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 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.

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.

In Secret, Between the Shadow and the Soul

How beautiful is a heart that can love,

Can love with nothing in return,

not even a mirror.

A heart that can bear to bare the fragile fragments

that have grown from the broken rose bushes

amid the thorns of the past.

How beautiful is the immensity of the blackness

that swallows the universe, but for the tiny lies we call stars.

The blackness that is a painting of my own hollow soul,

craving for the infamous dawn

that will bring it back home.

How beautiful is the lucid touch of love

that has you drunk in an instant

without rhyme

at the edge of the sea where reasons go to die.

 

© 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.

I See You

In the reflection of the blue of the sea

In the way you look at me

In the sighs of the sheltered silence that you breathe,

I see you.

In the creases of my faded memory

in the hidden pain you keep

in the redness of the storm

in the streams and oceans you weep,

I see you.

In the dancing of the stars

in the lure of cheap hotel bars

in the spark of your touch

in the way my fingers you clutch

All I ever see is you.

 

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

I’m Caught in the Red but I’m Fading to Grey

A constant reminder that nothing stays the same,

but nothing ever really changes.

WordPress just reminded me that 4 years ago today, I started my blog in my college library, depressed, alone, fading, in need of hope and light.

This blog has been more than a friend to me. It has been a space to feel safe, to let out my fears and cries without judgment, to learn about myself and the way I write. It has helped me speak to people I may never meet from countries I may never travel to. Sometimes the echoes have brought back words, kind and tough that have helped me realize that no matter how much I feel the contrary is true, I am not alone.

So this calls for generic introspection.

What have I learnt over these last 4 years?

What has happened to me since?

Am I still the same person who started this blog?

What am I going to do?

Do birds fly to the moon?

 

(I’m not mainstream enough to be interviewed, so I’m going to go ahead and pretend this is what anyone would want to know.)

The textbook fairy-tale answer would be that my life has completely turned around, that life has magically fixed itself in these past 4 years, because 4 years is a really long time for a person to sort themselves out.

Bullshit.

Like Gemma Hayes’ beautiful lyrics quoted by me in the beginning of this post, I am both red and grey.  My life has changed but it’s still the same. I’m still as lost as I was, as alone as I was, as depressed as I was, although in different and more complex ways than before. All my old problems have sorted themselves out, but I’ve got new ones in their wake. More challenging ones, I would delude myself into saying mainly because I can’t see the solution yet.

As to what I have learnt in these past 4 years, it mostly consists of learning about myself. I have learnt to fight and lick my wounds, to bear pain and to build fire-proof shields. But I have also learnt to put my shield down and face the beauty with the pain, a decision I’m still in a debate about (with myself, if that wasn’t clear enough).

I’ve stopped praying for someone to come rescue me. Instead I’m learning (still) to equip myself to do that, to be my own hero. And I fall and stumble as I did before, even more so now that before. Which is to be expected if you walk faster than you did before, if you cover more ground than you did in the times ago.

It hurts, I’m not going to lie. It makes me wishes I was done already. It makes me sting others in my wake. But I don’t think I really have a choice anymore.

The only way I can go is forward, the only direction I can fall is down.

So that is what we are going to do for the next 4 years.

 

Thank you for being a part of this blog and a part of my world.

All my love,

That Girl in the Fray.

 

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

An Open Letter to the Guy Who has a Crush on Me

Dear Guy Who is Deluded into Thinking He Likes Me,

I am touched in the deepest recesses of my heart that I have had the opportunity to be your crush. Thank you for this unique baptism, this utterly rare honor that you have chosen to bestow upon me. I shall never forget it.

I am at that point in my life where the turn of events has torn apart my safe haven and burnt it to ashes. To add to this misery, I have just finished watching a really good Korean Drama and after those unreal 16 episodes of pure bliss, I’m left more melancholic than ever.

So, I’ll quote the drama at you: Human beings are lonely from the moment they are born. I’ve not found any statement to be more true. At the core of every struggle and every pang of misery, at least for me, is loneliness. I don’t think I’ve ever fit in at any place that I’ve been at. I’m always longing for something else, for someone else, for someplace else. This need is insatiable, a burning fire that no water, no air, no land can extinguish. I’m always in want of something, something that is just out of reach and quite impossible, that I think would make life bearable. But it doesn’t, if I ever get it.

So with this stage setting in mind, with raging storms and unapologetic cyclones added to the drama for the amusement of whoever is the audience to my comically ironic life, you can imagine what a sunshine your misguided and unrequited feelings for me are. To be crude, it makes me feel less shitty about myself.

Like most people, I often feel starved for love and appreciation. One of my favorite songs at the moment, besides being the work of pure genius, has the lyrics that I have found myself feeling time and again:  “And all I do is cry and complain, because second’s not the same.” It’s a really shitty feeling to be drowning in all the time, when the radar that helps you detect all the avoidable bullshit in your life is broken.(Which is like 78.32% of the times.)

So in these waters, the fact that I am your crush makes me really happy. It’s unbelievable another human being could ever feel that way about me. And because of this, I think you are super awesome. I hope and pray you end up with someone who will give you the love you deserve until the stars fall from the sky.

All I can promise, in exchange for this priceless gift, is my undying adoration for you. I will always root for you in every aspect of your life; I’m forever Team You. I will never forget this.

All My Love

The Receiver of Your Unrequited Temporary Feelings

 

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

Featured Image: ‘The Letter’. Art print by Wladyslaw Czachorski. 

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.