Bon Voyage, Rory

My tears have almost dried and the sinking feeling in my chest is subsiding to numbness, slowly and steadily, although my heart feels as hollow as ever. The jar of peanut butter (because I was out of nutella) didn’t help me as much as I thought it would. Gilmore Girls ended. Rory left for her first job. Logan was left brokenhearted. Luke kissed Lorelei. Now what?

That’s the question that has been haunting my life over the past few weeks. It is ironic that I finished Gilmore Girls at this close in my life, this ending of a chapter, this dawning of an era. Gilmore Girls has taught me so much about love and life, about family and hope and every other thing that matters. I fell in love over and again with Dean, Jess, Logan, Luke, Christopher (until he left Lorelei), Sookie, Lane, Jackson, Zack. I fell in love with the complexity of Emily Gilmore, the complicated relationship she has with Lorelei and all that it brought with it. Richard Gilmore taught me about pursuing what you want and not letting go of opportunities. I partied with Logan and the Life and Death Brigade, fell in and out of love with him, swooned at his grand romantic gestures and most of all, appreciated him for becoming the man he grew up to be. Rory taught me that even the best of the best can have a melt down and not everything they touch has to turn to gold all the time. But getting back on track after life pushes you down is what defines the strength of your character and it is what I wish to possess.

I was at Yale with Rory, my favourite place on the planet, walking those streets of New Haven with her as I did last summer, the best summer of my life. And Lorelei taught me that sometimes the unexpected can grow to be the best thing to ever happen to you. Gilmore Girls gave me hope and courage and now that it has ended, I don’t know what to depend on anymore. Where do I run to when I want to escape?

I’m forgetting all of it. I’ve forgotten everything. Life is taking its toll on me. Lately, all I feel is the piercing hollowness of everything. The superficiality of relationships has been gripping my soul. Nothing has meaning anymore. What is anything even worth if it is just a mode of convenience for everyone, bent according to their whims and fancies and desires? My biggest problem is that when I reciprocate the same behaviour, the same fakeness they subject me to, guilt eats me alive, for that is not who I am. That is not who I want to be, although the alternative brings me pain.

Life is a conundrum I do not understand. Nothing means anything, and looking for meaning in people’s actions and the universe’s will is pure foolishness. Expecting reciprocation for your sincerity is stupid. The world is grey and I no longer have Gilmore Girls to turn to. Everything seems bleak and blank.

 

© That Girl in the Fray, 2016. All rights reserved.

A Tribute to all the Friendships that didn’t work out

Reaching the closing chapters of a novel makes you reminisce and analyze all that you’ve gone through, which in my case is quite involuntary. For now that the bedlam has subsided, I can honestly look at all that has happened and truly try to find meaning in the circus that was these last five years. So, this post is going to be me attempting to unveil the design of the cosmos.

Just like anyone else, I’ve lost and found and lost so many people in my life, the major part of which occurred these past five years. And as I sit and make a mental list of all these doomed friendships in my head in alphabetical order, I can’t bring myself to regret any of these relationships. Would I have been happier had I found the people I’m friends with at the moment earlier on in my life? Duh. But the thing is that I wouldn’t have been the same person that I am now without all those cogs in the wheel, and thus, wouldn’t have the same relationship with my friends that I have now. It was necessary to have been through it all.

Another thing that I’ve realized is that there isn’t a single former compadre that I’ve not had moments with, those beautiful moments that defined the friendship and some of which, still bring a smile to my face. It was amazing to have been close to such a different array of people, as they came into my life and walked away, for now I have a sharper insight into people. I would like to believe that I’ve learnt something good from all of them, imbibed traits of their character that attracted me in the first place. Moreover, I’ve learnt a lot about my own self having been through it all: what ticks me off, what makes me happy, what I look for in another person, how I judge people, how I let other people’s judgments affect me, what I like in a person, what I don’t like in a person, what not to say to a person, what never to say to a person, and the list is endless.

It’s like what they portrayed in the last episode of Cheese in the Trap: you have to keep dealing with the same types of people throughout the phases of your life. People are going to use you,  break you, step all over you, hit you in your gut at your weakest point and blame you for all of the shit, for the world is not an easy place to live in. You have to adapt. And that is what I’ve drawn from the last five years.

