Being in the Present

One of the topics that often comes up in my therapy is that I dwell too much on circumstances that are beyond my control. Either I am constantly reminding myself of all my previous failures or thinking about all the lost opportunities and plunging in the pool of regret and shame. Or I am incessantly thinking of what will happen in the future, how will it happen, will it even happen or not..?

And I’m often advised to focus on the present. To ground myself.

It is easier to say I will try but when I actually set about tackling my thoughts, it is exhausting work. I’m learning to work on it slowly…

Stop the first thought
When the first thought arises, my therapist has asked me to shut on the door on it. Because when I invite the first thought in, it in turn invites two more thoughts in, those two thoughts invite some more thoughts and then as she says, “it’s a boat full of thoughts.”

Acknowledge the thought and put it aside
Sometimes when I’m in a distracted state of mind, it gets late to bolt the door. The thought butts in like an unwelcome and annoying relative and starts jabbering in one corner of my mind. To it, I then say, “Yeah, maybe you are right. Maybe I do feel that. But right now, as you can see, I am doing something else, so can we please talk later?”

Distract the thought
If the thought gets too loud and doesn’t subside, I change my physical surroundings. I get up from what I was doing and walk into another room, if I see someone, I hail them and start talking to them. If there’s no one around, there’s always Netflix!

Assess the thought
If the thought gets too stubborn, I decide to dissect it. And there are two sub steps while doing so:
1) Think rationally as opposed to emotionally: Handle your thoughts like you handle your finances. Weigh out the pros and cons. The positive and negative feeling that the thought is trying to stir. And instead of responding emotionally to the situation, respond rationally.
2) See the situation as is – not more, not less: Look at the facts of the situation available to you. Is your brain trying to read too much between the lines or imaging something that’s not on the table? Then, you should prune that thought out. Or say, your brain is trying to form a conclusion without all the facts, like mine does, then I say, “Wait, we do not yet know that completely. Maybe we should think about it, after we know for sure.” No getting too over-enthusiastic over a prospect or no dwelling too deeply on low news.

A Letter and a Kiss

With 2021, Netflix brought two of its popular teen romcom trilogies to an end – To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Kissing Booth.

Both the movies are in a way quite similar in their central theme – Protagonist has an unreciprocated crush on the unattainable and hot jock in high school. By the end of movie 1, the couple are together. Movie 2 introduces a “new guy” and toys with the practiced formula of a love triangle. In movie 3, both Lara Jean and Elle are trying to balance between saving their relationship and choosing a college.

And both movies are based on books!!

For Lara Jean it began with a letter and for Elle it began with a kiss.

Is one of the movies better than the other? Well, I kind of liked both!! Both the movies have some good moments.

Firstly, To All The Boys:

There is something cute and romantic about writing love letters to your crushes. And it was super scary (for LJ) but super fun for us when Kitty posted all her secret letters!!

The contract between Peter and Lara Jean and all that happened because of it made the first movie a great watch for me.

Movie 2 had some epic visual treats like,
The sky lanterns from Peter and Lara Jean’s first “real” date


John Ambrose and Lara Jean’s dance

I also liked the idea of the time capsule buried below a treehouse!

The scene between Gen and Lara Jean where they resolve their conflicts and Gen tells Lara Jean that Peter is crazy about her.

Watching Lara Jean fall in love with NYU

Peter’s letter to Lara Jean in their yearbook– complete with his memory of their meet-cute and it genuinely sounded like a sincere apology too.

The Kissing Booth:

Number 1: LISTS!!
For someone like me who loves lists, this was perfect.
I would have certainly liked to include these rules on my friendship rule list (if I had one):
Rule #6: If you can’t tell your best friend about something you’re doing, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.
Rule #7: No matter how mad you are at your best friend, you have to forgive them if they give you ice cream.

And the Beach Bucket List!!


I mean, stuff like paragliding and swimming with sharks!!
Hell, I’ll be happy even with the small stuff like a sandcastle and a blanket fort.

Number 2: The Summer Montages
I loved the memory montages at the beginning of Movies 2 and 3 that show what Elle did over the summer.

Number 3: Lee and Elle’s Friendship

Oh Thank God that this wasn’t another one of those movies where the best friends fall for each other. I specifically liked the scene in the third movie when Lee leaves for Berkeley and Elle is waving him goodbye and the camera pans out and shows us all the Elles from their childhood till now saying goodbye and all the Lees from their childhood till now driving away sadly.

Number 4: The Dances!!
Each time Elle and Lee dance on the DDM machine


Elle and Marco’s winning performance at the DDM competition


The Flash mob to Shut up and Dance with me

Number 5: Mrs Flynn’s words of advice to Elle in each movie.

Number 6: The bike rides at the end of each movie.

Faith

It’s just so hard to keep faith and believe that things will work out when my hope keeps decreasing day by day.

I want to be better and I’m trying to be better. But it feels like, the more I’m trying, the more I’m messing up and it’s becoming more and more likely that I will never get what I want from my life.

Every time I fail, I start over. Every Monday, every first day of a month, the day after each festival. It all however ends in the same way – me, struggling to keep going on and me convincing myself to dig up a little bit more hope.

Somedays, it’s so hard, I just feel like throwing in the towel and walking away from everyone.

How can I find faith on such days? How can I believe that the future is better? How can I be sure that all my efforts are not just going to waste…

How can I not be afraid?