Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn

My middle sister, who lives in Tokyo, sent me a curious message yesterday on g-chat. Before I tell you what the message was and why I am writing this post, I must tell you something about how my sister and I have become friends as adults - we were not grandfathered into friendship because we played house together as children. Our friendship came about because we actually chose to make a very targeted effort towards understanding and listening and becoming friends. There was no compulsion involved. We had decided that we would always be sisters, but we could choose, without crticism, whether or not we wanted to become friends.

My sister, Qurat, is a much kinder person than I am. I am not an unkind person, but I have a very low threshold for bullshit. Consequently, I am much more impatient (and fast) at weeding out negative people and influences from my life. I have no patience for forgiveness, and definitely none for politely keeping up appearances for people. These are not virtues - simply a set of values I have come to live by. My life is too busy, too short, too full to accommodate, to put it quite bluntly, other people's bullshit. Simple philosophy: Love fiercely those who deserve your love, weed out everyone else from the perimeter of everyday thought - they will exist in the fringes, of course, but they are not important enough or interesting enough for active screen time. It took me years to get to this place of contentment, and a lot of my strength behind consistently implementing this life-lesson comes from having a very cohesive and protective circle of family and friends, my insulation from all the aforementioned bullshit. My sister is a more open person than I am. She lets people in. People, in general, are really fond of her, because she is just a genuinely pure and nice person, someone who makes you feel important when she talks to you. She has this way - it's hard to explain, but it's like having Miss Honey from Matilda by your side all the time when you're with her.

So, I think I have very well established that we are quite, quite different. Even as less as two years ago, we would invariably end our conversations with arguments and judgments (more from me than her), because we would each say something (most of the time, inadvertently) to tick the other off. Then we had a series of conversations. We decided to really give each other a few minutes of listening without question or judgment when we talked. And I think we both helped each other - she made me more compassionate, and I would like to think that I contributed something, too, although what it is exactly, I don't know.

In light of all this, Qurat's message yesterday surprised me. "I think today's blog post was too personal, something not meant for public view." I was partly taken aback because Qurat never offers any kind of criticism (so this comment was good, she is not loving her sister's writing blindly), and partly because I have written other posts that are much more personal, intensely so. What was different about this one? Aha! It was the "I met a boy, left Pakistan for him, married him" story. The admission of leaving home for love is definitely still more than a little scandalous back home. I can imagine people asking questions like, "How did her parents let her leave?" "How shameless of her to write about this as if it's something to be praised." "What kind of message is this?" "Would she be OK if her own daughter decided to follow someone in the name of love?" My little sister was feeling protective of me. I am so full of love for her right now, which is why I do have to address this here, in this space where the original story appeared. Chin up, little sister.

The fact is, I have so systematically removed myself from the mouths that spew such nuggets of wisdom - err, excuse me, I meant nuggets of bullshit - that I don't even take such things into account. It wasn't until I had thought a fair bit about what Qurat said and talked to her on Skype afterwards that I truly realized the implications of such an admission. Pervasive judgment. So, let's get something straight. All due respect to people who still care about this mentality, but frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. And that makes me abrasively honest. That may not be a universally good thing, but it works for me. There are things I haven't written about here, because like any other person, I have matters I struggle with in the privacy of my own thoughts, but I am actively working towards conquering them and maybe penning them one day.