Today, I turned 22

To quote Grey’s Anatomy (the TV show), Meredith once says “Bones break. Organs burst. Flesh tears. We can sew the flesh, repair the damage, ease the pain. But when life breaks down,  when we break down, there’s no science. No hard and fast rules. We just have to feel our way through.”

That’s what I feel like I’ve been doing this last year – feeling my way through.

I started to feel a new kind of confidence. It’s not a type of text-book confidence like it used to be before. It’s a type of confidence that takes longer to grow, but it’s harder to break. It’s slow, and it’s painful sometimes, but it’s a part of me that is untouchable and I can feel strong in that.

I found myself in many “moments” this last year – always alternating between the kind of moment where everything clicks and comes together beautifully and naturally and the kind of moment where everything stops making sense and falls away beautifully and naturally.

Then there came a moment where I started looking at my life that I have instead of the life that I think I’m going to have – and feeling the beauty in that. Because there is beauty in that. And realizing that there are things you can do right now. There are things that are beautiful right now.

I learned to breathe into these moments. I learned to breathe into my anxieties, into my depth, and the wonder of my life. If I keep breathing, I cannot be conquered.

I tried to start seeing life through simple moment-by-moment awareness. It’s still a little bit blurry, and I have had to adjust my vision – but it is this awareness that gives me access to my universal options. And my options are – what can I do to remain the same, and what can I do to be better? What can I do to take that step from adequate to extraordinary?

I made more friends this year too. That was nice. I’m kind of slow with friends thing sometimes, I guess. I found a group of people who I like, who make me laugh, and who I can feel wonderfully comfortable around. They are my people, and I am theirs. 

My life has also taught me the importance of living with emotional integrity. I don’t always get it right every day. I learned that my happiest days are the days where I live with integrity. When my actions and thoughts are totally aligned with the kind of woman I see myself as.

I started listening to the quiet voice that speaks to me when I am baking a cake, or painting my toes, or meditating, or making my morning coffee. This voice knows me. And I try to stop listening to the distressed voice that talks to me when life hasn’t gone my way. That voice doesn’t know me. It doesn’t know anything about me, other than my desire to be in control. I want to live my life under the influence of a deep knowingness and relationship with myself, not under the influence of a power struggle. In my fights for power, against what life is showing me, I always lose.

I learned that relationships are negotiated. In fact, I learned that most things in life are negotiated and renegotiated constantly. I realized I needed to get in on that if I wanted to have any kind of authority over my life. So I started calling the shots. Sometimes. I’m still kind of working on that. 

I caught glimpses of true intimacy with myself and with other people. It is a recipe of honesty and kindness, a perfect balance of both trust and more importantly, trustworthiness.

“This is what marriage really means: helping one another to reach the full status of being persons, responsible and autonomous beings who do not run away from life.”

Paul Tournier

“If you feel hunger for total nurturing – someone continuously anticipating your needs – don’t start dating. Start therapy.”

Martha Beck

 

I gave myself permission to start over. To finally say “Things were a certain way for a while, and it was great. And now things are going to be different. Things are allowed to be different.”

When I gave myself permission to start over, I gave myself the gift of recreating myself. To re-negotiate the rules I had been living by. Everything started to change.

I saw that I didn’t really know where I stood with myself. I knew that because I didn’t always know how to make my own decisions. When I know where I stand with myself, and cultivate the ability to stand strong in my own space, my choices become clear, and I start intuitively knowing which ones I need to make.

I think I grew up a lot this last year, and it took a lot of courage, because there were certainly times where it felt uncomfortable as hell. I guess they call them growing pains. I think I grew up because I started to look at how I spend my days, rather than how I spend my life. So I started spending my days the way I would like to spend my life, because I realized that ultimately, what you do in your days is what you do in your life. I started taking care of the minutes and the hours took care of themselves.

I think the biggest way that I grew up this year is that I learned to be real. I used to have all these colourful beliefs, and that was great, but then I started to realize that what you believe isn’t what matters. You can believe whatever you want. It’s not what you believe that matters, but how you live your life that matters. If I want to be anything in this life, I have to have a colourful life, not just colourful beliefs.

