Conversational Anxiety.

Hey guys. I realise that’s it’s been a long while since I posted here. 

I am trying to grow up so I won’t use writer’s block as a scapegoat.  I do have ideas I’d like to write about. Truth, I just don’t have the energy. So I went through my drafts and I found something that rings true today as it did a few months back.

Here goes..

I find that I’m unable to have a proper conversation with anyone of late. Without thinking about it, this needn’t worry me, or anyone else for that matter. I have never been much of a conversationalist. Normally when I’m in a setting that requires conversation, I zone out. The only times I get out of my head long enough to have a conversation, though I wouldn’t call it a conversation; it’s more of giving  somewhat sasatisfactory replies to posed questions, is when I’m in the company of someone I care about enough to make the effort. 

Is this a good thing? I hardly think so. It is however, justifiable. 

I hate, nay, loathe small talk. I firmly believe the only time someone should ask what I’m doing is if they intend to take up my time. Asking for the sake of having something to say annoys me in varying degrees. Sometimes it’s just an incomprehension (if I really like you), but more often than not, it’s gut wrenching anger(why in the fuck do you have my number in the first place? What lapse of judgement in my part could have possibly allowed that?)

I believe that the best conversations are held in silence. There is something about never needing to say anything, knowing that whatever you have to say is already known that sort of gets me going (sexuallly I might add.) People don’t appreciate the intimacy that comes with silence. They feel this need to fill the silence with small talk or emotional assessment (are you sad? Are you angry? )That exasperates me.

I do like conversation. Start a conversation about something that interests me and it’s unlikely that I’ll stop talking. Well, until recently.

Of late however, I’m unable to master the will to even participate in a conveconversation I would enjoy. My head could be full of ideas, but I’ll still keep my mouth shut. I feel as if I’m subjecting my opinions to the judgement of others. And that makes me anxious. It makes me feel as though an unhygienic fat man is sitting on my chest. Previously, airing my opinion has never been a problem. It had to be one of my favourite things (I’m stubbornly opinionated.) 

I can’t really say I know exactly where this new-found anxiety is coming from. I’ll try and venture an explanation if it’s all the same with you.

First, I don’t feel as smart as I think I am. I feel as though my opinions don’t hold much meaning. And if that’s the case, then why even have one in the first place?

Second, I feel as though I have run out of people who care about what I have to say.  People who’d care for my unfiltered opinion. I constantly feel as though I’m expected to stick to a script everytime I try to say something. The problem is, I don’t think this script was availed to me. So I’m mostly trying to construct pieces of the story from what people around me are saying. An endeavour I’m failing at, disappointingly so. So I opt to skip the table reading altogether.

But mostly, I’m in no head space to carry on a conversation. I’m a lot more emotional than I always am. I’m prone to bouts of intense sadness. I feel numb(such a paradox) and empty by day and drained by night. I have all these words swirling in my head, carefully reconstructing themselves into doubt, fatigue and despondence. If I were to have a conversation, I can’t promise this negativity wouldn’t find it’s way out of my head and into my mouth. I don’t want to be the person who kills the mood. So I choose not to speak until I’ve found my way out of this dark, dreary place my head has become. 

Also, I’ve increasingly grown hateful of texting. I’d prefer it if people just called me. Well, only certain people.

So until I’m back to being myself again, I hope you don’t let the silence drive you too crazy.

Also, please don’t leave me:(

​If you are going to love me.

If you are going to love me, please love me in my entirety. Love the parts of me that sob for no apparent reason at two in the morning and the parts of me that bursts out laughing because of a lame pun in the middle of a tragic movie. It is in bad taste I know. It’s just that I feel sad a lot, it’s difficult to stifle a piece of happiness when I stumble upon it. 

If you are going to love me, please love me when I’m insecure and avoiding my reflection. I’m not saying I hate myself, but there are times I see a seamlessly beautiful girl in the bus next to mine when we’re stuck in traffic and I can’t help  but think, “she’s the kind of pretty that incessantly just is and I’m the kind you can only capture in a certain light at a certain angle. So it’s not that I’m vain, it’s that in that moment when I catch a glimpse of my reflection as I’m hurriedly trying to look away, I notice I look sad. The kind of sad a smile can’t conceal and for a moment, I forget that I’m smart and weird in a way that people think is funny or any of the things that actually do matter.

