“When you come back
from going crazy
the return trip
is twice as far
and the world
you come back to
I remember back in 2010 a string of few months where everything went wrong. I remember not having a glimmer of hope and thinking that I would never get out of that. I also recall telling myself I would never feel so awful again. I took a mental snapshot of my state of mind and saved it in the archives for future resurrections, hoping and praying I wouldn’t need to.
Jump to four years later and give or take a few months, because I can’t remember the exact month. Because I didn’t want to remember. Because I tried so hard to forget.
This last week has been quite tidal. Actions have consequences and I suppose if by now I have not learnt to think before I leap, it’s probably too late. I’m afraid I have been reflecting over the previous year far too much. A friend congratulated me recently over a certain academic achievement and told me that 2014 is the year for me. Why I smirked and refused to accept that, most people will never know.
Another close friend experienced a very grave loss and I felt like I wasn’t able to comfort her quite right. The only thing that I have, my words, they aren’t coming out right. My words feel like strangers to me. You could say I’m beginning to feel incompetent in more than one way.
If you make decisions without considering the core aspect of your life, chances are you won’t be allowed to get anywhere. I like pushing unnecessary worries to the back of my mind. The rest of my head feels like a safe zone and I can comfortably get on with my day. Until the night comes.
A late night conversation in bed with your best friend makes you realize a thing or two. You know that you both have crossed a line. A line has been crossed. The territory of your thoughts you don’t let anyone ever see. Stories have been shared. Repressed emotions, released. Maybe you’re a sap, or you’re like me; a sap about selective things.
You figure out that there are Stories you’ve been telling yourself since you could remember faces and read the time. These are Stories that inhabit your very existence. You’re going to be dead a century later and with you the realm of your Stories shall end too. Neatly-wrapped Stories. Neatly wrapped Stories of passion and promise.
We’re all storytellers. Some of us simply possess a better imagination. Stories that we tell ourselves when we’re in the car, sitting idly in the middle of a traffic jam. Stories that we tell ourselves in the shower and at the dentist’s while staring at the fish tank. Stories that we’ve brewed along with our coffee. Stories we always knew and never fully understood.
Stories are interesting narratives. Have you ever wondered what it is about a particular Story that charms you? I would believe it to be the familiarity. It’s the stories that we’ve known all our lives. The safety, the caution, the sorrow and the hope that an unfamiliar story cannot, would not achieve.
What do you tell someone who asks you to write a Story that never happened? Or a Story you wish had never happened. You can be a smart mouth and tell them that they’re both overlapping most of the time. Remember back when you were always trying so hard. There was a face and you needed for Words, to distort that face. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Recall the moment under your eye’s magnifying lens when you told a Story just because you didn’t want to concentrate on that face. Which Story was it? Was it the most honest and heartfelt one you’ve never shared with anyone? Was it murky and had unrealistic edges, a tapestry with holes through which selective details kept slipping through.
We like to betray the Stories that support us. We betray ourselves, too and it gets tiring but we never stop. I wonder why people hold back so much. I wonder why we hold back at all and then complain that life’s never going to satisfy our innermost Stories. I’ll tell you what. We’re afraid that the Stories in our heads won’t coincide with The Story Of Our Life. The ones we sewed up in the velvet of the night. The ones that were invariably tarnished by dawn.
Spoiler: Do not read this if you’re an inherent pessimist, extremely hard on yourself, just lost your job or had a cataclysmic event destroy your self-esteem. I am warning you, it’s only going to make you feel worse.
I’m not here to please you or rub my hands all over your face, trying to wipe away the unfair trials of this world we live in. Sorry. Unfortunately, that’s not how things work. I’ve been told that I have a way of making people feel like ‘shit’ about themselves. People don’t understand that I can apply the same thing to myself too.
Do you remember the time when you decided to do something and someone marked you beforehand and told you that you just couldn’t? No? Okay, let me dig in and give you a real life example.
I was on vacation with my cousins at a hill station. It’s fair to mention I was in my smart-mouth, rebellious, adolescent phase. It was a mild afternoon and as the adults chose to settle for an afternoon reverie, youngsters decided to play under the sun instead.
I remember going up to my three cousin brothers and asking them if I could join in while they set the stumps to play a game of cricket. I remember them exchanging glances and staring at me funny. I remember not being amused at all. Finally, one of them spoke up and here’s what he told me, “You can’t play cricket with us. You’re a girl.”
