About seven months ago, I received an invite from fellow blogger Corinne Rodrigues, to join a blogger’s group.
“Oh God, one of those!”, I thought. Then I stopped myself.
My past interaction with Corinne had proved her to be a lady who wouldn’t waste her time with pointless groups which were mushrooming all over Facebook those days- and still are. She would certainly not invite another ‘victim’ to one of those pages. Considerate girl, is our Corinne. Agog, I asked Corinne what this was. I was told:
Group Name: Indiblogeshraris
Eligibility: Woman (feisty- the one of strong opinions and the will to let you have it unabashedly) blogger.
Rule: You don’t self promote in anyway, ever.
Well, I said to myself, I am certainly eligible. And more than happy to toe the line. Even so, when I clicked my acceptance, I had NO idea what I was getting into.
If you’re a woman, you probably know this. For the rest, here’s the secret thing about women in bulk. Just as men in pack are a unexpected phenomenon, so are women. But NOT in the same way.
Perish all thoughts that women in bulk is the same creature as it is in the solo. In the singular, a woman might be warmly and openly communicative, with oodles of sympathy and loads of fun. In the bulk, the equation changes dramatically. The reason is simple. Women have always been marginalized, criticized, oppressed, ridiculed and censured by women. To open up in a group of women, therefore, becomes almost impossible for even the most courageous amongst us.
We fall silent and uncomfortable, wondering when and from which quarter the axe of judgment will fall upon our unprotected head. Conversation dies and walls come up faster than you can say Jack Sparrow! To be around a women’s group therefore is like attending a permanent funeral of someone cut down in their prime in a particularly grisly manner. Not cheerful, you will agree.
With this expectation and conditioning, I walked into the group. In two hours I was hooked. In two days, after trying to belie the evidence of my own eyes, I had to admit that this group was nothing like I could have imagined.
It has been a heart- opening journey for me. Nothing prepared me for the unconditional support these women give to each other. Many are the hours I have spent drawing courage from what many of them have shared. There is nothing taboo, there is nothing barred. This place is a watering hole for us. It is resplendent with deep pools of serenity and acceptance.
I have giggled like a giddy headed school girl, I have been overwhelmed with pride. I have sobbed after reading of the struggles some of these incredible women have conquered. None of these stories have excited my pity. They have been stories of strength and indomitable spirit. I have felt cleansed, uplifted, inspired and very proud.
I have seen these women challenge themselves. The point of these challenges is never winning- which happens more often than not. The point is the will to challenge. The will to step out of your comfort zone. The will to stretch yourself to see what more you can do. It is very easy to do it here. Because win or lose, you have the whole group rooting for you unconditionally. They openly and lovingly forgive you when you are not able to forgive yourself. I can’t imagine a greater gift one human being can give another.
Today is the first birthday of this group. A month ago, in preparation and in homage to this day’s importance, we set a challenge for ourselves. In exactly one month, we had to do something that we’d never done before. It could be a goal that had been out of reach before. It could be beginning a new project. It could be sticking to a routine never stuck to before.
It was to be a challenge that would move us forward to the next level in our lives. And a month later we were to write a post to tell each other what form our challenge had taken, and how far we had reached.
I am the kind who gets bored easily. To stick to the same thing over and over has always been a challenge. I am not saying I am cured now (:P)… but I know I can defeat it if I choose to. To have reached that place of confidence in the period of 31 days is an amazing bit of magic I had never believed in before. I do now. Boy, do I believe it now!
In the past one month, therefore, I have written 43 blog posts. My goal was 45. Of these, I have published 23 on the blog. The other twenty are ready. Out of the 43, there are seven poems. I am convinced (even now) that I can’t write poems, but I wrote them anyhow. Five of the seven poems are in Hindi. THAT, was really putting myself out there! For me, writing in Hindi is to bare my soul and stand naked in brilliant sunlight allowing each beat of my heart to be heard. Yes, it makes me feel terribly exposed and vulnerable.
I still don’t know how much time it would take me to take the next leap and actually publish them on the blog. Perhaps I may never do it… perhaps I will. But I wrote them, and that matters to me more than anything else.
My daughters and I have also begun creating craft from used fabric. A sample of our work can be seen on the slideshow below.
To do all this work required me to defeat my tendency to lose interest. I now know for sure that I can maintain my focus and keep my nose to the grindstone- when I need to do so. I need no longer be afraid that I have lost my capacity to work. The last one month is proof enough of that. I have regained my love for life. Thank you for teaching me the meaning of Support System Indiblogeshwaris!Thank you for demonstrating unbreakable-ness.
Happy Birthday to us!!