Potatoes

My crush texted me out of the blue the other day. After days of stopping myself from sending him that funny meme, or just randomly asking him a question out of the blue, or persuading him to run away to the ends of the earth with me, my heart fluttered and the butterflies I had choked to death in my stomach were reincarnated. Sometimes it amazes me just how pathetic I am.

And then, in the middle of calculating just how long I should take to reply back to him so I don’t look too interested and also ensuring he doesn’t lose interest (something which I will never figure out because I am a dork without game),  I got super nervous. On top of that, I was trying to be funny, and smart, and a combo of Midge Maisel, Beyonce and Amal Clooney. So the morsels of brain power in my little head were completely engaged and my responses to his texts were pretty much potatoes. I have been internally screaming going over the conversation and mentally kicking myself with the elegance of Messi.

I cannot, for the love of our father who art in heaven, understand why I pressurise myself to the point that my brain has a muscle spasm and all I can think of and say are the different ways potatoes can be cooked. Mashed Potatoes. French Fries. Poutine. Tater Tots. What excellent boiled potatoes, many years since I’ve had such an exemplary vegetable.

I cannot post a screenshot of the conversation here because I want to protect its sanctity, but I promise you, I said some of the dumbest things imaginable, properly balanced in the art of meanness and stupidity. Like rotten potato salad. A Pringles box crushed to powder after the delivery truck was looted and set on fire and the thieves had an accident with the police car chasing them. Like Hash Browns still frozen in the middle, despite cooking them for the time given on the box.

And I don’t even like this guy that much. With our differences in life, I know for a fact we would be terrible together and the possibility of him not breaking my heart is as remote as the far side of Pluto. But the detestable part of my soul that wants his attention, the insecure part of my being that wants to be desired above all despite knowing it will need to naught, it takes over the wheel sometimes and we go steering straight into the iceberg. Potato Wedges. Gnocchi. Rosti. Crispy Smashed Roasted Potatoes with melted cheese, oh yes please.

And now I want him to text me again, just so that I can show that I’m not as dimwitted as I came across before. Or so goes the lie I tell myself.

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

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)

 

The Long Absence Explained

The best way to explain my absence would be to publish all of the half (and mostly less than half) written posts I’ve attempted to scribble. Nothing felt good or right, neither do these words; I’m half a second away from sending this post to the black hole that is the draft folder.

This blog is pretty much a secret. Almost no one who knows me in real life knows about its existence. I’m flattering myself in a way by saying this, because in all honestly, no one would give a shit about it anyway if they knew.

The reason why I keep this blog and my words away from my real life, is because this has always been a refuge for me in the rain. I love the freedom of writing my deepest and darkest secrets, the parts of me I’m not too proud of, of not having to explain why I wrote what I wrote. It brings me peace like nothing else does.

Pardon the pandering, I’ll get back to the point. I’m going through a difficult time right now, and have been for a long while. And as always is the case with me, I’m alone through it all. I feel too unconnected to everyone in my life right now to reach out. I’m so uncomfortable around everyone that I don’t see the point in causing myself the pain of… opening up. Opening up requires vulnerability, trust, faith, hope, courage. I can’t find any of these in me.

Sometimes it saddens me when I look at my phone, especially in moments when fear overwhelms me so much that I forget how to breathe. When I look at my phone and there is no one I would like to talk to in such testing moments. In moments when the sky bursts open and there is thunder like I’ve never known. When everything falls apart, and so do I with it. I know by keeping all this pain to myself, I’m piercing myself with my own shield, but I feel so helpless.

And hope, that four lettered word that keeps us alive, that oxygen to our lungs, that blood in our veins… it has just disappeared for me. I tore it to pieces and threw it away in the wind. Had I thrown it in a recycling bin, at least I would know where the pieces are, and have a chance at taping it up. But it’s gone. I have no idea where.

I realise this still doesn’t explain why I haven’t been posting anything. It’s because I felt that whatever I say won’t really matter to anyone. No one would understand my pain. Or just how choked up with fear I am at the moment. How the stress is hurting my body visibly. Because I felt talking about failure would be more failure. Addressing my brokenness will only bring more ruin.

But, I’m me.

I need to write.

I need to pour out what has been simmering in me for so long,

even if no one understands it.

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.

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.