Confinements, Self Imposed

People have penchants and cravings and silly habits and whatnot. Every now and then, i get bitten by a me-alone-time bug where i purposefully turn off office cellphones, turn off the lights in the apartment, call in food deliveries and simply stay inside the bedroom. The bug usually presents itself in two ways – either i get sick and cannot appreciate the medical fuss around my personhood, or my creative powers need a recharge such that everyone is making me secretly cranky or unbelievably put out. My hiatus for the last 4 days is a mixture of both.

My Dashboard

It all started Monday afternoon when i was engaging in a bathroom battle with stomach flu. Then again, i shouldn’t say it all started Monday because my anxiety towards myself had been cooking since Saturday night, when i had to go to the office to do a nearly-due Time and Motion study. It wasn’t so much the time and motion, it was more from this gnawing feeling that my brain was somehow begging me to do something bigger than myself — but i couldn’t find out what it was. It’s a creative block that manifests in a nagging self-consciousness – like guilt that you’ve misplaced.

And so while i was hugging the porcelain wishing-well and calling to Mama Mary to intercede on my behalf (and i may have said a rosary’s worth of pleading), my eyes were burning like steam from a kettle and i could feel the chill seeping through my bones. For comic relief, a song went on the radio the very same time. It was Katy Perry’s Hot N’ Cold.

It is in these moments when one begins to believe that the universe is conspiring against you and joking at your expense.

The dreams you have when you’re sick get weirder than your usual ones. Although mine was not epic in a fire-and-brimstone sort of way, it did feel Harry Potterish in some sense. I was inside the bathroom again, but Moaning Myrtle, who strangely resembled one of my co-workers, was stroking my hair and telling me that i shouldn’t eat too much fried chicken.

In my lucid moments, i would try to forget the flu and the stomach pain by reading articles online. The past few days i have been enraptured by progressive feminine magazines on the internet. Say, like Jezebel and xoJane. Or i would get entertained by stream-of-consciousness writing styles in Thought Catalog. They are not overtly erudite and intellectual reads like McSweeney’s, yet somehow they do the trick in making me get well.

I read a lot of short stories from the web these days. I try my best not to read the news too much because it gets me agitated. The Steubenville rape case in Ohio, for one, made me really upset. At this day and age, there are people in this world who still need to be told that no matter what a woman wears, or no matter her behavior – no one is entitled to rape or sodomize her. Consent is queen. Victim-blaming and shaming are all part of a rape culture that seems to send the awful message that men cannot be made accountable in controlling their sexual urges. The New Delhi bus rape case made me livid.

I took to writing a new blog as a form of self-therapy. So many things are on my mind these days that it mentally stresses me out. Someone did tell me that i may be sick due to stress. True in some ways. (Although i still blame the pizza i ate Monday morning and the dysmenorrhea for the stomach flu.) Everything these days is aligned, caused or compounded by stress – according to the internet. With anything attributable to stress, i am beginning to wonder if there is a growing stress-cop out conspiracy going on within the medical profession . Ailment: Tooth ache. Root Cause: stress. Gee whiz!

My driver thinks that i shouldn’t shut myself in when i am sick. He is in the belief that single women living alone is in itself a big risk indicator. Although my thoughts about that are turning morbid, putting hand on heart, i really do not like the fuss.

It must be said that i do appreciate some of my friends who take the time to enquire about me and my health, especially if they don’t see me for days. In my self-imposed confinement, I tend to be picky who to reply to. Partly. it is due to whim and largely, it is due to instinctively knowing who genuinely cares versus those who just want to know when you’re coming back to face the office grind.

Well, today, it does feel like i am well enough to go back to the office, well enough to write a blog, well enough to joke, well enough to get the marbles in my head in order. But i do like these moments of solitude every now and then, more so when one is not sick.

In the meantime, obligations beckon.

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