And so this is where I am today. I’m in a part of my life that is strange and unfamiliar sometimes, but I live with the knowing that my life is becoming cozier every day, wrapping itself around me into the snuggest of fits.

And this is how I find myself today, on my birthday. The day that I turn 22. Well worn, well held, and well loved.

With love,

Malavika

36 thoughts on “Today, I turned 22

    • Malavika says:

      Thank you Cecile. And I have to say, I have checked on your blog from time to time, and I like your witty writing style :)!

      Like

  1. Caja says:

    So beautiful. It truly made me think about my own life and the process of being where I want and becoming whole again. Thank you for such a lovely post, I will bookmark this in my ‘inspiration’ folder.

    Take good care!

    Like

  2. Bailey Mikell says:

    I think you are absolutely incredible. I cried reading this! Probably because I feel so connected to the things you are learning — because I too, am learning similar things. Beautiful blog, beautiful post! Happy Birthday my dear.

    Like

  3. thousandislandsmama says:

    How wonderful that you have come to these realizations at such a young age…even more wonderful that you have the gift of writing so well so the rest of us can benefit : ). It is indeed about how you live. Happy Birthday to you!

    Like

  4. sheryllrea says:

    Happy birthday! Reading your post made me realize how I need to take some time out of my busy motherhood schedule and figure out some things. I will reread this again for inspiration.

    Like

  5. Stephanie says:

    Happy birthday Malavika! And I love that idea of spending your days the way you want to spend your life. I was reading and was like “mmhmmm”. I love it. Thanks for sharing! xo

    Like

    • Malavika says:

      Stephanie. I’m so happy to receive your comment here. I got your e-mail and I will respond as soon as possible. I didn’t have the internet in my apartment for 3 weeks! xo

      Like

  6. thenapkinnotesmtl says:

    Happy Birthday dear Malavika! Your blog is still an inpiration for my everyday life, and i thank you for sharing your wisdom!
    You have such a beautiful life ahead of you!
    In love and light
    xx

    Like

  7. Margarita says:

    Happy birthday to you! I just turned 22 last January. And i admire you for sharing your wonderful life and inspiring a lot of people, including me. Although i’ve realized some things 9 years ago, i have held on one sad belief that has continuously engulfed my whole life, until now. i think i’m too sad, i cry and tell myself, “too sad too sad” it has become a mantra. something that is wrong i know. i want to really change. but i think this is who i just really am. but thank you. will try to change for the better. will keep on fighting. will keep on breathing.

    Like

    • Malavika says:

      Helloooo margarita. I just had a little look at your blog. You are a medical student too? That’s cool.
      You are not too sad. You’re sad sometimes, and sometimes you are happy too. I know that about you because everybody is like that. We all have equal amounts of light and dark within us, and it’s what you focus on, and act on, that makes a life of lightness or darkness. So make your decisions well. We cannot eliminate the dark, we can just focus on lightness. I struggle with this too someitmes.

      Like

  8. daniloguevara says:

    Happy birthday I know it was a while ago. But i am always waiting for your posts. Nice work with the dairy thing you ised to do? I like it a lot. Good stuff like decluttering it helped me alot to get rid of lots of junk i had here at home. And nice you post things like today. Keep working and Hope to heard from you more often Danilo, valencia,venezuela.

    Like

    • Malavika says:

      Thank you Danilo. I appreciate the birthday wishes. I’m getting older now! I’m happy you enjoy my blog and that it has helped you in some way. It helps me too. Thank you for reading, and I will keep writing. Take care.

      Like

    • Malavika says:

      Oh my goodness, SUE! I am soooo glad to see this comment was from you, an old friend. I hope you are keeping well, and beautiful. I will be in touch.

      Like

  9. ankitaanna says:

    “It’s not what you believe that matters, but how you live your life that matters.”
    That’s just beautiful Malu, and it really made me think. Glad you had a good birthday.
    Hugs 🙂

    Like

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