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The words were on the tip of her tongue. She was afraid that if she started to express them into coherent logical thoughts, they’d evolve into a literal storm. She was angry, she was dormant like a volcano about to implode and destroy everything in its path. So, she tamed her emotions, harnessed them into seeds of positivity, let them grow into actions of love towards herself. But she was growing tiresome of putting out any inkling of a fire. She was restless of its predictable pattern of destruction and continuously checking its temperature to manage, to control.

Her life in the past six weeks had become an emotional roller coaster. The highs were lovely, and the lows were borderline devastating. She showered in motivation more than she bathed in water. She developed an armour of steel to prevent her essence that she was building from getting lost. She spoke in simpler sentences instead of even attempting the more complex thoughts that buzzed, constantly. They wouldn’t sleep, not even when everything else was. They’d ruminate, gather dust, pollute the sanitary mind space she was cultivating.

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for better or for worse —

I went to a slam poetry night the other evening. This isn’t atypical of what I would’ve done as a student on a typical Wednesday night. I was truly looking forward to the evening of sipping a cold beer in an overly humid room with hipsters and the general youth. I was looking forward to the solitude that came from reflecting one’s own thoughts in the unison of a crowd. I was excited about the positive and energy and acceptance that I had always found at these events. I found a spot and later continued to move till I finally found a table I could sit on.

I could recognize less than a handful of people. I don’t mean to brag, but having the confidence that I would meet friends there was truly one of the reasons I had gone to this by myself. I had just expected to fall into old acquaintances, the distant friend. I had expected to find company but found myself in a room of strangers. Very young, very naive strangers. I could tell they were first years right away. Eighteen years old and with that energy and optimism. I remember having that just so very recently. I had never felt so old in my life. It was almost crippling and I couldn’t manage even a returned smile.

I decided to stay and found that the poems were not as universal and ageless as I had always assumed it was. They were about first heartbreaks. They were about moving away from home. They were about a loneliness that I found shallow and empty in essence. It wasn’t the loneliness that came from building a life in a city and finding yourself still sitting alone on a Saturday night and actually preferring it to anything else. It wasn’t the loneliness that came from making an extremely elaborate dinner for yourself and being okay with not sharing that moment of completion. It wasn’t the loneliness that came from going to the movies alone and indulging in an overpriced, over caffeinated, over sugared cola drink because getting to know someone actually felt like small talk. It wasn’t the loneliness that came from talking the transit and doing a job that was way less glamorous than what you had expected for yourself. It wasn’t the loneliness that could be talked about or even mentioned because realizing it was real would open a gate that you could never really close again.

They talked about loneliness and heartbreak as if it were one single event separate from everything else in their life’s events. They spoke as if the event happened, they reacted, they moved on. It was as if the event had never transformed their bones, their very cores.

I wondered when I had become so cold and heartless and apathetic. I remembered feeling so much awe and emotion and love the last time. When did I become so shut off, so filtered, so proud? I was disgusted at myself for feeling as if their thoughts were invalid and childish. I remembered thinking that they had no idea what being an adult was life. The internal chaos and turmoil that comes from not having a job and willing to do just about anything instead of having to go back home in desperate. The emptiness that comes from self loathing and self pity from the lack of meaning for yourself. The panic of not having a home within your means that could keep you happy. The desperateness that comes from not knowing what you’re doing with your life, your time. The joy kill of doubting your skills and strengths and desperately not able to find anything happy in this period of temporary. This was me a month ago and now, slowly things are falling into place.

I am a very, very broke adult surviving in Vancouver working two jobs and managing a personal life that gives meaning and the strength to face old demons that have not yet disappeared.

I am very grateful and humbled for this period because it has and will ultimately define my future, for better or worse.

 

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Dreams, Rambles, Self-Development, Uncategorized

Believing in Extraordinary Happenings

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I never thought I’d be the one to say it’s funny how life is, but to be honest – that’s the best and only way to put recent developments. My year has been nothing but a roller coaster. I have never felt more out of control, more anxious; I simply did not buy a ticket to this growing up ride that I was practically thrown into.

