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.

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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.

Comfortably Numb

Hath time been an enslaved dove I keep chained in the chamber,

My bidding an edict etched in stone for its survival,

It would fly to the cinematic moments I lack the strength to delete

The photographs I speak to night after endless night,

So I would stop myself from feeling I finally belonged.

To moments so I would hold my tongue from giving away a thousand hidden sentiments.

I would scream at myself, think, think for your mind is but a padded lock,

Think, you fool, for you know it is but a masquerade.

I would cry a thousand tears at once

to not have enough for the single drops that fall for a thousand nights.

I would inflict enough wounds on myself to be numb to the fight.

Numb, for I am numb now to every star every thunder,

My soul embracing the deep slumber.

Beauty is dead, my sorrow is a vacant stinging hollow.

I’m Still Here

Recently I’ve been too blocked to pen down the rumples in my mind and make sense of my brain. Too much has happened to me this summer and I mentally kick myself every time I think about all of it for not journaling on a daily basis, because those moments of gold and grey are beginning to fade away already. Even if I start collecting those frames of memory now, I know it wouldn’t be in its true authenticity and essence.

I’ve had my life altered in one too many ways, which is an oxymoron because I still do the same things I did before the metamorphosis. The only difference is that now I’m mentally aware of how ridiculous I’m being or how utterly unchangeable I am. So what is the underlining moral of this insane summer I’ve had? Like my thoughts about almost everything in my life, I don’t know. Yet. I think I’m going to use this blog as my saving grace to unknot my frazzled mind.

So what’s the point of this utterly cryptic blog post? I don’t know that either. Maybe it’s just my way of rippling the water around my afloat body in the lake to say I’m not dead yet. That Girl in the Fray is still here.

That’s How I Know You are the One

When we are together you make me feel like my mind is free and my dreams are reachable

You know I never ever believed in love,

I believed one day that you would come along and free me.

These lyrics to the beautiful Kodaline song caress my heart and soul, as I’m in this half asleep mode where the world seems so pretty and my body is ready to embrace the words of a lullaby serenading me to sleep. I’m breathing in the air and letting it cleanse my mind and praying this stillness lasts forever.

I’m waiting for these lyrics to come true one day when I’m ready to surrender my heart and be vulnerable again. To gauge the depth of the whole other worldly process of baring your true soul to someone and let their opinions about its edges and contours matter, I’ve learnt that I’m not really ready for it right now. This past year has taken its toll on me and lead to my metamorphosis into someone who doesn’t care about minute things and hurtful words that would evaporate in their essence in barely any time. It has taken a tremendous effort and a lot of rivers and rain to become who I am at the moment. I’ve let the sentiments that had been seething in me out and buried them six feet under. I refuse to have to start from the scratch again, at least for now.

Today, as I was having lunch with a few friends, listening to one of my favourite songs play made me transcend the realms of the four walls and I had an epiphany; I realized how music was something that cracked my facade of stoicism and filled me up with emotions I thought I had become numb to. This then lead me to another avenue and I decided something: I had to save all of these emotions for the time when I would need to share them with the only person I ever want to share them with. I’ve never really made a mixtape for any person in my life, nor will I ever until I find The One to whom I’ll feel safe enough to bare my soul. I’m saving up all these feelings and all these little moments of thorough spectacular spectacles in the form of playlists for every speck of the kaleidoscope, for when I’m feeling on top of the world, for when I feel like I need to vent my frustration, for when I’m feeling blue or red or black or purple. And the only person who will ever have a right over them will be The One who makes my heart feel like it’s summer.

The Art of Letting Go

And anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain
Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders
For well you know that it’s a fool who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder

Even though this song moves my heart and makes me feel alive, as I lie in the grass looking at the stars and the rainbow shimmer of the moon kissing the clouds gracing the magical sky, I cannot help but disagree with these words. For what I’m doing to save myself from the sting of the lacerations (something that I attribute to my gift of blind faith due to my naivety and downright daftness) is stoning my soul and making my heart colder. I’m trying not to allow myself to feel anything. I’m building a home on the shore of a sea numb to the pull of the moon, swaying and crashing, rising and dropping as it is meant to; it has no command over what happens. The sea cannot help but fall and flail.

I’ve come to accept the fact that it is me who breaks my own heart every time I’m let down and left like a fool in the midst of a storm sans shelter of any kind; I am the one who gives contemptible humans that kind of power over me. It is due to my own lack of judgment that I find myself at the threshold of my darkest sentiments every single time I ignore that little voice in my head that tries to stop me from trusting people. Every single time that I’ve pulled down the walls around the most sensitive parts of my soul, I’ve been proved wrong and made to feel foolish. The most fragile parts of me have been trampled into the mud by boots that don’t have a speck of humanity in them, let alone any fleeting concern for me. “Perhaps we all give the best of our hearts uncritically to those who hardly think about us in return.”

So I think it is wise to make your world a little colder and not be bothered to show people who you truly are inside. In my case, that has meant letting people into my heart and letting them matter to me. Not anymore though. I’m not letting anyone into my soul or mind ever again. I’m done with trying to run after pretentious illusions who will not stand up for me or care about me.

I’m going to be a mirror to almost everyone in my life. I will treat people in the exact way they treat me and swallow the guilt that usually threatens to engulf me in the process. I’m done with giving others the power to destroy my peace of mind and happiness; no one in my life deserves that privilege. So I will play it cool and not care about anything or anyone who causes me pain, whether it is intentional or not. I will not fight for anyone or pursue anybody for their regard, unless they do the same for me.

I don’t think we reach places because of the decisions we take; rather, it is the mistakes that we make that end up deciding where we end up. And I’m trying to be okay with the fact that I’ve always trusted the wrong people who have left me hating myself more than I can ever hate them, for it is my own stupidity that is to be blamed. And I hope and pray that all my mistakes lead me to my true self that is waiting beyond the mist, calling out to me in this dark battlefield as I wade my way through it. So, as of now, I’m letting go of all the people in my life who do not deserve to be there. I will not let my forlornness cloud my vision again. And if it does, I will make my world even colder and let go of that as well.