I don’t think you need to adjust so much to other people as you have to with yourself when you start living alone for the first time in your life. I feel like the last year has been just a series of repetitions in so many ways. I start. I hesitate. Come to a standstill. Stop. Now weep. Is that what it’s going to be again? Am I that hard to please? I might be jumping way too far.
So many things that I didn’t know about myself that I’ve only just discovered.
- I’m no good at boiling something in the microwave without having it spill over. I don’t know what it is about being watched when you’re trying to cook but it unnerves me. I creepily try to eat at the most odd hours now.
- I’m having a hard time not judging people only because I feel like I’ve constantly been under the radar over the past few days. Minutely scrutinized for inconsistencies. Been under watchful gazes. I’ve tried my best to be myself and I’ve done satisfactorily well, I believe. I’ve watched how I went from nervously touching my hair when talking to someone way older than me to resting my chin on my palm in rapt attention.
- I feel like I can see through some people and then again others are so difficult to read. People all over the world are mostly the same. It feels odd to say that as if I was going to move to another country and expect to meet a different breed of humans. We’re just all creatures of habit. It’s amusing the things one can get accustomed to.
- Somehow, I just can’t be sure if I have turned off the light when I leave the room. I’ve been going back and forth, upstairs, downstairs double the times to recheck. I don’t know what it means to care so much about these things. But I do know that being obsessive about them is certainly not a good sign.
- Living alone doesn’t bring so much freedom as it does responsibility. So easy to get confused with the two, even though they’re hardly the same.
- I must stop leaving the keys in the door.
- I’ve found that some people respect me far more than I deserve and I’m adjusting to that, too.
- I’ve found that I have a capacity to love far greater than the capacity to hate. Maybe when people continuously disappoint you, all that anger and distaste piles up like grime around the soft corners of your heart. I’m all cleaned up now. The rooms of my heart are open and I will accommodate as many as I can and keep them grounded in there.
- I can honestly say I’ve known money’s worth and always been wise about that knowledge. I’ve known all my life that I must spend reasonably and that money is important but not everything and definitely not more important than love, safety, genuine concern and graceful words. But only now do I feel that I could do so much more if I had that kind of money. The kind of money that doesn’t make you think twice before buying yourself a meal at the mall or debating about the size of your drink. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like I needed to make money as much as I do now.
- This transition has also diverted my inherent pessimism into a structured, rational pessimism. I’m less bitter even when I have good reason to go all out and be furious and hateful. I see people and I think about what their story might be and for a second when my gaze lands upon them, in that moment, they are important to me. They give me a reason to think beyond myself. So often been told that I’m self-centered and I have never been able to rightfully deny it, either. If this isn’t a first step of rectification, I don’t know what else is.
- My energies are being split into so many directions and there are a hundred things that feel like they’re begging for my attention all day and night. My source of nourishment for this crass sapping away of energy is always the person I love.
- Some people label me as very brave. Others use sophisticated terms such as courageous but really I’m anything but. If anything I’m reckless and I’m a little selfish when it comes to what I want in the moment. I believe that even in my worst moments I’ve been fortunate to have had a few things that kept me going. I know some people who can’t describe the light at the end of their tunnel and my soul crushes in pain when I imagine what it was like. Oh trust me, I know.
- Someone I met today told me they wanted a tattoo that read, “Everything happens for a reason.” I said to this person whom I just met a few minutes ago, “You have no idea how many times I’ve repeated and just how much I believed in those words in the last few weeks.”
- I’m having no difficulty in staying true to my roots. However, unlike the others I’ve met I have no qualms about cutting off my roots and crawling out of the ground, either.
- I’ve realized over the last few weeks that people can overwhelm you in a way that you feel like you’ve merged into a singularity. That the rest of the world is just a swirling ambiguous motion of fractals around you and that when this person moves, you move instinctively and when this person wants to pull away you emerge and grow separately like the newly sprouting branches of a tree. Together or apart, you’re still blooming. That’s what matters.
Write a short story about this, a novella maybe.
Those were the words my friend said to me before I left home. Words I’m going to repeat to myself over and over until I can’t do much else except sit down and write.