Almost all of these friends turned strangers are persona non grata in my life, but I’m thankful to all of them for everything. There are always as many sides to a story as the number of eyes affixed on it, and mine is just one of the numerous. All the people who fall under this category will have their own tales of woe against me, which in most cases will be valid, but at the end the prognosis would be the same: it didn’t work. These stories will always be lessons in the dark that will remind me of who I was and who I want to be.

23 Poems Before I Turn 23: Alone

Poem number 5

Alone by Edgar Allan Poe

My love for the dark is no secret, so it was only befitting that I fell in love with Edgar Allan Poe’s work when I first came across him as an English Honors student in college. His Gothic style and chilling tales are scattered with chunks of gold that illuminate every word and every sentiment. I came across this particular poem when I read The Essential Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe a few years ago, although basking in candor I must admit I never could quite finish the mammoth book. I do plan to get back to it someday soon.

The Poem

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—
Then—in my childhood—in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still—
From the torrent, or the fountain—
From the red cliff of the mountain—
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold—
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by—
From the thunder, and the storm—
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view—

My Thoughts

This poem is one of my favorites because I can identify with it to an extent. It is no secret that Poe lead a difficult life, with his parents dying when he was three and being shrouded with financial difficulties throughout. He never could fit in and thus, is considered one of the great literary figures who brought about change in writing styles and literature. As is the case with those who bring about change and stand out, he never could get the recognition he deserved during his lifetime and it wasn’t until after his death that people discovered and valued his true greatness.

I thoroughly identify with the first half of the poem, for I too find myself unaffected by what seems to be loved and adored by the world around me. I have never really liked the mainstream; the things I have loved most have oft been gems I have discovered on my own, usually quite before any one I know knew about their existence. And every time the world has discovered something before me, I have usually found such a thing to be too overrated. I have been mocked and ridiculed over this trait of mine one too many times, but never have I given in. Sticks and stones. I have always stood for who I am and always will, no matter how bitter people get over it. It is quite hard for people to accept that unlike them, I am not a sheep that follows the herd regardless, for I march to the beat of my own drum. My passions can never be brought from the common spring.

I think Poe in the poem addresses how the storms and thunders of his childhood are the reason for who he has become. I love the way the poem ends with a hyphen, highlighting how so much is still unsaid and that the metaphors in the poem truly stand for something so much more. It feels as if the demons still haunt him when he dwells upon his past, as he struggles helplessly to make sense of it all.

15 days and 18 poems till my birthday!

23 Poems Before I Turn 23 Challenge: Soliloquy of the Solipsist

Poem number 2

Soliloquy of the Solipsist by Sylvia Plath

I have been in love with Sylvia Plath ever since I listened to The Bell Jar audio book, right before bedtime everyday for a fortnight. Her words have caressed my soul and there are few with whom I could identify more. It probably wound’t be considered too socially acceptable, or for a matter of fact sane, but I have gone through almost every emotion that has been captivated by Sylvia in The Bell Jar and I cannot put to words how accurate her expressions and metaphors have been. The beauty of the darkness in her life is baffling and awing at the same time.

I stumbled upon this poem recently and was, yet again, baffled by the preciseness of her words. The ideology of the poem is what I have been breathing by for quite some time now.

The Poem:

I?
I walk alone;
The midnight street
Spins itself from under my feet;
When my eyes shut
These dreaming houses all snuff out;
Through a whim of mine
Over gables the moon’s celestial onion
Hangs high.

I
Make houses shrink
And trees diminish
By going far; my look’s leash
Dangles the puppet-people
Who, unaware how they dwindle,
Laugh, kiss, get drunk,
Nor guess that if I choose to blink
They die.

I
When in good humor,
Give grass its green
Blazon sky blue, and endow the sun
With gold;
Yet, in my wintriest moods, I hold
Absolute power
To boycott any color and forbid any flower
To be.

I
Know you appear
Vivid at my side,
Denying you sprang out of my head,
Claiming you feel
Love fiery enough to prove flesh real,
Though it’s quite clear
All you beauty, all your wit, is a gift, my dear,
From me.

