Disclaimer: The following post is my August Braindump despite the fact that I dwell mostly on a singular subject unlike the other braindumps.
Briandumps are my happy time. Which is why I like to squeeze in at least one per month. August was a month of holidays and friends and travelling and booze. So I may have slacked a little. Why do I get the feeling that I've been using the word "slacked" a lot these days?
Moving on, the intent behind writing one of these pieces every once in a while is to give my brain the license and freedom to go on a rant and vent. So here goes.
I woke up this morning feeling happy. Truly, genuinely happy. I made my "healthy" smoothies for breakfast, and sat down in front of my computer while a groggy husband walked into the shower. I got a lot done in the time that he was in the shower. I responded to a shit ton of e-mails, planned out my day and even resolved a haggle for payment with a new set of people I'm working with. I felt great. And then, came the mistake.
Once upon a time you see, I was pretty jobless. I wasn't getting paid enough for the work I did, didn't have a lot of things on my plate and basically had time to kill. So what I did was, go on the internet and look at my stats. My blog stats that is. "How many people visited my website today? From which all countries did they visit? Oooh, which State in India? Which part of Kerala? How many page-views from this particular user? I wonder what mobile device he/she is using. Ah fuck, it's just a plain old desktop device.", filled my days. And before Google happened, and while my Facebook page was stuck at 257 likes, I had pretty much a steady number of people visiting my website every day. No peaks, not many new visitors, just a plain old steady number. And at the risk of sounding like a twisted stalker, I'm going to admit that I used to know who was reading what, when and from where. Like, "Oh, that's my friend from Delhi who uses a Nexus 6!" or "Oh, look! Shane's reading from his office. Or maybe that's someone else from his office. Hi, Anirudh!". The first one was just an example, guys. I truly don't want to creep out any user from Delhi who might be reading my blog using a Nexus 6. In fact, I don't even know if there's a user from Delhi with a Nexus 6. If there is, I'm truly sorry for sounding like a creep. As for the second example, hi Shane and Anirudh! We meet again.
With time, this little baby of mine grew thanks to a few lucky breaks and some good old fashioned hard work. It's reached a point where I can't do the creepy stalking anymore. I can't possibly take out the time every day to check if that old friend from Delhi with the Nexus 6 visited today. The numbers and lists give me a headache. So I stopped looking at my stats except to see the total number of daily visitors (new and returning) at the end of the day, just so I know if a post did well or not. But this morning, while answering my e-mails, I was asked to send a party some of my sample posts from this website. While I was trying to figure which ones to include in this set, The Husband suggested that I should maybe go back to my stats and check which of my posts were read the most number of times. By the way, thank you for loving the anniversary post so much :)
But that, my friends, was the mistake. Once I was done sending in my e-mail and once The Husband left for work, instead of getting dressed and getting to work myself, I slacked. There it is. I used the word "slacked" again. I sat there at the table and went through my stats the way I used to when I was jobless. I couldn't possibly go through everything so I filtered out some of my old readers, the ones I remembered. Like that nice kid I love from Delhi who was doing her training in Hyderabad and was supposed to move to Pune last month (hi Athira!) and like that female who hates my guts but visits my website everyday (I wonder what happened to her). Are they still visiting? Yep. Found them. That led to checking some of those people out on Facebook - as one does - to find out what's really up with them. "Oh, it's her birthday tomorrow, I must remember to wish her!" and "Huh, I almost forgot that she'd blocked me!" is what followed. And then, like everyone else, my stupid brain began to dwell more on the fact that some insignificant (insert "bad words") person blocked me than on the fact that tomorrow is the birthday of a kid that I care for. That led to more "I wonder who else blocked me." and "Oh, she didn't block me, she just unfriended me" and "Wait, he didn't block me? Wha- How?".
I don't think I need to spell out what a vicious cycle this is. I mean, I go for months without thinking about any of those people and one small mistake, one tiny lapse in judgement results in almost an hour of my time spent looking up things I should most definitely stay away from. And trust me, at this stage, I do not have that one hour to waste. I actually plan my day hour to hour, even my breaks. Which is why sitting here in my PJs right now is fucking pissing me off.
The thing is, I'm the kind of person who holds on to things. Grudges especially. I shocked myself one time when I wrote an entire short-story series based on a 10 year old grudge. Ten years! It took that for me to finally let go of some silly unresolved issues. And I'm certain that something that happened last year is not going to go away for another 9 years...or more. I still remember that guy from a campsite who asked us to shut up. Just yesterday I was bitching to The Husband and The Bromance about that guy from Greece who asked me to "speak up" when he couldn't hear what I was saying. We were sitting in an outdoors cafe, GUY (insert multiple exclamation points) and would you mind so much if I slapped that arrogance off your face?
*deep breath* For a person like me, it's important to remain distracted. It's important to be busy. Which is why I feel bad because after months of being good to myself, I looked up some stuff that I shouldn't have. Stuff I should have stayed away from for my own good. After months of being self-involved (in a good way, I think) I thought about others. And the worst thing is, the "others" I thought about were not the ones I should have thought about. Because I've been blessed with so many amazing people in my life. I could have thought about that cousin I adore who's going to have a baby soon. I could have thought about that nice neighbour from Trivandrum who's always asking my mom about me. I could have thought about the new friend I made in Greece. I could have thought about the friends I miss from India. But no, I had to go looking for stuff to put me in a bad mood. It's not even like this stuff popped up on my screen and I had no choice but to accidentally come across it. I went looking for it. And I have only myself to blame for that.
I may be wrong but I believe that all of us suffer from this kind of weakness. I don't know how many of you would even admit to this but at least once in a while, we all fall victim to that urge to look someone up on Facebook to see what's up. And in most cases, this someone might not be a particular favourite of ours. And more often than not, even thinking about them can trigger bad memories of unresolved conflict. And to think that I used to train people in conflict management, oh the irony! It has taken me a lot of courage to even admit to this weakness. But what I'm telling myself today, and the advice I hope to give you in as non-preachy a voice as I can use here is this - You did it today. And it's okay. Just try not to do it tomorrow. The thoughts will come and they will be compelling. But you are stronger than that. Just close your eyes and say, "No. I do not need that because I remember what it did to me last time.". And then, get your ass back to work.
On that note, have a productive day you guys!