It is easy to get lost in loss.

The feelings are there, and you don’t know what to do with them, and grief overtakes you. I’ve written about childhood grief, and I’ve written about pregnancy loss that wasn’t quite as simple as it sounds due to a genetic anomaly.

I’ve also written about the loss of community and culture, (owing to often moving, whole continental shifts at times). People change. You change. We drift; it’s natural.

vignettes

Loss

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cojournal, essays

Mirror

 


One of my favorite things to do is host an online writing workshop, called The Mirror.

It is a set of writing prompts, that also includes an interactive component.

There is a lot to say about the purpose of reflection, including the pandemic-related focuses on ‘what am I doing?’ and ‘what’s really important?’ bringing the importance of the big work of thinking clearly about one’s own self-knowledge into a sharper relief.

Learn more at my personal site, dipikakohli.com, and check ‘eWorkshops’.

apply to the mirror

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books, vignettes

An anniversary: 37 years after the death of Air India Flight 182

June 23. It’s this day in 1985. That we lost the people who were on board Flight 182 of Air India. A plane called Kanishka.

My best friend was on that plane, along with her brother and her mother. It was the weirdest and most surreal feeling, ever, to see that story reported on national news. But we didn’t talk about it, out loud. We never did, at home. Emotional topics were not to be brought up, and ‘bad things’ cast aside, and ‘past is past’ invalidating anything close to an actual feeling. This is how childhood grief can solidify and stifle someone. I worked out some of that with people, years later. Another girl who, like me, was watching in horror as it all unfolded, us talking many years later, like the little kids still grappling with it that we, emotionally, still really were.

 

Closures

Many years later, I went to see the Air India Memorial in person and joined the service on this day that was held there, in Ahakista, with the kids playing their instruments and locals laying out foodstuffs on white tablecloths in the outdoor setting so we could all mark the moment together.  What a story. I wound up living in Ireland not far from there. I wound up seeing the black-and-white, three-d reality of the memorial. It was the closest I had had, til then, of closure. Because we ‘don’t get emotional,’ at home. Because of that. Closedness to the heart. At age 10 I stuffed away this pain. At the memorial, I could open that box and see what was in it. And there I found a part of myself that had been set aside for so, so long. The part that was still crying.

 

Writing Kanishka

I wrote the story Kanishka after visiting the Golden Temple in Amritsar and talking to Salim Jiwa, the author of the book The Death of Air India Flight 182. I also did a writing residency at a place in northern India, in Preetnagar, with some very excellent people including Poonam Singh. Who understood the nature of my e-query, to their first-iteration version of the residency program back then. I sent a note through the form, in which I asked if I could come and stay and write and listen to their angle on the things that had happened, which affected them, too. ‘Operation Blue Star…’ Unhesitatingly I was invited.  Then, Kanishka was published as a serial in Ms. Singh’s magazine, in 2015. As I learned at that time, it was to be the first-ever English-language series. That felt good, for this Punjabi-American, to hear.

 

Of childhood grief

It’s in my story, what I heard. It’s not a historical piece or a journalistic one, but it’s the story I could tell. As honestly and true and deeply as I could. The loss of my best friend, at age 10. In a terrorist attack on her airplane.

 

kismuth.com/kanishka

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So I started a Note. It’s http://note.com/16z.

Why did I do this? It’s easy and simple. It’s not like keeping up the eight Tumblr accounts plus two twitters plus trying to ‘feed the machine’ that I was up to in the 2010s because, I guess, I thought that was important. (It was, in a way, because of SEO).

But so what.

Who needs long-tail search marketing to work. Who needs work. (Well.)

But Note. Is easy.

And so it begins, again.

 

vignettes

Absurdity

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found

‘If you are protecting yourself the whole time…’

A few excerpts today.

From The Atlantic…

https://www.theatlantic.com/podcasts/archive/2021/11/how-to-prioritize-joy-lorigottlieb-arthurbrooks-happiness-2021/620787/

‘Psychotherapist and Atlantic contributing writer Lori Gottlieb demystifies one of the vital components of a happy life: enjoyment. Gottlieb believes that we not only find it challenging to make time for day-to-day enjoyment, but also struggle to identify what it should feel like.’

