Alarm rang at 12:00 AM I woke up and saw myself in the mirror curiously. For my disappointment, I don’t see any difference at all. I look the same as ever. Why does everyone make a big deal when they turn 18 then? I don’t get the hype. Tears started flowing like there was some leakage in my eyes. I cursed myself and tried to stop them but only vain.

Birthdays are supposed to be fun right? Then why do I feel terrible? I don’t know what it is…. but I do know something sucks! I took out my diary and started writing with a heavy heart. And I have to let this unknown misery off my chest. As I started to remember my shitty life, the letters in my diary felt as if I was giving my nightmares shape and I went on and on…..

To my past self,

It’s your 18th birthday today. Because of you, I feel like everything sucks so I want to confront you now.

What sucks is to be not aware of your own trauma. When you come to realize what is actually happening to you it becomes too late whether it’s you being a kid and wondering “idk why I cry when that uncle comes near me” or your 15 year old wondering “maybe I am just in a sad phase it will go away.”

What sucks is trying to see the bright side in every situation whether it is “I don’t have lunch to eat but at least I get to drink cold water in school” or “what if I don’t have normal life like my age people, at least I can watch whatever movie or read whatever book I want and think myself as the protagonist and can live different cool lives.”

What sucks is being in denial whether it’s “I don’t think I am angry at anyone. I think I am hurt. I should get a grip on my emotions and stop being cry baby” or “I don’t think I am depressed I should get a grip on my emotions and stop being cry baby”

What sucks is being too self-aware. What sucks is taking yourself for granted, what sucks is putting others first in the fear of loneliness while still being lonely.

And what also sucks is in all of this different shit is the common outcome; your suffering.

You thought you are mature, kind and good but you are an immature monster who wasn’t kind to yourself, you didn’t stand up for yourself whenever you needed.

You couldn’t understand the difference between:

Kindness and coward-ness

Denial and positive attitude

Bearing and ignorance

You failed to see the thin line between them.

What sucks is you blaming shit on life and beautifully lying “life sucks” in the desperate need of self-pity and covering the truth in fact you, who suck at life. What sucks is you for being physically and mentally abusive to yourself.

When did you genuinely have yourself a kind smile? When did you tell yourself after sucking at something so many times “it’s OK there is always next time” when you needed to hear it so bad? And when didn’t you hit yourself or scar yourself every time you got anxious to make it stop in fact low-key you knew all you needed is one hug and a bit of kindness? How could you hate yourself this much?

Now look at you, at your breaking point. Weak af physically, mentally, emotionally.

No clue what to do with this body. self-punish every day and night with all kinds of health issues. Well deserved.

But I can’t deny the fact that you are me. So as a birthday gift, I am forgiving myself. I will try to be kind to myself, I will try to learn saying no, I will try to stand up for myself, I will try not to hesitate asking for help, I will try not to push people away, I will try to go easy on myself, I will smile at myself, I will try to adore myself, I won’t be abusive to myself and most importantly from this moment I will try to be proud of myself whenever I take a baby step.

   With love and smile~ your 18 years old self.

With that I made peace and closed my diary. Now I looked at myself in the mirror again. Fuck I still look as shitty as ever but I don’t feel shitty anymore. Guess that’s the difference I was looking for. I better dress up tomorrow and treat myself to a meal. It’s my 18th birthday after all. With a light heart and stupid smile I fell asleep.

“Existential dread is a state in which in individual questions existence, meaning, purpose and almost everything about life in a cynical way.” This is a random post I read scrolling through Facebook.

I was confused on why would this happen. Why would people get crisis on existing? Soon the confusion turned into curiosity and I want to know about this. I googled it but the results are a bit confusing.

So I messaged my friend, of course, you guessed it, John. So here is how the conversation goes.

Me: Hey John! My man! How are you?

John: Hey, I’m good, how about you?

Me: I’m good, so I saw this term called “existential dread”. What does it mean?

If you remember, John has a habit of texting back late when asked something important. After a couple of hours, I got a text back from him.

John: Why do you want to know that? 

Me: I just read it on Facebook and want to know more about the same.

John: Okay, before we dig deep, you need to know a term called “existentialism” and “existential crisis.”

Existentialism:

In simple words, it is is a philosophy that stresses the importance of human experience, and says that everyone is responsible for the results of their actions.

