The Invisible Wall has been edited by Rushi Bhimani.
Have we learnt to live alone?
I love reading Paulo Coelho’s books. The underlying honesty and rawness of emotions beneath all the wordcraft leaves me with so much to think about. One such quote from his book Eleven Minutes stayed with me. It went something like, “The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility.”
After pondering over and around this quote for months, I started thinking about our strong attempt to not be vulnerable. And that personal insight is going to determine the flow of this article today.
I grew up reading and watching all sorts of romantic dramas, therefore I came to believe that in a relationship—with a friend or lover or even with your siblings—you’re supposed to set yourself free. Break those walls and let your feelings flow without restrictions. Speak your heart and express your emotions without any sort of hesitance.
However, as I started experiencing the rush of emotions, I was asked to contain them; to have “control” over my feelings. It left me puzzled; it made me question everything I believed in. I was quite certain that fiction reflected reality, but all that I heard was in a stark contrast.
That is when I started building a wall around me. Yes, the invisible one which almost every single person has, at least once in their life. How’d I construct it? The same way all of us do, with those bricks that are thrown our way when we start to express a little more, when we try to expect more than we should. Scar by scar, brick by brick.
We are constantly accompanied by people, some really wonderful people. Yet, here we are, living all alone. In a room full of people we love, we feel lonely. The feeling of seclusion overpowers it all.
I know this sounds disheartening. Perhaps it should, if we need to fix things. Let us get real for a second here. It is too fucked up, the whole world of human relationships in some way or another. Somehow the word strength has become equivalent to the idea of suffocating yourself. As a matter of fact, it is not.
We are afraid…so afraid that someone is waiting to throw a brick at us the second we step out. Funnily, that fear makes us pick a brick ourselves and strengthen our wall. It’s no secret that gradually we choose to never leave. Our love blooms within the confinements of those obscure barriers and the instant it wishes to creep out, we pacify it. We bond through the breathing spaces of the wall. As a result, we fail to live fully; we fail to fall fully.
The redundancy of the aforementioned struck me when I couldn’t breathe anymore. What was the point, really? There was so much that I’d been keeping to myself that I made myself suffer unnecessarily. All my beliefs came rushing back.
The misguided meaning of “strength” and “being brave” stared right at me.
I realized, I cannot love someone truly without actually expressing my love for them; either by words or gestures. How could I know someone inside out if I don’t make myself available? Out of the blue, life took a turn. There were internal revelations. The need to offer a chance to open up and to do the same myself was strong.
This is not a preachy drivel, I say this earnestly; with utmost conviction. We have got to stop internalizing this absurd want to smother our emotional state. We are social animals, the interactions, the sessions where we share our worst nightmares and the happiest dreams are the moments that truly matter.
So here I am, a stranger pleading and handing you a hammer to break that wall. Pleading you to step out because I have faith in you. I know you can dodge the brick, as and if one came your way. In case you fail to, then remember there are band aids. Just do not die every second while you are alive. The futility of it all makes me shudder.
Step out and live a little better. Life is too grand to be bowed down by petty fears anyway.
I began with a question, now I leave you with one.
Should we learn to live alone? Do get back, I’ll be waiting.
To read more by the author of The Invisible Wall, click here.