I mean, how ARE you doing?

I have noticed something.

I rarely mean it as much as I do when I’m asking you,

“How are you doing?”

And I usually mean to ask you –

  • Tell me about the darkest night and how you lived through it, since we last spoke.
  • Tell me if you have had any nightmares, and what they are about.
  • Tell me, are your limbs in order? Do your jaws work alright? Can you blink at regular intervals?
  • How are your parents? Have they showed you recently, how much you mean to them?
  • What about your friends? Do they check on you, when you’re deeply hurt and immersed in sorrow?
  • What’s the most fun you have had recently?
  • What rules have you broken? How did you like that?
  • Tell me about that time when you dealt with your inner demons like the warrior your soul is. You thought this moment would never arrive! – yet, here you are.
  • Tell me, have you kissed any girls recently? How did they taste? Did they use their tongue?
  • Have you bared your soul to anybody lately? Did they understand you?
  • Show me your skills, your hacks, your latest tricks! What sort of jokes do you tell lately? Can you still make me laugh? Can I make you?
  • How are you doing at work?
  • At night, a while before you fall asleep, what keeps you awake?
  • How have you been nurturing your body? Have you discovered anything new about how it works for you?
  • How have you been destroying your body? Tell me about what drives you to do that. While you are it, show me where it feels like a mortal wound. I swear I’d take away your pain if I could.

And lastly, I mean to ask you –

  • Do you ever think of me? Why? When? For how long? And what does your heart say when such a thought flickers, even momentarily. I daresay that a thought of me could stand a barrage of ones that are about life mundane, but for how long I wonder, does it manage to sustain? Or rather, do YOU manage to sustain it?

Don’t just tell me you’re fine. That breaks my heart. I want to know. I care.

Until next time, old friend.

 

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The Weakness of My Strengths

I was recently trying to list out traits that I identify with at my core. Here’s how I see myself:

An empath: In most interactions, I’m trying to put myself in the other person’s shoes. This usually translates into thinking about the other person’s motivations, goals, and insecurities, in nearly every interaction of mine. This is a cognitive exercise for me.

Adventurous spirit: I love to set out and explore. I like to meet new people. Uncomfortable situations don’t usually faze me. I like learning, and am happy to discover that what I thought I knew may not always be correct. The Black Swan does not shock me; it’s an exciting discovery!

Problem-solver: When something doesn’t fit my mental model of how things should work, I step back and wonder why it might be the way it is. How can things change or adapt? How can I be part of the solution? And some other times, do I care enough about this problem – is this a battle I want to choose and participate in?

Community-builder: Communities are hard to build. A community is not a cult, and is not a congregation of yes-men. However, the community must have certain ideas, values, and beliefs in common- there must be a culture to bind it together. After all, the strength of the wolf is in the pack, and the strength of the pack is in the wolf.

When I shared these ideas of myself with a mentor, he pointed out that I certainly score high on openness to experience in his view. However, there are of course, certain pitfalls of being so.

Here are some that stood out to me upon a little reflection:

  1. Sometimes, I display a trait that I would describe as a marriage between gullibility and a sense of entitlement. I find myself thinking that others will be as candid with me as I am with them, especially during periods of tension, I expect it; nay, demand it!
  2. I have certainly learned to be tactful the hard way. I am rather desperate to be myself with everyone I meet. I crave to be brutally authentic with everyone and in every situation. However, I have learnt to see the merit in reading a situation, and responding accordingly. Tact has not yet become my second nature, so my go-to response is to request time before I’m expected to respond.
  3. I identify with the wolf as my spirit animal. Any quote about the wolf and its ways gets me fascinated. Here’s another one: throw me to the wolves and I’ll come back leading the pack. This comes from an intense desire to not just survive, but thrive. But many a time, this comes off a serious sense of detachment – it might seem like I don’t care. Yes, I don’t care enough to dwell on certain things, but some others might connect with it deeply – and they perhaps see me as non-committed in some of those situations.

However, I see myself learning to use my strengths to balance the other out. At some point, I might have a strong sense of wanderlust that makes me want to take off. But, empathy will probably help me gauge if my actions might be coming at a time when someone needs my presence the most. Hard decisions might need to be taken, but I’ll save that for when I reach the bridge.

A(nother) Lesson in Letting Go.

2017 has been rough for me in the friendships department. However, it has also had some spark of ‘absolutely amazing’ as well – and I’m grateful for that. But, since I’m human, I tend to obsess on the pervasiveness of grief, sadness, heartbreak, and other such negative emotions vis-a-vis positive ones.