I guess I stomped away from there. My reaction’s not the point to be studied here. Analyzing what I should or shouldn’t have done doesn’t make much sense. Besides, I would’ve been wrestling with someone far too little (in terms of intelligence) if I decided to start a fight. Even then I knew his logic was faulty and quite skewed. He wasn’t stating a fact, nor was he giving an ultimatum of sorts. He was just telling me without any kind of perfect knowledge about my capabilities that I couldn’t play cricket. That’s what hurt.
How often do you pin up your hopes on something and find yourself grappling at absolutely Nothing? Not even a few straws to play around with. Do you actively make Plans and follow The Steps To Sure-shot Returns but end up with a stark, glaring….Nothing. Just a void of absolute nothingness. Does it happen to you over and over, and over? Are you someone who does a test and ends up scoring something which says “above average” and when you convince yourself that that probably isn’t so bad but then you look around and see another hundred people at the same spot? Above average, my foot.
Maybe none of those things sound too bad to you. Maybe, you’re someone who doesn’t mind blending in. But what if you were someone who wasn’t cut out to just fade into darkness after the end of a play. What if you wanted to be the play-writer and wanted to be called back on stage for a round of applause, while everyone else scurried backstage, packing their things, ready to leave. Roles merely rehearsed and performed, no absolute originality in that, I suppose.
What if you knew deep down you were meant for greatness? But greatness seemed to find some kind of aversion towards you. Wouldn’t that suck?
Life isn’t fair. Everyone says that at the onset of Monday morning and ends up cursing it by the end of Saturday evening. Then enter the Optimists, “Hello! Everyone gets Sundays! Life may be unfair, but it’s unfair like that for everyone.” Picture this, you’re having a horrible time on Saturday evening and someone brutally took away your Sunday too. Is life still equally unfair? I’m afraid not.
Give and take a few rejections and we can all end up feeling pretty worthless. Come what may, there’s no shortcut to avoid it. You can’t be “excellent”, until you aren’t “above average”. And I’m not going to end this post on a happy note telling you to be hopeful and diligent, like that’s going to help you. I’m going to tell you that for the most part of your life you’ll feel worthless. Deal with it. If you deny that, I wonder who you’re trying to woo with your lies. Definitely not me, cause I’m taken.
“The difference between my darkness and your darkness is that I can look at my own badness in the face and accept its existence while you are busy covering your mirror with a white linen sheet…”
I have been having continuous, overwhelming thoughts about many plans that haven’t worked out lately. Yes, it feels like this year has already laid down the foundation. It’s telling me in bold flash cards: Sorry you, this is not going to be your year, now go stand there in the corner and whine because that’s what you get for unbounded expectations.
This Thursday afternoon, I realized the only person who is ever there at your pity party is yourself. You are the only you who can be you. So when you stop taking the blame for everything, start thinking that everything essentially goes wrong because of the pathetic dimwits that have been placed in your life in abundance, you begin to cover up your own flaws with a thinly coated sheet of paint. When a person tells you something you’ve done, you feel accused. When someone brings up your name in a sentence, you feel mocked. Every time you try to be precocious, you have someone just so intellectually inadequate to understand what it is you’re trying to prove.
A thought entangled deep inside me like a thread of candy floss stuck in a molar; finally came free: Maybe, just maybe the flaw is in you. Ever considered that?
“…The difference between my sins and your sins is that when I sin I know I’m sinning while you have actually fallen prey to your own fabricated illusions…”
I am a talkative person when I want to be. I narrate day-to-day stories the way a poet would describe the dusty, old attic in an abandoned house. My narratives, I daresay are exquisitely detailed. This, I have come to realize can be very painful for some ears. Of course, I could ridicule these humans for their lack of sheer fondness regarding the important things that I just have to talk about. But lately, I have been wondering if I should just give up and pretend that probably no one but me could care much about what I am saying. Also, for what it’s worth, life is (somewhat) easier now.
Someone can feel vibrant as a rainbow when they’re with you. They will do everything they can to make you feel that way about yourself. But you don’t. And it’s just there. Like an elephant in the room. The two wildly different interpretations about a single human being. Make that two elephants and a rather tiny room.
