Still seems strange to say that. We are in the future, yet in some ways it just feels like another mundane monday. On this 19th day of the new year, I am sure some have already given up or others are going forward. I made some resolutions, and while I am holding strong on some, there are others that I have not started on yet. I promised myself a year of giving more, improving my handwriting, being more present in the important relationships in my life, and a few others. Some resolutions remained the same: Keep working out (now on to 6th week of crossfit), keep writing (editing my novel), keep my loved ones close (succeeded at some and failing at others). The theme in all of these resolutions is to be a better me. Will I fail?absolutely. Have I failed? You betcha. But will I give up? Hell fucking no. Each is a lesson that there is a better Sanjay out there. There are times I fail to see it, and other times others remind me. I am surrounded by people who will not let me wallow in grief or be less than the person they know I can be. It can be empowering, but also intimidating. It can sometimes feel overwhelming, to the point I wonder sometimes what others see in me. Yet with each fall, I get back up (cue Rocky Music).
I write this in my writing room, made possible by the beliefs of others. My wife, for actually providing all the tools to make it a writing room, my family for allowing me to get to know words, and my friends for reading them. It’s a humbling feeling to have so many who help me move forward even when I stumble constantly. I do wish I fell less, and it’s why these resolutions have become more and more important. I am no longer content just going going through life, dreaming. I want to make it a real life.
So this year, less talk, more doing. Less material goods, more giving. Less promises, and more achieving. Wish me luck. I am gonna need it. 😉
1) Remember grabbing KFC in Iran as a weekly ritual and going to the park (5ys)
2) first day in boarding school in India, I had peed the bed and was ashamed (8yrs old)
3) arriving in london to stay with relatives with my oldest sister (10 years old)
4) driving from the airport towards my parents after not seeing them (12 years old)
5) Being humiliated in my 7th grade english class because the teacher felt my English speaking skills werent up to par, and her being unsure if I would pass the class.
6) Getting on the volleyball team and realizing I was a bench player, getting subbed in and my only shot was tipping the ball in and scoring for the team (14 years old)
7) remembering that I followed Sumita (my middle sister) into almost everything she signed up for writing class, student congress, human relations camp, india boarding school
8) Returning to india after receiving green card, and seeing my grandfather for the last time before he passed away (18 years)
9) my first published story “Rain Fire” edited by a dear family friend who recently passed
10) Winning the National Conference of Teachers of English award (included a recommendation from the English teacher who didn’t think I would pass.
I remember being empty. Time ticking away, coffee getting cold and me just empty. It’s as if I had no memories, no past. And then I remembered the no. Mrs. Maruna didn’t think I would ever pass 8th grade English class. I looked up into her unsmiling face, looking for understanding. Nothing. The redness of my shame circled around my cheeks but hidden by the browness of my skin, it just squeezed my heart and soul.
I was single, young, and horny. We chatted online for a few minutes, and after a few sexual innuendos, decided to take our activities offline and meet up. I am ashamed now at my sluttiness, and willingness to meet a complete stranger just to satisfy myself but really not that ashamed to be zooming down on the freeway to meet her at 3am. She had left the door open as we had discussed. In hindsight, it made sense why she did. I shoved the door open, immediately banged my leg on the bed, and to hide the pain told her I needed to take a shower. Perhaps my only concern for safety was to be hygienic. She was already in bed when I walked out. I climbed right in, but couldn’t quite get comfortable. I kept moving around until she asked if her leg was bothering me? Huh? “I said, is my leg bothering you?” removing the blanket to reveal a steel leg. Holy shit, I was about to fuck the terminator. My penis tried to hide inside of me. The meanness in me proved my immaturity and explained why I never again tried to hook up online.
That was the inspiration for my post about my online adventure gone wrong, and while I wasnt as bad as Tucker is in his many “misadventures” with women in college, I think I came quite close to being Tucker with my comment that I was about to fuck the terminator. The sad part is that I had done a much longer graphic post mocking the girl and myself, and really made it my “Zinger” story. I usually told it to a group of new people, and usually it would draw huge laughter, but then I realized it didn’t make me look very good to my girlfriend to be. In fact, she was disgusted not at the fact that the girl had 1 leg, but the fact that others laughed so hard. That was probably the first time I realized what an asshole I came off to be. Sure, once people got to know me, they knew different. However, my choice to share this story as a starting off point really just made me another Max Tucker. And that’s not something I wished my legacy to be standing on. Especially on one leg. Yea, I havent matured much.
What is it about a night spent with great friends, awesome food, and a 80s style arcade game that can make one feel that life just isnt that bad? And it isnt. It really isnt. Thats the thought I carried when I drove over to the gym, and then for the next 35 minutes, life just suddenly felt doable, no actually just great!
I dontk know why it took so long for me to get into a rhythm where I just ask myself, what the hell was I so reluctant for? Why did I wait so long to just be happy with myself? Why did I resist going to the gym or even really just reaching out? And for a second there, I was blank (hard to imagine, I know), but then I realized, I was afraid. Afraid of letting down Preeti because we couldnt go the gym, afraid of admitting to friends that today just wasnt that great of a day. To even admit to myself, that I should a lot happier, I have all the toys and the money in the world.
And yet somehow, it just didnt seem like much or perhaps enough.
It hit me then that I wasnt allowing myself to feel rewarded because somewhere in the back of my mind, there was feeling I should still be paying for my past sins, my ego or a mixture of both.
I stopped promising and rewarding myself a long time ago. Instead, I just wandered through a haze of alcohol, gambling, and fighting, never asking myseldf: why the hell was I doing to myself.
But friendship and love didnt give up on me. Together, they decided that this Sanjay isnt the one that they know.
They are right. Thank you friends. And ofcourse and always, Preeti.