I did a bit of research recently while I was preparing for a seminar on marriage, love and romance (which explains the subject of my previous post as well). I read the book Why Men Don’t Listen & Women Can’t Read Maps and came across a finding (by Dr. Helen Fisher) about how there are three emotions in the brain during the “love process,” which occur in three consequent stages.
The first stage is lust. We all know what lust is so that doesn’t need much explanation. This is basically the initial stage of physical, nonverbal attraction. Men are completely blinded by testosterone when they meet a woman they’re attracted to, so they’re easily led into this phase of the love process, and they believe that the woman they’re with is ‘The One’. However, this lust phase eventually dries out and reality kicks in; this is when they realize that they’re not really all that interested in this woman who previously seemed so exciting and exotic.
For a woman, however, the link between emotion and reason are better connected in her brain so she’s able to think more rationally about whether a guy is right for her. When she decides he’s not, she ends the relationship. This is why most relationships are ended by the woman, leaving the man completely confused.
The second stage is infatuation. This is the stage when the person you’re attracted to keeps popping up in your head and you can’t seem to stop thinking about him/her. Infatuation is so strong an emotion that it can lead to extraordinary despair when you are rejected by the person you’re infatuated with. The good news, however, is that the infatuation stage is temporary – it lasts only for about 3 to 12 months. After this stage, you move onto the next and final stage, attachment, which is when you create a deeper bond with the person you’ve been dating. This is probably around the time when most people decide to get married.
So what’s the take home message from this post? I’d say wait for the initial “spark” to die down, for the butterflies in your stomach to settle – basically for the infatuation stage to fade away – before you decide to spend the rest of your life with a person. You may have to wait for around a year to reach this stage, but slow and steady always wins the race, right?
You might be thinking by now that I’m being a total cynic for preaching this to you, or that I’m not a romantic at heart. I’ll have you know that I’m a huge romantic at heart. I believe in true love and I believe that there’s a soul mate for me out there somewhere. But one thing that studying Psychology has definitely taught me is that it’s always better to be skeptical and to think about things from every angle possible.
In this case, Psychology has taught me to take off those rose-tinted glasses and take love with a pinch of salt…Even though I technically don’t even know what love means exactly.
According to that article (plus some other reading up I did), there are parts of our brain that are activated when we’re in love and parts that are deactivated.
Ever wonder why you can’t think straight and make rational decisions when it comes to the person you love? And why you can’t seem to spot a single flaw in him/her when the rest of the world sees it? Both of these are because the part of your brain that controls your judgment (the frontal lobe) “switches off” when you’re in love, or at least when you’re thinking about the person you love.
Wondered why people have those silly grins on their faces and why they seem so annoyingly happy all the time when they’re in love – like as though they’re high all the time? That’s because the part of their brain that controls negative emotions (the mid temporal cortex) is deactivated when they think of the person they adore the most. This is also because the neurotransmitter, Dopamine (a chemical released in the brain), is at higher levels for these people, and Dopamine is linked to euphoria, desire and addiction – all things that are felt when one takes opioid drugs like cocaine!
The hormone adrenalin also plays a part in love – this is the hormone that makes our mouth go dry, our heart race, and palms sweat when we see the person we’re attracted to. Adrenalin is also the hormone released when you’re engaged in a physically arousing activity, which explains why people who go through frightening experiences together suddenly believe that they’re totally attracted to one another!
More and more research is being done on this interplay between love and the brain, but the basic message from all of this is probably:
Quite sad, isn’t it? That you might think you love a person with all your heart but it’s all just a result of the basic biological stuff that goes on in your brain (to put it in very crude terms). But I absolutely love findings like these. I’m a little worried about whether I’ll start spouting out findings like these to my future boyfriend and chase him away…
Oh well, if he sticks around even after I say stuff like this, I’d say he’s a keeper.
Finally had a breakthrough with my writing today! I don’t know what happened. It was like that clogged-up filter in my brain suddenly got cleared out and I was hit by new ideas and stuff. I even managed to get a whole two pages written (which is huge progress for me at the moment). Anyone who’s reading this post will probably react like this:
But I don’t care! I’ll be excited enough for everyone :D
We walk along the road. He takes my hand in his, and I wonder if this will be the last time that we hold hands. As if reading my mind, he squeezes my hand and I look up at him. He’s smiling down at me lovingly, but I know that his heart is crying inside. I see the sadness in his eyes. Tears well up in my own and his smile fades. He gently cups my face in his hands and wipes away the tears that are now streaming down my cheeks. His soothing voice keeps telling me that it’s going to be okay, but I know that nothing will ever be the same.
I wrote this back in 2006. I was 14. I have no idea what was running through my head when I wrote this, because I definitely had no boyfriend back then. If I wrote this now - as a 21-year-old - it would be more believable (even though I still have no boyfriend, but let’s leave that aside for now). But at 14? Did I have that active an imagination back then?
Sigh. I don’t know what goes on in my own head sometimes.
Her plump little fingers move in a surprisingly graceful yet mechanical fashion as she picks up an array of flowers from the large basket in front of her and strings these flowers together with thread. The red glass bangles on her arms make a clinking sound with every motion she makes with her hands. Her mind seems elsewhere as she goes about her work, a distracted expression clouding her aging round face. The wrinkles on her forehead and around her eyes deepen when she selects a flower from the basket, and relax once again as she strings it along with the rest.
