Knives Dipped in Honey

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I have sat away from my computer for a few weeks now: thinking what can I write about now? What new approach can I take on these topics I have been talking about? After many weeks I have come to realize that the most pain caused is not by an intimate partner, yet the ones who are closest to you in other ways. It’s the ones who laugh with you, break bread with you, and are apparently understanding of all your pains. In Urdu we call these people “Mithi churiyaan” which literally translates to “sweet knives.” These people will become really close to you and harm you when you least expect it.

I read a quote a while ago on the back of a car and it always stuck in my mind: “The higher you go, the lonelier you get.” Reaching new heights can be anything. For example, getting a degree, landing your dream job, falling in love and getting married. It can be anything that can help you start a new chapter in your life. The sad reality is that this new story often sets you apart from the people who you consider to be close. I remember when I got into university I lost a few high school friends because our mentalities and life goals didn’t always match. When I graduated I lost people because we went towards different goals and passions.

So what do you do when you’ve known someone your entire life who isn’t happy for you? What do you do when someone you’ve held so high is waiting for every opportunity to see you fall? What I have come to learn is to be lowkey and not tell everyone about where I am and where I am going in life. With time, the people around me will find out the things they need to know. It’s not a beauty pageant, it’s my life and it’s truly nobody’s business where I am. At first this transition was very difficult, but now I rarely let anyone into my intimate circle. Call it trust issues, but I’d rather be alone instead of being surrounded by people who will find any excuse to cut my wings. It’s always the ones closest to you. It’s always the one who you thought had your back, but it turns out they were just knives dipped in honey.

Food Coloring

food coloring

“Katray katray se deryah bantha hai” which literally means “through drops an entire river can be made.”

 

The way food coloring shows the nature of relationships is absolutely beautiful to me. Now here’s what you need to do in order to see what I mean. Get a clear glass, fill it with water and then carefully put in one drop of food coloring into the glass. Then observe how that one drop cuts through the water and then slowly changes the color of the water. It’s not instant, but rather slow. With each drop the color of the water becomes deeper and stronger. No matter how much clear water you add into that glass, the water is tinted. That’s exactly how negative energy works in a relationship. At first, that one drop slightly cuts through you and then, with each drop, the relationship drowns before your own eyes. The reality is, all relationships go through ups and downs, but the ups should always outweigh the downs.

The moment a relationship starts dropping “food coloring” on you and into your relationship you will only have two choices. One, either have a talk and fix the issues that you are having before the food coloring ruins you any further. Secondly, walk away because your water (relationship) is already tinted.

We all have been in a toxic relationship or witnessed someone who has been in one and it’s exhausting. The person visibly looks stressed, unhappy and worn out because of the mental strain. It’s painful to go through and even worse to see someone you love suffer in silence.

As I said earlier, with each drop a river is made, but the choice is yours on what you want the river made out of: negativity, toxicity and a tint of “food coloring”, or a basic understanding that you have to sacrifice, compromise and be willing to have the lightest tint in your glass of water.

Give and Take

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“The energy you put into the world is the energy you will get back.”

While I was growing up I had a hard time accepting others who were doing better than me in life; whether it was school, how they dressed and especially those who were doing the things they loved. Others being happy made me very uncomfortable and it made me put this fake cocky mask on to feel better about myself. A few years ago my energy was too negative and because of this energy I pushed away so many people and presented the wrong version of myself to others.

     My cockiness didn’t provide me comfort when I wasn’t included into plans with friends or when I wanted to do things with others. My words would often be hurtful and stung the people around me. I was the guy that would find a way to rain on someone’s day because if I can’t have it, nobody can. The further I went down this road the more internal damage I took along the way. Saying I was sad is an understatement, but I knew I had to work on this internal issue because I was pushing away positive people who could teach me a thing or two.

     After much thought I realized my internal issue is not being happy with where I am in life. So my easiest way to get rid of the internal guilt was by blaming everything and everyone around me, but myself.

