A STITCH IN TIME SAVES NINE
The beauty of a proverb lies in realizing how a set of words, as small a cluster as possible, has the power to invoke a different kind of feeling, depending on the situation we find ourselves in. It is, for the lack of a more meaningful analogy, the most complicated, yet simple and complete form of poetry. It is subtle, endless and exclusive to anyone who reads it.
Just like every child who ever had an inquisitive mind, I too have spent a considerable amount of time wondering how far a rubber band would stretch before snapping into two. I have repeatedly poked at my healing wounds to see at which point they’d start bleeding again. I’ve kept myself from conveying my emotions long enough to witness the point of no return. I have pulled at a stray thread of my t-shirt for as long as it took for the cloth to unravel itself. And worst of all, I have run away from life in as many ways and for as many moments as it took for me to realize that life itself was giving up on me.
Time, in its essence, is the teacher, the healer, breaker and the mender. The sooner we figure it out, the better for us. But there are too many hurdles that we must first overcome in what is a fairly simple life lesson, and that is a stitch in time saves nine.
What is common between a school project that we kept incomplete for until the very last day of our lesson, a friend who intentionally or not, hurt us in a moment of weakness, a love we failed to confess in fear of being turned down, a sexual orientation we refused to embrace in fear of societal backlash, a bully we dared not stand up to the first time they hurt us, an apology you never provided to your mother because you took for granted to be understood, or simply a torn leaf you did not mend until your page ripped into two?
If you already haven’t figured it out, scratch your heads a little more, put those grey cells to better use. And when you do, confess to yourself that the common theme in all the above-said scenarios is a deep sense of regret for not having mended things at the precise time at which they should have been. And a deeper regret at realizing how your inability has made things worse over time. To not act when we should, is a burden we all carry. Because it is human nature to run away from problems but it is also human nature to realize when to stop running. And this is what makes all the difference.
Could you not have fetched a few more marks had you started on the project a month ago? Could you not have made it into your desired stream if you just had a mark more? Could you not have avoided the fiasco of seeing your little dreams being crushed at the hands of time and at your inability to realize the importance of things?
What happened to the friend that hurt you? Did you talk to him ever again? Probably not. Have you ever considered that he might be sorry too? That he regrets his action as much as you loathe him? That given a chance, he’d do anything to have you back in his life? Could you not do with a friend right now instead of sitting and dealing with your sorrows alone?
I once loved someone for six straight years without ever confessing my feelings in fear of being rejected. I was so convinced of her inability to see me for who i am that i did not even dare try. Now when i look at her, arms around someone else, i cannot help but wonder that it could have easily been mine.
I cannot begin to describe how difficult it is to come out as someone who does not fit into the acceptable orientations prescribed by society. Imagine the day you realized you loved both men and women or women over men or men over women and imagine if you had just had that little ounce of courage to confess to your parents or your friends, how different life would have been than being subjected to mockery at the hands of anyone and everyone you met? Despite how helpless you are, and justifiably so, there is still something you could do. And in your eyes, that would have been all the courage you needed to sustain yourself.
It is no surprise that to take a stand is the only way to stand up to a toxic person. No indirect ways, consolations or excuses can work in your defense unless you stand up to a bully or any person for that matter who finds pleasure in hurting others. It is always advisable to live through one moment of courage than a lifelong span of cowardice.
How many times have you argued with your mother, just because you can and because it is often looked at as a norm that an argument stems from love? Haven’t you always assumed that a mother-son relationship is immune to ill feelings and anything you do or any way you act is justified just because it is in a mother’s nature to live and forgive unconditionally? Do you not realize now while looking at her, that perhaps she speaks a lot less than she used to, smiles a lot less than she used to, drifts into bouts of silence for no reason whatsoever? Does it not pain to see that in your frenzy of taking someone for granted, you lost the one person who loved you more than you’ll ever realize?
It is never too late to realize that mending is an art that requires skill as much as it requires the knowledge of timing. If one experience isn’t enough, allow yourself two, maybe even three. But I hope three is enough. For beyond three is plain ignorance. I write this on a sheet that is slightly torn in the edges. And I’ve already glued it. Even though it leaves a mark, it nevertheless succeeds in reaching every one of you. And i think i could not have done more justice to the beauty of analogies and the significance of proverbs.