Weird Awkward Things

June 9, 2015

I wear the weird blue pouch thing around my neck that has my suite entry card, my meal card and sometimes the key to my room. (I’m sorry, I cannot correctly term half the things here. Most of the time I find myself gasping for words, because my mind has decided it is time for it to be on a lockdown. Not quite a fun thing to happen during a Writer’s conference.) I re check that I haven’t forgotten the key to my room on my table that is full of take-out boxes, clothes I’ve worn during the past 5 days, printed papers and my hairbrush knit with my unruly strands because I’m too lazy to put any of them back, and I head towards the bathroom. I’ve already embarrassed myself here at least a million times and the last thing I want is to be locked out of my room and be forced to pound on my suite mate’s door and beg her to call Yale security.

I pray to the universe that no one is walking out of the their dorm rooms or entering the building or whatever, so that they aren’t put in my way and have to see me with drool over half my face and a horrendous bed head after I’ve just woken up. To be fair, I might possibly look that way even after I’ve showered and brushed my hair. I don’t have a mirror in my room, and the bathroom has to be unlocked with my room key every time I want to see my face in the mirror there, so I usually give up on the notion of stroking the mane of my hollow pride. I’m too lazy.

So I’m in a country that is shit expensive, where half the people cannot pronounce my name right (the irony), where more than half the people make me repeat what I’ve said because they couldn’t get my accent and where I have no clue how things work.

It’s not too bad usually. Sometimes I’m regarded with sarcasm and a chuckle or two. Their amazement crowns my apparent daftness and it does eventually work out. But on days like today, after I feel like I’ve exhausted my capacity to be ridiculed over things I do not understand in the least, I just want to lock myself up in my utterly big dorm room and pretend to be a caterpillar in my unmade bed.

So I guess I should probably make a list of the weird awkward things that have happened to me here until now and etch them in my mind as life lessons. Or maybe by some weird time travel fifth dimension thing, I’d be able to read them and brace myself. So dear younger self, kindly pay heed to the following guidelines:

1) During lunch in the Dining Hall, do not keep your glass in your plate while emptying the food remnants in the bin that they have for you to empty your food remnants. (I had no clue something like that even existed.) You will try talking to a hot guy while waiting in the line, and inevitably be distracted, forget where you are or what your name is. You will end up throwing the glass in the bin along with the half eaten salad you put in your plate as an excuse to steal ranch dressing without coming off as weird. Then a woman who noticed the really embarrassing rendition would walk up to you and say that it wasn’t that bad, you could always write a book titled ‘Dumb Things Smart People Do Sometimes’. Sarcasm for the win.

2) Every single time you want to refill your lunch plate, you need to discard the old one and get a fresh plate. (Something that if you were to do at a wedding buffet back home, the people paying for the food would be charged twice, in addition to other people giving you the stink eyes.) One fine afternoon when you’ve just sat down for lunch at the table, you’ll have an epiphany. You’ll realize that you don’t really care about calories and that you deserve an extra slice of pizza. You’ll carry your untouched plate brimming with food and sprint towards the dining area, because pizza is life and everything else is a cold lie. Then a seemingly scary and utterly loud lunch lady is going tell you that you aren’t allowed to bring in your used plate to put in more food. People will notice and stare at you like you’re a Van Gogh painting. Not in a good way though.

3) Keep your eyes and ears open while waiting in line at a bookstore to pay for your shit. There will probably be a counter tucked in the farthest corner from where you’re standing; beyond your vision and human frequency of hearing, the billing lady is going whisper ‘Next’ and you’d be oblivious to that. So the person next in line will employ the magical use of sarcasm (oh, joy) and ask if you’re enjoying yourself too much standing in line to move further. Cue the Van Gogh stare.

4) You will not understand the American currency of nickels and dimes and would ultimately be carrying too much change in your bag while paying in dollar notes because you do not want to hold up the line and have people give you the stink eye. Your brooding dark soul will not be the only thing weighing you down.

5) You’re going to splurge all your money on Starbucks and extremely mini sized 2$ water bottles, because you keep forgetting that tap water is drinkable. Remember American tap water is drinkable.

So that’s it for my first 5 days in New Haven. I’m pretty sure this list is going to be longer than Homer’s Iliad by the time I get home.

Yours Truly

The girl who sat in the restricted area at Yale and made them put up barricades the next day, with huge red signs of ‘Do Not Enter’.

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

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Wait

I let the wind ripple through the curtains,

I wanted to be sure it existed.