     After much trial and error I became a magnet for the people around me. I became confident enough to do the things I love to do. Since I started following my own dreams I became confident enough to not let someone else’s success make my personal accolades fall short. I started tasting success when I graduated from my university because I realized I am a different individual and I have a lot of talent to give to the world. Which is why, when someone around me succeeded even if it was more than me I felt internal happiness for them. If someone needed to vent or needed a shoulder I became just that for them. A few years ago I was negative so what I got back was negativity and now I promote love, care, positivity and growth. I swear those exact same things are being thrown right back at me and I can’t express the happiness I feel nowadays. This didn’t happen overnight and to be honest I didn’t realize that the change happened until this morning when I was reflecting on my life. Every morning we are blessed with a new day to start something new, to try new things, to be better than we were yesterday. So the choice is yours, what will you throw at life today, but be careful because that’s what you will get back.

The Three Tiers

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“Look at the personality before you go for the looks.”

 

We live in a very aesthetic world where everything needs to look good. From what we wear, to the cars we like and even social media. So when we are put in such a world, how can we look beyond the looks, when that’s all we have been taught?

We are enamoured with hundreds of beautiful people putting up pictures on Instagram or Snapchat. We have new ways to make ourselves look amazing through simple injections and even surgeries. If we go to such great lengths to look good then that means looks are an important piece to attraction, but making it the only reason is very dangerous.

We’ve all heard those stories where someone takes a very beautiful person out, but they end up being boring (yikes, no personality!) We’ve also heard the stories where someone finally gives someone a chance, only to be surprised at how nice they are; but you know they aren’t that attractive, yet.

After years of either being in this weird rut of finding someone who only looks good or only is nice had me a little frustrated. I wanted a healthy balance so I made myself a three tier cake to use as an example.

Tier 1(bottom layer): This tier is your trust, compatibility, and overall personal characteristics. Trust is the foundation of every relationship — without trust the top layers will always be in danger. Compatibility is one of those rare things that takes time to be understood because many factors play a role with it. Your personal characteristics need to be somewhat similar because if you like to joke around make sure who you like can take a joke.

Tier 2 (middle layer): This tier are your hobbies, favorite foods and future goals. It is about all of the little things that we think don’t matter, but end up being a huge deal down the road. For example, if one likes art galleries and the other likes to bungee jump, chances are you guys need to find a halfway point. If one person loves seafood and the other is a vegan, something might have to be worked out. See it’s very minute things that can get annoying later.

Tier 3 (top layer): The looks, the style, the perception. The least important but nowadays given the most importance. A person’s clothes should be no reason as to why you don’t get to know them, that’s changeable. The way someone looks is not controllable, but if you truly think you are 0% attracted to them from the get go them you should avoid leading them on.

The reality is that when you see someone from across the room you don’t think to yourself “wow, I bet they have an amazing personality.” You notice them because something about them catches your eye. Once they catch you, what do they have to reel you all the way to them? That’s where personalities come out and should do the rest of the work. Dating isn’t hard, but it can become difficult with the new set of beauty standards and focusing too much on one tier of this cake.

1 Year Later

depression“Dhoor ke dhol suhaane lagthe hai”

which means the sounds of the drums from a distance sound amazing.

I’ve never been the one to put my problems on a silver platter to share with people. Yet, I always laugh to myself when people assume I have a perfect life. What I put out on social media and show to my friends is perfect, but nothing is truly perfect.

I’m constantly praised about how well I dress and how popular I am and then those same people follow up that statement with, “you wouldn’t even know what having a hard life is about.” Clothes, a nice car and friends are nice, but people can struggle in other ways as well. Even with the nice clothes and all these friends, I went through the darkest alleys all alone because I wasn’t happy about a lot of things. I would often look over at others with envy because I wanted to have the smaller things in life that I could never attain.

I’ve been on this hunt since 2015 to find true internal happiness in this thing called zindaagi (life). I met so many people, bought tons of things, but the happiness wasn’t everlasting. At one point or another I always seemed to be down; was it depression or just a boring life? I don’t know.

2015-2017 have been the toughest years for me on so many different levels. I lost my 3 year girlfriend in early 2016. Then May of 2016 I graduated with my bachelors of arts in psychology, but realized this is not what I want to do in life. Then in June of 2016 I found out I got accepted into a master’s program in NYC for speech pathology, but realized 3 months into it that I absolutely hate it. Then 2017 brought many life changing events that were beyond difficult. Back in 2016 I didn’t realize what was wrong with me or why I felt so down — maybe it was my recent break up, or maybe I just didn’t seem to have anything figured out. Then by late 2016 I was having such a lack of emotion with everything that I couldn’t ignore it and knew I had a problem.

