The Ball


Every one has those mid-semester crises in their first semester in college, right?

No, they don’t?

*shrugs* Well, I did. As a person whose social life is a wreck eight days a week, I was bound to.
So midway through the semester when I had lost all the new friends that I made in college -an act that I pull off with such ease, it’s insane-, and when my old friends stopped giving a damn, it was quite a difficult time. On one side I was trying to come to terms with the past failures, and on the other I had to prepare for the future (read: weekly assignments that I couldn’t afford to falter over), leaving me no time to live the present day. So I couldn’t resume learning Spanish, coding in Python, or read all the novels I had made a list of or explore poetry and psychology more. I couldn’t even delve deeper into electrical circuits because it wasn’t directly aligned with my curriculum.

“Gather ye rosebuds, while ye may.” O captain, my captain, with the greatest grief I must break to you that it is easier said that done.

I was dealing with a personality meltdown, lost skills, impaired creativity, and to top it all up, I had NO one to talk to about this.
Or maybe no one could deal with melancholy as profuse as though straight out of an Anton Chekov work.

Except a tennis ball.

Alone in my room, I would throw it at the wall, and catch it. Throw, rebound, catch, repeat. It started with nonchalance, but every passing day I realised it was the only stress release I have. I started doing 100 catches a day.

Then, a 100 catch with each hand. Then before I knew it, 500. I did that one thing so many times, I could catch the ball in the dark, with one hand easily. I knew where it was coming from by its very sound. And every time I threw the ball, my mind got flushed clean of all thoughts whatsoever. I liked that.

I was an escapist back then, after all.

I would throw the ball really hard at the wall. You can’t hit what you can’t see, right? I would imagine the wall to be all my problems in life and I would throw it hard and repeat without keeping count and just go on till both my arms stung with pain and gave up. But some mystical form of rage – all self directed – kept my arms going. The ball was resilient, and the wall understood me well enough to not give in any time soon.

It’s usually my heart that gave up first, urging me to make peace with all my alter egos. Specially the one that I branded a failure, for life. Look, the problem was always me, myself.

One day I decided, that I’ll do just that. Make peace with myself. Around that time I met an amazing girl in my class who once mentioned while we were having coffee after class and when I had to leave early, that she’d be just fine being on her own because she can manage being alone.

It hit me and I asked myself as to why I am so scared of being alone. Maybe being alone is never a problem; being lonely is.

The idea is to accept everything you’ve done, everything that you are. All your successes, failures, insecurities, regrets, your pride, your reason for existence, your desires, your motivation, your aspirations however crazy they may be.

Because, it’s ludicrously simple. If you don’t enjoy your company, why would anyone else? And I was surprised how easy it can be to get started, to enjoy life on your own.

It’s been two months since I’ve started owning my life. Right now academics are in absolute control, which I owe to a sense of perfectionism I strive to inculcate within myself. Social life’s started looking better. And I am reading up stuff I always wanted to.

Now when I throw the ball at the wall, I do drop a few catches :)

I still enjoy the exercise, nonetheless.


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