And thus, I grudgingly made plans and started having some mild form of visions and long term agenda of what I wanted for myself; where I might contribute something to this world and have some minor impact instead of just “being”. My best laid plans didn’t work out the way I wanted them too, despite all my efforts and deep strategizing. I consumed myself to the point of livid drunkenness with passionate, illogical and almost blind vigour. I’m speaking in riddles and vagueness with intention;  the lessons I learnt this week will probably be applied and will reoccur many many times in my optimistically, long life. They will be learned and relearned and when I’m sixty I’ll have some decently exciting stories of that time I was 22 years old and lived in a studio apartment where I had a french press and felt like the most independent and self-sufficient Indian woman in a diverse, green, urban city and received treatment from a decently functioning healthcare system.

Khaled Hosseini wrote that we all want extraordinary things to happen to us; we all want our life to be the exception to what the natural trend of the population and state of affairs is. Obviously there is a lot of struggle and suffering to reaching whatever our goals and dreams are, but we always earnestly hope things will work out and we pray to all the gods we don’t believe in that they do. 

I realized that I’m not sensitive to people and their unneeded thoughts; my intense, overwhelming sensitivity comes from the daily happenings and experiences of my world. I crawl into a ball and ponder and reflect and agonize beyond anything considered healthy. But in a way, by experiencing such emotions so strongly, I am able to let it go and move the fuck on. I need to go through the entire spectrum of bullshit to feel relief; I need to reinvent the whole wheel to feel a sense of accomplishment and achievement.  And therefore, I got into an ugly phase in my life where I waded continuously in this pool of frustrating want to be more. Brimmed to the top with self-loathing and doubt and lack of faith, and most importantly – a need for control. 

And I know that I love this repeated game of collapsing and overcoming. The game is exhausting and endless and tiresome but it is the only thing that makes me feel like a human being with a heart. This feeling of feeling everything too much. But, I’d rather play this exhausting game of life with the privileged card of hands I’ve been dealt with, then play no game with no cards. 

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I Forgot to Write.

I don’t know how I let myself not write for so long. I don’t know the transitionary states that enabled me to come to a point in my life where I feel overwhelmed with despair and uncertainty and so much negativity for life. I think life was happening too fast for me to catch up with it and actually sit down and reflect, and I know I say this all the time – but writing has been the one constant in my life that has gotten me past everything so far. And perhaps, the lack of writing is what has resulted in a coat I have started to wear of being undeniably cheerful, because I can’t possibly articulate my despair and frustration for life in a few coherent sentences. In order for someone to fully understand the magnitude of my experiences would be endless conversations over many, many cups of tea – and even then, it would be a futile, discounted attempt at the full entirety and essence of what I am currently feeling. But, I have never needed external understanding of myself. I think I desperately sought it because the conversation helped in bringing about clarity and an oppurtunity to reflect. And it’s cheesy, yet true – but writing has always done that for me when I have fully thrown myself into the words, without thinking of consequence and possible judgements from strangers. And it’s a shame that I had temporarily forgotten that. 

This year has been a constant struggle. I realize the word struggle may be quite strong in the large scheme of the universe. But, within the context of my short 22 years, I am truly believing that this may be one of the hardest periods. I have never felt more confused. Although I have felt unbearable loneliness, overwhelming amounts of suffering and pain – this may be amongst the top worst times. I feel like my next steps in the post-grad life is what will ultimately define me. I feel like I am unable to physically cope with the fact that I have a chronic health condition that nobody will ever understand, that will plague me till the very end, and ultimately – I have no control over.

And this is what I am struggling with – an ultimate lack of control.

My health, my lack of direction, my lack of career path, my lack of Plan A, B, C, D, E, F.

And the crippling, unrealistically high expectations I have of myself, weighted with those of my family, and the generations before that.