But not right now. Not when I’m so busy actually feeling. I feel like writing about a hundred different things everyday. Experiences and stories are being served to me on a silver platter. The urge to record every single happening is so high. I get inattentive at times when I’m talking to someone because I’m mentally writing down how the conversation went for future reference. I’m pretty sure this is a writer thing and I’m not alone.
This may or may not be an excerpt of what I’ll write but if, for no one else, this is for me and M. That’s all that matters anyway.
Time, I’ve come to understand, can be stretched. It can be expanded upon, when need be and it can also be paused, made to freeze if your need is that powerful. It’s hard for most people to agree upon this. But how can I not? Time has literally changed for me altogether as I’ve gone several hours back in time by leaving home.
Sooner than I expected I feel so much at ease with myself. Like this is who I’ve been all along but only allowed to exhibit in the company of a few trusted others. I feel comfortable with who I am and isn’t that ultimately the most important thing?
M is a part of me now that is simply indispensable. We’ve gone back in time, too, in a way. Reliving the start of us all over again. Only this time, we get to see and feel the same things at the same time. There’s no question of missed connections, misconstrued tones, confused (and very often, poor quality) signals. When you love someone from a distance you create a personality, an impression that is – in all imaginable ways – tweaked to your understanding of perfection. But the last few days have made me realize that there’s no such thing as perfect. I am so far from perfect. My definition of it can’t possibly be accurate. And maybe, we don’t really even need perfection.
I am aware that this is one of the best feelings there is. We’ve all been there at some point and the sweet scent of it lingers in our imagination forever. Being happy. In love. Finding joy in the smallest of things – a back rub, a shared meal, an inside joke. I feel other things, too, but cannot explain and that’s why I come back here. Where I can discover what I can’t quite say out loud.
Over the last few days, I’ve been asked how it feels to be away from home, whether I’m homesick, able to adjust, sleeping okay. It is all out of pure, genuine concern and it humbles me to such a great degree. But I almost wish they wouldn’t ask because my response is far from honest and it makes me so angry at myself, my life, a helplessness at the cards I’ve been dealt. Oh, but why would I miss home when I never felt at home? What a silly question is that? Must we just overlook the fact that there are some people who do not grow up with the privilege of knowing how to feel at home at home.
That’s the thing. I believe children that grow up or rather grow out of an environment they simply cannot adapt to but are forced to live in nonetheless, will always find the question “Do you miss home?” to be hostile. Almost an accusation, which will develop into resentment and ultimately confusion, “Why don’t I miss home?”. But how is it their fault? You see, when you’ve understood that you don’t fit in at home you subconsciously search for another safe place. For me, it was my books, it was words and all the spaces between them. It’s really not that different now, except that it includes M’s fingers and the spaces between them, too.
It’s only understandable that having a home, that very concept of being at home and having a place to live and leave becomes an in-built compass. Whatever comes next must be measured, paired up or brought to par with it. It’s the source of solace that has been yours inherently – without having to strive for – and therefore your right to look and expect it wherever you go. You know no other way of living. You are fortunate. However, what happens when that needle isn’t there, when there is no direction or expected standard, no means of understanding what you deserve.
It’s a disconnected, silvery, semi-porous, unevenly segmented, half-there, half-not-there feeling. Like when you want to rest your feet on the bottom of a swimming pool but you can’t quite do it. Your legs flap about desperately trying to reach out but it starts to feel like there is no landing, that it wasn’t there to begin with. You then have the choice to stay afloat or – like me when I was nine – you can try so hard that when you reach, you slip and almost drown. I never got into a swimming pool after that. I knew better than to wish for what was clearly beyond my reach. Once rescued – disoriented and cold – you can feel people peering down at you and hear their voices which are more eager than your own to know if you’re okay. I was okay.
Last night I cried quietly over the phone as many things came to my mind. I was crying out of joy. I was crying for the person I was and who I became and the tortuous road that lay in between. I believed that there’s only so much joy another person can bring to you and then you’re left to make do for the remaining part yourself. I was wrong.