With the end of August, I have had 3 extremely close friends choose to “drift away” from me. Others have been busy adjusting to their new lives and situations, while a couple others have embraced me as a result of the same. It’s been bizarre and heartbreaking, and I have felt blindsided more than once. It also makes me feel antsy, uncertain, hesitant and ambivalent, especially about an area in my life that I was confident about in the past few years. Sometimes, I feel surges of resentment against them for being self-absorbed and treating me this way, while the other part of me tells me that it’s cool to let go and give another person space. Sometimes I ask for feedback from other people aware of the situation, and they tell me that it is not necessarily my fault. It strikes me that the news that I’m NOT a TOXIC friend, should come as good news, but it doesn’t feel so.

Like I already ‘know’ but don’t necessarily always practice, letting go means making space to allow better things into my life.

I used to be a young woman who thought she had the best friends anybody could ask for, and now, suddenly, although I know that this is probably not a permanent situation or emotion, I don’t necessarily feel so. And I suppose, that’s alright with me.

Hold space, there is plenty.

I can’t really put a finger on it, but I have changed since the last time I posted on here.

I have become very comfortably whole, but in a rather porous way. What I mean is, I am not whole in the sense that I have no holes, and no space to accommodate the ebbs and flow of life. My earlier definition of whole used to be akin to that of a SOLVED Rubik’s cube. No need or space for change. Thoroughly well-defined, and really no scope for anymore human interaction to be involved in anymore. And then, somewhere along the way, I didn’t really feel like I wanted that anymore. I like my periodic ‘struggles’… they have helped me unearth aspects about myself that I never expected to learn. It has put me in positions that I hadn’t ever really fathomed, and it gave me a renewed sense of wonder. Sometimes, it did nothing for me, and I discovered that ‘nothing’ is not bad either!

‘Trust your struggle’ is a maxim I have come to accept over the past few years, sometimes grudgingly so. It’s become quite integral to my being now, and in the process, I have finally gotten a peek at the reality of ‘holding space’. Sometimes, life isn’t a project. Sometimes, even the most well-intentioned advice can be ill-timed. Sometimes, what you have to offer is not what the other needs, and other times it is not what they want. And that’s ok! It’s fine to step back and move forward with those connections that are felt strongly, and it is fine to loosen your grip on those connections that seem like they are slipping through your fingers.

I recently did something for someone with absolutely no expectations, and with genuine, uninhibited affection. It was liberating! It still is. I am in awe and curious, but I think I’ll just let this be this one time. I’m letting a flower be a flower; no need to pluck it. It’s already working its magic by just being. 🙂

I’m scared, honey.

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I still believe.

In the recesses of my heart, there is no doubt.

In my mind, I do not question it anymore.

It is a reality, and I am in acceptance.

However, it is here that I cleave.

To pursue dreams that were long before you were sought.

To become the person I always was at my core.

How these paths may converge, I can only sense.

Against destiny, I have no defense.

Violent, twisted, forceful love.

Love, for me, is an extremely violent act. Love is not “I love you all.” Love means I pick out something, and it’s, again,this structure of  imbalance. Even if this something is just a small detail… a fragile individual person… I say “I love you more than anything else.” In this quite formal sense, love is evil.

Ah, Zizek. In my naivete, I rejected your theories. Today, I willingly reconsider my stance.

Whenever I speak or write on romantic love, I seldom feel like I’m on steady ground.

Romantic love is widely, well, romanticized. It is portrayed as beautiful, soulful, inspiring, touching, calming, capable of inducing joy. It’s worth the jump, they say.

Consider this: you are wise enough to know your vices. You have found beauty in another. You wish them happiness, and feel like you have a shot at channeling unconditional love. This is the metaphorical flower which you must not pluck, if you wish to see it’s beauty continue into eternity. Yet, you do. It’s a selfish act. You draw someone out into their most vulnerable states, and expose them to your darkest, ugliest sides. And what is more, you insist that they love you the better for it.

How is this not violent? – Zizek says it is to the rest of the world; I say it is violent to the victim of your choice. How is this not as bad a manipulative tactic used in war?

I’m not saying I don’t believe in seeking love in romantic relationships. I am merely suggesting that we stop lying to ourselves. Love is ugly, messy, gut-wrenching, selfish, violent, despicable, deceiving. ‘Bad Romance’ is redundant copy. Romance never had a shot at being describe with a positive adjective.

Lachesism: Finding a word that fits.

A hunger for chaos. Patiently anticipating a meltdown. Something to give you clarity about what the world really is when it is tested by fire, and who you really are in such a state of affairs.

The reason I love words and reading them so voraciously is so I may stumble upon a hint, an explanation, a sign of shared perspective and similar inner worlds. Sometimes I find myself wishing for harmony to be done away with, to be stripped naked, to be confronted by the climax that ‘ought’ to happen, so there can be a face-off, a revelation of secrets, a submission, an admission, a certain moment of vulnerability and intensity neither of which can persist without co-existence.

There’s a word, and therefore there is a validation for the undercurrents of my soul. It is shared, I’m no alien or uncommon martyr or idiosyncratic eccentric or ill-tongued demon to reap this product of my tumultuous emotions. It is human, as it is shared.