In A Woman Like Me, NANDA opens up to her best friend ARLA about her state of happiness and how her current life is not exactly what she imagined signing up for.
A Woman Like Me
Nanda: There’s this feeling. This terrible feeling that’s been following me around for way too long.
Arla: Things are going good in your life.
Nanda: Not so sure. I mean, things are good, not great but balanced with a lean on dull. I have too much time on my hands.
Arla: So pick up a hobby.
Nanda: It’s all weird because there are so many things I want to do but I don’t end up doing any of them.
Arla: So, just pick one and do it. Choose one thing on one day and stick to it until you do it. (beat) Name one thing you want to do?
Nanda: I understand what you’re saying but the things I want to do aren’t normal, well, they are normal but not average, I don’t think.
Arla: What do you mean?
Nanda: What goes on in my mind…activities, they aren’t your typical activities for a woman like me.
Arla: Well, explain to me what you mean by a woman like you?
Nanda: Look at me…I’m a middle-aged wife with two kids and no life. My life revolves around everyone else’s needs but my own…all of my own ideas get pushed aside constantly and I’ve kind of given up on them. My family is my priority…I’m forgetting who I even am anymore…I’ve become this other person, this character and I love playing her but I’ve lost the inner me…there’s this inner me shouting, gnawing at me to do something with myself. Do I sound pathetic?
Arla: Not at all. You need to make time for yourself.
Nanda: And the things I want to do aren’t your typical things.
Arla: Name one.
Nanda: I want to fire a gun.
Nanda: I want to go to a shooting gallery and shoot the sh’t out of something. I don’t know what it is but I have this urge, I think it will give me relief to have something powerful controlled by me. Do I sound nuts? I want to jump out of an airplane with a parachute. I want to travel to Australia and go backpacking or go to the French Riviera and flirt with a gorgeous French man. I want to go clubbing again like when I was eighteen, smoke and drink and pass out in utter exhaustion and pleasure. I want to go to Tibet and study Buddhism in a temple up in the mountains and forget everyone I know and find me, me, me.
Arla: What if we went to get our nails done?
Arla: Okay, okay, look, I’ll go with you.
Arla: Either Australia or Tibet. Let’s book our tickets and go.
Nanda: What about Ned?
Arla: Ned doesn’t have a choice. I can do what I want.
Nanda: I can’t. What about my kids and I have to deal with Jesse? He will never let me leave.
Arla: It’s time you step up and tell him how you feel. You have to tell him, Nanda.
Nanda: I’ve tried so many times. It’s like beating a dead horse. With him, everything needs to be in its proper place and I get it, I do, he’s right but I just feel like if I don’t do something crazy soon I’m literally going to go crazy myself.
Arla: You need release.
Nanda: I need to find me. I don’t know who the hell I am anymore…I know my role, my responsibility but I don’t feel like it’s who I am or who I should be. I should be more than this…I’m settling for just this…I have the house, the car, I love my kids, my husband is good for the most part, let’s be honest but I mean, what about me? Am I selfish here?
Arla: You need to make time for you.
Nanda: I’m so afraid that twenty, then thirty, then forty years will go by and I will be watching my own kids get married and living their own independent lives and I’m going to have nothing that I can hold on to for me and I won’t be able to get those years back ever again. (beat) How do I even begin to explain this to Jesse?
Arla: You guys talk right?
Nanda: We do but things have been distant for so long, each of us is doing our part like I said.
Arla: Do something special one night, get connected and open up to him. Look, I know he loves you and you love him. Try talking with him and he may surprise you. Tell him how you feel and what you’ve been going through. If he truly cares for you, he will help you pick up the pieces and be there for you.
Nanda: What if he isn’t?
Arla: Sorry to say but you will have to cross that bridge when it comes. You need to do you and from the sound of it if you don’t, you will hate yourself later for it. Trust your intuition. That’s the older Nanda telling the younger Nanda now to listen and make your move.
Arla: Yeah. it’s the only way. I’m here for you. You know that. I want to see you happy. I admire you so much for who you are Nanda. You are such a beautiful person. I wish I had half your happiness…
Nanda: Oh stop, you’re making me get so upset…
Arla: It’s true, you’re a great woman, an excellent mother, a loyal wife and my best friend.
Nanda: Yes, but you have a good life, you can’t say that you don’t.
Arla: Look, this is about you right now. I know you my whole life…you need this, I’ve sensed it and it took you long enough to tell me what I kind of already knew.
Nanda: Am I that obvious?
Arla: No, but I know. Talk to your him and let’s see how it all goes. Trust me.
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