If you are going to love me, please love me for my humming brain. Love me for my detrimental ability to turn ant hills into mountains. Love me when it’s two years later and I’m still heartbroken and blaming myself. Love me when I have dug deep into my head and I can taste blood in my mouth. Love me when my head is throbbing and I can’t sit still. It’s not that I’m not letting it go because I swear to you I’m doing the best I can. It’s that my head is like a video reel of my life and there are days the shuffle function only selects the videos that make me cry. 

If you are going to love me, please love me for my meltdowns and deathless anxiety. Love me when I’m too wound up from life to converse properly. Love me when I’m starving but won’t get out of the house to look for food, because you know, people. It’s not that I’m a negative person. I’m actually quite optimistic about life. Too optimistic even. And maybe that’s why I panic. Because I know things could be better and when they aren’t, that reality sometimes suffocates me. 

If you are going to love me, please love me when I’m being needlessly emotional.  Love me when I need reassurance and won’t let the hug end. It’s not that I don’t believe you or that I think I’m not worthy of love, it’s that I’ve been loved as an afterthought one too many times and I’m still a little bit scarred. My wounds are healing, there are times they just need a little more tending.   

If you are going to love me, please don’t try to fix me. I understand I look broken to you, but believe me I function just fine. I promise you I’m okay. I just feel deeply.  

​Dear daughter; lessons on love and friendship.

I chuckle at the irony of what I’m about to do. Truth be told, I don’t know much about love and friendship. Attempting to talk about it, would be like Hitler giving a lecture on tolerance. I’ve only ever had a handful of friends and up until I was twenty, I did not understand these two concepts. I would like to believe that I have grown; that in just two years, I have acquired knowledge I should have amassed in twenty two years. But really, the jury is still out on that. So let’s see.

Friendship as I know it is the purest form of love. You are going to grow up in a society that will make you believe that a sexual relationship is the height of all relationships. But you are my daughter, and as you will find out, I am not in the business of raising you into a cliché. You will be a rebel, an outcast, an outlier before you ever are ordinary. So take it from me, if you screw up all the relationships you will ever be in, if you’ll break the hearts of everyone you set your sights on, pick one friend that will know every bit and crevice of your soul. When you find this person, it doesn’t matter gender what they’ll be (because people will try to tell you that you can’t be friends with male people. Another myth I’ll debunk), be good to them. Endeavor to unravel every bit of their being. Learn the difference in the quivering of their voice when they are about to cry from happiness or sadness. If you can’t do anything else for them, never let them forget that you love them. Be vulnerable, be honest be raw. Because really, out of all the things you could give to people, the greatest will always be your uncensored self. That and your time. So if they ever call you in the middle of the day saying they are having a bad day asking to talk for a minute, please say yes. Because you can always finish your homework an hour later. What you shouldn’t do is let your friend go through the day thinking they are a bother to you. If you ever have the power to make someone feel better, do it. And as you get older, you will find that these are the things that truly matter.  

In your lifetime, you will come across people that you will be inexplicably drawn to. The sad thing about life is there won’t be a lot of these people. So when you do come across one of those people, drop everything and see what shore that current dumps you on. These people will come in various forms; family, friends, strangers on the street. They will serve different purposes for different periods. I hope you will be selfish enough to enjoy these people, especially the ones that are not permanent (actually nobody really is because we all die.) But just because people aren’t permanent doesn’t mean they aren’t worth it. Some of the best memories will be made by people you shared a bus ride with, people it didn’t even occur to you to ask their names. 

Finally, I hope you know what kind of treatment you deserve. Don’t ever be too busy loving and supporting other people you forget to do that for yourself. No one deserves to be happy more than you do. If you ever are to choose between people, pick the ones that put in an effort over the ones that claim they love you. Because not everyone that loves you will try. But people that try will always love you. Pick the friend that listens to you. Pick the friend that knows all the different ways to put your pieces back together because they’ve seen you fall apart so many times. Pick the friend that cherishes, you’re A-Zs, your skin to your bones. Pick the friends that knows all your scars and the story behind each one. Pick the friends that calls you just because. God, pick people who try. I cannot tell you how important that is. And when you have chosen this person, try for them. Try even if it kills you.

And when all is said and done, not all relationships last. There are people who for whatever reason will hurt your feelings. Please forgive those people. If I should leave you with anything, may it always be an unwavering assurance that people’s actions are not a reflection of your self-worth. This is in no way saying that you are beyond reproach. We all need a little shaping. What we do not need however, is a crumbled sense of worth stemming from someone’s indecency. If you ever have to listen to such misconceptions, if your only choice is to sit and watch your life and everything you stand for be reduced into a vulgar misunderstanding spewing out of even more vulgar mouths, I hope you know not to turn the pits of your stomach into a graveyard; a dark dreary place to bury every judgement passed, every door slammed. But above everything else, may you always find the light inside you. That you will use this light to illuminate your shadows of self-doubt and turn them into reflections of beauty and joy. That you shall always put your happiness above all else.

