Image source: Gemma Chua-Tran on Unsplash

A few days ago, on a particularly rough night, I decided to make a gratitude list. These lists are usually easy for me to make as I’m someone built to keep my sense of awe and wonder close. But this time, after penning a half dozen glaringly obvious points, I ran out of things to write.

It’s been a hard year, to say the least. But most years are hard in their own way. What has made 2020 this specific type of difficult — a type that you cannot gargle out like an infection, untangle with sufficient focus and persistence…

Picture credits: Kishore Amruth

Dearest one,

If you are a writer, an artist, or a creator stepping into the word with your bare heart for the first time, here are a few reminders to hold close.

Your art matters. I cannot possibly say this enough. You cannot possibly say this enough. Write it down as reminders in every space you occupy. Ink it on your brain and etch it into your heart. What you create is necessary. It’s a part of your life, your story, and your truth. And those are the only things any of us will ever leave behind in this world.

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The friendships I made in my late teens and early twenties were fiery, intense, and always a breakup or makeup away. For the longest while, I thought that that's what close friendships had to look like.

I believed that my people were those who had seen the worst of me. Who saw me ugly crying while making decisions I'd regret, drunk calling the toxic ex who broke my spirit, and walking out of every good thing life put before me towards all the wrong people and places. …

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I turn 28 this weekend. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I’ve somehow aged when the world is holding still in a pandemic.

There’s a part of me that feels cheated, I don’t want the new age if I didn’t get all the time that was owed to me to do and be and change the things I wanted to.

I’m more aware than ever of the amount of life left at to-be-continued, the conversations that have to happen in person, the projects that need a certainty this climate cannot offer.

But this stillness has…

A love story. Sort of.

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When FM first told me that he wanted to adopt a cat, I groaned. Why could it not have been a dog?

I knew why. He was religious and his religion didn’t allow for dogs as household pets. But I liked dogs and could see myself falling in love with my boyfriend’s dog easily. Cats, I could not stand.

It’s a family thing — my grandmother hated cats, my dad and all his brothers did too, and now I hate them. I’m convinced it’s genetic but no one buys that. So I try other ways to explain it.

It’s their…

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Living with mental illnesses is a different reality for different people across different times in their life.

There are those who are in treatment with wonderful therapists. Those who cannot afford professional intervention. Those who’ve been diagnosed but couldn’t follow up with therapy. Those who are struggling to accept their diagnosis. Those who’ve been scarred by being paired with therapists who were the wrong fits for them. Those who spend a large amount of time educating themselves and seeking their own ways of coping/recovery. Those who don’t have the strength to find a doctor for themselves.

There are those who…

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Trigger warnings: Suicide, suicidal ideation, hopelessness

The questions I keep asking myself are — Why was no one there? Did people around him give up or is there just no hope left sometimes?

A month into the United Nations declaring us amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and a few weeks into complete lockdown, I learnt something devastating. An old classmate had taken his life earlier this year.

When we first went under lockdown, I began calling my friends to check in on them. Some of their situations were far from ideal and worsening in quarantine. Parallelly, the news started becoming a…

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Some days you can put on your best clothes, go for the hairdo that never fails you, use all the right makeup, but still hate who you see in the mirror. I want you to know that that’s okay. It happens to the best of us.

If you are having a day where you don’t want to face the world because what your reflection upsets you, please remember this:

1. Beauty is merely perception.

Beauty is subjective. You don’t need to find yourself beautiful for someone else to find you beautiful. Some people are going to look at you on what you think are your…

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There will be days when your body feels numb, but something at the centre of your chest feels extremely heavy. You will want to crawl under your blankets that won’t feel weighted enough. You will want to curl up in a foetal position and just lie there, feeling your heart thudding against you.

You will feel every worry in you amplify itself and every sound of worthiness and joy drown in the cacophony of your anxiety and guilt. You will quickly lose vision of who you are. You’ll zoom your focus in on everything that isn’t working out for you.

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Thanksgiving is not a holiday celebrated in my country. All I ever knew of it was from the American sitcoms that I grew up watching.

As a child, I was fascinated by the big turkey dinners, creamy mashed potatoes, and of course, the cranberry sauce. I didn’t understand how sweet cranberry went with meat. It always confused me, but I wanted to know.

I wanted to know how every part of that meal would taste. I wanted to know what it felt like to gather with my friends or family, to go around in a circle and talk about how…

Soumya John

Essays on love, loss, healing, mental health and identity. Read more on my IG:

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