Even with me accepting I had a problem, I snapped 2 weeks before my graduation and for some odd reason I decided to take pills. Not enough to end it, but enough to cry out for help, for someone to listen to me. I took the pills and I was expecting to pass out, but I didn’t. I just got very drowsy, but in fear I made myself throw up. Then I called my best friend and cried to him and told him something is wrong with me and I need help.

15 minutes later he came rushing to my house, put me in his car and made sure I was okay. Then he made me drink water to flush out my system, just in case. Once he saw I was okay he pulled over to the side of the road and literally beat me up. I will never forget what he said to me that night: “You selfish piece of shit, how the fuck you gonna do such a stupid thing? How are you only going to think about yourself and not for once think how much everyone loves you?” Instantly I cracked a little and started crying because I was selfish, I was only thinking about myself but in that moment, I was so clouded I didn’t know what to do.

I was ashamed at what I had done and even mind boggled that I got to that point. To this day I have never told my parents. The handful of people I did tell were an amazing support group that helped picked me up. Then with mild therapy, I was able to let that cloudy feeling go that always hovered above me. I had a degree in psychology, but I ignored my own signs of depression. I had a huge family, but not one person saw the lack of emotion and happiness in my life. I blamed everyone at first, but it’s nobody’s fault. Depression is thought to affect people with lower self esteem. Whereas I was super extroverted — I danced on several bhangra teams, loved being on top of all men’s fashion and new hairstyles, yet I broke.

Depression doesn’t look at your gender, race, social class and age; it happens because your own thoughts eat you up. You never feel good enough about yourself, you always feel like it’s an uphill battle and you will never be liked by anyone. Let that sink in for a moment? I had friends, I partied, loved looking good, but I was depressed?

My birthday is this Wednesday and it’s been a year now since I have overcome my depression. Within this year things haven’t gotten better, but I just changed my perspective on things. Within this year I realized that “Khushi cheezon se nehi, rishtoon se baanthi hai” (Happiness isn’t attained through materialism, but through relationships). I am also proud to say that through my entire recovery process I never touched any medication besides my daily allergy pills.

While I was going through all of these things I had one thing that always kept me sane and motivated me to stay positive. Luckily I’ve been able to reach a very large audience through my blogs and the love I get now used to seem so far fetched at one point. So when you guys take out a few minutes to message me about how much you loved my blogs, it means the world to me. Everyone who has messaged me, emailed me or even read my blogs helped make my dream a reality and pull me out of this sink hole I was so far into.

Ever since I pulled myself out of this hole I have been called “cocky”, “arrogant” and many other things. It’s not cockiness or arrogance, it’s pure confidence because I walked one of the darkest roads by myself. I completely broke from within and built myself back up to be a strong person. 1 year strong and many more years of good blogs and happiness are on its way.

Now this blog was probably the hardest piece I have written because it is so personal. I just want to remind you that this post is not a way for people to be on my side or feel bad for me. It’s not a way to show off my strength, but rather it’s a way to spread awareness. Depression is a very real thing, it’s not just long term sadness. So when a friend reaches out to you do not be dismissive, hear them out and help them.

When you come across someone who seems to have a perfect life, take a step back and think about how much they are showing you.

Types Of Love

download (5)I was 20 years old when I first fell in love and instantly my life became full of colors. Her color brought me to a new high because we instantly clicked on every level. Our personalities went together like the summer in June, our birthdays were two days apart and my day was not complete without seeing her. We texted each other paragraph long text messages every morning, we fell asleep over facetime and made so many internal jokes. Each day that passed felt like a dive into another parallel universe because when I was around her, nothing else mattered. My family, friends, school and hobbies didn’t matter anymore because she was able to fill all those spaces in my heart. Some would say it’s not healthy but at that time I didn’t listen to anyone, besides her. One month turned into one year and I knew she was the girl I will marry. I mean, why wouldn’t I think that? We did everything together. That’s what love is. That’s what I saw in the movies, so this had to be it. Yet, we fought a lot and with those fights we forgot to give each other the space to grow. In my head love was being together and being away meant that love is no longer alive.

