On Nightmares & Exams – Healing Series Part 1

Writing messes up with the mind!

It makes you remember and re-live all past hurts, the times you were called colorful names, the times you were bullied, the times you were told over and over again that you are not good enough and the times when you were looked down upon. I write regularly on a book that is meant for honing writing skills through some very thought-provoking prompts. Every seemingly innocent prompt triggers something in me and as I am writing I notice I am able to recollect long forgotten stuff with absolute clarity. Unfortunately, it’s the hurtful stuff that comes to the forefront more often. With every recollection of one mean incident after another, it truly feels like it happened just yesterday and letting go is just getting more and more difficult with such recollection of only my perception of the hurt. Although the more commonsensical me believes that people may not be the same selves they once were and might have changed, the other me just wants to hold on to the images I have of them from their mean days.

I know this is not healthy, and I want to be able to let go of all the past hurts soon. I cannot obviously forget them all, my “Writing Prompts’ book would make sure of it. So is the only way out to stop writing? I am afraid I would not be able to do that. So, I guess the only way out is going through all the storms that are bothering me and coming out with better understanding, and so here I am going through my storms with vivid detail of things that haunts me even today. This is going to be a series of articles and this one is going to be on my frequent nightmares.

Is there one kind of dream that recurs often? Doesn’t matter one’s age, place or time, some dreams just never stop do they? One such dream (nightmare rather) that bothers me often (even today) is that of Exams, especially Tamil Exam. That was one exam I used to dread the most given I was terribly weak in Tamil literature. Most of the time, I had just managed to barely secure a pass mark (I have failed in that subject multiple times also), and had to always face the wrath of my Father who hated to see anything less than 70% on my mark sheets. I was terrorized by his wrath which was also directed towards my Tamil teachers during Parent Teacher meetings. He held them responsible for me being weak in Tamil and always told them that if only they had done a good job I would have scored better.

Gosh! I still remember those days distinctly, being constantly reminded I will never be good enough if I do not score well in Tamil and being made to do extra homework by the teachers for they wanted to do a “good” job in my Dad’s eyes was not easy. Let’s just say, no amount of extra load helped me get better at Tamil!

Managing a class of 60 girls must have been no joke, especially when more than half of them were not too keen in studies (I, clearly, was one among the majority in most of the subjects). The teachers did their best I am sure, but when an angry parent like mine questioned their methodologies, I can imagine how frustrating that could get. No wonder they took their frustrations out on me by giving me extra homework and scolding me when my marks showed no improvement despite their best efforts. As for my Dad, I am sure his intentions were in the right places and he wanted was for me to do well in life and tried every possible way he could to make me get better scores (which in his opinion was a benchmark of a good life). But, the little me and the teenage me did not know that and only focused on the reprimand at home and at school, which evidently has left deep scars in me that plays out in form of recurring nightmares. The nightmares, which always manage to wake me up in cold sweat even today, doesn’t matter where I am, or what time of the day my nap was, the anxiety such nightmares leave behind is all the same and is still terrorizing.

Writing messes up with my mind yes, but it also helps me string together incidents and lo and behold, the larger picture gets in sight. Now that, writing has helped me dig into the reasoning behind my recurring nightmare, and helped arrive at a logical conclusion (my mind appeals to logic usually), maybe I will let go of that series of hurtful incidents related to exams and maybe my mind would stop replaying such nightmares. Even if one such dream recurs, maybe it would just be yet another dream and would not bother me anymore. I fervently hope so.

To less nightmares.

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