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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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. 🙂

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.

What more?

Moments before embracing drunken stupor,

A short while after episodes of coquetry, albeit with folks unconcerned,

To the tunes of a soulful ballad,

She thought a strange thought. An unexpected thought.

It washed over her like a wave, catching her by pleasant surprise.

She stood there watching the musing of her own subconscious.

She thought her thought without judgment.

A thought of effortlessly dying in his arms, with satisfaction.

She imagined a return to the velvet unruffled veneer that was a mystery to all, but her.

No hard feelings, no bonds of longing either,

Just a sense of eternal and fleeting love. Of returning home to-

Understanding. Affection. Sympatico.

What more could she ask for, when she had a place of love to approach the world from?

Thinking thus, she turned over and fell asleep.

 

 

 

Moulds in the business of falling in love.

You assure me that I can catch and hold your attention.

You say I’m “nice and pretty”

You tell me that you see me as a ‘free spirit’.

Am I to be gladdened, I wonder? Perhaps so, I consider politely.

I can take a compliment, but with no more than a ‘thank you’.

I can smile, and not hold a grudge against you. Neither, a corner in my heart.

I say that you don’t know how to appreciate a person, let alone a woman.

You don’t see me for my courage, my efforts to keep my hair groomed.

To have a sense of personal style, to wear the clothes that seem most like the colours of my moods.

I’d rather have you tell me that my scent reminds you of a burrow

Fresh, broken in, earthy, warm.

I’d rather learn that you are inspired by the efforts I make for my loved ones.

The lengths I go to weave their stories into my own,

Instead of keeping a count of them, reducing them to a statistic.

I’d rather hear you criticize my tendency to control, and struggle while at it,

Comment on my being guarded among strangers.

That I sometimes don’t make the effort or give you enough attention.

But that I make up for it by cooking you a warm meal.

I’d like to kick back with you on a park bench, instead of constantly being barraged-

-with gifts, feats aimed to make an impression, compliments…

Compliments so cheap, that only money can buy them,

While the soul withers and retreats.

And then you remark on my demeanor aloof.

I’ll tell you what, I don’t live for comments.

I live to be understood.

 

Can I lay by your side?

I find it funny, and pathetic that I have no control over how my day could go after a night’s sleep. This, despite all the discipline and self-control and my so-called right choices, which in the larger scheme don’t seem to be the best after all. Just a realistic dream of my beautiful, late grandmother leaves me tortured when I wake up… not because I’m reminded of her loss, but because I saw her suffer in living once more in my dream. It was so painful to think once more of the pain she died of- what a pity that we could do nothing but watch and offer sympathetic service, while she lived through it all, on medicines, on morphine. I cannot seem to let go of those scenes in my head, when she would cough, hardly able to breathe, when she would throw up, unable to keep her food down, when she was so weak and would scarcely be able to walk by herself to the dinner table. All that pain that we watched her undergo alone, comes back to haunt me in my dreams.

Those were the last dregs of my childhood; of my life as I knew it. Suddenly I find myself thrown into an unfamiliar landscape, similar in many ways to how it was before, but in many ways starkly different. It’s a different kind of isolation that I experience now. It isn’t one of never having known love, but to have loved and lost. It’s a feeling of powerlessness, instead of pity. It’s a sense of not being of this world in the present, such a sudden onset of detachment, and then after a minute, none of that – just the comforting coldness of reality. Go about breakfast as usual, smile at people you know, greet them, tell them about your weekend, go for walks, chatter over lunch, shop for groceries, text a friend, cook a meal, and try to fall asleep, knowing that your dreams can destroy you once again and you can’t always let it show. You can’t let it show because there’s only so long that you can dampen others’ spirits. You can’t let it show because to others, it is not real. It’s just very vivid memories haunting you senseless. And you are yielding to them, against your better judgment.

That was cathartic.

Ordinary Flaws

Whom does idealization hurt more? – the dreamer or the subject of the dream? The person who has externalized the source of every answer he has always sought, or the person being put up on the pedestal as if his true self wasn’t enough?

What happens when that idealization ends? There seem to be ways this story can turn out. Perhaps reality comes crashing down on them and one of them breaks down, while the other feels betrayed. There’s also the chance that one of them expresses, in full vulnerability, and the other responds with kindness, understanding, and love. As much as we focus on the ideal of the second, it is probably best to concede that we are, but, ordinary people, trying to do our best, looking for meaning and love, and learning to express ourselves as truthfully as possible. We are grappling with everything that our senses send our way, and looking to instill some rhythm and some pauses into our living.

Sure, be kind, and understanding. But what’s more important is to be true to yourself and your capabilities- we’re just ordinary people. We’re simply human, and our asymmetry is beautiful. It shows how deep and diverse we are, for there is only so much that can be contained within perfection – it’s completeness is stagnant; it is done and dusted, and one must move past it. But when there is a trail of frayed thread, or a hint of desire, then there is the glorious chance of fruition- a relationship, a journey together, a vision of the sunset- shared and taken in with the delight of breaking bread with another, of community.

We’re just ordinary people.