“…I am a siren, a mermaid; I know that I am beautiful while basking on the ocean’s waves and I know that I can eat flesh and bones at the bottom of the sea…”
Once you know how a person interprets your existence, you can manoeuvre the person as and how you wish. I don’t understand how everyone is so oblivious to this. No one does anything about this unseen, grim brutality. Except certain loud people, who yell and scream and make themselves heard, only to be labelled.
I daydream. I create situations in my head consciously and drift away into them, subconsciously. I found myself in a corridor of unending doors. It’s unnerving how every door held a different possibility. You were behind one of them. It is pretty people like you who always get to be on the receiving end. Unsettling people like me have to make all the difficult choices and wield my way through balustrades of difficult emotions to get to you. So I stand in the corridor of what seems like the awry part of a horror movie where fear finally starts to jolt you.
I try every door and time is running out. And I don’t know what it even means to go through this ordeal anymore. But get to you I must, is what I tell myself. Somewhere in that infinitesimal moment when I step through a door and unsurprisingly don’t find you there, somewhere between that panic and remorse and self-induced disappointment, I feel a certain reassurance. Okay really, what can be reassuring about not finding what you’re looking for, I ridicule myself every time.
“…You are a white witch, a wizard; your spells are manipulations and your cauldron is from hell, yet you wrap yourself in white and wear a silver wig.”
It is the last door. You have got to be here. I step in hastily and step through. The walls collapse. My sighs linger, like smoke in the air. Unwanted yet somehow resilient. It was in finding you that I realized I needed to find me. The reassurance I sensed in stepping through every door was that I will always have one person, the only one I will ever need to walk me through all doors of life. And that is unsurprisingly, me.
“As long as you want almost never is, as long as you want, or it is much longer.”
There are things which drive you to despair, but those are also the things that have you reeling back to happiness. People will think what they want to think. Regardless.
There are enough Monday mornings and mucky roads to bring you down. Oh and those conversations don’t mean anything a few years later. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. There is ample time for you to wonder about a certain celebrity and their homosexuality. We all need distractions. I have plenty. You are one of them, which is a tragedy in its own.
This month I have been spiralling down in my addiction of strange, unknown indie movies which leave me on edge. I have also found some therapeutic insights at odd hours in the night. Avoiding confrontations is fun. Reasoning with yourself isn’t. Whenever anyone talks about trust, I instinctively start thinking about Titanic – the movie.
Somewhere deep inside everyone is that voice which makes you reason. No it hasn’t gone on vacation, yes you need to stir and shake it up a bit before use. It’s definitely there. The paradox is, no matter what you do and more often than not, people leave. They leave because they want to stay.
“Life is made of fear. Some people eat fear soup three times a day. Some people eat fear soup all the meals there are. I eat it sometimes. When they bring me fear soup to eat, I try not to eat it, I try to send it back. But sometimes I’m too afraid to and have to eat it anyway.”
I sit and think sometimes, is it possible that every good and relatable piece of literature has already been written? Is there anything more any of us futile humans can add to it? Good ideas strike me best when I am travelling. Watching people is the most interesting activity in the world.
I am in a car. The world outside is grey, dark grey and blue. I have a memory. It’s the earliest memory I can remember. Let me tell you how it goes.
I was an awkward little girl, holding her mother’s hand and walking to kindergarten. This isn’t a made-up, clichéd story to amuse you. So it is not my first day. It is somewhere down the line. The first few days, you are trying to understand socially acceptable behaviour, learning to memorize alphabets by sounds. The very first formative years of your life. Your very first baby steps into the world of making and faking friendships. For every kindergartener, stationery was important. The fancier your stationery, the cooler your social stats and higher the chances of you doing better in exams. I remember my mother telling me that I should take care of my things. She never said anything about not lending them to my friends. She didn’t warn me about friends who didn’t care to return them.
After seeing my stationery items missing on a regular basis, my over-protective mother started writing my name on things, wherever possible. What she didn’t infuse in me at that point was that I needed to be careful about who I befriend. I needed to guard myself. Because sometimes that’s what people do. They take things. They take and take and don’t return. They persistently say that they owe you but you just can’t bring them around to settle the debt. You get tired and you can’t make them reciprocate. Nor can you make them return those things because I mean, how can you give back someone their own feelings (especially when you don’t have any)?
