Posted in Of Dramedy

Of Self-Hate


It’s a strange, paradoxical concept really. All the evidence points against it. You might even call it a clever ploy to get attention, for we all know by now what constitutes as the most attractive quality in the world – vulnerability. People would be too darn obnoxious, even unloveable, if they did not hate themselves a little.

But, there’s a difference between not being quite up to what one would like to be, and being in an extreme, bottomless pit of disapproval of one’s self. Especially when one’s instincts are traditionally wired against it. You eat for sustenance, even pleasure. You protect your head with your arms even if there’s mild, possible danger involved, like a drizzle of rain. You lie to get out of trouble. You rub your belly when it hurts. You scratch an itch, because you believe that will make it better. You run to the bathroom to escape an anxious situation. All this might not scream ‘self-love’ like that promotional offer of a spa weekend does, but protecting and preserving yourself is very much an act of love, though they don’t write too many songs about the above situations (share in the comments section below if you know any).

The problem’s outside then, eh? Nurture, since nature seems to be against the idea. Maybe. But, if there wasn’t arable soil, self-loathing wouldn’t flourish so easily. There has to be a grain of truth behind every lie, a seed of belief behind every negative self-perception. It grows with reinforcement, external or internal, for repetition usually changes an idea into a habit, and habits generally tend to change to belief. Belief, of the true kind, is pretty unshakeable.

But, is self-hate all that bad? Surely, it must serve some function, given how glamourous it is. Not just limited to teenage angst, self-hate is pretty much a universal driving force in art, where it serves as inspiration, and industry, where it can be a powerful motivational force. Even in relationships, it calls upon our need to protect those weaker than us.

But, only up to a point. Only in small dozes. Which, in most cases, is pretty undoable. It’s a belief, after all. You live it wholly, truly. You cannot keep it aside, temper it down, release and constrict as you please. You cannot evade it, cannot dismiss it, cannot forget it. Most of all, you cannot reject it. The only way to counter it is with something equally potent, perhaps of greater magnitude. But, in keeping with the above ‘tree’ analogy, how do you find such an antidote? An antidote against time, against memory, against experience, even against one’s place in the world?

It’s almost like fighting against your own humanity, in order to preserve it. Curing an emotional autoimmune disease. The enormity, the perceivable impossibility of the task, sinks you further.

At this point, in a blog post by a non-practising mental health professional, you would expect some sort of an inspirational instruction. Perhaps, some pithy words of wisdom. Perhaps, a popular quote, like Lennon’s “All You Need Is Love”. But, I’m not going to be that blogger for you today. Especially, since I don’t believe in it, if I did say it. A solution would render today’s discussion complete, a full circle of problem-solution-overanddone. And it is not. It won’t be, even in the next few seconds when your brain would still be processing this two-minute read. And it definitely wouldn’t be, when we settle back to who we are, despite all the advice going around in the atmosphere. There are too many solutions in the world. And not enough problem-solving.

Let’s just ask, for today. Let’s just consider, see it for what it is, not what it could be or should be. Let’s be honest with ourselves. What does self-loathing mean and constitute, according to you?

Posted in Of Quotations

Of The Power and The Glory

Today is Shakespeare’s 401 death anniversary. It is celebrated as World Book Day, perhaps because there has never been another writer to measure humanity’s capacity in any given way or situation as acutely. Most of us live lives that are furthest from kings of yore. And yet we are moved by a king’s undoing, as it takes place in this scene from Richard the Second.

Posted in Of Musicals

Of Hot and Cold

This is like my generation’s “Hello, Goodbye” (you know, that song by The Beatles about the dialectics of relationships). Continuing the theme of pop and philosophy from last week, I thought I’d share a modern classic with you today that, though it deals with extremes of light and dark, is sugary sweetness all around.

Posted in Of Psyche

Of Timing

Bad Timing (Source: Deviant Art)

I’ve had a couple of things making me anxious this month. Not bad things, just pressing things. And now, something’s come up that’s pressing even more on one of those things. To quote Freddie Mercury, “I’m going slightly mad.”

I have a wedding to go to of a childhood friend next week. It has been difficult to fit it into the scheme of things in my life generally, but I was still ready to make two days possible (it’s an Indian wedding, and you may have heard – they are long-drawn, lavish affairs). And now, I have a really important exam, that could well decide my future/career, just after the wedding.

