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Sadness And Me

By: Parul Banka

About The Poem

The poem ‘Sadness And Me’ was written for the book ‘Sadness And Us’ that had a worldwide launch on 12th December 2020.

‘You’ve got to be strong and look at the positive in all life situations’ was one of the stories I grew up with. It is a story that has served me well…at least, most of the time. But this inner story also meant that ‘not being strong’ and acknowledging the ‘not-positive’ were identities I did not want to associate myself with. Feeling sad was one of those identities that I neither wanted nor owned.

When life threw a curveball, I would not ‘just sit’ and ‘be sad’; rather I would get up and take action. I saw it as ownership, something that a strong person would do naturally. This went on until the week of my 34th birthday when I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer.

Going through cancer was hard, messy and transformative. There were plenty of opportunities to experience sadness too!

With cancer, I set out on a journey that led me to shed off the unhelpful stories I had learned and learn new stories that would serve me well. I understood that not being sad was just a story I had learned and practiced for so long that it began feeling like my ultimate truth. But it wasn’t.

‘Sadness And Me’ is about letting-go of the story that being sad meant not being strong. It is an acknowledgment that sadness is as much a part of me as joy is. It is about owning the whole of me and my story.

‘Sadness And Me’ is a celebration of coming home to myself.

The Poem

A sinking feeling
A tightness in my chest
Making me retreat
into a quiet
all by myself.
A memory
From my past
Sending me jitters
and unleashing
A stream
of tears.
The tears feel warm
As they roll down my cheeks
Matching the vacuum
In my heart
Created because of
A visceral sting.
Choices slipping through my fingers
Choices being snatched away
As a decision
Or the lack of it
Turns out
So awfully dear!

A wish unfulfilled
A desire ceasing to exist
A wistful sigh
A regret? Aye!
The conjectures of
‘What could have been?’
An eclipsed joy
A lingering listlessness
As I struggle
To count
The other blessings
In my life.
A loop of stuckness
A hollow emptiness
Whilst the time
Hollers on
Refusing to pause
Even for a moment!
Is it an armour
Like the skin
Wrapped tight and snug
Keeping me safe
Not letting in hurts
From the outside world?
Is it a traveller
Passing by?
Or a parasite
Gnawing at me from inside?
Or just a story
Running in my head?

Maybe it is none of these,
But a part of me
I, her refuge,
She, my faithful companion,
Longing to be held
In a tight hug.
The safety of an embrace,
The kindness of a gaze,
Unspoken words that say
“I see you.”
“I hear you”
“I’ve got you.”
So, I will hold her
Cherish her
Possibly love her
For like my breath,
She flows through me
She is a part of me.

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