A very safely nurtured dream came true a few days back. I saw my words being approached by complete strangers and being respected and praised immensely. I realized that the very nature of my writing that day – different from what it usually is – was still my writing and it made it to the Freshly Pressed page of WordPress. For people like me, this means everything and yet it stings just a tiny bit.
What followed in the coming few days was overwhelming, exhausting and so incredibly amazing; I guess there’s no way to entirely explain what I felt in words. Especially not in words. My views climbed and soared. My followers and like counts peaked. My phone was blown up with the incessant notifications and still goes off suddenly on a vibrating trip. But that’s not even the important part.
I received the kind of love writers can only dream about. More people than I can count told me how my writing reached to them. Some offered solace, some gave me their compassion, others promised to read, while the rest simply and honestly said thank you. There were few who said that I got into their minds and wrote their story. Which has to be what shocked me the most. I hurt all over wondering about these people I don’t know but their pain that I know all too well. It restored in me the faith that we’re never truly alone in the way we feel and think. Our experiences might be our own but there are people out there who have crossed those bridges at some point, faced the same demons and come out stronger. It’s a very big revelation to absorb when you spend most of your time cooped up in your worries and your tiny little life comprising of three or four important people. It’s an even harder blow to take when you have never been able to share your humiliating stories for fear of thinking it made you look bad.
One more reason I feel like I have to write this is because in retrospect if I had known this was the blog that was going to make the mark I would not have written some parts of it so harshly. The part about my mother. No, I wouldn’t challenge my integrity and change the facts. But I would’ve selectively imprinted on my readers a somewhat milder version of the pain I felt. The part about my mother. What part is it exactly? The part where I say how she hurt me? The part where I tell you that she only did what she thought was right? Or the part where I don’t talk about her?
Isn’t all of it in some indescribable way all her? Am I not, in the most inescapable reason simply because of her. Tied to her.
People wrote to me and said they couldn’t fathom what kind of mother does that to her child. They expressed their anger and confusion and tried to mimic my sense of betrayal, if only to form a kind of kinship with me, maybe to make me feel better, by virtue of their humanity. But I read those comments, I read the ones that said, “What kind of mother…” and I lost my cool. I couldn’t control the rage I felt on the inside at hearing someone else question my mother. I’m sorry but that is an inherent right that only I can wield.
Last night, I cried because I heard the most beautiful words spoken and they were all for me. There are elegies of love and then there are confessions. There is poetry and wit, letters of love and actions of compassion and infinite mediums of explaining what a person makes you feel and what you feel for them. The rainbows, the sunlight, the kisses sent via snail mail, the memories of the places you’ve seen together, the songs that are always about your lover. Does anything ever not speak directly to you when you’re in love? The unwavering respect that someone can give you for what you do is the most enchanting kind of confession there is. I cried because for the first time in my life, I didn’t have to wonder what it was like to feel complete. I was, in that moment, by all means…infinite.
So I’ve come to understand many things with this whole writing and going viral business. I read on a blog somewhere that you can be really good at what you do but writing is lately like high school and that it’s about who can shout the loudest. Not about who can write the best. I did that shouting into the Internet void and hoping to hit a gold mine thing. I did hit a few good shots and got published in lesser known places but it was not enough for me. I can’t self promote unless it’s absolutely essential. So I waited patiently for WordPress to come through for me, knowing that the odds were way too many. I think this happened to me at such a promising and beautiful time in my life and that instead of it being the sole reason for my joy – as I had initially hoped – it only adds to the pre-existing happiness in my life.
I believe that posts like this, are not going to be too frequent here. They take something out of me and I can only put so much of my life up on public display. I am afraid that one day I will have exhausted all of my personal experiences and that will be the end of it. I was bothered before because hardly anyone was reading my blog, now I’m on the opposite side and I’m still troubled. I patiently spoke to everyone who left their precious comments on my blog because you only get to bask in the sun so much and also because while it’s shining you mustn’t forget to make hay. I said to them that readers like them make everything possible. And it’s true.
Last night, I cried because this is my life now and it’s absolutely beautiful.
