess (Funny Side Up)!

Okay, so Coronavirus is here to stay, and for good, it seems.

I am mostly an optimist and look for good things invariably. Add to that the bonus of being an introvert, I am happy to sit in a corner, reading and with my mug of coffee, oh yes, coffee is important.

Interestingly, since the lockdown in March, I have been doing pretty much alright. Not too bothered about the outside world, rather using this time to concentrating on self-care and self-love.

If anything, the pandemic has taught me one big thing—spend time where it actually matters. Doing that we might miss out on the things capitalism wants us to focus on.

But after almost four months, it’s getting on my nerves now.

Not that I want to go out or travel, but I want the people around me to go back to work so I can just lie on my bed, staring at the ceiling and doing nothing. So I do not have to explain to anyone what did I do throughout the day. So I can daydream and read and do some more daydreaming.

Now comes the role of a mosquito that I have consumed by mistake, and that is now stuck in my throat. I cannot swallow it knowingly and despite incessant coughing, I cannot spit it out. Wait, did I say mosquito? I meant—my Instagram account.

My life can be divided into two parts: before and after Instagram.

My life was a vacation, cozy and fun, in the comfort of my home, until one day I opened the modern-day Pandora’s box, also known as Instagram. I was pretty sure it will not affect me since I am a “sorted” person, with the experience of age and motherhood on my side. Been there, done that, you know.

Why did I do it then?

The question still haunts me to this day, though, I would give some credit to a mid-life crisis, a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, a literal countrywide lockdown, and being simply bored. I guess curiosity got the better of me. I didn’t want to die in a pandemic without experiencing everything that the world’s circus had on offer. After all, who knows what will happen tomorrow. For the first time in 43 yrs, it felt like I might actually cease to exist without an Insta account to my name. Can you beat the irony of that!

Living among Gen X or Y or Z, whichever is the latest one, I didn’t want to feel excluded, or to keep justifying why I hadn’t still tried it. Along with the thrill of an instant story, the perpetuity of highlights, and the excitement of new followers and comments awaiting me, there was also that playful teasing agony of a newfound love!

Just as the fog lifts when the sun shines to reveal the majestic mountains, I was awakened from my deep and innocent slumber of ignorance to the war of productivity and skills and followers unleashed on humanity by our own false egos, and magnified enormously by this pandemic.

People were doing all sorts of fancy cooking, taking online courses, learning new things, and enhancing their skills. And here I was going through the day, sometimes like a zombie, sometimes excited like a honeybee ready to sting, and sometimes as soothing as a hummingbird.

I, who would normally bake a cake, put a scoop of ice cream on it, and put it in front of my kids, was now obsessed with clicking a perfect photo to tell the world that I am no less (as if the world actually gave a damn about my cake and ice cream). Poor kids wouldn’t dare to touch it, lest their dear mom ended up in a hysterical fit from not getting that perfect photo. I was going crazy making a perfect routine, maintaining a clutter-free house, and doing everything in a picture-perfect way.

One day, my dear husband rose to the occasion and gathered the courage to ask me if I was alright, and offered me a shot of vodka to calm my nerves. The floodgates opened, and I cried and cried, not because I couldn’t click a perfect picture to show the world—”see how perfect my life is,” rather because knowingly I had given in to the temptation that led to the endless, downward spiral. I had become a part of the world that I had tried to resist all my life and had been pretty successful so far, and more importantly, had been happy without it.

The undue pressures we put on ourselves to conform to the idea of a successful and happening life actually make us miss the wonder and joy that life really is.

I am truly grateful for all the mess and shouting matches and laughter and more.


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