I let the rain soak me to the bone,

I needed proof to comprehend it.

I let the flames melt my skin,

I wanted to confirm that fire wounded.

Now, I hold my breath,

Wishing that heaven is real.

 

I caressed the printed words of a clichéd novel,

I wanted to feel something as fragile as paper cut.

I travelled away from home,

I wanted to run till the city lights lost in dusky slumber.

I gave my food away,

I did anything not to feel so numb.

 

I didn’t find anything that was promised.

Where is the Second Coming predicted by Yates?

When will Lady Lazarus rise from the ashes?

I stare at paper thin walls because I’ve looked into the sun for too long

I embrace the stones on barren land because I’ve walked on grass forlorn

All this time, I hold my breath waiting for heaven to be real.

 

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

How You’re Not the One

There you go, a caterpillar in a cocoon of narcissism and arrogance. Vain. Egotistical. You smile a smile, showcasing your artificially whitened teeth and utterly high cheekbones on your freshly shaven face. Your cologne chokes people to death because you bathed in it, rather than spraying it on yourself like a normal human being, after you hit the gym to maintain your oh so precious abs. If only you valued humility and compassion as much as you value your abs. You park your uselessly expensive car taking up two parking spaces, not because you’re scared of someone scratching it but because it satisfies your humongous ego. You assume that every girl is in love with you. You assume I am in love with you. But oh my dear half-witted simpleton, I would rather stick pins in my eyes than even think of the possibility of us.

Maybe you’re not all that I’ve described. You’re chivalrous. Gallant. Your polished soul resonates your debonair. You serenade the birds and paint the flowers. Maybe you’re not all that either. But you think I’m falling for that faux charm and my heart is in your palm. Because that is what gives you joy. Or maybe not. But honey, you couldn’t be more wrong. I’m not a fifteen year old. Or an imbecile. Neither are most creatures of my sex.

You see, had you been the one, I would never have been able to speak to you coherently. My awkwardness would have baffled you to the point of doubting my sanity. You would have, numerous times in fact, caught me gaping at your face dimwittedly. While stammering and stuttering, and possibly literally going weak in the knees, I would have asked you if you love travelling. Or books. Or long walks in the library. Or if you believe in destiny. Or if you see the stars as evidence of the existence of magic. Or made you a mixed tape of my favourite records. I never did that, did I? Hate to burst your pristine bubble, but you are so not the one.

An Open Letter to Starbucks

Dear Commercial Giant Starbucks

You are criticized for your over-priced strangely addictive coffee and one of my cousins is among those who ardently loathe you and all that you stand for. You are considered responsible for the homicide of adorable quaint little indie cafes who cannot compete with you. You are often mocked and taunted, and let’s not forget your ‘race together’ campaign. But you, dear multi million corporation, are the one who saved me.

I owe you one of the best summers of my life, Starbucks. I was all alone in a foreign country- tired, hot, thirsty, almost broke, sans wifi with a bladder on the verge of bursting, and you saved me, although you made me even more broke while doing that. And right now I terribly miss you and all of it. If I could relive my summer all over again, I wouldn’t change a single thing. Except pack more clean underwear probably.

My summer has been one of lone adventures in an unknown land with only my wits and GPS to guide me about. And every time my feet would scream at me to stop my explorations in wonderland, I would look you up right away and there you would be, literally right around every corner I ever was. Tucked away from the bustle. Sweet. Majestic. Green, with the scent of coffee and free wifi wafting about you.

Don’t get too full of yourself though. What automatically made me search for you all those times wasn’t love or lust. It was familiarity. No matter what borough I would find you in, you would be the same. You would woo me the same way. I knew all those times that I couldn’t make a fool of myself in your Company. Pun totally intended. I, soon enough, became well acquainted with exactly how you would use me and how I was going to use you. No surprises. Like a cliched damsel running into the arms of her ex every night she got lonely. And I ran to you all those times. I’m not too proud of all the money you made me spend on you but I swear to God, you were worth it every time. Especially the Chai Tea Lattes. Oh, the Chai Tea Lattes. And me, sprinkling Vanilla and Nutmeg and more Vanilla. And Cinnamon. And more Vanilla. I could never get enough of that Vanilla. I could never get enough of you.

Some nights you made me feel cheap. The times I tried to conserve my dwindling cash, you tricked me with the fancy descriptions under your fancier coffee names and that damned Red Velvet Cupcake you displayed right where I stood waiting in the line for the bathroom. Some nights you cuddled me with your warmth while I read one of my favourite books when it poured outside. I would never forget those rainy nights. Some nights, the nights we were apart as we are now, you made me insanely crave you.