​On Complements.

I think I was ten when I read somewhere that men like women who know how to take a complement. My ten year old self thought, “that’s great. Men like women who know they are smart and beautiful.” I thought men liked it when you agree with them when they complement you. 
As it turns out, that is not always the case.

Yes, there are men who don’t like it when you don’t “accept” a compliment. I don’t think anyone likes it when they tell someone they are beautiful and have them say something like, “you don’t really mean that.” Yes, I mean it. Why else would I say it? I think it is sad, especially for women, to be unaware of their good qualities. Because society more often than not, will tear us down. You cannot afford to do that to yourself. I think everyone needs a sense of pride. I think everyone deserves to believe it when they are complemented.

A lot of times, when a guy says, “hey, I think you are beautiful” and you respond with a “thank you. I know”, they will take it back. They will tell you to not be cocky because you are not even that beautiful to begin with. That they were only complementing you to start a conversation. You’re probably thinking, no one likes an arrogant person. But why is a woman knowing she’s beautiful arrogant? 

I find this ironic because our culture conditions women to care so much about their physical attractiveness but doesn’t place the same emphasis on men. Men grow up knowing that their looks play little to no role in their lives. So why is that we shame women for believing they are beautiful? Why is it that women who spend time and money on their outward beauty can only be shallow and superficial and dumb? Why can smart girls only be ugly?

I got one word for you. Patriarchy.

Patriarchy requires women to be led (read oppressed), to have no control over their lives. To not know what they want. Patriarchy requires women to be ashamed of their sexuality, that or she is a slut. Patriarchy expects women to be timid and take crap, that or she is a bitch. Patriarchy requires women to be beautiful but somehow oblivious to it, that or she is superficial.  

It might seem insignificant that a man would get offended that you are aware of your beauty, but what he is really saying, is I’m threatened by you. Because a woman who knows she’s beautiful and strong and smart, knows she’s deserving of equal rights. And that is a threat to a culture that profits from women doubting themselves. Case in point, would you imagine the hit the cosmetic industry would take if women woke up one day and decided their bodies are perfect? That their stretchmarks didn’t need removing and their hair didn’t need straightening.  That the acne on their face is only proof that they are humans capable of communing and being impacted by the elements. That whatever shape, size and form and bodies take as we go through life is just but a testament to our strength, that we can take on life, wage and win wars(mostly against ourselves, but still) and when all is said and done, we’ll only grow and morph. 

So when people tell you, “don’t be cocky”, what they are really saying is, reign in your power. Dull your shine, don’t blind us. But it shall never be your responsibility to accommodate ideals that break you. May we always be the women that refuse to blush, may we always be the women that say “thank you very much. I noticed my banging ass too.” 

 

The sound of other people’s lives. 

I spent most of today fighting the urge to yell “shut up” in people’s faces. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t hear what they were saying, on account of my ringing ears, or maybe not even talking at all. Everything just seemed so loud. 

Everything feels loud these days. I can’t seem to still my brain.

It could be argued that a loud mind is my fundamental building block and in a lot of ways, that argument would be correct. I don’t know how to live outside my head. Reality is too disappointing.

But every once in a while, I feel the need to numb my brain.

Every once in a while, I want to indulge my sister in small talk, or a classmate about an assignment. Every once in a while, I want to focus outside of myself, if not for anything, then to avoid how vividly red the darkness in my head feels. This is an endeavour I fail at more often than not. My mind on such days only feels hotter, so much so, it makes my eyes sting.

So I retreat into my head, the only place that feels familiar, the only place that feels like home. Oh the irony of that. And in the end, I’m still a snub, even when I’m trying not to be. Especially when I’m trying not to be. 

But really, the routine of existence exhausts me. People going about their lives; telling their jokes, grieving their losses, celebrating their triumphs simultaneously enrages and numbs me. It feels like white noise that has long overstayed its welcome and no longer motivates and/or accompanies me as I go through life. I’m bored and tired and I just want a hug from my best friend. 

