god is a woman

What am I when I’m not simply potential?

Death isn’t something I think about very much. It’s inevitable and a normal part of life, so really what’s the point? There’s nothing I can do about it, just like there’s nothing I can do about the Universe expanding or the fact that our sun will eventually literally blow up in all our faces (and to think the Beatles wrote a song about you, ye ungrateful wench) and the Earth will become a flaming pile of destruction (metaphorically though, we’re already there).

I do, however, think about getting old. Which also happens to be inevitable and a normal part of life but the difference, in this case, is that I know what it’s like. I have physical, documented evidence of what it’s like to grow old, i.e. (from what I’ve seen) mostly bad hips and saying, “I’m too damn old for this”. Maybe shaking your fists at rowdy teenagers, I don’t know.

Point is, growing old bothers me.

What will I do when I don’t have my entire life ahead of me. What am I when I’m not young and idealistic (lolololol maybe idealistic isn’t the word. what do you call people who are disappointed about the glass being only half full but also intensely fearful of the glass breaking, leaving dangerous shards all over the carpet? what do you call them? losers? idk)

What am I when I’m not simply potential?

I suppose what I’m really asking is what am I when I’m not allowed to make mistakes anymore. What am I when the things I set out to do have been done or irreversibly not done depending on where life takes me. What am I when something I do wrong has consequences that reach far into the future (because everybody knows you get an entirely new identity once you turn twenty and your past is more or less erased and so nothing you’ve done till then matters. It’s why the underworld is crawling with pre-pubescent crime syndicates).

wHaT AM i.

A bird? A plane? Two bipedal cats in a trench coat trying to sneak into the opera?

lgbtq+ icon whom no one knows and whose orientation is actually represented by ‘+’???

Growing old under protest? (she says at eighteen. which, as you all know, is positively ancient.)

 

~fin~

About the title:
She’s not, actually.
He’s not a man either.
He just is. She doesn’t subscribe to the gender binary. It’s just some translation problems, from what I understand.

Just like ships aren’t women. But the Titanic still broke your little adolescent heart in history class, didn’t she? (the ship, I mean, not the movie the movie THERE WERE OTHER PIECES OF SUITABLE DEBRIS HE COULD HAVE FLOATED ON IF NOT WITH ROSE THAT SELF-SACRIFICING LITTLE OLD STYLE STEP DANCING EARLY GATSBY FOOL)

~fin2~

gif used.

~fin3~

A Cliche Shaped Hole In The Universe

It’s a little thing that sets it off.

A tiny ripple setting off a tidal wave;

wave after wave after wave of hate.

 

But see the thing is, you have to stop. At some point, you have to stop and be kind because no one else will. So, at an early age you learn to do without. You learn to do without the words of encouragement or support when you can’t ask for them but need it most;  to do without their seals of approval because sometimes they don’t get it—they won’t get it—and it’s not their fault, or yours—some things are just unfortunate like that; to do without the need to talk it out or let it out,

the need for a presence.

And eventually you stop needing those things. Maybe that makes you seem insolent to others; cold, unfeeling.  But it took you a lot of time to deal with the disappointment of not having those things when you mustered up enough of you to feebly ask for them; it took you a lot of time to learn not to need those things, so it’s okay. It’s not their fault, you know that so you don’t blame them or resent them for it. They can’t help the way you turned out.

You learn to be enough for yourself, to be your own support system, to have a mini-you bouncing around in your head doing headstands and shaking pom-poms to lure you into a sense of stability and confidence. You become your own person, and you’re okay.

More than okay.

But like I said, tiny things set it off and out pours the hate. All the chips and cracks  widening into gaping chasms full of loathing. So, so much loathing its pathetic. And you sit in your pool of pathetic  and breathe in the fog and choke and gag, all the while the loathing gathering in momentum. And then it slams into you, the gigantic blob of inky dark exploding all over the walls, seeping into your fractures and settling in deep. And you hit yourself and slap and kick and punch, trying to get it out, but only succeeding in bruising yourself. You stop to take a breath.

And then you think hey, maybe you deserve it. You’re such a cliché.