My Thoughts:

I feel this poem is somewhat related to existentialism much imbibed by writers like Albert Camus. Plath knows it is she who gives any person or thing the power to be who he/she/it is by seeing it that way. It is her own perception that makes things out to be what they are rather than their own qualities. To interpret it deeply, she feels that she herself is the ultimate truth in the universe and every other human being or thing is just an extension of her vision and mind, rather than having an existence of its own. This is the philosophy that I have been living by recently: it is me who gives anybody the power to hurt me or make me happy or affect me in any way and I have the ultimate control over how I feel or how I want my life to be. I’ve started caring less about other people and more about my own happiness and if that makes me sound shallow, so be it. For it is I who have to deal with the broken pieces at 3 am after I cannot possibly go to sleep because my mind won’t shut up and my eyes won’t stop bleeding. I’m the only one who has ever been there for me through thick and thin and so, I will do what will help me keep myself together when the storm is trying to tear me apart. I have to look out for myself because no one else really cares.

Plath embodies this chain of thought spectacularly. As she walks in her solitude through the street, she realizes that she controls her life and can alter it as she wishes, because she is the only thing that is real. She can turn the road she walks on into nothingness by closing her eyes. She controls how people appear to her, and one decision of her will can kill them all for her, metaphorically. It is only when she is happy that the world’s true colours are visible, and it is completely in her power to turn the world into monotone when sorrows envelope her. The world changes according to what she feels, because she is the only thing in the world that is absolutely real. Her world revolves around her and nothing else matters to her.

Towards the end, Sylvia mentions a lover who believes that his love makes him real to her. But Sylvia slyly retorts that it is her own perception that makes her lover worthy of her love, for she sees him that way. So he too is a figment of her imagination and fancy. This makes me think of Margo from Paper Towns by John Green and her theory that people believe the person they love to be more than that person actually is because of their feelings. Their own perception clouds the truth, of which Sylvia Plath is well aware.

So now I’m left with 21 poems and 34 days.

The Raven that Flew Far and Far and Far and Far Away

A Raven once flew too far away from home

It ended up in a barren iced wasteland, all alone

Miles and miles of white devoured the black of the little being

It saw nothing for years on that icy scene

Heard no voice nor felt the beat of another heart

No one to confide to, no one to help heal its scars

no heat

no heat

No Heat

The ache of the thirst.

Fading memories of smiles laughter and mirth .

Starved of love and food

and affection and hope that never renewed

For days it prayed for its breath to stop, its blood to choke in its veins

Anything to stop the blinding tears and the endless pure honest pain

Alas, silence was all that answered its screams

it screamed and screamed

and screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed

The White haunted even its dreams

But it is all untrue.

It is all an illusion.

The battle had left her blind and deaf.

A Letter to Myself from a Year Ago

Dear Me in September 2014

I know you’ve been through one of the darkest times of your life and that you’ve been working endless days and sleepless nights on a dream, feeling unappreciated, unloved, abandoned and more alone than ever. But know this, I love you for your strength, no matter how staggering you feel it is. And the first piece of advice your future self would give you is this: hold on. It is the key to every thorn and thistle in life. Think of this dark time as a roller coaster that you discover, as soon as it starts moving, is too fast for you, with every turn and spiral attempting to wrench your gut out of your body and making you curse yourself for drinking that damn lemonade right before you got on it. You just have to close your eyes, hold your insides inside you and wait for it to end. And trust me when I tell you this, it will.

After you’re done dealing with this low, you’ll probably be blinded by the high, as is always the case. My advice to you is, enjoy it while it lasts. This high too shalt pass and you will have to embrace the slump that follows, because this is life. It is a saga of highs and lows, of crests and troughs, of rises and falls, and the only time life would be a straight line is when the heart monitor shows that you’re dead. There will be pain, no matter how hard you will try to shield yourself with the iron armour you will cast and no matter how you will swear to never show your fragile soul to those around you. Do that, protect yourself, stand up for yourself, fight for yourself. No one else will do that for you but you yourself. But honey, you can’t let fear keep you from living your life. Your time is limited, slipping through your fingers relentlessly as it always will. Spend it in a way that you have no regrets left when father time does wake up and it is time for Narnia to end.

To dilute the melancholy, let me tell you that with the advent of summer, winter will fall behind and the sun will shine upon you. You will have the best time of your life and meet amazing people as you satisfy your wanderlust and fall in love just too many times with too many things. I don’t want to give away too much, since I’m hoping by some loophole in the space time continuum you are reading this a year ago from today. But I tell you this, your summer will be beautiful. There is nothing else to warn you about or prepare you for when it comes to summer because having gone through it all, I do not think I would change anything one bit. You need this just the way it is going to come to you. If I in all honesty had to advise you regarding this wondrous prospect about to dawn upon you in a few months, I would say take more risks and be brave.