I am immensely sad and for the life of me, I cannot explain why. I just want to sleep for a really long time. But then again, I’m wide awake at 1.30am on a school night. So maybe if I’m irate, it’s not because I’m sleep deprived. I could sleep if I wanted to.  My soul is tired, my spirit is battered. Sleep remains only an escape, a foolish indulgence, for a few hours at best. And what kind of grown up would that make me, if I solved (avoided really) all my problems by taking a nap?

More than anything, I want everyone to stop talking. I want the world to slow down. I want my head to stop spinning. I want my eyes to stop stinging.

I miss feeling happy.

Writer’s Block

Do you ever wake up mad at the sun? How it rises day after day? How it abides by this routine, never caring to honour the terrible nights we sometimes have? Nights full clear darkness and loud silences packed in the cracks of our heartbreaks. But more than that, how can a creation be so stoic?  You would think having a ball full of confused human beings revolving around you would every once in a while dull your shine. My question is, how did the sun learn to be so indifferent?

That is a strange question to ask. It almost seems like I am trying to humanize the sun. And in a sense, I am. I am trying to relate to the sun (another strange thing) and I feel the only way I can do that is if the sun was a little bit human. 

Why am I trying to relate to the sun? The answer, I imagine, is as simple and as complicated as feeling like a fraud would be. I haven’t been able to write these past few months. I have a case of the infamous writer’s block. As any writer will tell you, this is as agonising as a wooden stake would be to a vampire’s heart. My nights consist of hovering(trembling really) around a keyboard and my eyes fixated on a blank screen, only punctuated by a stinging eyes that sometimes go on to become full blown sobs. I am a very emotional human being. 

On nights like this, I stare at the sky. I stare at the moon and the stars. And on mornings that follow such nights, I stare at the rising sun.  A lot of times, it is out of anger and frustration but every once in a while, I feel a twinge of jealousy. Sometimes I envy everything the sun is; its immortality, its strength. I am awed by how the sun has thawed mountains and catalysed the decomposition of generations. I am amazed by how it simply never stops rising. Because such days begin with me wishing, praying, that I never stop writing. 

Because writing shall be my legacy, an immortality of sorts. So what right would I have to claim to be a writer if I can’t relate to the sun? How can I seek immortality if I can’t catch a glimpse of my soul when I look into the stars? How do I never stop writing? 

Dear Son,

If I’m being totally honest, I am terrified of having a son. I don’t think I get men. No wait, I do get men. And when I say I get men, I mean I have put a lot of work into appreciating my sense of self, I really couldn’t care what goes on in a  man’s head in regard to my being. So actually no, I don’t get men. I just know how to use my voice to tell men what I want, to demand respect and to say no to shit. Also, I try to be a really good listener; a skill that I do not think I will ever master, but will never stop trying till my lungs give out. 

It’s boys I don’t get. It’s adolescents whose voices have just broken, and they are getting a little tall and trying to understand how their height and dropped balls factor into their lives. It’s spuds with unformed minds and shaky opinions and wandering eyes and a newly found sense of lust. It’s boys whose groins are just beginning to appreciate the effect of a female ass and hands just itching to touch a pair of breasts. It’s the boy locked in a bathroom with a page torn out of a Victoria’s Secret catalogue and he isn’t quite sure how to use his hands. It’s boys using a shaving razor for the first time, wrecked with insecurities, wondering if the package in his hands is big (enough.) It’s college boys who don’t know how to politely approach a woman. It’s college boys who refuse to invest in soap and maybe even cologne. It’s college boys who walk around campus in bathroom sandals and get offended when a girl won’t look in their direction. Generally, I don’t get boys struggling to be men. Boys who are yet to understand the nobility of their strength, or better yet, what strength there is in nobility. Boys just shuffling around, trying to find a solid place to plant their feet and grow. Boys with ambition but no character, boys with brains but not enough manners, boys with vision but no means. 

And it scares me that someday, I may have to raise that. To be an anchor to my son when he goes through this challenging phase, just trying to find himself. How do I do that? What could I possibly tell him? Because I don’t have much experience with men. I don’t have brothers and I have never really lived with my dad. Sure, my best friend is male, but he’s always been more of a man than a boy. But more than that, I am scared that even after I’ve done my best, even after I’ve spent half my life trying to raise him into as great and as good a man as he could possibly be, he’s going to leave home, and go out into the world and society will ruin him for me. I’m scared that society is going to creep up at him at night, and erase everything I’ve taught him. I’m scared of the perverted fellow intern that will send him nude photos of his ex-girlfriend and more terrified that my son will look. I’m scared that he’ll come back home for Christmas break with sagged jeans and a computer full of pornography and a tongue uttering sexist slurs to his sister. I’m terrified of the war that will go on in me; between his mother who loves him unconditionally and a woman who wants to cuss him out and maybe even disown him.  

