Written by Reshmi S
Life tends to get super messy many times. You and I go through and have been through various odds. When I was a kid, I never knew how to deal with the aftermath of getting an ear-full. I wished to disappear than endure the long painful reprimanding sessions. My younger self loved to find hideaways to deal with even the tiniest inconvenience caused. I bet all of you would have had interesting places to run away as kids.
I remember watching some television show in which a character hid in a large cupboard at her home while playing hide and seek. My pea-sized brain fell in love with that idea and chose the cupboard in my home as one of the safest places to be alone and deal with issues until I accidentally locked myself up in there. After some hours of family drama that involved setting me free along with another session of “what the hell have you been up to?” my hideaway changed.
I started crouching under my parents’ bed to find solace. Now I wouldn’t get locked and find myself caught up in even more misery than the one that already prevailed. It seemed safe but the place started shrinking as the days passed. Or maybe I was the one who was getting bigger every day until I outgrew the place completely.
After a lot more discoveries of new hideaways like the backyard of my old house, the place near the water tank up the terrace, the bathroom (it serves as a hideaway to almost everyone irrespective of age or gender) it only became more obvious that physically isolating myself in a place didn’t always help me. If anything, whatever bothered me, bothered me more. Places that were supposed to be armour against negativity failed miserably in doing so.
Songs and Keys
At somewhere around the age of 4, my parents enrolled me for vocal and piano classes. Music seemed to have a huge effect on my mood. When I got my first keyboard, I got addicted to it. As I grew, the time I spent with music grew along with me. Surprisingly, I started forgetting everything around me whenever I sang or played the keys. It felt therapeutic in ways that couldn’t be described. And tada! I discovered that music could protect me from things that my hideaway couldn’t.
Mehndi – The Body Art
Vacations were beautiful feelings of relief. Except, I had to travel across districts to meet all of my relatives. Being always blessed with privacy and freedom as the only child to my parents, visiting relatives made me feel like a fish out of the pond. My relatives are really good people – no arguing that. But, I missed my comfort zone and the safety of my home.
Music helped overcome the anxious feeling but made me self-conscious more than ever. At that point in life, one of my cousins introduced me to the art of “mehndi” (henna art). Using henna to decorate my hands felt super cool. I was no pro but could do a decent job at it. While doing body art, my mind was at peace. No feelings of self-consciousness or anxiety of being out in a new place could hinder me while I was at it.
Paradise in Books
Now came another trouble. Mehndi stain took atleast four days to fade before I could start off with another new design. What could I possibly do on those days? Running away felt better. But the place where I normally vacationed was extremely unfamiliar and I had no money on me to risk sprinting from the place. This time my saviour was reading.
I had my mobile and an active internet connection. Getting lost in e-books seemed far more interesting than the idea of getting lost in the unknown streets. Books became my best friends and there was no turning back from there. Books had answers to almost everything in the world. All I had to choose was the right book.
The Art of Writing
Books inspired me to write. Writing seemed to keep me busier than any other activity. From paragraph writing to essay writing to journal writing to story writing or any other creative writing, I felt my heart race (in a good way) as thoughts and ideas flowed into words. The happiness of creating something of my own was exceptional.
I created my own world and through writing, I found it easier to express myself. Except, writer’s block existed. It became really frustrating when I couldn’t come up with concrete thoughts that could transform into ideas and later words. It felt like my brain was lost in some alternate universe and refused to find way back into my head.
Friends? No. Family!
During such helpless times when nothing could save me, I had my friends. Texting, speaking and video calling them helped me get my head straight. Everybody needs a confidante in their lives. They don’t necessarily offer solutions but they listened when others didn’t. Clearing my head became easier now. Friends are comfort zones, aren’t they? For some, parents become friends. For others, their siblings and cousins become friends. It can be literally any human being on Earth who can listen without judging. (sometimes even pets)
With that said, I realised that I had been running from one place to another – the cupboard, the terrace, the bathroom and whatnot – in search for a hideaway when in reality, hideaway was not mere physical space. I understood that my body didn’t need a hideaway but it was my mind and soul that needed a space to be accepted as they were and sometimes an escape from reality.
Music, art, books, the writing was my real hideaways. My friends were my hideaway. I could remain safe in that space as long as I wanted. Some can even find exercising, jogging, cooking, cleaning or organising as their place of solace – their hideaways. I came across a quote that said, “Some do drugs, others go for a run but at the end, we’re all searching for that tiny space, perhaps a hole, that gives us shelter from the terrible reality of the world” and I couldn’t agree more.
So, what’s your hideaway?
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Reshmi has been a contributor at The Strong Traveller. She is an avid reader and a student of literature. Reshmi being a writer by day and a reader by night, she loves exploring new horizons of thoughts and loves to go by the quote “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change!“