To end this sermon I’ve been preaching, I just want to tell you that when it comes to pain and heart breaks and happiness and beauty, you have barely scratched the surface. Although I must tell you that the worst is behind you, things ahead are not that easy. You will fall and stumble and pass through the tunnel of darkness numerous times in the coming year. But I promise you there is also laughter and a lot of good books and Korean dramas awaiting you at the end of that tunnel. Your heart will ache. But you have to learn to deal with it, And remember, above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.

All my love

Your future self from September 2015

Twenty Again

For a twenty something puerile wander-lusting simpleton at the precipice of her life juvenile, the theme behind this story would not mean much in theory. But life is never theoretical. The reason I’m well acquainted with this fact is that I’ve mapped out the safest routes in my life on paper, leaned on the safest people to trust theoretically and followed theoretically approved philosophies. But at the end of every turn and every relationship, I’ve found the unexpected; the good and bad in equal have been my comrades.

In other words, to hell with theory. Life is life, unpredictably dark and stormy and blue and tranquil.

I can’t really explain why I relate so much to this Korean drama I’m obsessed with at the moment. It is after all the story of a woman who had to sacrifice her life to raise a child and to be a wife to an ungrateful husband after being bound in wedlock to him due to an unplanned pregnancy. It is a story of a weak soul who was so blinded by love and her commitment to maternal duties that she dropped out of high school, moved to a foreign country, nursed a child at 19 and gave up on her dream of becoming a dancer. (I do not call her weak because she let her maternal instincts sideline her career, but because she endured the taunts of a husband who treated her like garbage. Even after he wanted to divorce her, she was as blind to his flaws as ever.)

But this really isn’t all that this show, that has become a guilty pleasure of mine (for I spent about 3 hours binge watching the last few episodes instead of starting work on a college paper that is due in two days), is about. It’s about this woman going back to college to fulfill her long lost aspirations despite everything in her life standing in her way. The final push that makes this 38 year old join university as a freshman is the sudden discovery that she has only 6 months to live with the onset of pancreatic cancer. So to summarize the very complicated plot (and trust me, I am not doing the last 6 episodes of the show justice), a woman dying of cancer who is in the middle of a divorce joins the university her son has joined and her soon to be ex husband (who has been having an affair with the university’s director’s daughter for the last three years) has been deputed to  and meets (again) the boy who was in (unrequited) love with her in high school.

twenty

The thing I love about Korean Dramas is their ability to encompass within them a plot so deep that I forget my own identity while being lost in it. This show is no different. The boy who loved her in high school, who was left broken when she dropped out and followed a husband he didn’t know of is now the man who vows to give her the life she deserves. His initial anger dissipates as the episodes pass and we realize he is as much in love with this broken woman as he was with the feisty girl who stood up to bullies and befriended underdogs. But rather, it is she who brings out the best in him, while fighting the world and finding the way back to her old self.

But the show is not as dark and mellow as I have made it sound. It is, in fact, comic to the core. It is hilarious to see the web of fated and ill-fated connections and how the different plots of the tale, of the past and the present, all knit a superbly crafted drama.

The thing I love most about this show is the growth of the characters. The woman Ha No Ra and the high school hottie Cha Hyun-Suk (Yes, I am in love with him *dreamy sigh*) change and meander and fall and get up and find a way to one another (though most of that is yet to be seen). I love the way he looks at her when she isn’t looking, the way he is always there making sure that she is happy and that she gets the life he thinks she deserves, now that he knows she is about to die. His soul aches that his soul mate lead a life of misery and is now at the end of her worldly journey. It really makes you think about the things we put off until tomorrow and the words we wait to say until what we think is the right time.

I also love the way Ha No Ra tries to fit into the college crowd, even though it is an entirely different generation. She does find a way to make them realize just how talented she is and it makes my heart melt that she is finally on her way to the greatness she was born with. I also love the university curriculum, culture and campus. It makes me want to quit my life and move to South Korea.

And besides all the deep metamorphic thoughts about living life well and embracing your fears, there are quips like these that make me fall off my bed after I die laughing.