And the truth is, I know it will all work out. I know that something or the end will end up working out and it’ll be fine and in a year or two or five, I’ll be in a better place. But, I’m currently in what seems like a blackhole of a limbo period and I’m honestly getting so tired of pretending I’m fine.  

 

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Conversations that aren’t Conversations

Someone recently told me that words are the only thing we have. The realization was profound on a personal level.

I truly believe that each of us have a story worth telling, even if not all are worth listening to. The simple actions of trudging along the long and dreary process of Life is beautiful in its own fragile way. We float on clouds, and the only meaning we can ever get out of day-in and day-out of actions and breathing and walking and sleeping is if – for one moment, we stop to convey the internal monologues we have going on. Suddenly, everything is different, the world is a magical place. Instead of revolving in our own galaxies, we are intermingling and being part of a greater system. And this ecosystem only works by listening, understanding and compassion.

I truly naively believe that this is the root of so many of the issues today – a lack of apathy for individuals that do not contribute to one’s own well-being, an indifference to their experiences. And it’s bullshit because, as silly and corny as it is, we are all in this together. An organization such as a government doesn’t work without meeting the needs of the people – just read the news. A company doesn’t run if it’s employees are unheard. But, I am not here to discuss the way the world works. To me, the whole deal is simple and things like politics and marketing and consumerism and capitalism seem trivial. Living things are here to live and require basic needs to be met in order to thrive.  

Nevertheless, returning to my original point, it is true that some people are just closed to the ideas and beliefs of others. They are so deeply rooted in their engrained perspective of reality, that a conversation isn’t a conversation. It is a simply an oppurtunity for them to scream their ideologies and impose them. Personally, I am slow to recognize these toxic people, because my own hold of what reality is….is loose.

Instead, I am seduced by their ideas and fail to realize their lack of respect for mine. For significant amounts of time, I allow these people to pollute my thoughts and worse, discount my sense of self. I a confined in my ability to grow new ideas and to thrive. But for some reason, I am so entranced by their perspective that I continue this charade of a friendship. I am confined in the space I have the right to be in. I forget that I have the right to have my own thoughts, and the confidence to express them. It is only through several countless experiments of hurt and recovery, that it dawns on me. 

I think this realization in itself is growth. I actively now remove people who do not contribute to my thriving. This is not selfish because by being able to practise my genuine self, I am able to be happy. And thus, I can contribute and actively work towards their own thriving as well. It’s the oldest piece in self-care 101 – you can only help others if you help yourself.

 

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I Tried to Love You.

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“So, I’ll see you on Monday, yeah?”

“What’s happening on Monday?”

“We’re going out.”

I laughed because I didn’t know what else to do. I loved that you were so confident. Later, in retrospect, I realized you had mistaken my harmless flirtations out of boredom as intent. But at that time, your self-assurance swept me away. We’d barely had two conversations and I wondered why you were interested. Being the self-acclaimed neurotic, I immediately said no, because that confidence only meant you asked out people regularly. And I didn’t want to waste my time with someone like that. I was a lot more sensitive and not as easy going as I may seem. But you laughed, refusing to take a no for an answer, and I had no choice.

But, I was glad that I went.

I hadn’t been on a first date, ever. I was 20 years old. I changed a few times because I wanted to feel sexy and confident. I wanted to impress you, even though I wasn’t eager about being in a relationship. I tried to stop thinking, tried to reassure myself that this was a fun, normal experience. That it was all part of growing up, and it wasn’t serious, that it didn’t mean anything. We got confused about where we were going to meet, but you finally figured where I was waiting, and came to me. You hugged me, and I remember feeling so awkward. We walked to your car. You teased me about having two jobs, that I was secretly a single mother. I laughed because I didn’t expect you to be so witty.

