Sunday 10 February 2013

Baring it all

Yesterday I sat up and read five parts of intimate chronicles of a blogger whose blog I follow intermittently. As she bared her soul and life, I was pulled into the vortex of her life. She is a brilliant writer and I couldn't but help feel immense pain reading what she had written. For a long time, the contents of her posts continued to colour my thinking and I wept quite freely for her, for the world, for pain, for everything that seemed unfair. You know how it is when you start crying. You remember every single thing that made you cry and the tears become copious almost as if you're crying for everything that has passed and everything that is to come. One question that kept arising as I was crying was, "Why?" I know that the question seems quite absurd and meaningless but still my heart pained for that promising young woman who is an epitome of everything postmodern and intelligent.

An afterthought that niggled me after the entire reading-the-posts-and-crying was, "How did she bare it all?" "How on earth did she have the courage to record her life in a public domain?" Perhaps she felt the aching need to record her experience as a repository. Her words still ring in my head and if I start to think about her powerful narrative, I would start pouring bucketful of tears. I refrain to think that the pain she wrote about is something real and visceral, not a story of some distant character with whom one can share a dispassionate relationship that is removed from reality; A pain that one can read about and forget knowing that it is the fanciful creative process of someone who is a story-teller. It is another thing that people do shed tears for fictional characters. Even I do. I did it quite occasionally then and very frequently now. I guess as you grow older you are prone to cry a lot. I recollect an incident from my research days. When I was living with transgenders for purpose of my research, I once accompanied them (Pandiammal, Mahalakshmi and Shailaja) to a funeral where they were called to mourn professionally. Professional mourning was one of their means of earning money. The way Pandiammal cried and beat her chest completely baffled me. After the entire ceremony was over, I asked her, "How did you cry so well?" To which she replied, "When I cry, I think of all that we have undergone . . . I think of my mother . . . my family . . . my village and my home. By becoming a transgender, I have lost everything - my name, my family . . . That's what makes me cry like this." True that. When we cry, we don't cry for something that just happened, we have a cluster of incidents that come to our mind. We don't cry for that particular character in the film, we cry for someone whom we know in the same situation, we cry for us remembering ourselves in that same situation. Tears are projections of our collective memories.

When I read that blogger's long rendering of her life and health, I cried for everyone who suffered ill health, for the talents that remain dormant because of the illness, of the dreams that have to be truncated, of the dependence that causes pain to the free-spirit and most of all I also cried because I knew many like her. I felt helpless that I couldn't do anything to ease her pain.

I didn't comment on any of her posts. What could I have possibly written, "Get well soon" or "I'll pray for you" or "I wish that a miracle happens."

She is a stranger to me but pain isn't strange. Any human capable of compassion and empathy can feel pain and that is what I felt and cried for.

I really wish that her ailments leave her and that she continues in her path of life renewed and rejenuvated and write sassy stuff without any pain.

Image 1: Internet
Image 2: Internet


  1. I agree Susan. I have been touched by posts too as well as wondered how the person could bare it all. I can never do it personally, but I respect those who can come out and speak about their pain. As you pointed out, pain is a universal emotion.

  2. You got me very curious about that post that made you weep. At least a link?

    You're right. Usually what happens at the moment merely triggers the tears, just a catalyst, an opening of the well. The tears then are for a deeper pain.

  3. Everyone will have to go through their dose of pain. Some of them experience a lot of pain in a short duration, but for others, lesser amount of pain is elongated over longer periods. I do not know the context and hence will not want to comment this exact situation, but pain and happiness are two sides of the same coin.

    Destination Infinity

  4. true what you say...we dont cry for the characters...we cry for ourselves..because the characters reflect to us certain incidents in our own experiences and that makes us shed those often unshed tears...

  5. Have lived with a loved one suffering ill-health for too long. One of life's terrible's struggles.

  6. Your so right Susan. Our life is full of grief and when we open the gates to one incident all the accumulated pain has an outlet. This post has so much meaning for me because I'm so sentimental and cry so easily. I think I'm too old to change now, or maybe I don't want to change my sensitive ways.

    You did such a good job of writing this. Thanks Susan.

  7. "Tears are projections of our collective memories." I never consciously thought of that. It is so very true.

  8. beautifully written, Susan. I cry a lot for people's pains. I know that feeling of helplessness where you wish you had the words to soothe, somehow.

  9. It is a very painful thing to undergo, still only a small fraction of the educated society is open to treating them as equals...


  10. A fine writer you are. Each time I sit to read one of your pieces, the realization is that I am in for an education, a treat. Expectation is that a satisfying short journey to somewhere I have not been
    ia about to begin.

    Rare is the insight you communicate from your researches.

    Every Monday morning I meet with a man, age 45, married with children. He had a liver transplant in September 2012, and has experienced nothing since, but trouble, the latest being a (right side) half-lung removal. Constant fluids filling his body need constant draining, a load of pain (he is fearful of powerful pain killers.)

