Thursday, January 19, 2017

Complicated Critters

It was the first day of college. Lots of new faces passed me by. Out of nowhere, I began introducing myself. Perhaps, I was mimicking those around me. Perhaps, I was suppressing my fear of being stranded in this school. Or perhaps, I was compelled to do so for fear of missing out.

Sure, I felt a jolt of uncertainty, but somehow making the first attempt, which of course proved to be easy, diluted all the fear away. It was the first day of college and I was rather excited to make new friends.

The last time I made friends was in kindergarten. 14 years before the first day of college, I was headed to my first day of kindergarten. I didn't know anyone and if I remember correctly, I had no intention of knowing anyone. As an only child, I did not see the joy of speaking with people my own age, when I could converse about current events with adults.

Friendship, especially making new friends, does not come naturally to me. And without much interest, I never truly learned the necessary social skills to make friends effectively.

But then, suddenly, five years after the first day of college, I found myself making friends quickly and easily. Ironically, when I was most myself (read: weird) I was able to attract new friends. Sure, one of them looks like an adorable critter and the other proves to be as complicated as me, but that only compels me to anticipate hanging out with them even more.

For a very, very long time I found myself looking for these newfound friends. I can't wait to talk to them, make them laugh, and sing-a-long with them in the car. For once, I wanted to see my friends all the time.

In retrospect, most days making friends happens as easily as it did on the first day of college. Oddly enough, much like the first day of college, we are still alone on most days of our lives. All I had to learn was to say "Hi!"

Monday, November 28, 2016

He Gave Me What You Could Never Provide

This is for the person that I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving! 

"Why can't you let yourself be happy?" I met him eight years ago, or was it nine? We were introduced by a boy, who later became a man who could not fill the big shoes of men who preceded him. "Why can't you just allow yourself to be happy despite his behavior and choices?" If only it were that easy.

Well, actually it would be that easy. It only takes one decision to let the past dissolve into nothing but memories. But what if I were to tell you that letting go of him and our story would make me the robot that he had fell in love with years ago? What if it means that I would regress to a twenty year old version of me that could not feel the world. My writing would be bland and my smile would merely be a pre-programmed facial expression. I would not be a human being.

"Would you be alright if my happiness meant that I would not be the person you've known for the past eight years?"

He looked at me. Silent. His eyes widened before narrowing. I try to recount the last time he was silenced. I wonder what took a man who nursed me after I crashed to the ground to be silenced. I study the face who's turned up at every book signing and who's popped up in front of my doorstep with a bag full of booze. He's like the partner I never had, replacing the hole that his friend had left years ago.

"What you're saying is I won't even recognize you if you were happy?" He finally asks.
"Think about it. You've never seen me happy." I pointed out the obvious.
"I've seen you happy." he says after a while, "You were happy when he was here, when you caught him smiling at you."

We stared at each other and smiled, fully aware that this is the last time he'd see me show any glimpse of happiness in this state of mind.

"Just remember that people care, that I care, about you." He says, "And if that's what it takes for you to be happy, if losing you is what it takes then, there's no other choice but to set you free."

With that he let go of the girl who did not have the strength to let go her own demons. And once again, he gave me something that you could never provide.

*The above image was hand drawn by the writer

Friday, September 30, 2016

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Till' the Bitter End

From the hills she scans the valley below, peering down on a man with a predetermined fate. He sits unaware, busy, distracted, just as she remembered.

All reliable battle plans must be scrapped. How can she conquer a war that she doesn't want to win? How can she erase the very figure that resurrected her faith in a happy ending? How can she forget all the things that kept her from her demons?

She peers down at her map. Her eyes follow an invisible line that would bring them on a pilgrimage through the past 10 months. Suddenly, her eyes stop.

A map that once illustrated a pilgrimage through their story

Reliable battle plans are altered as she looks on the battle ground.

Midway through the charge, I look down at my sword and wonder why I'm even holding a sword to begin with. A voice flourishes from my chest, traveling up my throat at increased rate, before filling up my head like perfume. The scent reminds me of survival, "It's either me or him".

With no doubts to address I push my horse even harder. It charges towards the battle ground, accelerating with assurance. The wind blows away the memory, burns the images and shatters any hopes that consisted of him.

I am all that is left.

*Picture was taken by the author

Sunday, July 31, 2016

When Can I Scream At You?

When is it alright to scream at your friends?

I mean, when is it alright to scream at all?

As I write this, I am listening to soothing music trying to well, sooth myself. And yet, I still can't brush the question off of my shoulders. I champion communication and yet, I can't even bring myself to tell you what is wrong because I have learned not to scream, not to throw a fit.

I am an adult struggling to articulate, not a child at a toy store. Ugh!

When were we taught not to scream at our friends?
Is it better to not scream at you or not to communicate the issue at all?

Talking about it like adults
One thing that I despise about adulting is the need to always be civilized. Sometimes, sending a message in a civilized manner discounts its contents and its weight, not to mention its urgency. Talking it out may help the receiver receive and digest the content better, hence increasing their understanding. And yet, it may also dilute the emotion that the message carries.

Also, wouldn't it be so boring if all our conversations are nice and polite and civilized?

