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.

The Blossom Effect

 

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“I blossomed before you and you stopped growing as a whole”

Mistakes of all forms happen and heartaches happen at different magnitudes, but Imagine hearing that from the person you were supposed to marry. I always remember telling her she is my sidekick, my day 1 and wife. We weren’t married and just had the title of boyfriend and girlfriend, but I wanted to do everything with her. Not that I was unable to do it alone, but simply because her being with me, made everything better. There was not a snapchat she didn’t send my way that I didn’t take a screenshot of. There was not a dinner where I didn’t sneak a picture of her. There wasn’t much I didn’t take a picture of because I wanted to hold those memories. Unfortunately, through the process I lost touch with me and my world became her happiness. So naturally, I stopped growing from the inside out. Yes, I figured out my style of clothing and starting smiling more, but that was really about it. Whereas now when I look back at the pictures I can tell the exact moment in time where she lost touch with me. I can tell the exact moment in time where she blossomed and I was the same guy she met. Maybe it’s good thing or maybe it’s a bad thing, i have no idea how to feel about it. I have just come to accept the fact that she blossomed before me.

The unfortunate thing about toxic relationships is it leaves its scars on you permanently. You can move on, you can grow and be different but something about that toxicity, stays with you. The easy way is to blame her, but as a man I have to admit both of us together just didn’t work. I had to swallow my pride and accept the fact that I didn’t do enough to keep her around. I simply became boring and stagnant.

The first year was difficult in all forms because I had to adjust myself to doing things alone. I had to be okay with her doing her own thing or with friends, instead of me. I had to face the truth of me being the same guy as the first day she met. I had not grown in any way, so I really had two options? one , I could drown in my own pain and sorrow(which I was already doing). Two, I could start a new chapter in my life and never hear this ever again.

It’s been two-three years now and those words ring in my ear whenever I relax. Those words help wake me up at 5 am to start the day with pedal to the metal. I have taken out the word tired from my dictionary. I have stopped with relying on others to join me on adventures, if anything I love my alone time. I probably have grown the most this year than ever before because 90% of things I have done all alone.

I was sitting with my father one day and he told me a story about an eagle that wouldn’t fly. The eagle would just sit on a tree branch all day even though it had the ability to fly. The owner then decided to cut off the entire branch and the eagle immediately started to fly. Just as this eagle I was meant to soar but she was my branch and my comfort zone. I held on to her for dear life  because I was too scared to fly and now that I am soaring, I only want to go higher. I only want to try new things and be the best version of myself. If you are in this predicament, i’m telling you, cut off that branch. You can love someone without limits but the day you become stagnant and stay in your comfort zone is the day you will hear what I did. I promise you. The day you start doing things alone, is the day new doors will open for you.

Thank You Guys!

 

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This post is for all of my day one followers, readers and daily visitors on my first blog. I hated you guys when I started because I would receive such harsh words. I hated you guys because I would get 1 view a week, if that. At that moment I figured I have no future so I decided to quit and walk away, which I did. Then 6 months later I realized I’m not a good writer, so I had two options. One, quit and never look back at this idea of blogging or keep practicing until I become better than ever before. So for 6 months I went on hundreds and hundreds of blogs to see what they have. All I did was study my competition and practiced different types of writing. After that 6 month period I made a brand new blog called www.kirfanlive.com under wordpress. This website is my baby, my first love and as we say in urdu my jaan(life). I found my voice here and slowly I figured out my topic of interest in writing. I remember being scared to share my blog or tell my friends because that fear of rejection was still within me. That fear of failure smacking me in the face made me shy and my writing weak. Eventually other bloggers reached out to me and told me they loved my first story about a girl named “Anjali”. That was the push I needed and I started mass sharing my blog. I started waking up to texts of how good my writing is and how much they love this new piece.

April 12th, 2015 I got a notification from wordpress that I got 55 views, I was ecstatic! It was the highest amount of traffic I ever got onto my blog. I felt on top of the world and I was telling everyone how many views I got! I wanted to become even bigger and better  so I decided to make a new website, which would be a platform for artists of all forms to display their work under my label. With no other choice I had to change my first blogs name to www.kirfanspeaks.com and the websites name to www.kirfanlive.com . I eventually signed a writer, poet and two photographers to my brand name, who do not only put out amazing pieces but also promote my writing.

October 23rd, 2016 I got another notification from wordpress, stating that I am averaging 41 views an hour! A few days later I found out that my website is pulling in 600 views on a monthly basis which is split between my personal blog, guest blogs, and men’s fashion!

I am nowhere near the top and I have a long road ahead of me. Regardless, I love all of my kirfanlive followers. You guys have been nothing less than amazing! Seriously, I want to thank everyone on twitter who tweet out my links and keep supporting my journey! Some of you guys made my logos, spread the word and continuously motivated me. Others have messaged me to let me know something I said has helped them in some way. I promise I read all of the emails, texts and messages but sometimes I am unable to reply to everyone. I promise I read everything and everything you guys send my way holds a very special place in my heart and keeps me motivated! Today we are over 500 strong and I promise our family will only get bigger and better! On that note,my dream is becoming a reality because of all of you and I am working hard to bring you guys original content. What started out as writing transformed into a place where you can find art, photography and men’s fashion. Not to forget Kirfanlive poetry and Kirfanlive womens fashion are also dropping soon! Thank you for the love and support! If you havent already please visit www.kirfanlive.com then go to www.kirfanspeaks.com and click follow!

