PRAGNYA & I: A Personal Essay
Cliche it may be, but within the past 2 years, PRAGNYA has somehow touched every recess of my life, from my health to my relationships to my happiness. Even in the midst of my junior year, juggling more than I ever thought humanly possible and tired of everything that I used to derive peace from, prioritizing my few hours a week with my PRAGNYA family has been its own kind of balance, giddy happiness and serenity. Perhaps a better question is how has PRAGNYA not touched my life, because that is a short answer compared to the infinite ways PRAGNYA has made me a better and more balanced person. For almost a year now, I have been dealing with health flare ups that haven’t been properly identified or treated, truly exhausting me mentally and physically. That, along with the unbalanced workload I had taken on for the sake of maximizing my productivity during high school wreaked havoc upon my emotional bandwidth and mental health, resulting in me pushing away my family and friends while focusing on work and dwelling in negativity.
Since joining PRAGNYA, I have been able to clean out my pent up stress and angst by regularly seeing my friends either on Zoom or in person in a space of inclusion, compassion and love. Furthermore, every time I find myself getting lost in a spiral of frustration and unhealthy habits, my inner Kavitha Aunty and Kishan Uncle always pop into my head to remind me to breathe, to gratitude journal, to express my emotions, to connect to people I care about. How could I help being happier, more emotionally attuned and calmer when spending so much time and caring so much about a community that exudes this energy? I have also noticed that with the frequency of my time in PRAGNYA meetings, I have less imbalance, less intense rashes, less emotional turmoil all of which lead to betterment in my relationships, my mental health, my emotional balance, my physical health and more. At least once a week, in my gratitude log, PRAGNYA or one of my PRAGNYA friends makes an appearance, because joining this family is a gift which keeps giving and I am eternally thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a positive community. In terms of carrying the message forward, I am working with the Saint Francis Administration to officially celebrate April as Neurodiverse Celebration Month, inaugurating this event with speakers, decorations, cross-club events, workshops and a potential makeathon.
In the post-COVID future, college awaits me, and as I began looking forward to that horizon where I will be writing a new chapter of my life, I found myself leaning towards staying in the Bay Area next to my family and my PRAGNYA community. I hope to be able to, over the span of the next many years, take forward PRAGNYA’s message not only into my collegiate experience, but into the general community that I find myself in. Acceptance, celebration and integration should never be the rarities that they are in our modern society, and bringing that message forward through whatever I do in the future are of the paramount importance to me. Neurodiversity acceptance can and will be the norm in our community with our generation of Allies at the helm of this wave. And I hope to play my role in this and spread PRAGNYA’s message wherever I go in the future.