So from me, to my future son. I know I’m only twenty one and I know nothing about being a man. But someday you are going to be twenty one, trying to find a job, struggling to be a brother, screwing up at being a boyfriend, learning how to be a friend. This is to tell you that whoever you become, you’ll always be my son. That I might screw up a little bit, but whatever you go through, whatever disappointments life throws at you, whatever victories you achieve, I’ll always be in your corner. That we will grow together and the list I’m about to write will only get wiser.

First of all, I’m totally fine with whatever sexual orientation. I will welcome and love whoever you choose to be your (life) partner. That said, I have a thing against PDA (Public displays of affection) so please keep that to a bare minimum when I’m around. In a nutshell, I won’t care who you fuck, just don’t do it in my presence, or my couch, or my kitchen counter. I’m not saying you shouldn’t experiment, by all means, experiment your heart away.(yeah, that’s a weird thing for a mother to say to a son)It’s just that I’m working so hard at ensuring my house has quality(expensive) stuff, please don’t ruin that for me by the memory of you being “experimental.” You’re my son, I love you, but that’s just gross.

Second, home will always be home. If I mess up everything, I hope you grow up knowing that there is very little that will make you unwelcome.( I should probably say nothing, but who are we kidding, you’re not going to enter my doors if you are a serial killer.) With the exception of immoral careers, I will support you. You don’t have to be a doctor or an engineer. You can be a drummer or a swimmer or a photographer. I’m working hard to ensure that whatever you choose to be, I will have the resources to ensure you are the best at that. If you want to be a musician, I will take you to the best music school, I will buy you whatever instruments you want to play. But even if life doesn’t turn out as I want it to, I hope you know that happiness and fulfilment doesn’t come from material things. I hope you understand that happiness is a choice, and an active one at that. I hope I raise you to understand that true fulfilment only comes from doing the things that you are passionate about, the things that make you happy. And I pray that even if you don’t turn out to be the strongest guy around, you will have the bravery to go after the things that make your soul dance; be it the weird boy in your school or a nerdy programming class. I hope you know not to measure your growth by what is popular and applauded but by what is noble and kind.

I hope I raise you to value your humanity above your masculinity. I want you to understand that it is okay to cry and show emotion. I want you to be the nice guy that opens doors for girls and pulls out chairs for them without expecting favours in return. I want you to be the guy that values friendships (with all genders) and goes out of his way to show it. I want you to be the guy who shows up with pizza and beer at your male friend’s house when he has been dumped and gives your sister flowers when she’s cramping. I hope you don’t grow up measuring your masculinity by mundanities like how many girls you’ve slept with or how good you are at playing FIFA. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with you playing video games. I just don’t want you to be the kind of guy that feels emasculated when a girl beats you at it. I hope you are the kind of guy that loves wholeheartedly even when he’s been hurt before. The kind of guy that buys flowers for his girlfriend’s mum and buys your girlfriend tampons when she can’t leave the house. I’m saying that I hope you turn out to be a good human being; a kind, generous, loving human being. A boy that values nobility over strength. A boy that uses his strength to help elderly people carry bags, and carry children across the road and not to bully the timid guy in class. I want you to be the guy who befriends this timid guy. I want you to understand that if you are stronger than your sister, it is not to intimidate her into doing all the house chores, but to help move the heavy furniture. But more than that, I hope you never outgrow your mother. That you never stop trying to be her friend. 

But more than that, I hope I do not do you the injustice of raising you with a fragile ego. An ego so easily punctured that when a girl says no to lunch, it results to insults and threats. An ego that won’t let you be vulnerable or admit to not knowing something for fear of rejection or ridicule. I hope you know to accept defeat and reach out of your comfort zone. I hope you have a curious mind that will ask questions and learn from your mistakes. I hope you never let failure define you or stop you from gaining new experiences. But I also hope that you have a sense of pride. Not the kind that comes before a fall, but an assuredness in who you are as a person and what you deserve. I hope you know to walk away from toxic relationships. I hope you never let a girl use you just because you may get to sleep with her someday. I hope you never have to beg for respect. I pray you learn to stand up for yourself and settle for nothing less than your worth. I hope you know when to begin a relationship and when to end it. That you will know to tell someone when you are falling in love with them and they make your heart beat faster. That you’ll also know to tell them when you’ve met someone else or the passion has died, or you want different things. Basically, I hope you know to speak your mind and that your words will always be graceful and polite, but firm and clear. I also hope you learn to be on the receiving end of these words. To be composed, understanding and rational even when your heart is breaking. To wish them well and mean it even when you never want to see them again.   

