Story of good over evil...

Holi is on March 8th this year. It has always been my least favourite Indian festival/holiday. Growing up, I dreaded Holi. As Holi would approach, I would start retreating into my shell. I would make excuses the day off on why I was staying in my room and not coming out. I would refuse to meet, greet, or play with anyone including family, friends, cousins, neighbours, uncles, aunties, and strangers! I realized early on that Holi was one festival where an individual's choices - at least mine - were not respected. A healthy dosage of patriarchy meant I was forced into activities that made me uncomfortable but I had to adhere to them because it was Holi

I had significant trauma associated with Holi that mostly revolved around: 

In fact, I met my husband for the first time on Holi in 2002. And the memory he has of me from that day is of me telling him not to come near me with colours. I made it very clear that I would not engage in playing Holi and would leave if anyone came as much as within 10 feet of me with colours. 

Cut to 2008 and I was suddenly very excited to celebrate Holi. I cooked traditional food associated with Holi, I went out and bought colours, I bought water guns, I bought water balloons - the whole nine yards, basically. And that too to celebrate Holi during the month of March - which in Chicago was still a cold month (as compared to India when it starts to warm up in March). It took everyone by surprise - my husband, my friends, my cousins, my parents, my brother, EVERYONE! My husband couldn't quite understand what had changed that caused me to be so excited about a festival that I had basically hated all my life. So, I reflected with him and here's what had changed: 

You get the drift. I was in control. And when I was in control, this did not have to be a trauma-inducing holiday. 

Today, I especially like celebrating the holiday with my niece and nephew so I can share Indian culture and traditions with them. Their colourful, happy faces are a reminder that when you overcome trauma, even the things you hated before can be joyful. 

How have you turned a formerly traumatic situation into a thing of joy? Have you? Can you?