On Falling for Assholes

Yes, this post is exactly what you think it is. It is me crying about how I always fall for the wrong kind of person and then blame myself for (a) falling for them despite knowing better and (b) not being good enough for them to feel the same way (oh yes, I just admitted that out loud. That is exactly what my brain tells me.)

Why do I classify my type as “assholes” you ask? Well, that is a great question, which I will answer in a unnecessarily complicated way to fit in my life story and how I want my opinions to be vindicated, because deep down my nonchalant exterior, I oh so crave to be accepted and understood. (I’m writing this post in a bit jet lagged sleep trance, so things are about to get super confessional. Hence, ladies and gentlemen and all my homies out there who prefer no gender labels, bring out your popcorn and pull up a comfortable chair.)

So, I don’t really fall for guys that often (which makes people question my sexual orientation, and frankly, they can all just go to hell for being judgmental pricks confused about their own lives and choices so the rest of us on earth can live peacefully and love whomever). I mean, years could pass and I wouldn’t even have a crush on someone who is a living breathing human being, rather than a fictional character from the pen of Jane Austen. That’s just who I am and who I’ve been.

But whenever I did have a crush on someone, lord, it was all of heaven and earth colliding into a roller blading disco dance with nothing else in sight. That’s just who I am, the extreme kind. I’m Marianne Dashwood to the core, with a hint of Mary Bennet around the edges. I go all in with no care in the world, but I am also an introvert who doesn’t really do well in social situations, so go figure the conundrum that is my soul. (Why does my life revolve around wanting mutually exclusive things that will never ever ever happen? The curse of a dreamer, the bane of a fool. )

So, I call the type of boys I fall for “assholes” because they love playing games. While I’m looking for Tuck Everlasting, or maybe even Tuck lasting for a couple of months, they’re just in it for the thrill of it I guess. And the worst part is, I know all of this. Having experienced it all, now, I try to force myself to stay away from these ultra short narratives that will only end in tragedy.

And yet, I find myself wanting to text him again, praying to see his name pop up on my phone, despite knowing that the text would only cause me pain at my feelings not being reciprocated with the same intensity. Despite knowing the fact that me texting him will do nothing but satiate his ego at having my heart in the palm of his hand to crush and shatter to dust. And all this while, his heart is excalibur shielded in stone, as is his will to resist eating the chocolate chip cookies I left for him after lunch. (This is my Waterloo on a loop; this is not the first time this is happening.)

And then, at times, pops up the asshole you avoid right from the beginning. You avoid him and his charm like the plague, until his attention towards you becomes a drug. And you begin to give meaning to his thousand times a day glances, and how he always finds a way walk next to you in a crowd of people. You get comfortable with the way he makes you feel, all this time wondering if it is the guy you like or just the attention he is giving you. You decide to throw caution to the wind and give him a chance to see where this thing goes, and boy, that is where it all goes to hell. You did it again, despite promising to guard your soul and protect your heart.

On a brighter note, since this is not the first time your heart has been broken by an asshole, you know you’ll get over it and discover the magic of the moon again. And I’m wondering how unfit a writer this change in the narrative voice makes me. But, this is me, the unshielded, make up free, no eyebrows version. And sometimes, accepting the mess you are helps you breathe easy.

© That Girl in the Fray, 2019.  All rights reserved.

(one of the assholes thinks this copyright warning is useless)

 

Watching You Leave

Every day the water in the lake I run by sinks lower,

every day another day passes without the rain.

The heat soaks my skin and heart as I continue to go further,

as I continue to run deeper and deeper into this maze I’m never escaping.

 

I want to escape the place we first met,

forget the nights we spent under the stars,

talking, drinking, dreaming.

But the rain refuses to fall and clean my mind

of your voice, your face, your name, of you.

 

You never said the words that I heard,

so I don’t think the blame lies on anything but my soul.

You never made any promises, you were careful of that.

And I read into everything, making castles out of clouds.

 

So now that there are no clouds left in the sky

and I’m left with the stars and this shell of a heart,

I don’t know what to do,

except wait for the rain to bring in a new start.

 

© That Girl in the Fray, 2018.  All rights reserved.

Plaid Shirts

They say the sky and the stars are a story written millions of years ago. What we see is an illusion, an image that no longer exists.

I think it is naive to have faith in such lies, to talk to the stars when the soul is dark and heavy, to find solace in a mirage. Yet I do it.

Isn’t it what I’m doing with you too?

I rest my heart on your broken promises and your illusionary words, because I have nothing else. Because beggars are not choosers and wishes aren’t horses.

I let you be the ray of sunshine when the darkness is engulfing me. Which is why I bear it when you kick my naked soul trembling in the blue cold, sans protection, sans the shields I wear for the world.

