Lost and Found
Growing up, we were taught that when confronted with grief or trouble, ‘lose’ yourself – in work, in prayers, in your kids. This philosophy was served with dal and roti from moms and aunties, told and retold in stories and text books and approved by the media. There was the TV matriarch, who having lost her husband, devotes herself to prayers, the Bollywood mom who after losing her lover devotes herself to her illegitimate son, the dad who having lost his son devotes himself to his work….
I grew up convinced that the way to overcome anything was to forget it, and move on, and ‘overcome’ it by losing myself in things that move me forward or merely distract me.
But coming to the US offered a different lens. Here the emphasis is on ‘finding oneself’. Indeed if you happen to feel you need a shrink, you will be asked to find yourself through several exercises – what drives you, what your parents did wrong, what minor semi-forgotten incident from your childhood is the reason why you lost your job or your nerve. What you did as a child defined you forever, and parental mistakes are the convenient reason why you are where you are today. You weep and vent all that frustration, bring out the villains in your life, and through this catharsis emerge as the poor unblemished soul who was driven by tainted parents and role models to where you have reached. Oh the injustice of it all. Are you spending recklessly? Its your mom – she did not teach you to save or alternately, she saved too much and you are spending to compensate. Dont dare to forget anything, just ‘confront’ it and then move on, laden with shrink wrapped drugs and receipts.
So what works? Losing yourself or finding yourself? I have never tried the shrink route, but for me, losing myself works. I am sure finding myself may work too, only seems to be more expensive, with a lot more blame to dispense. When I have a bad day, a bad week or a really bad month, and I look into the eyes of my innocent, sweet boys – I do lose myself – and in the end it feels OK.
What do you think?
Last 5 posts by Khushi
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