I hope you have good taste in music. Because everyone needs a sound track to their life. Especially when you are Twenty one and girls are ignoring you and school is hard and you’re broke and just barely getting by. I hope you will listen to more than just HipHop. That you’ll listen to soulful music; music that will give you goose bumps and make you want to cry. Music that will make you want to bang your head against a wall and scream when you hate your life. Music that will make you want to heal the world on your good days.

I hope you never lose your child-like sense of wonder. I hope you go for walks and explore the woods beyond our house. I hope you build train sets and castles. I hope you have pillow fights and build forts. I hope you never outgrow you spider man sheets and socks. I hope you never stop watching cartoons.

I pray that you love books. That you will read everything, from restaurant menus to graffiti on buildings. Because books contain more than just words. They contain ideas and dreams. Because a well-read boy is a great conversationalist. And a great conversationalist attracts great, smart girls. Girls that will challenge you and give you great conversation and adventure and with enough experimenting, great sex. Girls that will push you to be the best version of yourself. 

I hope you have a morbid (dark, weird and twisted) sense of humour. That you’ll make puns, lame and nerdy alike. 

I hope that you don’t lose yourself trying to fit in. I hope you know that normal is an illusion. I hope that you’ll always take weird as a complement.

Please be smart. 

I hope this list is good enough. 

Ps. I was going to name you Dilan. But there is this show called Modern Family with a character named Dilan that is very dumb and that ruined that name for me. If at all this is possible, pray that I name you something that won’t be used to taunt you. 
 

Fear of Photographs

My best friend is always trying to take pictures with me. Poor guy. That’s an endeavour I will almost always botch. I don’t get pictures. I don’t know why people insist on capturing moments. Can’t we just enjoy them and save them in our heads? The irony is, I don’t want him to ever stop trying to take pictures with me. I realise that is selfish; to subject a guy to mild forms of embarrassments every time he puts a camera in front of my face, but hear me out. I know pictures have no intrinsic value (as my friend put it), and maybe that’s why people take lots of them, because it’s no big deal. However, every time my best friend tries to take a picture of me, I want to believe that he treasures that moment and he would like to freeze it and have something to remember it by(To him it’s probably just a picture, nothing deep.) So call me selfish but I find the thought that he would stop wanting to freeze pieces of the moments that we spend together a bit alarming. And that right there is the paradox; me attaching so much sentiment to a gesture whose expression I don’t really understand, let alone care for.

That got me thinking about my phobia of pictures. Why is it that I don’t like taking pictures? Could it be for reasons as vain as not wanting to take a bad picture and have this eternal reminder of that one time I spent a fraction of my life looking ugly, terrifying people with my face? Maybe that was true a couple of years ago. These days, I adore my reflection in the mirror even on my worst days. Or maybe that is the problem, the image I have of myself in my head is so good, no camera could ever capture it. And when I say good, I do not mean superficial beauty. My friend says that’s a genetic lottery, no one deserves it. And I agree. There is so much more to people than the symmetry of their faces. If we take pictures of the moments we are proud of, then something as simple as a pleasant face that you were lucky enough to be born with shouldn’t be on that list. It really isn’t an accomplishment.

I go to school in this dusty, sunny, miserable little town. This town is half stressed out, drunk and/or high college students and half motorists constantly asking you if they can take you somewhere. I find the latter funny, because more often than not, I’m always dying to go somewhere; anywhere else. Half the reason I always have my earphones plugged in is to distract myself from this apathy. The other half is people. I feel like I would commit suicide if I had to be constantly aware of this reality. 

On my way to and from class, I have to walk past this group of motorists. I notice that one of these motorists never asks if he can take me somewhere. I never thought much of it at first. I just assumed he was one of the very few people left who are respectful of other people’s spaces. Eventually, it began to worry me. This is his living. Why is he not as aggressive as the rest? Why is he so calm? Before I knew it, I was actively looking for him every time I passed there. Studying his facial expression, his body language, trying to figure out why he is so different from the others. Surely, he has to know something that the others don’t. Or he could be sick and dying. I don’t know. Granted, I didn’t find out anything about him (I’m not Sherlock Holmes.) I did notice however, that he always seemed distracted, like he was never really aware of his surroundings. And on the occasions that he wasn’t in his head, he was busy doing something else; like talking to someone or eating or fixing his motorbike, anything but asking people if he can take them somewhere. I think I began to relate to him. Here is someone who seems to spend his days distracted or being an oddity. That is kind of my story. So you can imagine how surprised I was this one time I saw him laughing. He was laughing so hard, I was scared he’d fall off his bike. It was the happiest I’d seen him in months. This is weird as hell but I was so proud, I wanted to take a picture. It literally was the first time in years I have wanted to take a picture of anything.

