Discover more from Journey Home to Self by Deepshikha Sairam
Who Am I & How the Hell Did I Get Here?
it's not a Hero's Journey
The saying goes “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”
I hate it.
The only people saying it are the ones who haven’t been handed lemons or are way past their “lemon stage” so now they chuck this piece of wisdom at us.
Don’t get me wrong. We all love stories of the “after”. What happens after the hero is done slaying his monsters. When he has overcome the trials of his life and has crossed the river of fire, resting now on a sunny beach with his lemonade in hand.
We lean in as he twirls the tiny little umbrella in his drink and tells us that we too should make lemonade with our lemons. Hell, maybe even add some tequila to it.
Fuck the lemonade!
It’s the messy in-between I am after.
It’s the churning of our being, our emotions, our guts in the Cauldron of life. The prima materia that grows in the darkness. Spilling from our hearts, our eyes, and our guts straight into that Cauldron. The lead we turn into gold.
GOLD. Not lemonade.
It’s THAT Gold I am after.
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Your lemons may be different than mine.
Your Cauldron may be bigger. Deeper.
It doesn’t matter.
Tears taste the same, no matter the eyes that cry them.
Hurt always clenches the heart, doesn’t matter which heart.
You and I may look different but if you are here (thank you for being here!), I know that we aren’t that different.
For years I lived by this adage - when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
I longed for that cool, refreshing taste on my tongue. I waited eagerly as a child waits for Christmas morning for my “happy after” to arrive.
News flash - It hasn’t.
Maybe, just maybe there is no “after”. Maybe it’s the in-between that’s more hmmm….permanent?
The messy, the gooey, the primordial force that pulls us forward to knowing ourselves as Us. Not as heroes but as creators. The One who churns the Cauldron. The One who is an Alchemist, turning lead to gold, tears to water. Pure, sweet water that quenches the thirst of our soul.
Hmmmm, that sounds more true to me. What about you?
Maybe you’re wondering “What the hell Deepshikha, how did you get to THAT?”
I’ll tell ya.
“I want to go home. Which was nowhere but it’s a feeling you keep having, even after that’s no place anymore”
- From the book, Demon Copperhead
I think I’ve been wanting to go home ever since that day in Jan, ‘84 when my mom’s OB/GYN caught me in her hands, soiling her silk saree in the process.
1984, New Delhi, India.
If you look up that year you’ll find that a woman was leading our country. But don’t let that fool you.
My mom received a letter soon after she came home from the hospital from my aunt who was a proud mom of 2 boys. The letter expressed her condolence to my mom for having given birth to yet another girl.
So maybe even at home, it never felt like home.
According to a study done by Dove Self Esteem Fund, 70% of girls feel they are not good enough. That’s 7 in every 10 girls.
As I grew up in a culture steeped in Patriarchal stereotypes, I gathered some other false beliefs and perceptions about myself and the world around me.
I have to always seek approval and please others.
I have to prove my worthiness by checking boxes - such as education, money, title, bank account, etc etc.
I do not belong unless someone gives me permission. That someone was often the hero in my eyes, the one with a tall, lemony lemonade. Mostly male, mostly white.
“There are years that ask questions and years that answer”
- Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
35 years is a long ass time to live as a split version of yourself. My soul was done and wanted me to come home.
So I had to ask the question bubbling deep within me. Maybe you’ve asked a version of that question too.
“Who the hell am I?”
Not my name, not my title, not my profession, not my bones, not my skin. Me!
Under the layers of Patriarchal Conditioning, under the masks I had been wearing, underneath the trauma, underneath my depression - Who Am I Really?
Enters the messy in-between, the liminal, the void, the Cauldron.
At this point, I have an urge to give you an answer. To tell you that I have overcome all my trials and tribulations and see, here in my hand is the answer to that question. It’s my lemonade!
But that’d be a lie.
There was therapy. There were tears.
There was a long period of shunning myself from everyone.
There was letting go of a business I had once loved but that no longer brought joy.
There was getting kicked out of “groups” and “circles” I had worked so hard to be a part of.
We experience life as labor pains. There are expansions and contractions. There are deaths and re-births. There is the destruction of Fire and the purification of Water.
So there is also pure joy and bliss in learning to do nothing
There is the discipline of boundary setting & lessons in worthiness
There is healing. There is forgiveness.
There is creating new friendships, circles, and the deepening of some solid, old ones.
There is love, lots of unconditional love for the Self
The Breath of life strokes our inner fire when we enter into a Sacred relationship with the Self. With the Eternal, the Multi-dimensional, the Divine Self that transcends time, status, identity, and that limited sense of “self” we also call our ego.
This is a Spiritual Relationship, not a Physical one. For me, it intertwined with remembering and re-discovering my relationship with the Sacred Divine Feminine.
The knowledge and knowing deep within my cells and bones that I had forgotten. It’s coming back to me now.
❤️I am learning to trust my intuition and follow my heart more than my head (even when sometimes my head gets so loud)
❤️I am learning to listen to the deep wisdom of my body and to rest when it says rest (even though I sometimes forget and overcompensate)
❤️I am learning to trust in The Divine Mother and release my attachments (even when I get impatient sometimes)
That’s the beauty of the in-between. There is so much room for error and no one is going to slap your wrist for it.
The Cauldron becomes our sandbox. We play there, we create and re-create knowing that we are the Alchemists.
So Who am I?
When I was 3 years old, I named myself, Deepshikha
It means Keeper of the Flame.
When I stripped myself of all the things the world had told me I was, I found that was what was left.
The inner flame that breathes within all of us and I know that I have to keep it alive.
I don’t know where you are right now. Maybe you are at the top of the world, hoping the other shoe won’t fall. Maybe you are in the Dark Night of the Soul with no good ideas left. Maybe you have just begun to question those limited beliefs and patterns in your life. Maybe you feel lost, stuck, and hopeless. Maybe you are watching your life fall apart as a deck of cards.
I can’t promise you the glorious after. What I can tell you with certainty is that flame breathes in you too. And when and if you forget, I will keep it alive for you. I will fan the flame so you too may return to Self.
P.S. - I’d love to know in the comments, are there any false beliefs and perceptions about yourself that you want to let go of now? What are those?
Or, does your name have a meaning? What is it?
P.P.S. - I tried a different style of writing with this piece. If you are interested in a more “story-based” approach, I shared a similar topic on this episode of Journey Home to Self Podcast.