So you drill in deeper into your bones,  create new chips and cracks and scratches that widen as the hate grows, the inky ball of dark getting bigger and bigger and heavier and inkier; hovering, waiting for the right time, the most devastating time to slam into you again.

But see the thing is, you have to stop. At some point, you have to stop and be kind because no one else will. You are enough. This is your skin and your bones and your blood coursing through your veins.

And then you prop up mini-you again, and pluck out all the knives you stabbed through her heart and dust off the glass pieces from the bottle you smashed into her skull; you wipe off the blood and the tears and the hate.  You apologize and she smiles and you’re okay.

More than okay.

Delightful!—she yells out while cart-wheeling inside your head.

giphy

 

Yours Truly,

sign-off

 

I Swear I Am

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It was purely by chance.

It’s how all these stories start, don’t they? By chance?

I’d like to say that I had always known. That I’d always seen the hollow space inside him and knew I didn’t fit in there or come anywhere even close to it. I want to say I saw this coming and was prepared.

I didn’t. And I wasn’t.

Every time he looked over or held my hand, I believed it. All of it in all its sappy, sickening glory; the flowers, the candles, the late night pizza, the seemingly random declarations of affection; the fears and the doubts and the vulnerabilities. I was fiercely in love and believed him to be the same.

It’s funny, isn’t it? How I always claim to be so over the big dramatic speeches and sentimental inner monologues? It’s funny—

I’m laughing.

It was by chance. An old photograph fell out—like old photographs are wont to do—out of his jacket…or wallet? The finer points of that evening escape me.

I picked it up. And in the laugh lines I saw who he used to be. In the soft hair falling gently past her shoulders I saw the things he thought he would be and the unfailing optimism he held at twenty one. In the curve of her jaw I saw what he never thought he’d lose. I know what you’re thinking, it was a photograph of a girl, he was nowhere in the picture. But I know him.

I felt like I was intruding somehow; snooping into the life of this strange girl whose private moment lay forever captured in ink, the evidence of her radiant laugh cherished and loved and safe guarded…in my house.

And yet I was the intruder because that girl in that moment had revealed far too much of herself and it wasn’t meant to be etched into eternity in the form of glossy paper. I was trespassing and I quickly put it down on the bed, blank side facing up.

I looked up at him then. He looked sorry, he truly did. He took a step forward, his mouth opening ever so slightly, knowing he had to say something but clueless as to exactly what–and there, right there, the tiniest hint of relief.

And with that he fell to the floor, dead.

Or he would have, if it was possible for someone to die instantaneously of the force by which all my hatred poured out–silent and confused–but raging. Hatred made all the more destructive despite its quiet nature, pure hatred born of love.

I was fiercely in love and believed him to be the same. With me.

It’s funny, I’m laughing, do you see?

Haha.

Yours Truly,

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I Tell, Therefore You Are

But words are funny things. A snowflake melts into a drop, to then form an icicle, sharp and biting; a hailstone becomes a puddle; fine mist turns into heavy dewdrops.

I weave it into words and hope you understand.

But words are funny things.  A snowflake melts into a drop, to then form an icicle, sharp and biting; a hailstone becomes a puddle; fine mist turns into heavy dewdrops.

I give you something concrete to inspect, all the while forgetting that the hands do the moulding, and in yours they might become something else altogether.

I tell you my story and you shape it into yours and that sounds like an accusation but it isn’t how I mean it–I don’t mind, it’s what I do too with yours—it’s what we all do.

I weave it into words and pray you don’t understand.

Because that would mean you know, to some extent, you know and I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. Certainly not on you. I don’t want you to nod your head and agree or blink away a tear and say you know what it’s like. That would mean you actually do; that you failed to mould it into something better and saw it for its raw, whimpering ugliness writhing in the dry sand.

I weave it into words and wonder if that’ll help me forget.

If fishing it out and hanging it outside will mean it’ll fade away as the sun rays caress its every crease.  All it does is make it seem brighter,  because once I have jailed it inside these letters, restricted it to the semi-colons and asterisks and defined it in paragraphs, I have given it form and then it’s not so bad. It becomes a little less powerful. And with every re-modelling it goes through due to its entire existence being dictated by a dictionary, it grows even weaker.