The Conversation

 

It was 11:51pm while we were sitting on my deck when my friend Ayesha asked me why she doesn’t know much about me.

All I could say was “I’m not a open book and I don’t share much with many people besides the positives. My internal struggles are always within me and my history is a thing of the past that I don’t bring up. It takes a lot of time for someone to know the real me, ummm I would say only two people really know who I am.”

She was a little surprised but then explained to me very nicely that solid friendships are made through talking and sharing stories. I just nodded in agreement so I wouldn’t have to say much.

I’m sure Ayesha noticed I was not going to tell her about me so she looked at me with excitement and said, “Here look, I will go first” and started talking. I had no choice but to listen because Ayesha loves to talk and by talk I mean she has no brakes. The good thing is that her excitement with every story keeps you interested. Through the excitement and her love to talk I was able to learn so much about her personality, past, relationship history and views on love.

Ayesha hit the brakes on her conversation, looked over at me and said “Now you!”. I knew I wouldn’t get out of this so I took a deep breath and starting glazing over a few minor details. Then she interrupted and said “No, that’s lame! Try again!” so I restarted my story and told her every fine detail. When it came time for the topic of my past I got quiet, looked down and then away from her. I remember whispering, “I fucking hate talking about my past”. She heard me and said, “hey its okay we all have a past just let it out of your system”. I took a deep and said, “I no longer believe in the idea of dating or wasting my time on a relationship because nothing really works. Whenever things go good somehow and somewhere along the line the relationship fails”. Before she could say anything I told her I think I have a problem and she pulled her chair closer and waited for me to talk. “No matter how good someone is to me now I always find the smallest of all flaws and pull away from the person”. I saw the pain in her eyes and a sense of understanding after I said this.

She pulled her chair even closer, took a deep breath and said “I think you’re afraid of getting hurt and letting yourself be broken so you wreck the relationship before it could wreck you”

My heart rate slowed down, my pupils got bigger and just looked at her with complete shock. I felt as if the ground under me fell through because it was the most intimidating thing I have ever heard about myself.

Ayesha didn’t talk this time and she didn’t push me to say anything. I just looked out in the distance and avoided eye contact.

With all the talking we lost track of time. Her iPhone buzzed 4-5 times because of texts and instagram notifications. She looked over at me and said “kay…its 4:27am” so in a panic she grabbed her keys and I walked her to her car.

Once I made it back into my room I thought about my conversation with Ayesha and it made me think all night long. The reality is that Ayesha was right about me and that’s what scared me. Another reality I faced was I couldn’t be a coward and run away from a human necessity such as love because of a few broken pasts. Lastly, our pasts may be rough, broken and intimidating but that’s part of our journey to know what we want and do not want.

The clock read 6:57am and I finally fell asleep with so many thoughts still racing in my mind

Before you decide to shut out people as I did and pull yourself away from everything besides work, gym and a few friends. Give someone a chance; even as a friend because you never know what a friendship can blossom into.

The Two Sons

His big brown eyes looked up at the two wanting to be included. He often looked from afar hoping he could be part of the conversations. His older brother would share a big breakfast along with discussions about life, work and family with his dad. The younger brother sat looking at the tea and then every so often looking up at the two. The younger brother didn’t have much to say to his father he didn’t know whether it was because of age or different interests. As the years went on the younger brother pulled himself away from the family thinking he didn’t belong. He made him self busy with college, friends and making a name for himself. His only goal was to hear his parents say they are proud of him.

The problem with him being the youngest is he only saw his older siblings including the older brother gain success. He always felt he was too far behind in life or maybe didn’t have much in common with anyone. While everyone had a path in life the youngest wanted to be a writer, photographer or do something creative. The younger brother would often sit with his family and not feel connected because nobody understood him. He was an observer, a runner up and stuck in the shadows of his family name. What he didn’t know was his differences within the family made him have a rare mentality that pulled people towards him.

Sometimes we get so busy in life that we don’t realize how much has changed. The younger brother was now 23 years old, done with college, working and having conversations with his father. He also got to hear from his parents that they are proud of him. He soon became the life of the house and kept everyone happy because he had a different approach to life. Its funny how things change because now the older brothers brown eyes looked at the younger brother and said “I envy you” after the younger brother shared the conversation he had the previous night with his father. The older brother said “my entire life I could only connect with dad over work. I never had a chance to connect with dad over personal things”. Its as if the roles had switched between the brothers. Maybe I only observed the things that met my eyes on the breakfast table. Maybe just maybe my different ideologies, interests and this love for love helped me get what I want with my family. The difference with me is that I want to bring the two sons back together on that breakfast table. One can talk about work and the other son can talk about the new filter on instagram. It’s not the breakfast I want to share but rather the time spent on the table.