A letter to My Future Self by Ankita Mishra
Ankita Mishra is a PhD researcher in the University of Sheffield. Her research explores the domestic abuse experiences of Minoritised women during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. She is interested in working with and learning from communities to foster knowledge production and social action. Her research interests include people’s lived experiences of gender based violence, healing, justice and ways to foster social change. She strongly believes in public engagement of academic research by exploring the role of media and creative arts in reaching out to the public.
Dear Future Self,
What a year it has been! The world has evolved so much and so have you. Are you keeping up with the technology, though? That has always been one of the areas you have selectively avoided as much as you can! Do you still talk about yourself as an old school person? In your active resistance to oppression which I am sure you continue to engage in, sometimes you forget to embrace tools that make life easier. Come on, you have your inner child with that trusting faith, that spontaneity and plasticity. Sometimes too flexible, especially when you cannot decide what you would order from the menu! Hopefully over the years, you have become better at choosing what you would like to eat.
That’s not to say every new discovery needs to be adapted, like of course nothing can ever replace the good old touch and smell of books, no kindle, no audiobooks. It might sound a little ableist (as they say it now, you might have a different term for it in your times)! While I would be delighted if you embraced these alternatives, but with books, I must confess that I will always cherish the feeling of pleasing the tactile and olfactory senses. Just like the smell of soil before it rains, that’s something so hard to resist, isn’t it! Despite global warming, I hope the monsoon still brings with it a sense of rebirth and renewal.
Do you continue to deliberately get wet in the rain, despite mum’s annoyance?
I know you found the rain miserable in England but I would like to think you have rediscovered your love for rain and the sense of joy it brings with it, now that you are home.
Have you finally managed to live near the sea like you always wanted to?
Are you excited to see the beautiful sun rise and set by the sea each day, bringing with it hopes for a new tomorrow?
You always enjoyed the wideness and calm of the sea, the generosity of the sun (not counting the years abroad where the sun was anything but generous!) and the humility of earth. I hope you are learning these lessons of life from Mother Nature. Discovering infinite beauty, strength, compassion, gratitude, perseverance, sincerity and receptivity, I am assuming you are walking the path of life trying to inculcate these values.
I hope you continue to have the same or maybe a stronger thirst for progress and have kept the fire of aspiration burning in your heart. To the much annoyance of a lot of people, systems and structures, I guess you are still asking a lot of questions. But hey, that’s good for you, march ahead, keep your childlike curiosity and battle against injustice. I am assuming that you are still dreaming about a world full of joy, love and light and are working patiently in many ways to turn it into a reality. I hope you are living a life full of love for the whole universe and beyond. And I do believe you have the same enthusiasm for the people around you as you did thirty years ago when you attended a marathon of weddings in five different cities across two weeks for the sake of your best friends! Phew, I am just exhausted remembering that.
But like always, keep up the spirit. Keep challenging yourself to take up creative endeavours which you do not find easy because it nourishes your will and your capacity for love and strength. Remember the time you knit a scarf or tried to draw a portrait? Those experiences have made you overcome things you thought you could never do.
So take my advice: in this endless journey of growth and transformation, keep expanding and growing limitlessly. There’s always capacity for rebirth and reawakening where the golden light awaits. So, never stop holding on to hope and be grateful forever!