“Stay strong…Don’t fall.. Don’t let go… Falling is not good…You are borne to just stay firm and not to give up. Falling is like Failure. If you fall, you will hurt people. Just stay strong.” Oh! My mind was haunted by so many similar noises. Why noises? Because they were stopping me to take step ahead, pulling me back. But I don’t want to look back.
“Self, Community and Sexuality” three interesting, interrelated and yet remained untouched concepts in my life. It would be appropriate if I say I did not pay heed to it and was happy to remain ignorant. In between heavy rains, I was among the early birds to reach the place. After which people started coming, some known, less known and strangers too. I was anxious and excited about the day long workshop. The energizer was different yet engaging. Whispering certain words or later an appreciation to less known people was definitely a task. Little did I know that this activity would make me feel more present and comfortable with the space. The realization seeped in me that since ages I had stopped interaction with people and also to certain extent to my own self. The smiles when we whispered into each other’s ears were certainly welcoming.
This was followed by discussion on “Zones”. Understanding the concept of zones by examples given by participants made it very clear. I was feeling vulnerable and anxious while I was giving examples. Also to realize when I am panic zone, or in stretch zone cleared many doubts and I could relate why I behave in a particular way in certain situation. Slowly and steadily I was getting in touch with “Purvi”.
The fun element followed was reiterating a story from one’s life. Oh again questions attacked my brain- how will I say a story, will it sound good, will people like it or I might also sound stupid. Anyhow I shared an incident from my childhood. Thanks to my stars, some people could relate to it. Also like me, others participants struggled to share stories. However, the common agreements of respect and confidentiality helped me and others to be comfortable in sharing. In this process, number of hilarious, intense and motivating stories came up. Phrase “the grass is greener on other side” made some sense here.
Rains had stopped and there was warmth in the environment, so we moved to the park for next activity. Little did I know what challenge was waiting for me. This is one activity that actually tested me, brought the live example of “PANIC ZONE”. Trust fall as it is famously known, required each participant to fall trusting that the other participants would catch hold of them. Demonstrated well, followed by many participants trying and succeeding in the same. With every trial, my heartbeat was one step faster. It seemed that all eyes were on me, thousands of questions jumping in my brain, questioning my traditional mindset and well engraved teachings. In this process, each participant said one phrase that they associate with me which made me happy, however that also did not help me to try the activity. Those few steps from one end of circle to the center seemed so intriguing. Anyhow I left everything and went ahead. Then the fall, I don’t remember what happened, how it happened? When I opened my eyes I could see smiling Sundaresh, tears and a comforting hand on my back. Few seconds of difficulty could be so rewarding, something I had never imagined. I was blank, comfortable and thankful to everyone who was present there. I felt more alive now!!
In between activities, we were having chit chats, clearly indicating the comfort level among the participants thanks to the common agreements. From knowing self to building a community where others and I were free to express and share experiences without inhibitions. The new addition to the workshop was “Sexuality”. All the participants were invited to say a term or phrase that they associate with ‘Sexuality’, resulting in mind mapping. The questions which came after this were grueling and taxing. I struggled with my sexuality compass. There was sense of contradiction and biases that were constantly brushing my brain. I had certain thoughts for myself and completely different for others. Confessing this duality also helped me. Above all, clouds around the term sexuality was way clear. The hesitation around sexuality and discussion also vanished. I came with a notion of learning something new, which I definitely did. Along with that, I rediscovered my ‘lost self’.
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