Chai. Tea. Latte. And Vanilla.

The World Has Been Broken into Pieces

“..The world has been broken into pieces. All this chaos, all this discord. And our job – everyone’s job – is to try to put the pieces back together. To make things whole again.”

“..Maybe it isn’t that we’re supposed to find the pieces and put them back together. Maybe we’re the pieces. Maybe, what we’re supposed to do is come together. That’s how we stop the breaking.”

Ever since I came across this quote from Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and was acquainted with the beautiful philosophy of “Tikkun Olam” in Judaism, it has somehow stayed with me. They were words that don’t really reveal their true power the moment they hit you. They stay hidden in the recesses of your mind, at the corner of the thin dividing line between the conscience and the subconscience, and then somehow without actually knowing that it is actually happening, you start connecting everything that happens in your life to those words, to the powerful idea behind those words and somehow your perception about life, about love, about people, everything changes.

I believe our soul is scattered into pieces that are spread all over the world and our entire life is defined by us looking for and finding these pieces that complete us. It could be that perfect song that you hear playing in a store at the mall and suddenly, even if only for a second, life starts making sense and you’re transported to that parallel universe of utopia, a sense of completion prevailing over every dystopic sentiment your heart has ever felt. It could be a book that changes life as you know it forever, bestowing you with the elixir of a brand new perspective that you never knew existed. It could be that perfect moment when the stars in heaven are aligned in such a wondrous pattern that things that you fear have been lost forever find their way back to you in the most unexpected and magical way. Your favourite band, your favourite quote, your favourite colour, everything that in a way defines you, sets you apart and boasts of your uniqueness are all pieces to your soul that you’ve discovered in your life, as you’ve had numerous experiences and epiphanies.

It is the way I’ve come across some of the scattered segments of my own soul that enchants me. Somehow fate intertwines in my plans, or lack thereof, and sets in motion a series of events that make me stumble upon these pieces of my very own jigsaw puzzle. Or maybe it is my own subconscience that leads me right to the doors that hold my hidden self. But when this precious miracle does happen, all the voices in my dark mind quiet down, if only for a few seconds, and a glow of serenity and completeness that is utterly unmatchable to any other feeling in the world, consumes me. The world stops falling apart and somehow even the confusion in my own head makes sense. And this is what we end up doing all our lives, trying to make sense of this chaos by looking for those lost pieces in order to build our souls into whole again. Some people travel to do some soul searching, while others like me just look for signs everywhere. Every book I pick up has a story behind it and most of the times the truth is that it is the mortal book chooses me, while I stand awestruck at fate’s design.

This is also the reason all of us do not like the same things in all actuality. Our souls are thorough variants with such uncommon intricacies that at most there is one possible soul out there that does have lost pieces similar to our own. And we spend our lives looking for that special soul, who is also, in fact, a lost piece we need to complete ourselves.

So, the books I read, the music I love, the movies that inspire me, the places that give me solace, my odd habits, moments that truly move me, are all but parts of my soul. I do not care if people think I’m weird, unsociable or hate me for my lack of interest in things that are commonly acknowledged and liked. It really doesn’t matter too much that there is no one who actually understands the various pieces to my soul or shares them with me. I will always love what I love no matter how many times I’m told I’m wrong to believe in things that appear silly to the masses. I have my own universal task of completing my own soul and working towards the reparation of my own crumbling world. I neither have the time nor patience to change myself just to fit into this mould that has been crafted by the generalis that everyone seems to accept. I will not pretend and do things just to feel accepted while shutting off my own soulfulness in a metal safe and drowning it into the river. Until my last breath, I will wait for that insightful soul who will accept me for who I am rather than pointing out my imperfections and weirdness and trying to change me.

I may be wrong in believing in my beliefs and fighting against the multitude of opinions and perspectives of general conformity, but right now, exactly at this precise moment, in the midst of the ocean of all my ideas, all my thoughts, all the truths that I’ve been acquainted with, all the discoveries I’ve made, all the stories and voices I have inside my head and in my soul, as the sun sets turning the waves into molten gold, and its aurum rays sparkle at the zenith of my dreams turning the sky purple at this dusk of my life, as I hold my breath and imbibe this last vision I have before I let the water take me and close my eyes, amid all of this, I know that I’m right. And no one can take that away from me. In other words, anybody who doesn’t live inside my head has no right to say that I’m wrong.