Following your heart – Strength or stupidity? – #335

Dear World,

At one point, I used to get dreams about my friends and their lives. I used to dream about all sorts of weird occurrences happening to them. I used to feature in those dreams sometimes, but mostly not.

Once, a friend of mine, Nikita Deshpande, asked me ‘why don’t you ever star in your own dreams?’

And it feels so much like I should tell you that this question was a turning point in my life, that it changed everything forever and that I was never the same person again. But eh! (No, I don’t generally say ‘eh’. Yes, it felt like an ‘eh’ moment!) You’re sleeping when dreams happen to you, how much can you really do about what happens in them?

Apparently a lot!

For an era, I’ve played supporting role, junior artiste, cameo, character, comedian, voice over narration, voice dub artist, nobody and even villain in my own life – everything but main lead. And that affects every memory, dream, aspiration, characteristics, almost everything. How did I expect to see a different story in my dreams?

These days, I’m going through a predicament, which is not very novel or unique, but it’s a painful one nevertheless. I’m playing funambulist between supporting role and main lead in someone’s life. I can actually picture my heart and brain sitting with popcorn, watching with open jaws and betting on which end of the rope do I reach. At such times, I want to beat my heart up and bring it in line, the way parents sometimes have to do with their kids.

I don’t know if my heart has always been like this; but lately, it has been happily leading me over and over again on to the wall where Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, never to be put together again. My question here being – is following your heart, at such times, a sign of strength or stupidity?

‘Strength’, I would have answered without a doubt earlier. But now, frankly I’ve had my doubts for a while.

You’re never going to have control of what happens or a guarantee of things working out while you put yourself on the line for someone or something; so why do it? Some people might say you do it so that you have no regrets in life, but is there really a guarantee that you won’t?

If you don’t give something a chance, you might regret it years later. But if you do, if it leaves you crushed for years to come and the chances of you resurfacing are anywhere between a long time and never, would you regret having given it a chance to begin with? I mean, at any point in the story, you could go from being main lead to any other role, or realize you were never the main lead or never even had a role in the story in the first place. What’s the point of being in such a story?

There was a time, when a version of me would have said that the point is the story itself. The point is you feeling alive because you just lived a story, irrespective of whether it led to a happy ending or a new chapter. I would have said that even if you got hurt, that hurt is more beautiful and alive than the dormancy that overcomes you when you’re being ‘realistic’ and protecting yourself from sadness and happiness equally. Now, I don’t know whether to pity that version of me or envy it. It all leads me to the same question – is following your heart, with such a record, a sign of strength or stupidity?

It’s taken a while to write this post. In that time, the self within me that has a slight dramatic flair conjured a million visions in my mind to help find the answer. It even came up to me mustering all its courage and submitted this proposal ‘Go through with it till the very end. If you do end up becoming the supporting role in this story, become the kind that goes on to travel the world, swims in a forest river at midnight, watches the last stars fade away in the morning on top of a moving van with a flask of wine, hijacks concert stages and serves refugees. The really kick-ass kind that makes people more interested to know what happened to her than to the ones who lived happily ever after.

While that sounds great, my sinking heart knew that people have mixed feelings towards the supporting role. But all of them, including the supporting role her/himself, root for the hero and heroine to come together.

Okay, so a lot of beating around the bush has happened. I’m going to shear my way through all the back and forth speculation and get down to the fastest way to figure this out.

I might want to follow my heart and see this through, even if I get hurt in the bargain and feel like a fool for putting myself through it, just because I have it in me to romanticize the pain and say it was all worth it. To me, that might look like strength.

If a day comes when my daughter is in the same situation and her heart asks her to see it through, would I see it as strength or stupidity?

Probably stupidity, I would answer being a worried mother reluctant to see my child go through pain, which I might think is unnecessary.

But my mom is strong enough to let me go through it. And that’s when I got it.

When you follow your heart wherever it leads you and it meets with accidents, it’s not stupidity. It’s an accident. Facing it, dealing with it, healing and having the courage to trust its judgement again? That’s strength. Watching your loved one in a similar situation and allowing the possibility of them not meeting the same fate as you did when you got hurt? That’s strength. Watching a loved one meet the same fate or make the same mistakes, despite warning them, and being there for them anyway? That’s strength. Loving someone whether or not you have them for life? That’s strength. Because not even your child is guaranteed to be with you all your life, but you won’t stop loving them; so then why stop loving anyone else for fear that they might go away?

And all of this? This is heart talking. Pure, naive yet wise, the most complex and the most simple heart that will see to it that even if you’re hurt, you’re not dead because of it. That’s why you listen to your heart and follow it. To not be dead. Because to be dead while you’re alive is easy and it’s the only stupidity I know of. But to follow your heart means to play the main lead in your own life, no matter what role you play in someone else’s. And that’s the one I’m rooting for.

On that note,

Love,

Me.

PS – Turns out I am still the version of me that I don’t know whether I should pity or envy. Who knew that could be so much fun?

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