Deb and Barbara Have A Three-Way With Rayna
Deb and Barbara found Rayna’s wonderful blog, Coffee Rings Everywhere, and were instantly hooked. Rayna writes in “drabbles”: essays or stories written in exactly 100 words. It’s a fascinating format and Rayna is a compelling expert at it. She drabbles about everything from writing, to life in India, to raising her two (ridiculously cute) kids. And her photos are gorgeous icing on her blog cake.
Rayna: The first thing I noticed was her book; Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird". The train was almost empty, but I chose the seat directly opposite her.
She was in her late twenties, though the severe hairstyle made her look older. Her clothes were too big for her––perhaps she hoped to cover the excess fat, but she only looked shapeless. I noticed she was using a boarding card as a bookmark––definitely a professionally qualified executive.
She must have sensed my scrutiny, because she looked up. I met her eye, and smiled.
"I was looking at your book", I said. "I have exactly the same copy."
"It's one of my favourite books,” she confessed. "Must have read it at least a dozen times."
"Me too." We got chatting.
"Who runs?", she asked, looking at my backpack with the logo of a marathon.
"Me. I've done four half marathons, and one full."
"W-O-O-W", she drew out the syllables. "I can't even dream of running 5 kilometers."
"Why don't you try? You might surprise yourself. That's what I keep telling my kids."
"You have kids? You don't look it."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"You're so slim."
"Well, I do work out."
"I wish I had the time."
"You can always make time." I knew how superior I sounded.
"I guess so! But tell me", she said, changing the subject. "Is motherhood all it's made out to be?"
"I can't imagine not being a mother", I replied. "But have kids only when you are ready to put your life on hold for them."
|Rayna and her beautiful boys|
Her station came. "Been great meeting you. Hope to run into you again,” she said grabbing her bags.
"We will." I reassured her. "And one other thing. Harry Potter. Do start reading Harry Potter!"
I don't understand why my friends are dreading turning Four-Oh. My twenty-nine-year-old self had not recognized me, and she was clearly impressed by what I had become. How many more surprises are in store as I advance further into the best age––the middle ages.
Deb: My younger self was a good girl. A very good girl. I was a good friend, daughter and sister. I cared about people and championed them when needed. Just as now, I woke up happy and smiling, and I loved life to bits.
I had a small period of two years where I went off the rails for a while. It was the 60’s, after all. I lost my footing, my focus, my MIND.
But I came back, I like to think, better than ever and ready to chew each bite of life 100 times.
So why is it that I feel such shame about this DerailedDEB? Why can I not shake her? I was in therapy ten years ago––menopause––and was trying to solve some serious issues I was having––menopause––and my therapist said to me, between my sobs–menopause––“Why do you refer to this teenage self as if you are talking about a stranger?” I said it was because this DerailedDEB seemed like a stranger to me, doing things that were not Good Deb or Kind Deb and I refused to acknowledge her as a bonafide full-fledged Deb. She was a pretender to the Deb.
My therapist gently told me that until I made friends with DerailedDeb, I would not be truly happy.
So I started to look to DerailedDEB for lessons that Good Deb could learn from. Not enough hours in the day for that however. I tried delving in and thinking everything through and rationalizing and making amends with Derailed.
But it just didn’t feel right. Too much focus on something so long ago. And then something dawned on me. What do they say, “The best revenge is living well?” I realized that living well in my own skin is exactly what I had been doing ever since those days.
So I decided that whenever I thought of DerailedDeb and felt shame or panic, I would simply say, “Hey D.D. it’s okay now. We made it.”
Barbara: No quiet bookworm here, no DerailedBarb (in Deb’s sense), but I’d like to talk to my 37-year-old self. The one sobbing in the corner as she found herself in one of a long series of crises. The me that was bereft of energy and will and courage, who wondered weakly how she could ever survive it. That Barb was sure she had done everything right. And well. And in a goodly way. That Barb held hands, wiped others’ tears, cleaned house. That Barb worked hard on her acting whenever the chance came along, hadn’t yet re-discovered her writer self, and always felt she was hitting a wall. Banging her head on not just a glass ceiling, but hemmed in by glass walls all around her. Cubed in by life. That Barb couldn’t bear the unfairness of it all, the randomness, the cruel irony.
I want to tell her that it will get better. It will take a while, but the tide will turn. It’s a midlife crisis––not the kind triggered by oneself, but the kind triggered by outside events. And as much as that Barb went through self-pitying wallowing (even when righteous, wallowing makes for an uncomfortable bed), she will learn a shitload of stuff. Really really useful, life-changing stuff. She will “find herself” because of it. And she will learn to protect that self with fierce determination and gentle support.
So I’ll let her wallow and cry. I won’t sooth her out of it. I know from experience that she needs to be there for a while. Sorry, kiddo, but it’s ‘cause I love you.
Thank you, Rayna, for one hell of an interesting look into the past!!
Rayna Natasha Iyer is the Founder and Chief Evangelist of the "If enough people wish hard enough and long enough, will the day actually have 30 hours?" movement that most of you wish you could be a part of. She's a mother of two boys now in primary school, is obsessive about the non-profit she works for, and tries unsuccessfully to make time for running, photography, reading, writing and gardening. She dreams of being a published writer, someday! Rayna can be found at her blog, Coffee Rings Everywhere, her photo-blog, Snapshots of Bombay, at the blog of her Writer's Group, Borrowers, Books and Balderdash, or at the Burrow website.
PS come back tomorrow for a new Deco Tip and Easy Recipe!