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.
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).
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!”
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.
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.
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.
She had to choose now
Fire kissed blisters or a numb heart
She froze spring to winter.
She tore a blank page
Crumpled it before she penned broken words
The chaos felt like home.
There is this agony that I fail to define
This want, this need beyond the comprehension of my mind
Her lips, Her eyes, Her glistening smile,
Your phantasm of Her walking down the aisle
I know I’m the one
who told you to seek out the stars
I know I’m the one
who told you to follow the flight of your heart.
Tragic, though, I’m not the one.
The air stings this face that cannot breathe
The sea rises in infinite rays across the pier where I lean
salt meets salt, the clouded eyes that cannot see.
Wasn’t this charred heart enough?
The shards of glass in my soul, weren’t they enough?
The sting of your words dedicated to Her,
The bruises you never saw in your grand gestures on the spur,
You lifted Her in the air and crowned Her in all glory
I, the antagonist of my story
I helped you bleed your own heart
and hid the joy of the daggers I’d sunk in my part
The suffering, the pain, the loss, the darkness, how much was enough?
What a waste, the salt, the sea, the scars my nails dug in the wood leave
My silent scream at Her indifference, your unrequited love, your salt, my salt
Your broken heart is my burden to bear.
Sometimes in life (almost all the time for me, actually) one goes through something I like to call the “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” phenomenon. It is characterized by those times when one really has two opposite opinions about something and the real test of the soul lies in the guess work involved. In recognizing the part of the split you that you should trust. Of my recent experiences, I can say that I’ve acted in haste, while being drenched in emotions and not seeing the complete picture. And I’ve failed at choosing the right way out.
What I’ve gone through, if I try and spell out those facts and circumstances in third person without any emotional involvement, it would actually seem like nothing too tragic or worthy of the million rain drops I’ve shed. In fact, any sane person would lecture me that people in the real world go through some real problems and my pain in comparison to theirs is like comparing the height of a sand castle to the John Hancock Center. But I’ve always felt that pain is subjective in nature. We measure the magnitude of our despair and cataclysms with reference to the things that we ourselves have gone through. We can empathize with the sufferings of others, but we can never truly understand the things they had to face and the monsters they had to slay and the beasts that almost trampled them. Or in fact did trample them. We can never truly fathom someone’s sorrow. So, telling someone that their problems really aren’t that big or worthy enough to get upset over is ethically wrong.
Pain has a definitive character unlike any other sentiment. It ends up deciding who you become. It defines who you are. When I am subject to pain and bleed furiously with battle scars that run deep and wide, I have the habit of shielding my soul and attacking back, even though the blows on my enemy take their toll on me too. I can never get over people who hurt me. I might forgive them as time passes and the memory of the pain fades a little everyday. But I can never forget, especially when the people who attack you were your own trusted friends. Why is loyalty so hard to find these days?
Another really important life lesson I’ve learnt recently is the dire need to get out of abusive relationships. Now, the dictionary meaning of an abusive relationship is “
I think that is the very reason people tend to stay in abusive relationships. The fear of loneliness. The fear that maybe what lies outside the relationship is much worse than the present torment. So we deny the wrongness. We justify their conduct by pointing out mistakes in ourselves. We change ourselves to suit them, to fit into their idea of right. When actually all we should have done was stepped away from such people. It requires tremendous courage to accept the truth and move on towards uncertainty and possible loneliness. But it really is worth it.
But not all of life is cruel and untrue. I really admire the people who stepped up and stood by me in my hour of self doubt. I am indebted to their help and kind words. I wouldn’t have survived this storm of my life without their love and support. Their courage and strength is a source of inspiration to me and I will do everything in my power to be there for them when they are in need of my tattered soul. It may not be much but I promise my loyalty to them.
I’m done with people who walked away at a time in my life when everything went haywire and I lost myself for a while. I’m glad to have gone through this ordeal because everything is so clear to me now. My troubles proved to be a litmus test for me and the people around. I have realized now that at the end of the day, the people who were left standing are the ones worth dedicating yourself to. It’s like waking up from deep slumber. There is just so much beauty around me and so much to take in. I may not have too many friends, but I will fight wars for those who helped me in my battle. I will ensure that from now on, my life is a reflection of the clear peaceful sky. It might take time to reach the zenith of clarity and peace, and I will fall and stumble along the way, but I do believe that I will get there someday.
We are gathered here to say farewell to my dream, that as of now is dead, and to commit it into the hands of God.
Tonight I’m letting myself cry my soul out, I’m letting myself break down in the most grotesque way possible. Tonight, I’m not forcing myself to be strong, to hold it in, try and bottle it up. I’ll do all of that when I have to face the world tomorrow. But tonight I take off my mask and within the confines of my room, I’m allowing myself to scream as I writhe in pain. Tonight I bare my wounds and let them bleed.
Tonight, the darkness isn’t within me, for I am the darkness.
Tonight I’m a mess, shouting my lungs out trying to stop these voices in my head. Tonight I’m all things vile, malign and inimical. Tonight I’m not brave. I never was anyway.
I really don’t care about the things people say about me. I never have. What makes me scream right now, the thing I’m most scared of is this part of me that hates me for giving up. This part that knows how weak and vulnerable I was when I took the easy way out and abandoned all that I cherished. This part that will never forgive me for letting it all go and not fighting until my last breath. Guilt and regret are the only things that scare me to death and as they engulf me, I scream again and fall to the ground as my legs don’t have the strength to carry me anymore. I fall to the floor and lie there, cold and broken in dystopia, with no hope.
My eyes are as dry as a bone and I’m empty now. I can’t summon the energy to scream anymore. I just want silence and stillness, to be put out of my misery and sleep in a peaceful perennial slumber, so that my mind stops blaming me. So that my conscience stops blaming me. I just want to forget.
But forget I shall not. I’ll remember this day for my entire life. The one day that changed my life forever. The one decision that has altered everything forever now. The one dream I let go of.
I therefore commit my dead dream, dead wishes, dead hopes and desires to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in the sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life. Amen.