Except for those times when I hear you say you understand. Because then that means you haven’t held it, but seen it from a wary distance—that you have no need to come closer and extend the palm of your hand because you’ve had it slither around inside your veins and are all too familiar with what it’s like. In those moments it is not relief I feel because someone finally understands but fear due to the fact that others have fallen victim and hence many more probably will. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.

Least of all on you.

Yours Truly,

Simran

 

PS. Title: Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale.

Tried To Find A Clever Alternative to the Title…

…I’m kidding, I didn’t really try. Its about 2 am and my neurons seem to be slightly drowsy (either that or the fear of failure is drenching everything in its cold, heavy sweat. Now there’s a pretty picture.) Anyhoo, getting to the point: The Three Day Three Quotes Challenge. Which should have been the title of this post I suppose, but like I said I was desperately trying to be witty…nein.

Onward then.

I like this one because its what I’ve always believed in. That you don’t really need a lot of anything else as long as you have your head and all the different multitudes that is you. I believe Frank McCourt says it best:

“It’s lovely to know the world can’t interfere with the inside of your head.”

And as far as the nominees are concerned:

Yours Truly,

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When You Don’t Always Recognize Yourself

Perhaps it means nothing to you. You’ve learned to be okay with it and you no longer fight. You were never an outwardly passionate person to begin with, but you did believe in stuff. It made you who you are. Your mother called you a fairytale baby; a firm believer in faeries and magic and bubbles. But at the same time you knew where the stories ended and where reality began. You also understood that reality was a fluid concept; everyone was entitled to their own version of it. Perhaps that is what made you so good at weaving stories. Grand sentences and beautiful tales conjured up late at night to help your younger sister sleep. You saw the sparkle in her eye, the excited questions, that satisfied drowsy smile at the end of it. And the next day you could do it all over again.

People thought you were a bubbly person, you knew otherwise. Your mother feared you lived in a land of fairytales and would end up being hurt by the Big Bad World. Again, you knew otherwise. You weaved stories and so knew it wasn’t real. You told of happy endings and castles while being painfully aware of suicides and abrupt ends. You were rooted in reality while still having the privilege of floating away from it from time to time. You knew all the ways things could go wrong but believed in all the times they won’t. You had beliefs and ideals and the occasional pretty bubble. You fought for people, for those beliefs. Fought against the concept of evil and its incidence. You believed people to be fundamentally good, no matter how naive others thought that made you.

Nowadays you tell friends that people are selfish. You don’t truly believe that, you know you don’t, but you say it anyway. Because it’s the smart thing to do. Terrible things happen in the world making it a terrible place filled with terrible people. You’ve met a few. You’ve met truly evil people who made your blood crawl and your eyes fill up in despair because you couldn’t bear the level of hatred you felt for that human being. You never believed in the concept of hate. And for a while, after meeting them and finding out the horrible things they’ve thought, you forgave them. Or you simply didn’t believe anybody capable of such thoughts. You’ve accepted it now. And so you tell your friends that people are selfish and mean. You don’t believe that. But you’re okay with saying it, because that is who you are now. You have fewer beliefs than you did before. You haven’t made up a bedtime story for your younger sister for a long while now. Her eyes still sparkle and you look at it and pray to God that never goes away. Your mother says she’s a fairytale baby too, just like her oldest sister. And you see it. You see it in the way she looks up at the night sky with you on the days you come out of your room, in the way she flips her pretend hair this way and that and talks in a strange language, in the way she treats her toys like they’re actual living beings—in the way she believes them to be actual living beings. In the way she believes in magic while still being able to question the absurd. You’ve gotten rusty at telling her about fairies and you realize she doesn’t believe in half the things she used to. When you told her stories. You look at that and think maybe it’s a good thing.