Existential Crisis:

In simple words, an existential crisis leads to a time of deep questioning within oneself. This normally associates with how someone sees themselves and their meaning within the world.

John: Existential dread and existential crises are technically the same. If we push, we can say that the dread is the next stage of the crisis.

Me: I get that, but why does anyone question their existence and feel bad about it? 

John: If we talk scientifically, it may trigger when there is a trauma, death of loved ones, major loss, substance abuse etc., But on a philosophical level it is on a different note.

Me: Okay, can you elaborate on that?

John: Sure, from the philosophical standpoint, the burden of existence is the cause of the crisis.

Me: What? It doesn’t make sense. I mean how is existence a burden? We all exist and that is a fact. I don’t get it.

John: It is very simple, the existence of an individual is not a choice. All life and existence are random. So you really don’t have a choice of existing.

Me: I get that, but life is what it is. Adding to what you said, you cannot really choose to exist or not. So why feel sad about it?

John: That is exactly the issue. Life is what it is which is an unavoidable thing.,. Some people choose not to exist yet they do. As there is a famous saying “Life is not a bed of roses.”

Me: Okay, I get the premise of the existential dread. How bad can it be? You might feel bad for some time and move on right?

John: It is one of the worst things to hit you. It is almost a mental suicide. If a person is hit by it, they lose interest in almost anything and just become a deactivated robot.

Me: I don’t believe it. How extreme will it be?

John: Any individual suffering from the dread will be in a very bizarre position. As I said, they have zero interest in doing almost everything, the consequences are overthinking, less expressive, not able to focus etc.,

According to some studies, these can lead to some mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety etc., It not only affects you mentally but also physically as you are not able to focus.

Me: Oh man! That is very bad than it sounds. What would a day look like for the person who is hit by existential dread?

John: I can talk from a personal point of view. For instance, If I have a knife in my hand, I want to just want to cut my hand and see how the blood would ooze out. Even by thinking about this, I wouldn’t flinch.

If I’m on the roof of a building, I would imagine if I would jump, how would my head burst when it’s hit the ground, how would the blood splatter all over and things like this.

These are not suicidal tendencies but complications of overthinking on the burden of existence. I would just sit in a dark room staring and thinking or would be in the shower for hours doing nothing. 

It is like a man who is emotionally dead, with an expressionless face just walking around. Everything around me eventually stops making sense doesn’t make any sense no matter what. It feels very weird.

Me: Man this sound awful! Is there no other way to divert from this existential dread?

John: There is one amazing quote I read somewhere it says “The universe is a cruel, uncaring void. The key to being happy isn’t a search for meaning. It’s to just keep yourself busy with unimportant nonsense, and eventually, you’ll be dead.”

If we just keep ourselves busy with any unimportant shit, we can eventually come out or avoid the existential dread.

In a world full of fake people using others, I prefer people who are truthful and show honest love. It was a tiresome Friday and I finished my work. 

The weekend is kicking in, not that I have some excitement, but I need not work these two days. You guessed it exactly right! I have very few people that I talk to.

 Every day I work, it feels like Sisyphus rolling the stone to the top of the mountain. It just feels like I’m turning into a programmable robot without me liking it.

As Albert Camus in his book “The Myth of Sisyphus” said, “One must imagine Sisphus happy”. I stopped even imagining to imagine to be happy. It may sound weird but It is what it is.

If you feel like you are in a room, where walls are slowly closing in to crush you, you don’t have a lot of choices, do you? I’m glad that I don’t have any work to do for the next two days. 

I sat on my couch and started browsing through my phone. and opened a dating app and started swiping and messaging people. I know my efficacy that none will reply. 

But it is just an arrow in the darkroom. I got no replies for an hour and I got bored and was about to quit it, then something unique happened. Someone messaged me!

 I couldn’t believe that someone replied to me and took my time and opened the message with utmost curiosity. The name is “Sruthi” and the message was a reply to my earlier text. 

So the conversation goes like this. 

Me: Hie!

Sruthi: Hi

Me: How is your life and how is everything? 

Sruthi: Like everybody else’s. Subject to entropy, decay and eventual death.

That is the most honest answer I have ever heard! I got very intrigued and continued the conversation. We talked our hearts out and is one of the awesome talks I’ve ever had. 

It felt very special like I was dreaming in heaven. Since childhood, I had a fantasy of finding honest love. Liking a person by their personality without any other factors.