Wedding, exam. Exam, wedding. Do I flip a coin? Do I abandon all and go take that holiday I’ve been fantasizing about? The logical side of my brain tells me to, obviously, focus solely on the exam and leave everything else aside (including writing blogs. For the umpteenth time Amrita, airing your silly problems does not make for good writing!), while the emotional side of my brain tells me that your friend asking you to their wedding is itself an act of love, and you should be there to show support. That’s how human relations work.

It’s all a matter of timing. Weeks, months go by, and nothing happens. Nothing you care about anyway. You reach homeostasis, and it’s all fine. Comfortable. Of course, stasis is different for different people. Those of you with families probably plan all your precious time around them. Me, I’m just happy going out with the people in my life to movies, lunch etc., or listening to an album all by myself.

It’s interesting how you get two different versions of the “good life” in movies. In action films, the good life is just a normal, innocuous, uninteresting one. In comedies or modern dramas, it’s one in which you jump out of a plane or rob one of those money-counting machines (and not actual money) from a bank. The movie they should make is one with Jason Statham opposite the Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

Obviously, I am not jumping out of a plan or robbing banking equipment, but even then, the littlest of things can affect my homeostasis. I am generally quite laid back, have low energy, usually to counter the simmering nervous energy I possess underneath. That means, I need six hours’ notice before I go get a packet of milk. I don’t do spontaneous. I don’t do anything unless I’ve had time to deliberate it.

And I don’t have time to deliberate next week’s proceedings. I am glad it’s not my own wedding, because that would have been nerve-wracking on an intergalactic level. The idea of dressing up like a christmas tree, with people having full licence to look at you all the time and take pictures, and then making something socially legitimate that is principally and wholly an intimate affair…let’s just say the whole idea freaks me out. It’s much better to be an observer, and you often get through that because there is food and, sometimes, decent music involved.

Adding multiple-choice questions to that? How incongruent! Even if those questions might answer the financial security and eventual prosperity of your own life. My head’s going round and round with this, and I feel I might awkwardly quote Shakespeare at the wedding, or write the fish was magnificent in the exam. I need a plan.

I am hoping to be doing both. But, if I have to sacrifice, it will be logic over emotion – exam over wedding. I have actually juggled the two before, at the wedding of a member of my own immediate family. Let me just say, Hegel does not help you decide where the gifts should go, or how you should deal with the florist. Also, it might not be a good idea to turn up in jeans and a top when you are hosting the darn reception, and every guest thinks you are underdressed on principle.

When have you suffered from bad timing?

Posted in Of Psyche

Of Distraction

Simon Baker

I am sorry I have been missing from the blogging scene for a few weeks. But, I have a solid alibi for where I’ve been.

It isn’t the usual excuse – having a blogging/existential/both crisis. Well, it sort of is, but it has been more of me trying to avoid having a crisis in the first place.

Or I’ve been hypnotised by the very pretty Simon Baker, which has resulted in me bingewatching his TV show The Mentalist. Continue reading “Of Distraction”

Posted in Of Culturel

Of Reviewing Things

Cartoon: The Critic

Once upon a time, I had a movie blog. I reviewed movies I had seen. I won’t link it here, because I don’t think you’d recognise it’s the same person. That reviewer was sharp. Brutal. Snarky. Fearless. Not the wishy washy, whiney, mopey, mellow creature you’ve grown to know and love over the past few years here on Of Opinions. Continue reading “Of Reviewing Things”

Posted in Of Culturel

Vote For The Thirteenth Doctor!

doctor who
The Doctor(s)

The search is on for the next Doctor  on the best TV show in television history, Doctor Who. (Seriously, if you’ve never seen it, make good of your Netflix subscription and watch it this weekend. Or now. You can thank me later.) Fans are already speculating about who’s going to be the next Doctor, with Richard Ayoade and Tilda Swinton Continue reading “Vote For The Thirteenth Doctor!”

Posted in Of Quotations

Of Rejection


One of life’s fundamental truths states, ‘Ask and you shall receive.’ As kids we get used to asking for things, but somehow we lose this ability in adulthood. We come up with all sorts of excuses and reasons to avoid any possibility of criticism or rejection. – Jack Canfield