I’ve always been so vocal about mental illness, I talk about issues like depression, anxiety and stress, but I’ve never really talked about metal illness that’s caused by relationship issues. I’ve met many heroes and many villains in my life, and one of those heroes that I met, fortunately became my best friend. She defeated cancer, and lives life at its fullest. One day she’ll be talking to me sitting at my bedroom at my hometown, the next day I’ll be surprised with her update from a city 2000km away. Not to mention, juggling life as a hardcore professional. She has inspired me on so many levels, from her grades in high school to how she kept cracking jokes throughout her battle with cancer.
[Image Source: Google]
The reason I’m dedicating this article to her is because I think she can be an inspiration to not just me, but to many. And yes, I’m writing this article with her permission (but I hope no one we personally know reads this). When I was busy with my wedding preparation, we had double joy; we were going to be married back to back, in a matter of weeks. We were sending wedding shopping pictures, invitation card designs and even bridal trousseau pictures to each other; I was supposed to gift her, her entire bridal trousseau as gift. Everything was happy; I was supposed to wear my wedding dresses on her wedding and reception and we were discussing how our sarees will match when we pose together. I mean you have to be extra lucky to experience the pre-wedding journey with your best friend.
I don’t know if it’s normal, but I have to be honest, I was having second thoughts 2-3 weeks before my wedding. As a hardcore feminist, I had to face gender discrimination for the first time during and right before my wedding. I was not okay with a lot of patriarchal rituals and society didn’t spare me even after knowing that I’m a strong independent woman who’s no less of a human being than her fiancé. Millions of thoughts were going through my brain and what I couldn’t understand is how people are okay with this kind of misogynistic practices at this century.
One day I was lying under my blanket, having messed up thoughts and I got a text from her. She just found out her fiancé was leading a double life, the one she fell in love with is just his alter ego, and there were so much we didn’t know about him. It was hard to digest, they were together for 6 years, and they even started dating exactly when my husband and I started dating. All these years we have only known about him what he wanted us to know. Their wedding card was printed and she didn’t know what to do. Society doesn’t spare us women, especially not Indian women. But we can’t make our life decisions to please the society, can we?
It was a hard decision, I know, anyone will say it’s only sane to call off the wedding. But since I was myself supposed to get married in 2 weeks and my cousin brother and my father was already monitoring the ongoing decor, I knew what her family was going through. I knew her shopping was done, I knew her invitations were printed, I knew her long distant friends and relatives have already got their flight tickets, I knew her honeymoon tickets were paid for, but I also knew she’ll never have a fulfilling life if she goes on with the wedding. I told her what I felt; I told her how I think things will turn up if she gets married. She understood all of my reasonings, but she was so in love with the alter ego. The true self of her fiancé wasn’t that bad, it just wasn’t what we thought it was, also I don’t think she could have ever trusted him again even if he showed only his real self to her.
Everything was just shattered, just weeks ago we were planning our duel wedding, and now we were discussing if she should get married. I asked her if she wants to see a therapist. She said she already did, but didn’t get much help. I suggested her to see my second therapist and she agreed. She took a single, yet 5 hrs long counseling session and realized that the relation isn’t going anywhere. My mom said, the fact that she decided to see a therapist the first thing after learning the truth implies how mature and strong she is, too strong to make the mistake of going through this wedding. As soon as she left the therapist’s office, she went straight home and broke the news. They cried, but realized it’s for her own good. Soon after calling off the wedding, she texted me that she’s going off to an international trip which I called her ‘Queen Trip’. But guess what? She made it back the day before my wedding. The fact that she was supposed to get married 2 weeks later didn’t stop her from enjoying at my wedding. The only difference it made in my wedding is that she didn’t have a plus one, but who cares? I had her!!!
I wish I could use her picture, I wish I could use her name, I wish I could proudly and loudly say, “this is my bold and badass best friend, the best friend who beat cancer, the best friend who isn’t afraid to call off a wedding a month before the big day, let her be your inspiration because you aren’t liable to society, but to your own life.” She is the reason I didn’t panic during my tumour diagnosis as I’ve seen her cheerfully go through her treatment (hers was a same tumour, but malignant). She is the reason I’m not afraid of taking hardcore decisions. Currently she travels as much as her tightly knit schedule allows her to and I try encouraging her to become a solo backpacker. I talk about my struggle with depression and how it affects my life, and I had to share this story of someone who doesn’t let depression stop her from enjoying life at its fullest. So do you need a hero? Cause I have one.