At the one year mark our love became an obsession that pulled the other closer if they dared to even hang out with someone else, but we loved each other. The thought of losing her would make my heart tremble, the fear of me losing her became more evident. As each day passed I became sucked out of our own parallel universe. I stopped laughing at her jokes. I didn’t have much to say anymore, but she was my home. So I always went back because it had to work this time around even though the other 55 times didn’t work. I became confused at our relationship because I couldn’t live with her and I couldn’t live without her. Our love became overwhelming and suffocating; both of us knew this but we were willing to slowly die within our self made poison we called love. As each day passed we became more distant. Hours on the phone became a quick 30 second call. 3 meals a day soon became 3 meals a week. Facetime turned into an automatic text, “sorry can’t talk right now.” As if we actually talked anymore? Eventually I got distracted because maybe deep down inside I wasn’t happy. She then sat me down at our favorite restaurant to talk and I knew what bullet was about to come my way. She said it, the three words, It is over. Within that instant the few ounces of happiness that I had left, soon became depleted.

~KirfanLive

 

I was 20 years old when I first had my heart broken and just as the canvas I called my life had become so colorful when he entered my life…in an instant my life became black and white once more. I wondered, what had happened to the two souls that seemed so inseparable? What had happened to the young love that had promised forever and a lifetime? Every day that passed without him felt like being hit by a train, but drowning at the same time. He’d always said that my heart was a mosaic he had put back together for good…and looking back, maybe that’s why I felt so many empty spaces in me. He was the glue that held me together, the reality that I felt was worth living for. Our nights together, had turned into days, and our days to months, and then years. I thought he was the one. I’ve often heard that when someone leaves your life they take a piece of you with them. He took all of me with him. He was my fairy tale in the world of non fiction. All I wanted was to keep him close, and love him. But…one year later our fairy tale was fading, and I felt powerless knowing that I was losing him. It felt like I was constantly holding my hand out to him, and no matter how much he tried to reach out…somehow our hands never met anymore. He said we had become poison for each other, but if so why was his love still my elixir? Every memory we had promised to make together, had in fact turned into a memory. But at this point, I knew it was over. I couldn’t see him suffer no matter how much I wanted him to be mine. And so one night, over dinner, I said it. It is over. With tears spilling down my cheeks, and my breath refusing to leave my throat. What else could I have done? As soon as the words had left my lips…I ran. I ran far far away from him. And I haven’t seen him since. I held him so close to my heart, so why had he kicked me out of his? I may have turned into a nightmare he wanted to wake up from, but he will always be the dream that I fall asleep to.

~V.G

 

It’s been almost five years now. I still think of him every day, but I’m sure he’s moved on by now. There’s probably a lucky girl in his life now, that he comes up behind, when she’s drying her hair in the mirror…and whispers, “hey beautiful” into her ear. People that haven’t seen me in years still ask me about him. If we’re still together. And I’m never able to get any words out. I just smile my sad smile, and continue trudging through life. So many people told him that I’m with someone now…but I’m not. I’m as lonely as ever. My only relationship is with my own solitude. I guess he needed more than just me. I still occasionally go back to the pier where we had spent so much of our time. I listen to the waves crash against each other and try to piece myself back together. I’ve found some peace though. I don’t hate him. I know I never will. If I were to completely honest, I still love him. But I’ve grown enough to know that not everything in life comes and stays forever. He was one of those things. I just hope he’s happy. Because that’s all I really ever wanted. I know that God has someone for me somewhere, and I’ll use all the lessons he taught me. And yeah, maybe I still cry in his memory. But one day, I’ll smile again…and everything will be okay.

~V.G

 

Note from the author:

This was one of the best collaborations I have been a part of to date. Me and Vaidehi have very complimentary styles that intertwine perfectly. This is one of many collaborations coming your way. Visit http://www.vaidehigajjar.com to check out her writing. #KayVStrikes

Therapy

IMG_1429About 3 months ago I partially tore my Achilles and went through excruciating pain. The process of being on a boot, crutches and painkillers was an unfamiliar road for me, but I “manned up” and got through it. Now, in my head when I got off the boot 3 weeks ago, I figured this is it — I can start running around and going to the gym again. Instead, my doctor signed me up for physical therapy for 3 months and showed me exercises to do at home. I was bummed and frustrated because I wanted to be done with this seemingly never ending process, but something clicked within me which made it easier.