There’s a part where older people in their 80s who are happy are described as having had rough times in their younger years. Gottlieb says, ‘I think that the reason that they’ve been through so much is because they engaged in life. So the people who want to protect themselves from pain or discomfort are the people who never really engage in life because they’re so busy protecting themselves to make sure that they’re not going to experience anything that feels bad, right? And so then they never put themselves out there. They never take any risks.

‘And when you take risks, sometimes, you know, there’s going to be pain involved. And sometimes there’s going to be great joy involved. But if you are protecting yourself the whole time you didn’t really live; you’re not fully alive. And so maybe you think you protected yourself, but you end up feeling very unsatisfied, very kind of empty and lonely.’

‘I think it needs to be specific, not just “have fun.” It’s getting in touch with how you have fun. A lot of people don’t even know how they have fun anymore. As adults, they grow up. They forget what fun looks like, because they’re so busy with all of their responsibilities and then all of the things they think they need to be doing. And they don’t realize, first of all, how they’re spending their time.’

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vignettes

To Paris

I had a fun day today. I’m reading tons of stuff online these days since I have time. Most of it is inane chatter, of course. Like this one, below, which, I have to put here because… anyone who lives in Bangkok or has spent time there can totally visualize, I’m sure, the scene here. The BTS is the name of the train station system, like ‘the Underground’ is in London or ‘The Subway’ in NYC. I find it so, so interesting to be able to relate to this person and their sudden awareness of the bizarre nature of their I-just-met-you companion. There are so, so many oddball people out there, it’s a magical thing when you find someone you can actually. Really. Just. Talk to.

HT V & W. Thanks for conversations today! And to B. Good games of chess, there. Man.

The Bangkok nostalgia clip is here…

From : https://coconuts.co/bangkok/lifestyle/bad-romance-these-dating-horror-stories-will-have-you-scared-and-seeking-a-better-dating-game/


Putting the ‘miser’ in miserable


“I met a guy on a dating app who seemed quite normal so I decided to go on a date with him. While the date itself was mediocre and we clearly didn’t have much in common, his true colors started to show when he walked me to the BTS station. He was stopped by the security guard when going through the turnstile as his card had insufficient funds. Instead of adding funds like any normal person, however, he decided to get upset and argue with the security guard. He even started to raise his voice, immediately earning him a ticket. I ended up just walking away so he could figure it out. Needless to say, he clearly had anger issues and couldn’t see that he was at fault for not having enough money on his card… he asked for a second date and like that BTS card reader, I rejected him.”

— Kelly, 25


 

Wow. Does this happen, I wonder, in places like.. oh I don’t know. Paris?

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vignettes

How to validate someone’s feelings

From: https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/emotional-support#takeaway


‘Think about the last time you went through something difficult. You probably wanted to talk to someone about the problem, but you may not have necessarily wanted them to fix it for you or make it go away.

‘Maybe you just wanted to vent your frustration or disappointment and get some soothing acknowledgment in return.

‘Support doesn’t require you to fully understand a problem or provide a solution. Often, it involves nothing more than validation.

When you validate someone, you’re letting them know you see and understand their perspective.


‘The support people often want most is recognition of their distress. So, when a loved one tells you about the challenges they’re going through, they may not need you to jump in and help. You might offer the best support simply by showing concern and offering a caring presence.


‘Some validating phrases you can use are:

  • “I’m sorry you’re dealing with that situation. It sounds so painful.”
  • “That sounds so upsetting. I understand why you’re feeling so stressed right now.”

Note: Design Kompany (that’s where I publish and co-create more often than over here, lately) will be doing a mental health focused set of zines soon, for S P A C E. Some of those will fall under the category ‘Baok of Feelings,’ which we are co-creating currently with our team in Saigon. Wish us luck.:)

Click to go to #spacethezine page >

 

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