Being a huge fan of the bestselling author Khaled Hosseini, I will be careful not to be biased in the review of his latest book “And The Mountains Echoed”. After a six year long wait, Hosseini brings to us another tale, or should I say a number of intricately woven tales. Haunting stories of love, of longing, of jealousy and deep regret, tragedies that surpassed from brother to sister, to cousins to caretakers, the complex nature of family and the number of trials one undergoes trying to face up to your own kin.
The very first page of the book had my favourite Rumi quote and I cannot tell you how happy that made me. I knew that the journey the book was going to take me on was going to be of wrongdoings and rightdoings. I knew better than to expect misfortunes and excruciating grief. What I didn’t expect was the sudden moments of joy, the little moments that made me laugh, even when my heart felt crushed for the characters Hosseini had brewed in fine detail.
The story starts with a father narrating an Afghan fable to his children, Abdullah and Pari. Later in the story you understand the significance of that tale. You understand why it is that their father chose that night to narrate that specific tale. You realize that it is true, sometimes a finger must be cut to save a hand. Sometimes, and most of the times, the decisions we make aren’t ones that we want to. Also, there are questions which cannot be answered in yes or no.
“I now know that some people feel unhappiness the way others love: privately, intensely, and without recourse.”
Starting that night, a journey begins that will take you from Afghanistan to Kabul to Paris, across continents and oceans. You will find yourself grieving after a chapter only to be subjected to a totally new kind of sadness in the next. There’s hideous grief and suffering, there is also treachery but underlying it all there is love. There’s hope and even after everything else dies, that’s what lives on.
“The rope that pulls you from the flood can become a noose around your neck.”
Hosseini is a very gifted storytelller. There is something very fascinating about each and every story he was woven in this novel. His characters are distinct and each flawed in ways they know but do not accept. They make decisions and these decisions have long-lasting repercussions. Repercussions that transcend from generations to generations. Almost like a hand-me-down.
“Kabul is… a thousand tragedies per square mile.”
Underneath it all, there is the imagery of Afghanistan. The true picture and imagery that Hosseini never fails to create. I would also say that if you’re pinning your hopes too high based on his previous two books “The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns” you probably shouldn’t. This novel, it’s nothing like those two. There is some kind of safety in this book, something you know that is bound to happen before the chapter ends. In the previous novels, you never knew what to expect.
“Beauty is an enormous, unmerited gift given randomly, stupidly.”
After finishing the book there are some characters that stand out which would be Abdullah and Pari’s uncle Nabi, Nabi’s object of affection Nila Wahdati and of course, Markos Varvaris and the bond he has with his mother. I would say that the book is honestly a one-time read but that too, a difficult one because it can be so tragic and painful, you may want to put it down altogether. However, remember that Hosseini knows how to balance out the pain with momentary joy. He knows how to pull every string in your heart and he rightly does so in And The Mountains Echoed.
I like life better when it’s a fight. Every morning I have half the heart to stay in bed and read the day away. Half my life goes in making the other choice. I try to make sense of things that pass me by during the day. The change in weather, the people I meet, the stuff I eat.
If I was with you in an elevator, if we were strangers, I’d instantly have trouble breathing. I am brushing my teeth, I am looking in the mirror, I am eating my cereal but none of this feels real. As if my body no longer can perform basic functions.
In this abandoned town, I have a purpose but that, too makes no sense. We can accuse ourselves of being blind to the soft light breaking through our hearts. Or we can embrace its warmth and fill up the empty spaces inside. Either way, it’s an ordeal.
Happiness for me runs a stipulated time. It’s unfair so I try very hard not to make sense of that. I have the urge to start my entire life all over again with certain people. Some people are just too pretty. Or maybe I am just inquisitive and want to see what happens. I guess it’s because I want to write about it. Record it. Like save a trailer so I can give people a glimpse into what I felt. But I can’t. It’s impossible to make someone feel what you feel. The questions. The answers. The leaning back and forth. The unsteady fingers nervously tapping next to you. Even when I’m with you most of my thoughts are pre-occupied, trying to make sure what I should do to not make you leave.
So anyway, I’ll go home. I’ll read Thought Catalog. I’ll laugh at the 20-somethings list Ryan O’Connell writes. When I laugh, I’ll look next to me and realize I’m alone. And just like that, nothing will make sense again.