The right to scream
To answer the first question posed, in some cultures it isn't alright to scream at your friends. Varying degrees of friendship warrants varying degrees of shock. Screaming is reserved to childhood friends or your best friends, people who've seen you through thick and thin. They have seen you done worst things than screaming. And hence, in some ways, it is fine to scream at these people. But the majority of your friends should never, ever see you turn into a primal creature and scream your lungs out. God forbid they leave you or gossip about it to your other non-close friends!

The right to scream is also reserved to your loved ones. Highlight the word love(d) here. Your parents may not be your close friends, but again, they have seen you done worse things than scream and most likely, you have screamed at them before you questioned its appropriateness in the first place.

Another group of unfortunate souls are your significant others. I've seen many of my friends start fighting and screaming at their beloved once the relationship becomes official. Somehow, a status or a label allows people to act uncivilized: to vomit the truth and serve it in the most indelicate of ways. Suddenly, complaining about how dirty their car is or how often they fail to listen is kosher. And based on my observation, this behavior only increases over time and with more milestones.

Now, why do I need scream?
Well, let's just say when you haven't had the chance to communicate for quite some time, words that were properly written with a civilized accent, have now turned into a pot of sounds that can only be delivered in screams.

Even after screaming, I can't see myself articulating any of my feelings or requests so I shall opt for questions instead. Perhaps, questions will help illustrate how you have made me so frustrated with you, us, even myself!

And after all this contemplation, I am no longer concerned about the appropriateness of a scream. Instead, I fear that we can only move on once I've screamed, once you've seen the monster that you have helped create.

*The photo was taken by the author

Friday, June 24, 2016

You Saved Me at 3

The past three weeks have been spent deciding if I should stay
If I should stay on this damn roller coaster ride
Or eject myself from this seat
And exit the ride

Though I still take pleasure in making plans
I did not like what was in store for me
The chances were slim
The outcome grim

Was I to eject myself and free fall to the ground
Or was I to remain, strapped in, waiting for the next sudden fall
And the next and the next
Without a hand to hold

The past three hours have been spent under the blanketed sky
I couldn’t breathe, let alone sit
But somehow the roller coaster became bearable
And I left feeling thankful I had decided to wake up this morning

Three days ago I considered taking up alcohol as a new past time
Two days ago it was cigarettes
And today it was food
But he has changed my mind

Alcohol, perhaps, could cure my loneliness
It’ll make me less of a coward and more of a charmer
But he made me realize that I need my brain to remain alert
Which I need to allow my ego outsmart his

Smoking, perhaps, could give me something to do
A quick relieve amidst aimless living
But it will prevent my tongue from debating
Which need to become a valuable player and keep on playing

Food, perhaps, could relieve me from my sadness
Sugar would inject me with a sudden high that would conceal my pain
But it will prevent my heart from beating as fast
Which I need to help me feel alive and help me forget time

As the minutes passed I quickly forgot about you
Forgot about our future and my doom
Forgot about the damage I had made and the castles I had built
And the sudden free fall waiting for me in the next three months

Instead I wanted to stay
Talking till sunrise
Bitching about life’s follies
And the damn roller coaster we’ve all been trapped in  

Now I am on the roller coaster
Still moving full speed ahead
Still complete with a free fall
Waiting at the end of the next three months

But, instead of dreading the future
I’m glad to wake up another day
Glad that I am not alone on this damn roller coaster ride

Glad I stayed, strapped in, to hold your hand

Monday, April 25, 2016

I Hate My Period

Once again, I have ruined another pair of panties! This cramp doesn't let me get up from the toilet, let alone clean my underwear in the shower. I can't decide whether to feel angry, hopeless, or debilitated.

Is it just me, or have you ever wondered the legitimately of your emotions when you're on your period? Your emotions signal the arrival of your loyal friend, yet each time you wonder if you want to punch that guy because his chewing is truly, justifiable annoying or because a gush of blood is making its way through your tubes? 

And what is worst than not being able to trust your own senses?

The only thing that comes to mind is when other people discount you, your decisions and your judgment when they realize that you are on your period. 

Being on my period doesn't mean I am crazy or incompetent! On the contrary, my period lowers my tolerance, which in some ways helps me mitigate conflict more quickly. It makes me more honest, inspires me to be upfront with myself, and prevents me from sweeping problems under the rug. And sometimes, it brings me to the darker corners of my consciousness, pushing me to really take a hard look, deal with it, and carry on. 

Mood swings, fortunately, only allows these feelings to exist for a few hours at a time. It provides a taste of sheer joy and feeling broken, preventing me to catapult to the sky or plunge into misery. 

If there is one reason for me to look forward to dripping blood for five days is to take a break from feeling blue. Being on your period means having sudden rushes of joy. The feeling resembled that of eating candy for the first time or running towards Disney Land when the parks have just opened. You feel pumped and excited. Nothing can stop you! 

This rush bulldozes through feelings of helplessness and stress. All of a sudden you feel invincible! 

Being on your period is not merely a biological phenomenon. Yes, blood is running down your leg. And yes, you need to wear a tampon or a sanitary pad at all times. And it can definitely feel uncomfortable. But, you can't help but realize how it saves us from the monotony of life. Suddenly people don't expect you to be totally sane. Even if you are sane, think of it as an opportunity to do the unexpected. And before it gets boring you're already on the next emotion, surfing through life! 

*The featured image was taken by the author