 

For I understand the cliche that the good comes with the bad.

For I understand that a cliche is a cliche because it’s a universal truth.

 

I choke on my tears night after night, dawn after dawn, wondering where you are, despite it all.

 

You promise your promises and lock me in dark rooms.

I, an unfermented mind, hold on to your words.

 

On the nights when the moon does appear, I look for you in it. Despite all of it. Inspite all of it.

I try.

 

I cry a million clouds over plaid shirts

because I don’t know how to let go

even when I know I should.

 

© That Girl in the Fray, 2018.  All rights reserved.

The Silence in the Black and White

The piercing ache shoots from my legs

and gnaws upwards,

like a million buckets of ice covering every inch of my skin

to a point I don’t know if I’m cold or burning.

 

Your hands were what saved me, although I will deny it

Your touch was what made me feel human, although I will deny it

 

Meaningless dreams are the place we meet now

without the anchor of your vow

of forever

 

Silent dreams are where I see you now

because I can feel the drug leave my body

and if I hear your voice, I know I will relapse

 

I don’t look at the pictures anymore

I have lost my strength and crumbled

I don’t think of the happy times anymore

because I know I will fall and stumble

 

But this hollow ache

this blankness behind my mask

these screams in my chest

these cuts on my arms

won’t stop haunting me.

 

Yet I cannot stop dreaming in monochrome.

 

© That Girl in the Fray, 2018.  All rights reserved.

All the fractures I’ve displayed

I hate it when the sky is that vulgar angry red at night. It chokes me. It’s nights like these that touch my soul, when the night sky is deep black, deeper than the depths of the ocean below me when I once scuba dived. I can breathe and feel the stars burn patches on my erratic skin. I can swallow the moon whole. The grip of those hands doesn’t feel too close to my throat anymore. But this feeling is fleeting, like the fireworks that start with a horrific bang, startling me to the core. And they end in silence. Their moment has passed. The sky is dark again. The hands are back around my neck. Slowly and slowly, the grip tightens. Inch by inch. I gasp. Breathless.

I’ve always wanted what everyone on this planet has: to be wanted. To be needed. To be loved, passionately, without any bounds, without any cemeteries. I’ve wanted to be wanted, to be missed, to be desired, to be cherished. I’ve wanted to be noticed when I’m missing. I’ve wanted my silence to be noticed. I’ve wanted to be the colour red. But it’s red that I see now, although the sky is pitch black. It’s red that I see as the last of the air in my lungs leaves my body. Breathless. I gasp harder.

Why can’t I be wanted the way I want you? Why can’t I burn into your skin like the cold does with every wisp of air that hisses among the trees. Why can’t you see just how broken my skin is now, with next to nothing left to clothe my soul. Did I give away too much. Did I give in too soon? Breathless. I choke.

The moon is full. The sky is black. The stars burn lies a million lights away. I see red. Breathless.

© That Girl in the Fray, 2017. All rights reserved.

 

The Beauty of the Mess: Letter #1

(This is an epistolary fictional story-series)

Dear E.

It is very unlikely that this letter will ever find you. Besides the rare possibility of me getting over my vanity and finding the courage to send this to you, there is the glaring hiatus in our correspondence, of 2 years 4 months and 26 days to be precise, that dampens my hope. Then there is also the question of you using your old post box that forbids me from thinking otherwise. Or if you even live in the same city. Or country for that matter. There are a million reasons why this letter shouldn’t find you.

But life is a long shot. Life has never made sense to me, so I’ve given up trusting in reason or signs of any kind. I’m not the believer that I was once upon a time when you used to write to me. And even if the ink and paper from my hands lies in a rusted metal box for most of eternity, the paper yellowing, the ink fading off into the air like my words and emotions, I will find a sense of calm in it. It will satisfy me that I tried to renew our friendship before I grew old and died. I tried to fix things when the world around me fell apart.

I’ll come straight to where we left off. And in all honesty, I was as angry as I’ve ever been in my life. I waited for seven hours on that rusted black bench in the far left corner of the Rose Park in your precious city, where I was supposed to meet you. You had so eloquently described it in your letters to me as your favourite place in the world, or to quote you, “the world you knew”. I wonder if that has changed in the past two years, if you’ve traveled to the far away mystical lands you always adored and admired.

You’d said that the dilapidated park bench gave you hope in hopelessness whenever you sat there eavesdropping into people’s lives, forgetting about the dilemmas of your own. You used to call it “the beauty of the mess” that life was putting you through. I tried doing the same while waiting for you to show up, while imagining you in your contemplating colours: wondering, worrying, waning. It upset me even more, because it made it extremely hard for me to hate you. And I hated you for what you did to me. Loathed you. Detested you. I was disgusted by you.