I know you think this story isn’t going anywhere. But it is a memory, it doesn’t have to go. It stays embedded in a strand of your nerves, ready to alight at the strangest of times. Memories are baffling. They aren’t like stories. You don’t have to follow the fixed storyline. You can alter them. You can ponder and ponder and continue pondering till they stop making sense. Or you can derive something completely new from a memory you thought you barely remembered. That’s what memories are like, you can cherish them, you can despise them, fear and loathe them, you can try to forget, you can also try to relive them. Memories cannot be elucidated in words. That’s the beauty of memories. Whether you want it or not, they are just there.
Although this is my memory, you are free to imagine that I was born with an innate and overwhelming capacity to love and share and give and give selflessly. I will also let you conclude that it was this innate desire to care in which I drowned ever so rapidly. Ugh, I can barely remember that person I used to be. I alienated it and now it’s gone. Hurray!
So my mother soon started questioning me about my absent-minded habits and whether I had kleptomaniacs for friends. Of course, the latter was implied. As over-protective mothers usually are, she wanted me to introduce her to the friends I sat with in class. So she could do something about my constant missing stationery. She even made me carry a really pretty, pink pencil which was sure to catch everyone’s eye. I didn’t know that she had a plan. But then again mothers always do.
As you can now predict, my friend borrowed the pencil. Borrowed it and used it. And quietly kept it on her person. Kept it for so long, I even forgot until I reached home and my mom’s plan unfolded in full fury. She demanded I give her a name. At that moment, I lied. I lied and told her that I lost it. I did not give her my friend’s name. I wouldn’t dare. That’s not what real friends do, right? Even in that tender age I chose to protect my friend. What was I thinking? My friend would never know about my heroic feat. What WAS I thinking?
I have reached my destination. It’s time to put this memory to rest. I alight the car and wonder how different this memory would’ve turned out had it happened 18 years later. Hell, I wouldn’t even think twice to take a name. Friends are never stationary. I was done drinking the fear soup because saying you’re friends is easy. Being friends is not.
How much of our lives are spent in forgiving the ugly? The ugly in me and the ugly in you. What is it that leads us to relentless hurting and unselfish forgiving? People have a lot of patience when they are not asked to wait. Every passing second, we are waiting. Waiting on something beautiful and wondrous to happen and to leave us forever changed. Very phenomenal, of course.
Everyone wants magic and chocolate fudge. All the time. But I want more. And I am awkward about my expectations. But I will forgive myself for that, too.
It’s almost 2am. This year is ending. A lot of breakthroughs but many more standstills.
Average will never satisfy me. Yet all I yearn for at the moment is ordinary, stable and dependable.
This is my introduction. I’m hoping someone out there likes it. I’m trying to be attractive here. Or in this case, horrible. I must remind you, my expectations are awry.
I travel and thoughts are thought. I sleep and dreams are dreamt. Then someone asks me, “What is it that you want with life?” So I mutter incoherently and I’m trying to smile, and they’re trying to smile.
The way the curtain blows with the wind tonight. All those rusty sounds it makes. I won’t tell you how much it makes my insides ache. I won’t tell you how long I’ve waited for this or if I’ve waited at all. And when the time comes to broach the elephant in the room, I’ll pretend that it was all a matter of nothing new. No thing that isn’t new.
When the smell of an old book overwhelms me I won’t tell you how I think about a fireplace with honeysuckle wood. There are shadows everywhere. The lamp in my room makes disturbing images on the walls, I won’t tell you how it petrifies me. Because let’s be real, it doesn’t. I’m too proud for that and anyway you’re not here. You’re my best friend and you’re not here. Just so you know, that isn’t right.
I don’t know why it’s so easy to fall in love but so difficult to just be friends. Is it so complicated to pursue someone with the sole objective of winning them over, for a considerable amount of time, only to offer no romance or sex in return? But tell me you wouldn’t want that. I dare you.
So while we all pretend to be really afraid of getting into so-called compromising friendships, we can go about doing every reckless thing in the world to get someone to romantically adore us. Also, enlighten me as to how many people must you successfully move on with and what exactly are you trying to validate anyway. The debauchery of getting more and more people to like you, is the conquest of getting no one to actually like the real you.
So I think these thoughts.
I spot my favourite colour. My watch stops working. I have a headache. I witness my birthday end. What I mean is, I think these thoughts all the time, it’s not healthy but that’s nothing new.
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.