Two years ago I was madly in love with someone but it quickly turned into something toxic. No matter how bad the fights or arguments got, both of us would find some stupid excuse to hold on.  Maybe we were hoping that something would change so we didn’t fight, disagree, or find each other annoying. It soon became a vicious cycle because the same arguments happened, and truth be told at one point all respect for each other was gone. Due to many other reasons, our relationship slowly burned to the ground and I had to learn to live without my best friend. Now after everything turned south, I wanted to go running back to her because she was my home. I felt safe with her because she was the only person I’d ever clicked with, but I had to move forward.

I told myself to move on but everything was a constant reminder about the times we’d shared.  Every place was linked to a memory, and hearing anything close to her voice or name would trigger a mini anxiety attack. In my mind the logical thing to do was just find someone else, which I did, but I didn’t give myself enough time to come to terms with my internal sadness. I kind of rushed through the sad part and jumped into the next best thing, and when the girl wanted something serious I would run — not because something was wrong with them, but because I was scared to go through that again. In my mind, I believed something would happen and I’d suffer all over again.

That was until my Achilles tendon tore and I realized that us humans also need “emotional therapy” for something devastating that happens. Even with my injury I pictured myself getting out of the boot and start running right that moment, but that’s not how things work. Whether it’s a break-up or a physical injury, it will take time. If you try to pick up where you left off you will only inflict more pain on yourself and unconsciously to someone else.

Looking Below Me

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Friday night I went out with about 4-5 of my friends to Virginia and enjoyed a new lounge that had been opened. I bumped into some old friends and shared a few laughs over some good food, old memories and my friend’s birthday. I ended up coming home around 3 am with a house that gives me the comfort and all the daily necessities anyone could ask for.

The next morning, I woke up at 1 pm and decided to get some coffee and a chocolate glazed doughnut from Dunkin’ Donuts because I really needed it. As I reached into my bag, I saw an old man passing my car and looking over at Dunkin’ Donuts just as a kid would look at cake. I didn’t pay it much mind and reached for my straw, took off the white paper wrap, and as I went in for my first sip I saw him counting some change. Instantly, my conscience woke up and told me to do something and help him out. I put my iced coffee down, turned my car off and waited for him to make his way into the building. As he walked in I quickly said, “hey!” — no response. Then I said “HEY!”, even louder, but still — no response. I didn’t take it to heart and just told myself he needed some coffee and food, maybe then he’d talk to me.

I told the lady behind the counter to get him whatever he wanted and to make sure to give him all the tasty options on the menu. I glanced back to him and he looked at the lady and said, “I only have $2:50,” but after 5 minutes of explaining, he understood that I’d be helping him out today. The crazy thing was that he knew I was paying but was not being greedy or selfish. He asked for 2 munchkins (doughnut holes) and I honestly looked back at him in complete shock. I looked over at the lady and told her “no, get him 10 munchkins and a medium hot coffee.” Even at this point he didn’t say thank you or even as much as a hello. I took out my card and swiped it, and walked away knowing that he’d have breakfast. I sat in my car and instantly had “severe watery eyes” because the night before I’d spent over $50 on a few things at the lounge, and here he was scraping for change to have breakfast.

When I was younger my mother often told me to look at people “below me” instead of people “above me”. Somewhere along the line I lost that philosophy and forgot to look at people below me and help them. The harsh reality is that the rich and middle class people are truly the ones who are poor. We hide behind the expensive cars, clothes and food, but hesitate to hand a dollar bill to someone standing on the side of the road. Now, if your argument is that they will spend it on alcohol or drugs, you are literally using one broad brush and trying to fit everyone into the same category. I get it, it’s impossible to change the world, but you can help change someone’s world around.

Bro thats “gay”

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“Bro why would you do that, it’s so gay”

Yesterday I decided to do a little experiment with my friends and followers of social media. I have always wanted to get a nose stud/ring but was scared of how people would react. Somehow I gained enough courage to get a nose ring early yesterday morning and then post a selfie on my social media. Within a few minutes the amount of hate and “bro that so gay” texts I got was shocking to me and a little hurtful. How is my sexuality determined by a piece of metal in my nose? How is my fashion statement an open doorway to spit out homophobic remarks? Our society has made it hard for people to express themselves in different ways. To the point where any hint of being original or different will have you shunned.