The beauty of your city was dust to me. It was smoke and ashes and garbage. And I swore, as I sat there rotting away on a rotting park bench in a rotten city, to never write to you again. I swore to cut you off and forget you like you forgot me. I felt stupid for not asking for your address or phone number, or even your real name for that matter, before flying halfway across the country to meet you, a stranger I had never seen or spoken to in my life, except through letters written to a post box.

But here I am breaking my oath to myself, falling into the path of vulnerability again, for you to hurt me all over again.

In all that hurt and pain, I took another decision that I shouldn’t have, that I probably wouldn’t have had you showed up that fateful day. I can’t help but laugh at my sheer daftness; at the fact how my life would be completely different than it is now had I let the fire of hate and hurt burn down to ashes rather than adding more wood to it. I wouldn’t have been a broken man sitting in a lone cabin in the middle of an abandoned sea shore putting ink to paper in this flickering tangerine light. I don’t even have a phone or television here. It’s just me, my pain and a few empty canvases I plan to paint my pain on for my impending project.

Let us let go of what happened. You didn’t show up two years ago; I’ve accepted that now and all that has happened since then. But throughout all of it, through the anger and the impulsive decisions, the fleeting illusionary happiness and the everlasting agony, I’ve missed talking to you. I’ve missed looking at the world through your eyes. I’ve missed your metaphors and poetry. I’ve missed you.

I’m not asking for an explanation. I’m not even expecting a response. But if my words find you by a twist of fate, know that no matter what I’m thankful to have known you in this lifetime. I’m thankful to have stumbled across your pen name on that god awful pen-friends website. I’m glad I decided to write to you. I am glad you decided to write back to me.

Your friendly neighbourhood

Achilles

Ps: I hope you’ve read the Iliad by now.

 

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

To every girl who’s liked a guy who hasn’t liked her back

Having spent hours trying to convince a friend going through the same ailment, I speak to you oh mighty creatures of the fairer sex. Your predicament is not an easy one; so first of all, accept my virtual hug. Your troubles may seem like the mountains and the hills, but there are few things in life that a hug at the right time can’t fix.

Now, imbibe everything I say: You are beautiful. You have a wonderful soul. You belong to the gender of Athena, the goddess of war and intellect and you cannot let the fact that you are pining over a guy let you forget that. You are an individual, with your unique sets of rainbows and thorns. Do not regret any of it. You should be your own person, and if some random guy doesn’t like you back, it says more about his own self rather than you. Not every person on this planet can read the Iliad, let alone understand or like it. Does that make the Iliad a waste of ink and paper? Does that diminish its literary marvel in any way?

You must love your own self before you expect someone else to. The contours and caresses of your soul demand that kind of appreciation, for they are you! Do not be the damsel in distress, for I say this out of experience that outside the realm of fiction, only you can save yourself. Find the strength; you possess the universe.

You may think he’s the only one you could ever love. You may believe that if he doesn’t like you, you may not be worth liking. You may not be able to stop thinking about him, day and night and day. But all of this is but a breeze blowing against you as you walk in the sand, and what you can’t see is that there is an ocean that awaits you.

 

23 Poems Before I Turn 23 Challenge: A Song from the Suds

Poem number 4

A Song from the Suds by Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott is among the queens of queens and I dote on her. She is one of the authors who have permanently been on my reading list and I do hope I can someday strike her name off that never ending Neverland of a parchment. I have grown up watching the Little Women anime and the 1949 adaptation has been a favourite. Although I must admit that I’ve quite forgotten the specifics of the tale since I last saw the movie 6 years ago or so. This challenge has reminded me of my teen love and I will surely fall back into its arms as soon as I get the opportunity to sweep away the mundane dust of life (which is pretty much the theme of my next poem).

The Poem:

Queen of my tub, I merrily sing,
While the white foam raises high,
And sturdily wash, and rinse, and wring,
And fasten the clothes to dry;
Then out in the free fresh air they swing,
Under the sunny sky.

I wish we could wash from our hearts and our souls
The stains of the week away,
And let water and air by their magic make
Ourselves as pure as they;
Then on the earth there would be indeed
A glorious washing day!

Along the path of a useful life
Will heart’s-ease ever bloom;
The busy mind has no time to think
Of sorrow, or care, or gloom;
And anxious thoughts may be swept away
As we busily wield a broom.

I am glad a task to me is given
To labor at day by day;
For it brings me health, and strength, and hope,
And I cheerfully learn to say-
“Head, you may think; heart, you may feel;
But hand, you shall work always!”