    OK. what I'm saying is that reading you tonight has helped me to possibly help him a little tomorrow when we meet. It is just not enough to say (or him to think of) a fellow who is a quadruple amputee, e.g., has a rough time of it also.

    You have much compassion for your fellow creatures, Susan Deborah, and it shows through every post. During your life, God will present to you many opportunities to assist others--with your enthusiasm, wisdom, and good will.

  11. every word of this post reflects your warmth.
    -Portia Burton

  12. One cannot fathom the pain that the blogger must be undergoing...hats off to her courage for baring her soul, Susan. Despite the fact that this may not mean much, I do pray that God bless her spirit, shower her with his kind grace and ease her pain. Reading about others'pain is painful and leads to us crying for the precise reasons you have shared here...:(

  13. That is the special quality of Susan.
    She can bring out the best in everyone.
    Kudos Susan for penning it so perfectly.

  14. i agree with the point that we feel bad no for the characters but for the situations we faced similar to that of the character

  15. Susan whatever you have said i abide by all. But i couldn't agree more on this today than ever that as we become older we tend to be more and more lachrymose. Wait till you become a mom and Heaven alone can count the emotions which make precipitation happen at the drop of the hat.
    Okay jokes apart i might add something here.Tears not only are projections of our collective memories but they also are for the unwarranted fears too.
    i kept crying throughout this book, 'A Fine Balance' by Rohinton Mistry just like how you have been crying. What if that had happened to me...or my husband...or my mom...endless list of all those whom we love.
    Towards the end of that book when Maneck the young boy throws himself in front of the moving train i was inconsolable and kept thinking about that good,sweet boy. i cried and mourned for Maneck for days as if he were my own son.It was that fear...
    Thank you Susan for putting across all so well. After that book i badly needed to speak to someone.
    Although i know i would not be able to deliver my emotions like you do i am glad you did it for me.
    Bless you.

  16. Hi Susan:
    You said:
    How did she bare it all?" "How on earth did she have the courage to record her life in a public domain?

    Ya know what? Sometimes it's easy to write about your life to someone who doesn't know you. Sometimes when you write, I know from personal experience It can help remove the pain. With my own blog, one of the statements I make is:
    Take me or leave me. I no longer worry what others think.

    In other words I'm going to speak my truth and I no longer worry. You'll accept me or you won't. It no longer phases me.

    Perhaps that's how your blogger friend feels.

  17. Susan, it is so hard sometimes to read what others have written, especially when it brings up old feelings that we have hidden so well deep in the crevices of our heart. I understand the inability to leave a comment. Many times I have found myself in that space. Usually, I will leave a heart just so that they know I have been there and that I am keeping them close in thoughts. Sometimes, people don't want to hear words, they just need to know that they are surrounded by loving people who care.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on her post :)

  18. Wow--what a neat post! And how I managed to stumble here today. I sometimes do write in very vulnerable ways like the blogger you mention in the post. I avoid writing them for days and months together. And I keeping hoping through blogs and books and articles hoping to find an author who would have written it for me. Often I do and it gives me immense joy to be validated. And then sometimes I dont. And at a point in time I get overstimulated. And like an volcano my heart erupts. In my vulnerability I find my strength emerge. Thank you for this lovely post. This affirms me also...

  19. Dear Susan, sorry for my absence, we have been moving house and now are enjoying a vacation and some skiing in the Italian Alps.;) But, I found a small spot in the hotels outside terrace and am enjoying a moment of blogging while watching the snow-covered peaks in the setting sun.;)
    The reason while I fell in love with my husband - well, one of them at least - is that he cries a lot. He cries at everything that touches him and to me that means he is brave enough to show his feelings. I too can get tears in my eyes when I read a piece that speaks to me and with which I can identify.
    A blogger that dares to be personal writes the best posts - my kind of posts. How do they dare to do that? Well, I try to be personal too, and I can tell you that writing and sharing with the world your pain or happiness is extremely therapeutic. It is such a release to let it all go...
    I hope your blog friend finds that release too and that life will soon be smiling at her again...
    Have a great week dear friend.:)

  20. It is wonderful from your part that you have written this heartfelt post for a fellow blogger who is in pain. It is such a beautiful thing to receive a gift of solace from anyone especially when you are in real pain and worry and to receive a writer's creativity as a gift is something very priceless. I agree with the fact that sorrow overcomes us whenever there is a hint of tear on our eyes and we seep into our past and weep more.

    I really will pray for the blogger who is in pain and will hope for her complete recovery very soon. I carry great respect for your affectionate heart, dear Susan. :) <3

    Gayathree Ganesan

  21. Omg! Thats heartbreaking the tales of transgenders and the experiences of the blogger you wrote of!
    Good you did not give her a meek assurance in words!

    I write here

    Thank u



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