It has been a hot day, and the sudden chill of the evening provides respite for those who, like her, sit along the roadside and try to earn a living. After a long day at work, her graying hair is starting to come loose off its bun and frames her chocolate face in a wild disarray. She talks to no one as she continues to work, stopping occasionally to wipe the sweat off her forehead. Now and then a small boy – her grandson? – runs around her, shouting in glee and interrupting her work, causing her to shush him in a hoarse but loud voice.
The occasional passerby slows down as they walk by her, trying to take in the heady scent of the flowers in her basket – a scent that she has become immune to. Some stop and buy flowers from her, which she measures out in arm lengths before snipping the seemingly never-ending string with a pair of scissors and handing them their purchase. She accepts the money they give her and touches the notes to her eyes in quiet prayer before drawing out a metal box and placing the money inside. And then she goes back to work.
I was looking through what I’d written in the past few years (to draw some inspiration to write) and found this essay I wrote back in 2010. Thought I’d post it here.
I’ve been on an indefinite vacation from college for almost two weeks now because of the whole Tamil Nadu-Sri Lanka issue that’s been going on here (if you don’t know what I’m referring to - the Almighty Google has answers to all your questions). It was definitely a much-needed break for me, and I found myself partying every night, getting drunk, and hooking up with random people… well, I found myself doing all that in my head, at least. In reality, I was enjoying my time relaxing at home, catching up on TV shows, annoying my cat, playing the piano, and pigging out on junk food.
Well, the second week of this ‘indefinite’ vacation is coming to an end and I’m starting to have ambivalent feelings about it now, because prolonging this indefiniteness will mean that once college does reopen, I’m going to be buried 6-feet-under a pile of work, which would defeat the whole purpose of me taking a break from the stress.
Anyway, as of now I’m trying to make the most of my free time (which is not really supposed to be free, considering I have studying and all that crap to do). Just this week, I found out that one of my short stories has finally been published in a book! I was one of the 20 winners of a short story contest back in February 2012, and they’d promised to publish the book with all the winners’ entries by April 2012. They’re only a year late, but hey, at least I’m finally a published writer! :D
I went back to read the story that I’d submitted for the contest, and now I’m thinking that I could have written it way better than I originally had. I mean, I liked the story and all, but I probably could have made more changes to it (ironic, considering that my story is called ‘Change’). Oh well, I guess a writer is never satisfied with his/her work, right?
What was the point of this post again? I don’t know really, but I think I began writing this with the thought that, “I need to write something or I’ll go crazy.” You see, I’ve been stuck with the dreaded Writer’s Block for what seems like ages. Every time I sit at my laptop to type a couple of chapters or even only a few more paragraphs of my stories, I find myself just going blank. I can’t get out more than a line or two at a time. It’s like there used to be a fully functional filter between the part of my brain that produced ideas and the other part which formed the ideas into logical sentences and allowed me to write very nice stuff, but now that filter has gotten clogged and dirty and has cut off the connection between the two. So basically all these ideas are swirling around in the first part of my brain, saying “Get me out! Get me out!” but the other part is just not getting the message.
An indefinite vacation. An indefinite writer’s block.
Sigh. I don’t even know if I made any sense in this post. I usually don’t make any sense, but it feels nice to just get out whatever’s in this clogged up brain of mine from time to time. So here’s another random post for all the millions of readers I have out there (HA!).
Any ideas on how to unblock a writer’s block?
I used to think you were so bubbly and cheerful.
I used to believe you were so happy with life.
I used to think that your shy demeanor was
Only a part of your sweet personality.
I believed that all this was what made you uniquely you.
I never knew that it was only a mask –
A mask for all that pain you stored inside.
I never saw the signs, never saw the warnings,
Not until you opened up to me.
Only now do I see everything.
I see those eyes glisten with unshed tears,
When you think no one else is looking.
I see you smile at everyone, telling them you’re happy;
But no one else knows the truth.
Only now do I see everything.
I see your scars, both physical and mental.
I see how broken you are on the inside.
I see how hard it is for you to keep it together,
And I see how hard you’re trying to fight.
I love you, my dear one.
I love you with all my heart and soul.
I will stand by your side and will help you fight
And I will help you get rid of the demons that haunt you.
That day will come, dear one.
That day will come –
The day when you will be free from all the pain and sorrow;
The day when you won’t feel like you need a release from that pain;
The day when you will be able to laugh with true happiness and joy.
The day will come when you can take off your mask
And show the world that you don’t care what they have to say.
That day will come.
Just believe in yourself and stay strong, dear one;
And say that you will wait for that day with me.
Because I’m by your side, through the thick and thin,
And I’ll be by your side forever.
Dedicated to someone who means a lot to me. You know who you are.
When they said that the M.Sc. degree at my college would be “challenging”, they weren’t kidding. I think “challenging” is just an euphemism for “so stressful that you think your head will burst.” Honestly, I haven’t lost this much of sleep since the end of my final year of B.Sc. Everyone in my class is falling sick, mostly due to the stress. These are what we call psychosomatic symptoms - like when your mental state affects you physically. I got a horrid headache yesterday and started feeling so nauseous after a while that I couldn’t study for the exam I had today. My mum claims it was because I was overworked, and I have to agree because as soon as I let myself relax for like half an hour last night, I felt much better.
To think that I’m already this stressed out at just the beginning of my M.Sc. course is a little terrifying, to be quite honest.
I want to write a story or a poem or something that’s creative, but my head just feels blocked from anything remotely creative. So that’s why I’ve resorted to just venting out my random feelings here on Tumblr. It’s somewhat satisfying to here that tap-tap-tap sound while I type this out. Therapeutic even. Think I’ll do this more often.