(I’m a storyteller and I cannot resist the pull of weaving a good tale. I love to regale my audience, make them gasp at all the right moments; the words ebbing and flowing with a life of their own. Soon I disappear, but no one notices, because they’re immersed, lost in that make-believe world. And when the story ends -stunned silence! Disoriented, the audience looks at each other with a smile, the echoes of the final words still ringing in their ears. And I wait back, behind the curtains, pleased to have been in their heads for a few, long moments. This might be a long read, but I promise you. It’s worth your time.)
My decade journey begins with facts and ends with a little fiction. And like most things I write, my journey is a series of letters.
Dear Decade-gone-by (2009-10),
I often want to
stab punch you in the face. You watch me battle with a difficult pregnancy, bedridden with hyperemesis, losing weight and gaining blood sugar issues. You look the other way when I cannot forge a bond with my beautiful, perfect infant. Days turn into weeks, the doctor mentions Postpartum Depression, but you march on, dismissive and unfeeling, while I cry myself to sleep. Decade, I hate you with every fiber of my being.
Dear Decade-gone-by (2010-11),
You can be nice, if you put your mind to it, huh? That infant I struggled to bond with? You let me flounder a while before falling so much in love with him, that I often weep with joy. I’m besotted, smitten and all the adjectives in the world. And thank you for reminding me to take my mental health seriously.
You aren’t all bad now, are you, Decade? I forgive you and hope we can be friends again?
Hey Decade-Gone-by (2012-13),
YOU ARE THE WORST! THE ABSOLUTE WORST!
My son is 18 months old, and you stop playing nice. This darling, curly haired little boy, who loves bubbles and chocolate milk, is now newly diagnosed with Autism. The world screeches to a halt, and I drown in thunderous waves of anger and grief. Why my child/why us/I’ve-done-everything-right-so-why-did-this-happen? I mourn and rage, sobbing into my pillow, while my baby sleeps a mere foot away.
Shame on you, Decade, for wronging us like this. I hope you rot in hell.
Dear Decade (2013-14),
All right, so this is embarrassing. I’m sorry I yelled at you. You let me fumble, grope and make a million mistakes. Until one day, I wake up with my new mantra- Acceptance and inclusion. He will always be Autistic and that is ok. More than ok. And I have evolved into the parent I was always meant to be. Life lessons, dear Decade, and I am stronger for them. Thank you.
But, hang on now. Why do I feel nauseous? So nauseous.
Goddamnit, Decade, what have you done?
Dear Decade (2014),
So yeah, I’m pregnant again. Wow, thanks, just what I needed. Now answer me this. How am I going to handle two, when I’m struggling to raise one? And what if this baby has autism too? What if the baby is severely impacted/needs more support? What if he’s having a tantrum, and the baby calls out for me at the same time? What if we’re both sick and the childr-
Big breath in and out.
In and out.
I got this. We got this, Decade. Right?
Dear Decade (2014-19),
She arrived, all pink-toed and breathy cries. Impossibly loud and feisty, she’s perfect. She’s so perfect!
Look, she rolled over! Spoke her first word! Took her first step! I worry, like any good helicopter parent, but she seems to have it all figured out. And the best part? She worships her older brother.
Dear Decade (2019),
We add a puppy and another baby (nephew) to our crazy brood. My children are 9 and 5. He struggles with emotions and finding his place in the world. She worries about Mario and picking the perfect outfit for kindergarten.Two chaotic, intense little beings and I’m blessed to parent them. They motivate me to dream big, and that’s why I’m writing so much more now.
In a happy coincidence, the words come easier, and fill up my screen with a thousand, shiny stories. I write about demons and darkness, heartbreak and murder. Of women, of warriors, new beginnings and hope. A hundred short tales and personal essays, in a variety of genres, flow. From the dustiest corners of my mind onto many screens across the world. I get my first acceptance letter. A dozen rejections. But I don’t give up and welcome more good news.
This past year, I’ve been published in the USA, India and Australia. This is my calling and I’ve never been more fulfilled.
So Dear Decade-gone-by,
Thank you, for everything. You’ve humbled me and kicked me around, before dusting off the dirt and holding me to a higher standard. I’m older now, wiser; beyond grateful for this life. And I’d like to say goodbye with a short piece of fiction. Words of hope and dreams for your successor. Pass the message along to the next ten years, won’t you, Decade?
“At the beach, our happiest place on earth. The sea rushing to fling errant sprays of joy on our faces. We’re middle-aged, slow and a little tired. Long limbed and brave, the boy comes in for a hug. His sister, dancing sun-kissed circles with the dog. It’s getting dark, so we do what’s important. Chase waves, giggle and breathe in the last sunset of 2029.
Sandy, we drive back, the children asleep in the back. I look at my husband, steering us home.His face glows in the twilight, lined with all the love in the world. And I smile.
This has been the best decade of our lives.”
With much gratitude,
“This post is a part of ‘DECADE Blog Hop’ #DecadeHop organized by #RRxMM Rashi Roy and Manas Mukul. The Event is sponsored by Glo and co-sponsored by Beyond The Box, Wedding Clap, The Colaba Store and Sanity Daily in association with authors Piyusha Vir and Richa S Mukherjee”