If we were having coffee…
The first thing you ask me is why I’m having herbal tea instead of coffee. I explain how my heart began racing and my whole body was quivering the last time I ingested caffeine. An uncomfortable silence settles before I admit that I still love the scent of coffee, leaning in to take inhale yours. I apologize for invading your space and sit back in my chair before you can scoot away.
“So why do you blog?” Nothing irks me more than awkward silence. I do my best to avoid it whenever possible.
You explain your hopes and dreams for your blog, becoming more energetic with each word, as you realize you haven’t done this before. Nobody in the real world has ever asked you why you blog.
I nod along, smiling. It always touches my heart to see people talk about the things they love.
“Why do you blog?” you ask with an arched eyebrow.
It’s simple, really.
I want to teach others how to reach their true potential in my own special way. I try my best to ooze positivity and inspiration whenever possible, but when the going gets tough, I post about that too. There’s no point in pretending I have it all together when I don’t. Besides, stars needs darkness to shine. Recently, I’ve developed an avid interest in philosophy and meditation — and their implications for mental wellness aren’t lost on me — so I write about those topics extensively.
You seem satisfied with my answer and return to your cup of coffee. I glance around the coffee shop, desperately trying to think of another question to ask. I’m actually quite surprised that I was able to start the conversation off so eloquently, but I have a feeling it won’t last. As it seems, I stood corrected.
“What’s the most important thing in your life right now? And be honest.” Relief fills your eyes as you realize you don’t have to give the stereotypical answer. Once you finish explaining, I smile again.
“I like that you’re honest. It’s a huge part of mindfulness to be able to be truthful to yourself.”But I digress…you want to know the same thing about me now.
In reality, I could give several different answers. I sip my herbal tea deciding which one to bring out today. “Reaching my goal.” It’s my life goal to fight the negative stigmas and stereotypes around mental health. That’s another reason I’m not afraid to talk about my problems and woes. I refuse to propagate the idea that people need to “have it together” at any given time. I’ve been a hot mess for years on end and, you know what, that’s OK.
I exhale lightly, caught off guard by my sudden outburst. That’s the best part of introversion; when your passion overrides your comfort zone. Expecting to find at least some hint of bewilderment, I avoid your eyes for the next few seconds. Softly, I ask what kind of music you listen to. The stereotypical teenager’s way of getting to know a fellow teenager. Music taste says a lot about a person, I swear. You shrug off the question, frowning lightly. It’s a lame change of pace, I know, that’s my specialty.
You begin to repeat what I said about being a hot mess. I wave my hand dismissively and laugh. “Everyone’s a hot mess, some of us are just better at handling it.” The answer doesn’t clear my name at all. Another specialty of mine. If you weren’t uncomfortable by now, you definitely are now. That makes two of us. Two strangers reveling in discomfort trying to surpass boundaries digital and conversational.
“Look, what I meant to say is that the only way to get better at being a hot mess is to be one. I’ve had years of experience and I’m 90% OK now. And you know what? That’s good enough for me. I don’t believe in running away from our flaws.” The next moments pass by with us taking great interest in sipping our drinks of choice.
I lower my cup. “Am I what you expected?” I know I don’t come across nearly as shy as I actually am in my blog posts. You admit that you weren’t sure what to expect. On the Internet, people can be whoever they want. Who knows what I’m actually like? It’s a fair answer. I hardly knew what to expect myself!
“What do you like to do for fun? Other than blogging of course?” Your eyes light up in excitement again as you delineate your hobbies to me. At the very least, this conversation gives me life. At the most….
“And you?” I like to craft because it’s relaxing and frees up my mind. Writing is one of my favorite hobbies as well, of course. When I’m doing neither, I can be found cooking or drinking tea. I use to play video games quite a bit as well but I tend to watch anime and listen to music more often now.
“Bottom line is your hobbies should be yours alone. Don’t let anyone or anything else dictate what you love and spend your time on. That decision has to be yours alone.” You murmur your agreement and drain the rest of your coffee.
“It’s my turn to ask the questions now.” I giggle under my breath and ask if this is really a friendly chat or an interrogation. Grimacing, you ask about my ethnicity. “I’ve been sitting here wondering if you’re Mexican, Indian, or neither…” No worries, I get it a lot. Mexicans occasionally mistake me for one of their own and sometimes it feels like my fellow Indians don’t know what I am. The truth is I just don’t look like the stereotypical Indian. My skin is too fair, my hair isn’t long, curly, or ultra dark, my fashion sense isn’t feminine enough, and the list goes on.
Honestly, I feel like I’d be doing a disservice to my culture if it were the first thing I associated myself with. “I’m a Sikh but I don’t really identify as one because I just don’t fit into the labels.” I find myself much more in #writerslife, #introvertproblems, and mindfulness amongst other things.
You insist that I shouldn’t feel ashamed for not fitting the stereotypes. And I don’t. I just refuse to use them if they don’t belong to me. “I think there are two kinds of rebels: those who try to be and those who are.” It’s not like being the odd one out is a skill that you need to develop. It just ebbs and flows out of you whether you like it or not. Some people try to cover it up and others, like me, are a little too jaded to care.
“I always tell myself ‘I’m too old to give a damn’ even though I’m only 18. But, you know, I’m a legal adult and adults are too old to do a lot of things, like going on the kid’s playground, so…” Both of us start laughing before I can finish the sentence. After catching your breath, you tell me that people are only as old as they feel. Well of course they are!
I drain the rest of my tea. “You want to know a secret?” You look around mockingly to make sure nobody else is listening. “Spill.” My dad may land an interview this week. We’ve encountered so many false alarms so far that I don’t want to get my hopes up but, alas, I’m an 18 year old with too much Punjabi blood. I have no chill.
“Pray for us will you?” You beam and wish my family the best. “Well, since our cups are both empty now, I’ll bid you farewell. Let’s do this again sometime. I enjoyed it.” Your face seems to echo my sentiment.
P.S. That part about my dad is 1000% true. I’m hoping for the best, lovelies. Toughgirl and Namitha, I know you were interested in learning more about me, so I hope this hypothetical coffee share(?) helps!