The first place you took me was to your apartment. Well, your parent’s condo in one of the most expensive real estate areas in one of the most expensive cities in the world. The elevator made me nervous, since it showed right away that we did not view money the same way. I was also nervous because I didn’t know you, and you were taking me to your apartment. But, you just wanted to change. Later, during dinner, I was glad you did. You wore a maroon shirt, with a blazer. I was wearing jeans with a fancy top.

I remembered thinking that I’d waited so long for a guy who treated me this well. That it was finally my turn at love – where I didn’t wait by the phone to get a message, where I kept wondering whether you liked me. No, you made it all so easy. You were upfront and such a gentleman. You picked me up, dropped me back home, took me to your favourite restaurant by the harbour. Later, we walked by the harbour and I wanted to kiss you, but I didn’t. I barely knew you.

Also, I was going home for the holidays and didn’t want to feel anything. That didn’t happen. All I thought about was you, and how you seemed so perfect. Not perfect, but perfect for me. You were smart, you kept the conversation going, you were charismatic, appeared to be traditional. I looked at everything that we shared in common and convinced myself that I liked you. I had fantasized versions of you in my head, and was falling in love with every one of them.

We decided I’d arrange the second date. I took you to a bar, because I wanted it to be more casual. I learnt that you have a really low tolerance for alcohol. I realized I wanted you to see my casual side, that I’m not someone who is high-maintainance. We got so drunk, and took the bus to your place. I remember how obnoxious we were, talking loud enough so that everyone could hear. I sat next to the window, you blocking me from the rest of the world. You laughed at my jokes, and I did to yours. You gave me pyjamas to wear. They didn’t really go with my navy blue satin shirt, but it didn’t matter. I gasped as I saw the view from your parent’s apartment. I wondered how much they paid for it. I wondered whether you cleaned it or whether you had help. I wondered if you cooked or if you ordered take-out.

I remember sweating on your bed. It was so hot. And then, I opened the window, with you on top of me, kissing me. I wanted you to stop, because you didn’t know how to kiss. I had mixed feelings – relief that you weren’t a player, realizing you were more inexperienced than I’d anticipated. However, I let you continue, because I hadn’t felt any physical touch in so long. I tried to imagine being in a fantasy, in which there was much more intimacy, because that’s all I craved. Finally, I had to tell you to stop three times, before you did.

At that point, I was truly scared. I wondered if I would become the kind of story I loved reading about. But, you finally listened. Later, I tried to convince myself that you were just to turned on to stop. In the morning, you jokingly called me a tease, that you would be frustrated all day. I told you that there were solutions, that your release wasn’t my problem.

Already, I had started to like you less.

But, it was only date two. I knew I was too picky. I liked being adored, the centre of your attention. So, I decided that these things needed time to grow. Besides, you made me laugh. You understood that I was difficult. You understood that my playful teasing and hating only showed home much I liked you.

The next few months were a blur. We went to a movie with friends, where all you wanted to do was smell my neck, and kiss me, and I actually wanted to watch, that I was too shy to make out in front our friends. We went for wings and beer, and you watched these guys check me out, before you held my hand publicly. You drove me home when I got drunk with my friends, and then dropped all my friends home too. You brought me oranges when I was sick, when I didn’t want you to see me sick and ugly. You picked me up after my midterm on Valentine’s day, to take me to your favourite restaurant, where you’d taken me for our first date.

You came to my small birthday dinner. I had been so upset that night because people had cancelled and my own family hadn’t wished me. I broke down on the bus on the way, but didn’t tell you about it. But, you stuck there all night, trying to get to know all my friends. We shared a plate, and you didn’t drink because you had to drive. When I went to the washroom, you paid, like you had done once before. I let you take me to your place. You held me all night, and I liked your hand on my waist, my stomach. You made me breakfast in the morning, and walked me to class.

