Sometimes you wish for something so hard and then it actually comes true. Has that happened to you? Against countless odds and still, your wish actually came true. Does it count as being lucky or should you be careful about hitching your hopes up too high? I’ve been thinking these thoughts for a while now. I’ve been thinking so much about it and I’ve also been trying not to think at all.
So much has happened since the last time I was here, blogger friends. So. Much. Where do I start from and how do I explain any of this? I am not sure. But I want to take it one step at a time. Keep my emotions in check. Make sure I’m not borrowing more happiness than I deserve to have in my share.
I can’t write like I used to. I’m putting that out there so you can decide whether to read further. This will be another of those journal style entries and while I could’ve just used my diary I cannot risk anyone laying their hands on these thoughts, again. I can, however, trust people I’ve never met. It’s something I do effortlessly.
I remember reaching a point in my life where I kept telling myself that if a particular thing was possible, I would do this and if this particular thing happened then I could do that and the conditions and clauses were infinite. I remember that life had become monotonous only running on that little proverbial speck of light at the far end of the dark tunnel. An endless pile of possibilities while I sunk down deeper and deeper and pretended I was fine – hopeful even. I did everything that was asked of me and I remember all too well – even though I wished I didn’t – what I received in return.
But now it’s time to forget everything I remember.
Maybe someday when I want to go back and experience pain and disappointment and need to write something of the sort I can resurface those memories. Maybe someday they’ll actually be useful.
But not now. Not when I’m this happy. Not when I’m finally getting everything I’ve wanted for so long.
I was on the phone with a friend the other day and I told him, “Everything worked out. This is really happening.”
He replied, “I’m actually happy for you.”
I said, “…okay, thank you?”, not sure about the tone in his voice.
He clarified, “I’m never really happy for anyone but I mean it, I’m happy for you.”
And I said to him, and to myself, really, “Everything is perfect except my writing. I can’t write.” I took a pause and added, “Though I’ve been reading a lot.”
He and I discussed it a bit more but I couldn’t make sense of it and changed the topic soon enough.
I think about writing a lot. More than I actually write I spend hours on end thinking about it. The words float around in my mind and it’s my personal heaven right there. Writing was what helped me and writing was what brought me ashore and it was writing that ultimately led me to the best things in my life. It’s hard to bring up anything else to par with it. Yet, I told my friend quickly that I was reading a lot and it wasn’t me trying to backpedal. When I can’t write, I read. Is that supposed to be some sort of consolation to the sad fact that my writing is no good? Does that even come close? I’m not sure if that makes sense. If my reading compensates for the part of my life where I’m unable to write well, is it a much truer love than writing?
Maybe going back to a repressed memory will help me understand.
When I was younger I started reading, collecting and hoarding books while children my age were going out and being social after school hours. Sometimes I remember being asked how I had spent my evening and I realized that the response was the same, every time. With my books. I grew up with words more than I did with people my age. I grew up in different times and different places through the escape provided in the book realm, obviously I felt no need to go anywhere. When I reached an age where subtle romance and other emotional references in books started making sense, I desired to write them down for keeps. I picked up sentences and emotions behind them and started jotting them down as I read them. I wanted to come back to these words and inspect them when the time was right and when I felt the way the characters in the books did. I knew better to keep these notes and pages concealed because my mother would not have been pleased to find them. The reasons for which are so fragile, so complicated and difficult to make anyone understand especially if they haven’t met her. However, soon enough she found the pages.
The scribbles of words and expressions of emotions so much more mature and deep than she expected I was reading. I remember sitting frozen as she put on her glasses and read each and every thing and glanced up at me once with an expression that guaranteed me that I was in a lot of trouble. Who would’ve thought reading and wanting to preserve what you read would be such a heinous crime? I couldn’t think that way then. As far as I knew, I was so scared at what would happen next I couldn’t move a muscle, afraid that I’d wet myself. (I had poor bladder control when I was younger.) While she read through all of them, handling the pages with no care whatsoever, I knew something inside me broke. It was over. Years later I understood reading was my first love. The heartbreak I felt when she stood up, tore the pages into bits and pieces and burned them on the stove will never equal to anything any mortal being has made me feel. In that moment I knew, I didn’t need to copy things other writers wrote. Because my mother would find them and throw them away and probably stop me from reading completely. Which she did, for a while. (Though, I started reading secretly at school again and no one really stopped me there.)
I wasn’t reading anything forbidden but I wonder what my mother thought I was going to do with words. She knew, probably, that words have unprecedented power. I then read books and tried to mark subtle dots in between alphabets and scratches on pages that I wanted to go back to. I then read books and memorized things in my mind because I knew my mother couldn’t get inside my head and tear up my memory. And then suddenly, it came to me that I didn’t have to depend on someone else’s words. I didn’t have to hide and read books when I could one day, write my own.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been so unimaginably happy but I couldn’t come back here to establish that on my blog. I’ve come here in the past and ranted and shared my apprehensions so many times. I’ve even had to leave this place and come back with a different identity and conceal parts of me after that, but I’ve always been around. Is writing about happiness really all that difficult? Why is my writing so afraid of being found out? Am I really never going to be able to write anything good enough and always hide myself behind this anonymity? Was my mother only trying to protect me from eventually realizing my inadequacies, the portent of failures to come? Then again, as Rita Brown rightly put it, “A writer’s life is not designed to reassure your mother.”
A few weeks back I finished Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking and my life was put back into perspective. I thought to myself, “I’m glad I can’t write. I’m glad my writing isn’t good enough now because I can appreciate her words so much better. I can see that her sentences are so fluid and so perfect and her thoughts are untainted by the way other people think and express themselves.” I could connect to how Didion felt the pain of being separated from her husband, also a writer. I felt tears of tremendous joy pour down my face when John, her husband, read out a passage of her book for her on her birthday and after closing the book he said, “Goddamn. Don’t ever tell me you can’t write. That’s my birthday present to you.” I reeled over when Didion expressed the fact that it took her a year after John’s sudden death to realize he’s not coming back. I took excerpts of various pages of this book as I read it and sent them to the person I love, also a writer. I was able to explain, in whatever way I needed to satisfy myself, to another person how words move me and how I connect with them. This person has, on several occasions made me realize that my love for words, for books, for book people, for random internet writers is completely sane. He said once, and I quote, “I will champion your literary appetite’s every whim.” To be able to simply share pages with someone of a book I lived vicariously through is a joy I can’t see being compared to anything else and I couldn’t have done it if I was immersed in my writing.
I think that sometimes you spend your entire life searching for people who understand you and then you find someone who does and everyone else in your life suddenly starts falling short to this standard. I explained to my friend that leaving home like this does not affect me because in my heart and mind I had already left this place long back. People ask me if I’m going to miss them and while I know that I will go back and think of them sometimes, I will reminisce and recall fondly moments with them that made me who I am today but I will not be able to imagine going back just for the sake of those things. Home was a place I never fit in fully. Although I was sure that one day I would leave, the difference is I was not sure if I’d have anywhere to come back to. I read somewhere an odd poem of sorts which went along the lines:
How to be unloved
Lose all family,
By chance or by coincidence…
I think about those words now and I wonder if it was chance or coincidence or it was something else entirely. Destiny, maybe? I told my friend that there comes a point in life when for better or for worse a family is finished. I guess finding a safe place in someone’s heart is enough family anyone can need. And finding someone that inspires your writing, someone that respects it and believes in it even when you can’t find the courage to do so, enough love anyone can need.