I once read this article about things that make you feel good about yourself. On that list, was take a lot of pictures. I do not understand this at all. Somebody explain it to me, how is taking a picture of yourself, especially when you are feeling down going to improve your mood. Essentially, all you’re doing is documenting a phase of your life that sucks. How is that helpful? Anyway, people seem to agree with this premise so I’m just going to shelf it with other arguments that I vehemently disagree with. An example would be the phrase, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” How is that even true? There is no way that something that could have killed you leaves you stronger. It just has to weaken you. Otherwise it wasn’t that serious. But that is an argument for another day.

But every once in a while I try to explain the urge to take that motorist’s picture. Me relating to him aside and thereby treating his happiness to be my own by extension aside, I wanted him to always have a reminder of how happy he looked. I wanted him to put that picture on his bedside table. I wanted him to wake up every day and look at that picture and strive to be happy like that. I wanted him to look at that picture on the nights he’s had an awful day and remember that despondence isn’t permanent. I wanted to give him hope. I wanted him to know he can be happy like that again and again; all he needs to do is find a really good joke. 

And so maybe when I say I don’t like pictures, maybe it’s just selfies and all other forms of pictures that require you to be aware when they are taken. Because I wouldn’t mind having a freeze frame of the moments I’m happiest. I believe, the moments we’re happiest, the moment’s we’re most beautiful are the moments we’re being ourselves the most, the moment’s we feel most in love with ourselves. When we are laughing at a terrible pun, or helping an elderly person cross the road. The moments we’ve forgotten about the acne on our face or the size of our butt; the moments we’re least aware of our insecurities, when our brains aren’t reminding us of our failures. My best friend took this picture of me in a supermarket holding this teddy bear. It’s not even the best picture anyone has ever taken of me, for one you can barely see my face and I look like I have no butt, but I love that picture. Because in that moment, it was just me, happy with a cuddly toy and a friend who cared enough to hand me that moment. And I think that is what pictures should do. Selfies on the other hand, require you to get out of that moment, and make a face or a force a smile for the camera. It just ruins the moment. They make us aware of our terrible reality. And it doesn’t matter how convincing your forced smile is, every time you look at that picture, you’ll always remember you were failing math in the moment it was taken.   

And maybe that is my fear. To look at a picture and think I’m not good enough. To have this frozen reminder of a time when I wasn’t the person I’m working towards being. I know it’s not a healthy way to perceive things, but my brain already is on overdrive, I don’t want to give it one more thing to obsess on. 

   

Why thank you. I am indeed angry.

So I have a resting bitch face. This means I almost always seem angry. It makes it very difficult to approach me. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I enjoy that. It gives me the space and freedom to be in my head, and not be aware of my surroundings. So the very few times I notice a guy working up the courage to walk up to me and strike a conversation with me, I can almost bet his opening line will be, “You seem angry, but I just wanted to say you are beautiful.” More often than not, I usually find myself wishing they had stopped at “You seem angry.” I think that is the greatest complement anyone can ever pay me. Let Me explain that. I don’t want someone to walk up to me and tell me,”You seem like you have anger issues. You should probably see a therapist.” Though if someone did, I would find it refreshingly honest and maybe even sexy, because I do have quite a bit of anger issues. I think anger is my primary emotion. Just the mere sight of people enrages me. I am taking my introversion a tad too far. I digress. Here is the thing, I think anger is what drives change. If you can get angry, it means you care about something. It means you have the potential to make the world a better place, as lost as that course seems to be of late. Also, As I said before, It takes quite a bit of honesty and courage to tell someone they are angry. And the world needs a bit more honesty and courage. Telling someone they are beautiful is such a generic thing to say, so much so, it doesn’t even have to be true.

But more than that, I believe that people, especially women, are a lot more interesting. To tell them they are beautiful, would be to dumb it down. Because it is important for women to understand that they do not have to be beautiful. They do not owe society or men a symmetrical face. It is pretty cool to have a beautiful face, but you know what is even cooler? A kind soul, a curious mind, a big heart and my favourite, an angry personality.