Once, I had to get a blood transfusion. We’d only been dating a month, and I didn’t want to tell you. But, we were supposed to do something, and I couldn’t lie. I told you not to come because I was depressed, because I’d been crying. I wanted to be alone and miserable and lonely. But, you came, just before I was released at midnight. You had researched places that were still open and took me, knowing I’d be starving. It was the coziest, most romantic little place, few blocks from the waterfront. I had a glass of wine, and stared at you from the light of a single candle. You told me I was beautiful, although before then, I had been to repulsed from my skin. You walked me to my apartment, making sure I was home safe. I wanted to cry because nobody (except my parents, and they don’t count) had ever cared about me like that. You texted me good night and good morning, asking if I needed anything, how I was feeling. For the first time, I felt like my disorder wouldn’t completely destroy a future of normalcy. That, I could find someone someday who would accept me, low hemoglobin count, pale skin, fatigue and all.

Once, we met a mutual coworker in the movies, holding hands. She had stood there not hiding her shock. And, I had told her how pretty her eye-make was because I had nothing else to say. Later, she asked me if we had had sex yet. We laughed and bitched at and about her for hours. She really wasn’t a very nice person. A few weeks later, you had told another mutual coworker about us. He was someone I considered an older brother, and he told me in our common language how happy he was for me.

And then we started spending hours in the backseat of your car, making out. With your mom visiting, and my roommate and incredibly thin walls, there was nowhere else to go. You were so eager for any permission I gave, as if I had just made you rich, that I was comfortable with you. I was comfortable as myself, not drunk, not as a one night stand. When I was spent, and you weren’t, I called it a night and told you to text me when you got home.

It took me a month to break up with you.

I had to justify it to myself. I wanted a different sort of relationship, one filled with intellectual thoughts and ideas, not just playful nonsensical bantering. I wanted the kind of passion where I had to kiss you before I said hi, not the kind where I got bored during the kiss. I wanted a relationship where I couldn’t wait for everyone to meet you, not the kind where I had to keep wondering whether you’d fit in. I didn’t want to hold your hand all the time, and you looked like a lost puppy when I told you, which only pushed me away further. I kept telling you about the goals I was meeting, the goals I was working towards, and you didn’t seem to have that. Or if you did, you never shared. You were content with mediocrity, with your parents paying for your luxurious lifestyle, with not really working towards self-improvement.

Finally, I convinced myself that I could never love you.

Although, I still believe that to be true, being with you made me believe in things I never did before.

Being with you made me realize how a girl should always be treated, that honestly good guys exist.

I know I hurt you, but I would have hurt you more if I had stayed.

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Sometimes, writing brings me so much clarity, that its the only reason to write. But of late, nothing in my life has had clarity. I feel like I’m a rut, that I’m not making progress. But at the same time, I’m oddly happy occasionally because of all the “free time” that the exam schedule provides. Is it odd that I’m the least stressed during exams? I always take on too many commitments.

But, lately – I’ve been confused. When I allow myself to think, or to feel. Is it weird that I am able to completely disconnect myself from a situation, from a person, from an experience. I wasn’t always like this. I used to be opposite. Completely submerged and engorged with the thoughts and oh so many feels of others. I feel cold and empty lately, which is strange because I’m anything but.

Tonight, I feel calm. I’m not anxious. I’m happy with myself. I’m not concerned about acceptance. I’m not trying to be someone else. I’m not trying to please. I’m not trying to impress or be someone’s friend. It’s weird that this calm equilibrium makes me feel like I’m in a rut, because I’m simply being, I’m not trying. I suppose I am trying though, always, just not in this way.

I want to have conversations with people. I want them to be honest and pure and vulnerable, and in one conversation – get to know their essence. I’ve always wanted to understand what makes people tick, what makes them wake up and try and be and what their neverending thoughts are and whether they’re like mine, and if yes ohhowwoundefulwehaveaconnectionandcanbefriendsnow.

I am scared of insignificance – of being one, of being considered one, being okay as one, trying not to be one. I suppose many people want to and do find love because even if they can’t be significant to the world, they can be to one person.

But, as much as I love people and everything they mean – I feel a disconnect. I love people as much as I hate them.

Clarity

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