My Thoughts:

I adore the simplicity of the poem. The words mean what they appear to mean, yet Louisa’s art of writing is pretty evident in the crafting of her sentences: they are short, crisp and lyrical. Her sense of humour is unparalleled and philosophical, if I might call it that. Her thoughtfulness is evident, but it is the clarity of her thoughts and words that I love the most, for clarity is something I strive to achieve in my writing. I have a muddled mind and I am a frazzled human being. And anybody who is not so inspires me and captivates me and enchants me.I am enthralled by this poem.

This is going to be one of the poems I will read to my kids someday, for it is beautiful and funny. Louisa compares a washcloth, out of all the things in the word, to life! And anybody who can pick up such a mundane and common thing and find beauty and grandeur in it is gifted according to me. She reiterates my philosophy of life: make yourself so busy that you have no time to think about the dullness and trauma surrounding life. This is something I’ve been doing ever since I took a lone trip this summer to satiate my wanderlust and realized that I’ve been fooling myself into believing that I’m not a loner. I realized during my sojourn just how beautiful life is when you do not have to depend on anybody else, but march to the beat of your own heart. Relationships are treacherous; they fool you into believing that you cannot survive on your own, when in fact being your own wolf pack is spectacular (and addictive). I’ve become so involved in myself that I barely have the time to think about unnecessary complications (but I still do drown in my misery sometimes, for I too am human).

I guess Louisa has found the answer to Alaska’s question, “How do you escape the labyrinth of suffering?” Dwell on thoughts, be angry and sad and broken, but do not stay idle. Work towards something. Work for something. Goals are one of the things that breathe sensibility into human existence. And all I do to stay sane is keep my eyes on the prize, when every inch of my body wants to stand and stare.

4 down, 19 poems and 24 days to go!

© That Girl in the Fray, 2015. All rights reserved. 

23 Poems Before I Turn 23 Challenge: Somewhere I Have Never Travelled, Gladly Beyond

Poem number 3

Somewhere I Have Never Travelled, Gladly Beyond by E. E. Cummings

This is pretty much the first poem by the great E.E. Cummings that I have read, *dramatic pause* because fate never really intertwined. I’ve been a fan of Mr. Cummings (using his last name because I’m not well acquainted with him) ever since the good old One Tree Hill days, with Lucas Scott beginning the narration with quotes by him. He has been on my reading list since forever, so I grabbed the first opportunity I got and read him (which was today). (I’ll be using too many bracket comments in this post because this is Mr. Cummings’ poetry style.)

The Poem:

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look will easily unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

My Thoughts:

I had to look for the poem on two different poetry sites because I thought the lack of capitalization in the poem was due to some technical glitch, but as it turns out, that is how it has been written by mr. cummings (yes, I did that on purpose). I feel that gives the poem a little casualness, as does the title which is in fact, incomplete in its meaning if you read the first line of the poem. Or maybe it intends to describe the protagonist as being someone who is not too comfortable falling in love with someone, not too happy with the vulnerability and proximity. I never thought something so poetically licensed could be so beautiful.

His sheer brilliance resonates with every syllable in the poem. (Yes, it is a love poem. As my group leader from the Yale Writer’s Conference would say, all of this points towards my genre writing.) But calling this work of art a love poem would prejudice the readers against it. It is more of a paradox rather than a metaphor for a romantic relationship. (It is a bundle of contradictions. Yes, I used that phrase yet again in my blog post.)

The complexity of the poem is immense and I know my bare reading don’t even scratch the surface, but I feel this piece is a saga of the excitement and fear of getting into a new relationship. Every little mundane thing his lover does fascinates him, and now that she is near him, he is filled with the inherent fear that he will do something that would ruin their relationship (which i cannot touch because they are too near *sigh*).

He pretends to be stoic in her presence for the fear of being hurt but she unravels him and sees what is hidden inside the walls he has built. (And Mr. Cummings says so with utter beauty and sensuality- touching skilfully,mysteriously *sigh* *sigh* *swoon*.) This poem could very well be read with the coyness of ‘To His Coy Mistress‘ by Andrew Marvel (*raises eyebrows* *whistles*).

He acknowledges the fact that as soon as he realizes he is getting close to his lover, he shuts her out for the fear of being left bare in the winter snow. He is afraid of being left heartbroken. But he also realizes that nothing in this world compares to her beauty and he gives up everything, every fear, every breath. He surrenders to her completely.

He wonders if she too is afraid of getting to close to him. Towards the end, he talks about the intricate ways she has of reaching the most fragile and well hidden parts of him. I think she pays attention to the littlest of things and affects him in a way that brings out his true self, which is what I believe love to be: having no fear of showing your true self because you know you would be accepted, cherished, loved and protected no matter what. (not even the rain,has such small hands is one of the most beautiful lines I have ever ever read *dreamy sigh*)

20 poems, 33 days till my nameday!

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.