I thought this might be a step towards that and went to sleep with a smile on this grumpy face. and was searching for honest love pretty much in all my relations. I got very few in life and I’m excited for this one.

The next day I woke up and the first thing I did is text her. I wanted to talk to her and I’m very excited. We talked for an hour and that is one of the best mornings I ever had.

The weekend came to an end and we talked about a lot of stuff. It is one of the best weekends I ever had. We decided to talk next week as we need to do slavery to capitalism for the next 5 days.

I’m back to the fake reality and boy this sucks. I went to the office the next day. I’m told that there is a debate in the office. We have debates in the office as a fun activity.

It is one of the activity and I like and I decided to join. We started it and was going very good. There is a girl making points in the debate. She is on fire and is eviscerating the opponents. 

I liked it and it was a good hour in the office. I’ve finished my day’s work and headed home. As each minute approaches the weekend, I’m getting a tingly feeling throughout the body.

Maybe this is called “excitement” a feeling I never had for a long time. Finally, the weekend has arrived and inner is me is dancing with excitement. 

I messaged her and started chatting. Back to the best times again, and I’m feeling relieved each and every moment I chat with her. I don’t know much about her, but I adore her personality.

She gave me her other Instagram handle and we started chatting on that. We decided to play truth or dare for some time and here is how it went after some questions.

Me: What if someone proposes to you now?

Sruthi: I don’t know, right now I’m numb and I honestly couldn’t tell anything.

Me: You know why I’m asking this?

Sruthi: I’m getting the hints, but not sure. Do you like me?

Me: Of course I like you, everyone likes you.

Sruthi: Haha, that is good.

****** After sometime ******

Me: Okay, I don’t want to beat around the bush. I wanted to express the feeling of my honest love to you. Now I know what you feel. I might feel sad, but I will definitely move on.

Sruthi: Okay, I get it. Thanks for being honest. 

That is the best reply anyone can give honestly. Now I think about it, it is a good response. Honestly, I don’t even know how to react if some random person would propose to me online.

A couple of months passed by and we are chatting regularly. The more I know about her the more awesome is the personality she had. The best part about her is the honesty. 

On a Friday morning, I went to the office and it is the debate day again. Last time one girl was spitting fire and was making awesome points. I’m looking forward to this one.

The debate started and the girl nailed it again. The way she made her points is impeccable. She encountered all the points and presented them very well. 

After the debate, I went to her and talked to her. Here is how the conversation went.

Me: Hey, you nailed that debate. The points you made were awesome!

She: Thanks man, I liked your points too.

Me: Thanks, what is your name by the way?

She: My name is Rashmika, what is yours?

Me: My name is Munna.

Rashmika: Nice to meet you Munna. I will see you later.

Me: Ya sure bye! Have a good one.

I rushed home after the office as it’s the weekend. I went home freshened up and messaged her. An hour passed and I didn’t get a reply. She might be busy.

After an hour, there is a chime on my phone. It is her message, I’m excited and opened the message. It went like.

Sruthi: Hi!

Me: Hey WhatsUp!

Sruthi: Nothing much, hey I got a question to ask.

Me: Shoot it!

Sruthi: What if I delete this account and never reveal myself?

Me: I will definitely feel sad. But I will appeal to you, not to delete it. 

Sruthi: Hmm, okay can I call you?

Me: Sure, now?

Sruthi: If you are busy I will call later.

Me: No, no. call me. I’m free.

***** Instagram call rings *****

Sruthi: Hi!

Me: Hey!

Sruthi: So, I need to tell you something. We are chatting for a couple of months. But I kinda know you.

Me: I didn’t get you, can you elaborate?

Sruthi: Umm yeah, I’m actually Rashmika from the office.

I was first surprised a bit, but I liked it to be accurate. 

Me: Rashmika? The debate girl?

Sruthi: Yes! I’m sorry if you felt bad.

Me: No no, it is fine. I think it is brilliant and loved it.

Then I had the best phone conversation of my life. We talked about a lot of things and I felt absolutely delighted. This is the best way to know someone’s real character.

I may be acting like I’m a nice guy looking, saying honest love and all that. But without talking to me and knowing my actual character, how can she trust me?

She may or may not accept my honest love motion, but I can say with absolute certainty that I got an awesome friend for this lifetime. It is wonderful! 

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