She pulled at the kite, shook it, and then leaned back. The kite sprawled out against the cottony sky fluttered in the wind and found a smooth breeze to sail on.
I write this piece as I look through my journals describing a mental picture of a teenager flying kites on Makar Sankranti, an Indian harvest festival. There are some memories that are etched into your imagination, that sometimes words allow you to travel back to that moment.
I notice how she tugged on the kite and it almost seemed like it would tear apart. Having had no experience with kite flying, I watched quietly. To me, I could see her struggling, it was later that I learnt it was a part of the process.
The kite made its way up into the sky and I tilted my eyes to follow its path. The winds were so strong that I was certain the kite would be pushed down to the ground. She tugged and shook the kite. The kite swayed back and forth before it steadied.
I use this imagery on the days when exhaustion takes up too much space. It is odd to imagine yourself being a kite, I would agree. However, when I let myself be a child again, I feel tugged back and forth. The winds are stressors- academics, family, relationships or work. I reach a breaking point where any onlooker would assume I find myself on the ground. And in quiet reassurance, I sail on a gentle gust of air.
I had to hold hope in some odd faith that I would find it in me to sail through, to wait for the right winds to assist me through the process. In the process, I acknowledge how my stressors are also grounded in privilege. My ability to sail through is shaped by how strong the winds are, the systems are, sometimes. And on the days, I have the space to, I slowly wait in the hope the better winds find me.
'When things are shaky and nothing is working. we might realize that we are on the verge of something. We might realize that this is a very vulnerable place and tender place, and that tenderness can go either way. We can shut down and feel resentful or we can touch in on that throbbing quality.'
- Pema Chodron