Perhaps it meant nothing to you. The stories and the belief and the magic. Maybe you feel silly talking about spells and fantasies. And maybe that’s what’s killing you. You can’t write stories anymore. You haven’t in a long while. Not happy ones anyway. You write of sick mothers and poetic deaths. You tell yourself that’s what you should be writing anyway because it’s the best kind of beautiful there is: tragic and grown up. You’re a sham.

You believe in people being fundamentally good and you believe in fairies in the garden. Or maybe you actually don’t. Maybe it truly means nothing to you and you’ve actually changed. Its why you can’t write stories. Not ones you love.

Magic never denies its evil side. There are witches and hags and greedy giants. You fight it with the good. You’ve learned to simply be. And you hate yourself for it.

Yours Truly,

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Of Anniversaries and Acceptance. Not.

Well tomorrow marks a year. I wrote about it the day I found out all those months ago and put it up here but took it down a few days later. Writing was processing and I hadn’t processed it yet—still haven’t but whatever—and so it didn’t seem right leaving it up here.

A woman I know died. Tomorrow would make it exactly a year since she did. At the time I had my boards (this year’s due to start on Monday) and so I wasn’t told about it. I was told she was sick and when I insisted I wanted to visit her at the hospital they said I can after my boards got over. A month and a half later I’m asking papa to hurry up and pulling my mum out the door when she said it.

‘She’s no more.’ Three words. Not the ones people dream of hearing.

She was my mother’s best friend so I had no right being angry at mum. This was hard for her too, but I was. I didn’t like the fact that I had been kept in the dark, that I had no chance to say goodbye or even go to the funeral. I had been blindsided and I had to pretend everything was okay because we were going to her house that day for dinner. I wasn’t allowed to back out so I had to sit at dinner and pretend that seeing her decorated photo on the wall didn’t affect me; that I didn’t want to yell in frustration and tear the garland of flowers off of the frame. But I did it. I got through it.

I forget she’s dead sometimes. Does that make me horrible? I just forget about her death. I often go days without thinking about it. I just don’t understand it. I know it happened; I know how it happened (it was quick and peaceful and painless, thank God) but I just don’t understand how it happened.  How does someone just…?

I don’t remember the last time I saw her. I’m not a sentimental person so I don’t treasure everyday moments or live my days like they might be my last. So I don’t remember the last time I spoke to her. She loved shopping; I hated it so I would turn down my mother’s invitations. I wouldn’t go over to their house much in the last few months because there was always some exam, some test, some stupid project. So it’s entirely possible I hadn’t spoken to her in weeks.

I remember the food she used to make me. We would go at night and her dog would bark and I would say hi to it even though I was scared out of my wits and I would go in and watch tv or play with my sister. I also remember her coming in on Saturdays and bringing whatever she made for us and then sprawling on the bed waiting for my mother to hurry up and dress so they can go to the office. I remember the passionate retelling of stories as I sat in the backseat while mum and her talked and talked and talked. She would repeat “maine bola”(“I said”) over and over again in one sentence when worked up (“I said he was an idiot, I said. He should have made it on time, I said, I said it was his fault, I said”) It was amusing.

I cried properly once. It was weeks after I had been told. I was emailing a friend and we were talking about some random crap and before I knew it I was blurting it all out and bawling like a pathetic child at 2 am.

My best friend prayed for her even though she’s an atheist. She’s nice like that.

She was here and now she’s not and sometimes I forget. That she’s not. There’s a billboard on the way to school with her picture on it (she was quite prominent in some circles) and it got me thinking about how all these people pass by that group photo never realizing that the lady in green is dead. That the smile they see is long gone and there are no more ‘maine bola’s or poha in yellow tiffins brought in hot on Saturday mornings, no soft, warm body and silky jet black hair (as a child with the unruliest curliest mop there is, I always wanted those tresses), and no forced shopping trips.

I’m a mess. Held together by algorithms and logical reasoning that crumbles at the most inopportune of times in the most spectacular way possible, leaving behind a raw, blistering, pathetic lump that flinches at the slightest movement.

There’s a photo on a wall and fading echoes of a few laughs. Because the rest, as Nabokov said, is rust and stardust.

Yours Truly.

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