Most people have art, music or some other hobby to express themselves from everyday life, but for me its clothes and fashion. My style is based off of london and british bloggers who have inspired my sleek dark look. Sadly, for years I had to dress down in order to hang out with my male friends because of the homophobic remarks I would receive. The more they made fun of me the more I wanted to spread my wings and express myself, but I was scared. I didn’t want to lose my friends or be outcasted because I was different. See my entire life I struggled fitting in because my mentality, perspectives and of course sense of style was out of the norm for most people. I couldn’t risk losing a few friends that I did have just because I wanted to be expressive, so for years I just blended in. I didn’t style my hair or beard a certain way because of harsh comments. I didn’t wear certain clothes because i would stick out too much around those friends. Maybe around my last semester of college I decided to be who I am and just wear whatever I please and I did exactly that. Pretty soon I changed my hairstyle, beard and got an ear piercing. I got the “Bro thats gay” comments but I loved how I looked so It didn’t bother me. I guess through all the backlash my life long friends gave me I started developing thicker skin, so stupid comments do not pierce through me. Which is why I ended up getting my nose piercing done. I knew the harsh comments would come my way but I didn’t want to think back at my life and regret the things I didn’t do because I was scared of someone else’s opinions. The fact of the matter is that we get one shot at life but we ruin it because we spend our entire lives fitting into the mold others have put together of us.

Clothes, hair, and jewelry do not determine someone’s sexuality and even if it did, spitting out homophobic slurs is never okay. I used to know this guy back in my university who wore pink cheetah print shirts and bedazzled pants. I wasn’t open to being friends with him but through a group project I realized how nice of a human being he was. A few weeks later I saw him with his girlfriend, walking hand in hand. See the beauty about self expression is that somewhere along the line you will find someone as crazy, wild and absurd as you. Think about it. If that guy never expressed himself, would he have found that girl? Would he be so carefree, happy and enjoying the beauty of love? Maybe he would but it would definitely not be with that girl who saw that part in him.

All these years I was scared to express my own sense of style so I was attracting all the wrong types of friends and girls. So what started off as a sexy new relationship quickly went down in flames because I found them to be bland and boring. That was until I became comfortable in my own skin, hair and clothes, which is why I finally attracted the right girl who saw my exterior and wanted to understand the inside a little more. She encourages me to do all the wild crazy styles I ever wanted to and I promote her doing crazy hair colors and different styles of makeup. I mean who knows maybe I’ll highlight the tips of my hair platinum this summer, and if gay means I have a killer fashion sense and piercings then hey I’ll take it because my girlfriend loves every bit of it.

Concrete Roads

Broken Concrete Wall

“Jab dard mein yaar na ho”

Life has its mysterious ways of showing you the top of the mountain and then suddenly dropping you to the bottom. That drop from the mountain is usually painful, lonely and causes a major shift in your character.

For a few weeks now i’ve been noticing this sudden drop in my emotions. I don’t laugh and I don’t feel pain as much. For me to let any emotions “out” I have to watch something super sad or listen to some sappy Bollywood songs. This feeling within is like a concrete layering over every single emotion in the world. What I do know is that this is not healthy and as much as I want to blame life, some of the blame goes on me.

My biggest flaw is not reacting the right way when I have the time. For example, if a death happens in the family, I probably wouldn’t cry. Instead I would hold it in for 3-4 weeks and then drown in my own emotions. For some odd reason I feel like i have to be strong for everyone, but in the end I am the one suffering without a shoulder to lean on. The best way to explain this emotion of suffering is like putting a 50 pound bag of concrete on your chest. It’s constantly there but I have no where to drop this bag of concrete, so I end up feeling mentally and physically exhausted. I just want to get up and toss this damn bag of concrete somewhere, but the question remains, where? I need a break and just want to go somewhere where It’s quiet around me and in my mind.

I’m on a road that is making me go in circles through very noisy and cluttered places. Sadly, I have to travel on this road alone because nobody else will take out the time to understand my journey or ask me how I am doing. The reality is jab dard mein yaar na ho then why would anyone else help? Its my pain and whether I have to cry it out or laugh it out, I will. Being a man has nothing to do with how much you cry but rather understanding your own emotions. It’s about climbing back up to that mountain that you fell from, but this time around you will have a few battle scars that made you stronger in the process.