Monday, January 10, 2011

Habits

Bad habits. They’re things our parents reprimand us for when we’re babies – you know constantly figuring out ways to tell us in Baby that boogers are not healthy snacks and that eating mud is not a carb substitute! As we grow older, these bad habits seem to take on another dimension and suddenly swallowing boogers seems like the habit du jour compared to the wonders of adolescence and adulthood and independence.

Sometimes, I wish bad habits were abstract. Things you justify to your children with logic and admonition.

But bad habits are not just concepts. In a lot of instances, bad habits are people. Flesh and blood human beings who seem okay on the outside but for some inexplicable reason have a hold on you that you can’t even justify, let alone articulate.

Joss Stone sings about her bad habit in one of her songs. Maybe she loved the guy she was singing about, but a lot of us don’t love the guy we’re talking about, and yet, we seem to cling to him in the vague hope that this once the bad habit will not be all that bad after all.

I don’t know where the whole saga begins, because it all starts off, as most relationships do, with a simple and innocent “hello”. The introduction slowly and surely slips into knowing each others' names, life histories, insecurities, loves and hates. You find yourself accumulating information by the second and processing it and storing it and re-hashing it just to be sure that you’ve got the facts down pat.

The next thing you know, this person is the centre of your universe and you can’t seem to find a way to justify this strange need you have to constantly be in this person’s presence. Just when you think all’s well in paradise, you’re crying all the time and wondering where the hell paradise went.

Even with all the crying, it’s impossible to let go. Somehow this person knows how to draw you into a circle of needing, constantly.

I really wish they're put this phenomenon under the “substance abuse” label, somewhere.

The irony is that the people who find themselves in this situation are often control freaks. In an everyday situation these people would not let someone past the giant, 10-foot thick brick wall they’ve built around them. However, some loophole in this seemingly flawless system allows the presence of this person to ensure that your little remaining sanity is f--k-d up.

The worst of it all is getting rid of a bad habit.

From cutting it off completely to sweating through an intense withdrawal, the process is painful to say the very least of it. The pain of it might be killing you on the inside, but one the other hand there are some who manage to derive some pleasure from your pain and go to town about their joy. I don’t know what the kick is really. It isn’t like people take advice seriously.

There is a moment when everything seems crystal clear. A moment when you wake up and no longer crave your bad habit. It’s the strangest thing, but you wish to go back to a more controlled intake rather than an overdose.

Maybe it’s me. Maybe I don’t know how to say no. Maybe I’m the only one who gets into these situations. In my four years of getting rid of a bad habit, I’ve learnt one very important lesson, saying no.

Because of this, there are days when I think I’m the only person on the planet. There are days when I read 100 pages more of a book because I have nothing else to do with my time. There are days, unfortunately, when I eat a bag of chips extra because I have no one to talk to who “understands me”. The rest of the time, when I’m not feeling miserable, I get on with my life because I know that five years down the line, I won’t regret this choice.

10 comments:

  1. I had a bad habit girl in college who nearly destroyed me. Fortunately, I met the good habit girl who became my wife and she gave me the motivation and the strength to break the bad habit. Whew.

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  2. hey shruti,
    i landed on your blog through i don't know where, by complete chance. i've been reading a lot of it and it's strange that i feel like we're the same person! we seem to have gone through similar circumstances, seem to think the same way, have similar sibling lowe, but a major difference is i'm highly inarticulate and can never structure things as well as you do :D

    well, been wanting to comment for a while on your blog but i thot it might just seem lame, the way i phrase things end up sounding lame. but here it is, you say what you want to say really well (another person's writign that has had me going "yeeeah, see, read this, that's exactly what i'm trying to tell you" is murakami.)

    later. cheerio.
    Divya Kymal.

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  3. Good luck on breaking this bad habit! How long do you think it takes? It sometimes feels like a lifetime!

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  4. @Nevets - I'm glad you met the good habit girl...
    @Divya - macha, we're not the same person, just senior and junior from school! :P Suma miss ring a bell?
    @Madfatgirl - bad habit is broken :) and even if it takes two weeks it feels like a lifetime...

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  5. haha of course i knew that.

    but see, that proves my point more. we even went to the same school :P

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  6. Reminds me a lot about something I wrote a couple of months ago - I called the post "breaking habits". Now I understand what you meant when you commented if I meant people when I said bad habits.

    I guess we sort of get used to people, and put up with them, even when things go really wrong becoz they become habits. Sometimes, the breaking up becomes necessary. Just to breathe. But breaking an age old habit does change us in many ways. We become different people with each habit we break or acquire. Lets hope we meet good people in the future, and become different in a good way :)

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  7. @Divya - enna oru connections I say! :)
    @bhai - I was thinking of your post actually when I was writing this. Been meaning to write this for a while now... I'm going to second your thoughts!

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  8. Wow. This post is just so raw and captivating. I know EXACTLY what you mean by it all. I've had two bad habits {you know, before I found the GOOD habit lol} and flushing them from my system was super hard, even though I knew I didn't love them and that they weren't right.

    Great post love!

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  9. Jess - thanks for stopping by :) and your good habit is truly awesome!

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  10. Haha no problem love!

    And also; you've been awarded with an, well, award! bahah

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