IMG_4417

On Days When You Feel Lost

On days when you can’t see the stars at night

when the demons in your head won’t let you sleep

when the insipid illusion of life turns you into a nonchalant drone

when all is but a barren sunless dystopia

I promise to hold you in my arms

to tell you that you are loved and cherished

that I will be there through hell

I’ll be there through heaven

I’ll be the knight in your night

and the blue sky in your day

And the smell of iron rust of routine and dailyness

will, thus, be marred by the promise of May.

How You’re Not the One

There you go, a caterpillar in a cocoon of narcissism and arrogance. Vain. Egotistical. You smile a smile, showcasing your artificially whitened teeth and utterly high cheekbones on your freshly shaven face. Your cologne chokes people to death because you bathed in it, rather than spraying it on yourself like a normal human being, after you hit the gym to maintain your oh so precious abs. If only you valued humility and compassion as much as you value your abs. You park your uselessly expensive car taking up two parking spaces, not because you’re scared of someone scratching it but because it satisfies your humongous ego. You assume that every girl is in love with you. You assume I am in love with you. But oh my dear half-witted simpleton, I would rather stick pins in my eyes than even think of the possibility of us.

Maybe you’re not all that I’ve described. You’re chivalrous. Gallant. Your polished soul resonates your debonair. You serenade the birds and paint the flowers. Maybe you’re not all that either. But you think I’m falling for that faux charm and my heart is in your palm. Because that is what gives you joy. Or maybe not. But honey, you couldn’t be more wrong. I’m not a fifteen year old. Or an imbecile. Neither are most creatures of my sex.

You see, had you been the one, I would never have been able to speak to you coherently. My awkwardness would have baffled you to the point of doubting my sanity. You would have, numerous times in fact, caught me gaping at your face dimwittedly. While stammering and stuttering, and possibly literally going weak in the knees, I would have asked you if you love travelling. Or books. Or long walks in the library. Or if you believe in destiny. Or if you see the stars as evidence of the existence of magic. Or made you a mixed tape of my favourite records. I never did that, did I? Hate to burst your pristine bubble, but you are so not the one.

An Open Letter to Starbucks

Dear Commercial Giant Starbucks

You are criticized for your over-priced strangely addictive coffee and one of my cousins is among those who ardently loathe you and all that you stand for. You are considered responsible for the homicide of adorable quaint little indie cafes who cannot compete with you. You are often mocked and taunted, and let’s not forget your ‘race together’ campaign. But you, dear multi million corporation, are the one who saved me.

I owe you one of the best summers of my life, Starbucks. I was all alone in a foreign country- tired, hot, thirsty, almost broke, sans wifi with a bladder on the verge of bursting, and you saved me, although you made me even more broke while doing that. And right now I terribly miss you and all of it. If I could relive my summer all over again, I wouldn’t change a single thing. Except pack more clean underwear probably.

My summer has been one of lone adventures in an unknown land with only my wits and GPS to guide me about. And every time my feet would scream at me to stop my explorations in wonderland, I would look you up right away and there you would be, literally right around every corner I ever was. Tucked away from the bustle. Sweet. Majestic. Green, with the scent of coffee and free wifi wafting about you.

Don’t get too full of yourself though. What automatically made me search for you all those times wasn’t love or lust. It was familiarity. No matter what borough I would find you in, you would be the same. You would woo me the same way. I knew all those times that I couldn’t make a fool of myself in your Company. Pun totally intended. I, soon enough, became well acquainted with exactly how you would use me and how I was going to use you. No surprises. Like a cliched damsel running into the arms of her ex every night she got lonely. And I ran to you all those times. I’m not too proud of all the money you made me spend on you but I swear to God, you were worth it every time. Especially the Chai Tea Lattes. Oh, the Chai Tea Lattes. And me, sprinkling Vanilla and Nutmeg and more Vanilla. And Cinnamon. And more Vanilla. I could never get enough of that Vanilla. I could never get enough of you.

Some nights you made me feel cheap. The times I tried to conserve my dwindling cash, you tricked me with the fancy descriptions under your fancier coffee names and that damned Red Velvet Cupcake you displayed right where I stood waiting in the line for the bathroom. Some nights you cuddled me with your warmth while I read one of my favourite books when it poured outside. I would never forget those rainy nights. Some nights, the nights we were apart as we are now, you made me insanely crave you.

Chai. Tea. Latte. And Vanilla.