I was talking to a friend last week. It was a rough week. My thoughts weren’t clear, I was hurting and like every time, my emotions were everywhere. And I did what I do best – take my feelings, put them into a box and shove it into the shelf where there are many such boxes collected over the years.

Failed in school? Oh well, just focus on some activity. Failed at a relationship? Failed at love? Oh well, let’s put in extra hours at work. Got fired? Oh well, just be in a corner or something.

This running away. This feeling of worthlessness, of being lost, of always being good but not good enough – it does a lot of damage.

Numbing each pain down with something else has always made me feel worse. Suppressing every emotion that makes me feel weak, or being ashamed of having an emotion turned me into this person that I could not see in the mirror.

I would get up, get dressed and with each passing year, be unable to identify the person in the mirror. There were too many layers, and there are enough layers at this point that I wish to walk away from myself sometimes. But that makes no sense.

It’s been a slow realization and an even slower progress that it’s okay to feel, it’s okay to talk and it’s okay to peel off the multiple layers that have grown onto me to protect the little girl that feels afraid to cry.

My friend and I were talking about marbles a few days ago because sometimes I guess we all need metaphors to survive. The marble theory, as he told me, was about how life gives us 101 marbles. Out of these, there are 100 black marbles and one shiny red marble. This red marble is the one we want. It is the star marble of our life. That marble is everything we dream of into a tiny red ball.

What do you think of when you hear about marbles and a bag?

The probability math problems, ofcourse. He told me how we have to keep picking out marbles from the bag until the red one comes out. Honestly, I’m not sure what I feel about this. At this point, every marble that I thought would be red turned out to be black.

But anyway, what I did learn from this is how life is just a chance. Each black marble is a step closer to the red one. There are times when I obviously question if the marble makers forgot my red marble. But I think I need more patience. Maybe all of us do.

And about taking your feelings and numbing them down, that sucks. Don’t do that (I’m saying this to all of you and to me as well). It’s probably the hardest thing for some of us to accept, acknowledge and not be ashamed of how we feel. I’m not sure how that gets better, but I think talking about it is definitely a step forward.

I still can’t look at myself in the mirror without feeling something is wrong. But at least I know that I don’t want to be that way. By writing and working in mental health, I’m doing myself a favor too. With each workshop I take, every person I meet and every personal piece of writing I write, I’m trying to make sure nobody feels this way. And in that, I’m trying to talk to that little girl who

liked Spock so much because he wasn’t fully human. But for those of us who have watched Star Trek, we know that the human part in Spock makes him feel, and when he acknowledges those feelings, he becomes a stronger character.

After all, we can’t find that red marble if we’re not in the right mindset to see it.

By Surabhi Pandey

Surabhi Pandey, a former Delhi Doordarshan presenter, is a journalist currently based in Singapore. She is the author of ‘Nascent Wings’ and ‘Saturated Agitation’ and has contributed to over 15 anthologies in English and Hindi in India and Singapore. She writes on topics related to lifestyle and travel and is an active reporter on the tech startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia. She is the editor and founder of The Vent Machine.

One thought on “Looking For The Right Marble, Getting Better At Life”
  1. A thoughtful piece and one that I can relate to. Sometimes I think I’ve found the red marble and then it slips away. Sometimes it comes back for awhile. As I get older, on good days I think that I am the red marble and all that I need. Does that make sense?

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: