The Land of Eternal Summer: Winter

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now, but somehow the words coming out of me seem to be rotten. Like my core is shaken and something is amiss. Maybe it’s just in my head or maybe, or rather more likely, what I’m writing these days is pretty much chaotic garbage.

So what’s new in the Land of Eternal Summer? Well, for one the rain is over and the stars are back for me to gawk at every night. And even on days like today when there are clouds floating in the night sky, like smoke on a stage scene from Midsummer Night’s Dream, I find myself humbled for the piece of sky that I do get to wallow at before the haze takes over. Right the second before the shimmer of the stars is enveloped in mysticism and enigma.

It’s summer here but winter never leaves me. I think I carry it with me, along with my inability to function normally. Maybe I’ve absorbed it in the deep crevices of my soul. Maybe it’s a part of my bones now. For I cannot keep it at bay for too long ever.

The other day I wrote in my diary that all there seems to be in life is to stand and watch things fall apart. All we do is build sand castles too close to the ocean no matter how hard we try not to. And then, all we can do is put it back together, fix it, bear the disappointment, and wait for it to fall apart again. And fix it again. And watch it be swept away again, only to come back and build it up from the ruin.

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

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Dear World

Somehow sometimes in the briskly fleeting innocence of the moon, right before it sets, the world is utterly perfect. The silence is peaceful, the air still. The sun is breaking in the opposite corner, ready to move on. At moments like these, the dreams of yesterday, all the pain and brokenness seem forgotten. Just for a moment. Just for a second. And then, in a blink, all the magic is gone and all that left is a memory. A touch. A kiss. A stillness in the chaos.

In a parallel universe, I’d like to believe, this moment lives on forever. This magical moment is broken into almost infinite pieces, and you are allowed to jump from one frame to another. And as soon as it ends, it begins again. The perfect groundhog hour of serenity. And nothing ever dies. No hearts ever break. No pain is ever felt. The monotone of the hour is the nirvana. The sky is forever a war between the deepest blue and the sweetest purple.

In that hour, I’m too scared to touch anything around me. For I am impure. I am vile. I am filth. I’m the only thing present that makes this scene less that perfect. Just that thought of myself polluting this purity nauseates me. I am the grey scum in this war of the gods of light. That is when I decide to scrub myself until I am clean again. Scrub myself until I bleed.

As I step into the river, the coldness wafts over me, like its arms is where I belong. And it feels like I’m back home. The fog is so thick, I can hardly breathe. But somehow, this suffocation feels like a penance necessary. So I decide to walk deeper and deeper into the stream. Beyond the rocks that pierce my feet and colour the water crimson. Beyond the moss on the riverbed, that makes me slip and lose the sight of the sky. Beyond the last breath in my lungs, when I decide to let go and let the water heal my bare body. Beyond my last thought when all is peaceful again.

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

 

The Land of Eternal Summer: Brokenness

My eyes lay on a scene that is pretty as can be and I forget to breathe.

That’s how it was when it all started. I used to say that this one good thing that happened to me, in a very difficult year, means that I’m on the wrong side of a parallel universe. Because good things don’t really happen to me. Especially me. For someone who has known winter all along, the brightness of summer seems too good to be true.

It was perfect in the beginning. I think it felt like that because I didn’t expect anything at all. And life kept me gasping at the purity of every minute as a result of that: because every turn was a surprise and every moment red letter. And then, everything changed.

In the midst of paintings and poetry and the stars and the talks of hopes and dreams, I began to expect. And that is what I account my ruin to. That is the moment of my downfall.

And every moment since has been a drop down on the graph. And no matter how hard I tried not to expect anymore, no matter how I tried to fix everything, it all kept falling apart like the ground was quicksand. And while everything was breaking around me, I fell and broke my toe.

That is how I know I’m still in the parallel universe I’ve been all along. My bonus round in Mario is over. I’m back in the arms of reality and it is a mess.

It is still summer here, but it rains everyday. My secret place is full of bugs and untamed grass. The walkways are all muddy. It’s impossible to lay in the grass and look at the stars. In fact, the stars aren’t visible most nights. I’ve lost the magic that once breathed in my soul. And my deepest fears are brimming like the thunder clouds in the sky right now.

But if there’s something I’ve learnt in these 26 years around the sun, it’s that the sunsets after the storms make the most beautiful views.

I’m trying to go back to who I was when I got here, the girl who saw magic in every speck of every moment. Maybe I’ll find her again. Or maybe I’ll grow into someone I was always meant to be.

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

The History of People

Looking back at the last 25 years of my life is a mandate around this time of the year, so cue in the introspection, the meditation, the mirror on the wall in the vacant empty hall.

And while history has repeated itself a million times in my case, and as I said in my last post, while it always ends with a circle, I sometimes feel this description, no matter how true in its essence, is an oversimplification of everything. Which brings me back to one of my favourite songs,

“I’m caught in the red and I’m fading to grey, a constant reminder that nothing stays the same, but nothing ever really changes.”

When I started this blog a lifetime ago, I was in my college library, as lost as ever, as lonely as ever, as broken as I could be, drenched in the drama of my being and those of the beings around me. And now that I sit again in my college library (a different one this time), it’s like I’m miles away from that life but still caught in the same web of its essence. The people and the drama. But so much more different this time.

So, the conclusion I’m forced to draw is that people are never black and white, they’re always a spectrum of grey. No matter how many times you classify and reclassify the ones moving in and out of your life, they tend to fall right outside everything. Even if it is only because of a word they say, or a simple movement of their hand.

Maybe I should accept that I will always be none the wiser when it comes to human beings, a real tragedy because I do hope to be a writer someday.

Will I ever escape this web? I think I’m on my way towards it. Which makes me analyse all my past mistakes and counter claims. And I accept I’m to be blamed for almost all of them.

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

The Land of Eternal Summer: A Month

So here we are, a month into the new chapter of my life which has been a whirlwind from the start. Somehow, it is the most beautiful experience I could have asked for. It’s broken and messy and dark and light and just perfect. But sometimes I forget to breathe in the middle of it all and it gets so overwhelming that I have trouble walking straight. And then I have to do what I did today: take a step back. In fact, run away from everything as fast as I can as far as possible.

And then guilt envelopes me because I realise that I’m wasting time. It makes things even worse. Because time is something I feel I’m short on, here and in life. I’ll be turning 26 soon and that phantom has been raging over my head since a while now. It’s like I can turn my back towards it but when things fall apart, it is all that I can see: the glaring red clock just ticking away in a room with silence so deep it pierces the soul. And then comes the self doubt and the notion that I’m wasting resources and someone else in my shoes would have done so much better than I can imagine.

It’s funny that I feel this way, particularly today, because last year this time I was having the most terrible day of my life. And feeling pretty much the same way that I’m doing right now. In the end it’s always a damn circle. You come back to where you start, you reach the place you dreaded and you’re left clueless despite having been through so much as to what to do.

I don’t mean to cry. This is the best thing that could have happened to me. But it’s difficult to keep the clouds at bay when it begins to rain and pour.

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

The Land of Eternal Summer

In the midst of summer, right beyond the horizon of the everyday crooked path I have walked until now, another chapter is coming to a close. A series of events have lead me to make a decision I never thought I would make so soon. And it is this very series of events that pushed me to this open door, with everything falling right into place despite all the kinks in the clockwork.

I’m moving to the Land of Eternal Summer to fulfil a conquest I’ve set for myself with one ultimate goal: to get a better life. I’ll be away from home in a foreign land where I know no one, like Cutie Pie in the Nicholas Fisk story we read in school. This is my initiation too, for I have never left home in the way that I’m about to. While google maps and quora have made life easier, I still die of anxiety thinking about it all sometimes; especially when I have to think about how I will have to live without my dog.

I think it’s metaphorically apt that I am moving to the Land of Eternal Summer, for it would signify the naive expectations in the deepest recesses of my heart that are still untouched by reality: a lad sans the sorrow of winter. A land of all I ever wished for, all the love I have ever wanted, all the success and sunshine I could ever dream of.

We all want our lives to be perfect. We all want to bask in the glory of the sun and always rise to new heights under the crystal blue sky.

But my tattered soul has learnt to understand that perfection is mythical and the sun can melt your wax wings if you fly too close to it.

And while I’m scared to death of a million possibilities, I am trying to love the storms the heat would bring.

 

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

A Stormy Day

Pure satisfaction cannot be denied when the weather is in perfect consonance with the storm in your heart. To see the wind gurgle up dust and leaves and just blast it off the heads of all things and everything. To see chaos when that is all you feel inside. To feel the anger of the sky in the thunder brewing in the air that is far too heavy with the grayness of emotions. And to be maneuvering through it all while the world seems lost in the sudden darkness.

Because, finally, you can paint a picture of your pain for the world to marvel at. Finally, your pain has meaning in the most unprecedented way. Perhaps, not that unprecedented, for paintings of storms have existed before. Maybe the most poignant way then. Because the world cries to you about the pin pricks in their feet while you have been suturing wounds they refuse to see. And if they do, they diminish it to weakness of the skin to bleed, weakness of the blood to flow, weakness of the mind to feel.

You have to be brave, so that it’s easier for them to hurt you again without guilt.

You have to let go, so that they don’t have to deal with the ugliness of your broken heart anymore.

You have to be okay with it, because you are meant to suffer as all the happiness in the world is reserved for them.

You have to accept that they will crown their selfishness while you lie in a ditch gasping for air right before you choke to death.

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

On Facing Tough Times All Alone

I’ve been absent from my blog for a while now, and within good reason. And here I am, running back into its arms the first chance I get, by that I mean the first time in a long time my brain isn’t too blocked to spell out my feelings, literally.

Last month has probably been the most difficult months of my life. I was already going  through a rough patch in December, and it reached a whole new level by the end of January. And by the beginning of February, I was weeping my heart out and trying to get through one of the worst things that life has flung upon me. Weak. Broken. Alone.

It was the time I needed someone the most and I practically had no one to turn to truly, although the words along the lines of, “Do let me know if I could do anything,” were vomited over a hundred times by a hundred different people. No one cared enough to understand what I was going through or hold my hand. People just said it to check the chore off their list, or at least that was how I felt. All I wanted was someone to hold me while I sobbed into them, someone to let me voice my fears and help me calm my mind without passing judgment, and there was no one I could turn to. I’ve never felt more alone or vulnerable in my life.

I get that people have their own lives and own wars to fight. But the thing is that I’ve always been there for them, no matter what. I have been sensitive enough to let go of my selfishness in order to help them bandage their bleeding wounds. And that I think has been one of the biggest mistakes of my life: I have put other people above my own needs in their bad times and expected them to love me the same way. Or at least appreciate what I did. But people lack the common decency to acknowledge the wounds someone has undergone sheltering them.

So what do I take away from facing this difficult time on my own?

I am strong as hell. Anyone can rise up to the challenge despite their fears and pain.

I never want to have to be this strong again. I faced hell, all alone (yet again), and I just want to rest.

I need to start respecting myself and my needs more than I do. A little selfishness is needed to save that part of your soul you give away, that will help you in your time of need. No one really gives a shit about you other than you yourself. But if someone is there to hold your hand through it all, especially without you having to ask for it, hold on to that person. Never let them go. Because that is rare and people don’t do that.

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

Maybe I’m addicted to pain

Maybe I’m addicted to pain,

hiding it within the sockets of my twisted body in the 3am silence

every night,

masking it with the lull of the morning paper

and candid coffee

that I gulp down without a conscious thought,

every morning.

 

Maybe I like the tears I can command to rain down

on the things I hate to hear,

The things I cannot respond to

until the next morning, half past 11,

because every morning,

the storm in me wants to devour the storm around me,

after I have made my futile bed

and combed my hair,

half past 11 the next morning.

 

Maybe I’m still holding on to the things I should let go,

the things that keep my wounds from coagulating,

the things copulating and multiplying,

maybe, because it is who I am.

 

I’m the pain

that I hide under my hide,

even though there is no one who would dare notice it.

 

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

That Girl

This post is inspired and based on the spoken word poem by Daysha Edewi (click here to watch)I Am Not That Girl, because I think it’s a conversation we need to have.

December has not been easy for me so far, for various reasons I’ll reserve for a future post, but I’ve been coming across this theme so often that I feel like the universe just wants me to address it already. Earlier this month, I myself was drenched in the swampy marsh of what it means to be pretty and have constant male attention, either of which has never been my forte. So when I’m looking at my whatsapp messages with at least 10 pictures of my friend with her new boyfriend that she just sent me, or listening to another friend describe how she’s in the middle of the Twilight Saga New Moon with two guys doing all sorts of things to win her over, I cannot help but ask why am I never on the other end of that conversation? What is wrong with me? Am I not womanly enough?

The answer in all truth is that I’m not. I’m really crappy being a girl, and I am by no way depreciating myself when I say that. I hate wearing high heels because I find them uncomfortable as hell given the broadness of my feet. I would choose sneakers and ugly but comfortable boots over anything. I cannot wear my nails too long or braid my hair. There’s a greater chance of me carrying a book in my bag rather than a bottle of moisturizer or hand cream. Some days I venture out into the world in my oversized hoodie because I just too tired to care how I look. I’m the only girl I know who didn’t depend on a boyfriend or prospective specimen to watch the latest episodes of her favourite tv show. If they could, they would have taken my girl card away ages ago, but that’s just who I am and I’m teaching myself to be unapologetic about it. I’m a few sizes above the norm for a pretty girl, I weigh a lot more than a pretty girl should, my face is too big, I’m clumsy as hell and I have the appetite of an elephant. And I’m learning to not be bothered by comments people make regarding all that.

More often than not I end up hating myself for all this, but it’s like the marching scene in Dead Poet’s Society: I too am a slave to the human need of acceptance. And this need has turned into an unresolved issue, I’ve realized, because I was the odd duck out for all the years of my college and I was quite alone throughout that. So it’s taking me a while to root this problem out and accept that I don’t really need anyone else to accept me. I’ve come a long was since those horrific days and I still have miles to go, but I’m hanging on.

But what I’ve learnt is that although I’m quite different from all the girls around me, I’m not alone. The poem I mentioned is full of comments from women all over the world who feel the same way, some with problems even more complex than mine. And every time I doubt myself, I look for similar posts and go straight to the comments section and it always makes me breathe a little easier and lifts a little of that tightness I feel in the pit of my stomach thinking about it.

I don’t really mean to tear down girls who are amazing at fitting in all the check boxes of womanly standards. If that’s what makes you happy, more power to you. I’ve learnt that it won’t make me happy, that my standards of beauty are too different from everyone else’s. I feel that if you stare at a superficially beautiful thing for long enough, you get used to it and soon it fades to being mundane if it’s hollow, if that superficiality is all that it has to offer. For me, it’s the intrinsic values that matter the most, that inspire me, that make me feel something. It’s strength in the face of difficulties, it’s kindness, compassion, gratitude, intelligence and pure intentions. It’s peace. It’s calmness. It’s doing the right thing, and doing it for the right reasons.

So if you’re like me, thinking about how different you are from everyone around you, thinking why is that you never seem to have guys professing their undying love for you, and you ask yourself the question, “What is wrong with me”, I’ll answer that question for you.

Nothing is wrong with you.

To quote the Dead Poet’s Society,

We all have a great need for acceptance.  But you must trust that your beliefs are unique, your own, even though others may think them odd or unpopular, even though the herd may go, “That’s baaaaad.” Robert Frost said, “Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

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