Every once in a while someone asks me why I write and I usually just shrug. Because, what else I am going to do? Where else will I channel this anger? I can’t particularly say I know why I am so angry all the time. But I do know it has shaped me into a better human being. Is it exhausting to be on the verge of an emotional breakdown every single second? It is. It is exhausting as fuck. (Is actual fuck exhausting? I don’t know. Everyone has an opinion these days. As it should be. Because Fucking is a personal thing.) My whole point, before fuck hijacked my train of thought(I regret saying that. The double entendre. I’m not going to delete it though.) was that accepting and reeling in my anger has shown me the depths of my personality. I don’t think my eleven year old self knew I could care so much about feminism and racism and corruption, let alone be so outspoken about it. My anger helps me understand other people’s anguish and I think that has ultimately made me a better writer, if I do say so myself.

I keep visualizing the kind of world it would be if women owned their anger. If we understood that being angry doesn’t make us flawed and ugly. If we all understood that anger is an essential part of our humanity and that finding healthy ways to express that is integral in any kind of relationship. Think about it, emotional abuse stems from someone telling you that your anger, and feelings in general are not justified. That you are overreacting and being crazy. And if they do it long enough, you begin to believe it and doubt your instincts. You begin to rely on them to second your feelings, and before you know it, you are letting them tell you how to feel. And I think that is how we lose ourselves.

Now I’m not saying that our feelings are absolutely rational. But no one should ever make you feel like you have to apologize for feeling a certain way, for being angry. You can and should apologize for smashing his windows after a breakup, But you should never apologize for feeling hurt. Because when all is said and done, how you felt about things and people is the only measure of how full your life was. You can’t let people take that away from you.

Courtesy is overrated.

I have made a lot of declarations in my lifetime, but none so morbid and potentially controversial. And even as I use the word morbid, I cannot help but think of how contextual it is. If you ask me, the very survival of the human race depends on things being in context.  We seem to need things to be said and done by the right people at the right time.  We need condolences when a loved one dies, we need hugs when we are feeling sad, we need food when we are hungry. If say, someone offers us food when we are full, it is considered useless. The timeliness of things has become such an essential part of human interaction, I for one, cannot fathom of a world without it. But it has also branded some things awkward and abnormal. And that in a sense, may be my premise for this absurd declaration. Before I go on, I feel it would be in order for me to mention that I may make a lot of out of place declarations and segues. Getting back to the start; for something to be considered morbid, it has to be out of place; an unheard of thought, an inappropriate gesture, a misplaced human being. It has always puzzled me that as a people, we’ve always been so obsessed by this need for things to fit in. 
My history teacher used to say that the need for acceptance is the fourth basic human want. This utterance always confused me; it simultaneously elicited disagreement and acceptance in me. My brain disagreed vehemently, but somewhere within the pits of my stomach, I felt warmth, an agreement of sorts. It is almost as if my intestinal walls were saluting the return of an old friend presumed to be lost in the war that is always raging in my mind. I have learnt to not fight the things that affect the feel of my stomach because more often than not, these things have turned out to be the things that make my life worthwhile. This however, doesn’t make my disagreement less valid. For one, there are only three basic human needs. To declare a want for belonging a basic human need would not only be pretentiously philosophical but also a tad too simple. I do not say this out of disrespect, but only as a candid expression of a firm opinion. Also, the mere fact that I have a disclaimer of sorts when expressing my opinion, is a further proof of my point. We have become too engrossed in courtesy and keeping things in context, we have forgotten to have opinions and speak our minds, wholly, honestly.

So when I say courtesy is overrated, I am in no way championing for a disorderly, disrespectful populous. I am only stating that perhaps being on our best behaviour every damned time isn’t at all that necessary. I am suggesting that it wouldn’t hurt to find out how the world would feel with a little more honesty, a little more rawness, if we didn’t have to walk on egg shells attempting to cater to the feelings of everyone that could be offended by any possible combination of the words out of our mouths. 

I have been told on numerous occasions that I am bluntly honest and on more than one occasion that it is rude and annoying. I do see their point. I am unable to keep disdain off my face when someone says or does something I consider vilely stupid, I am unable to fake pleasure at meeting someone I do not like, I am unable to hold a polite conversation with someone I do not know. I could blame a bit of it on my introversion, but lately it stems more out of a purposeful refusal to indulge a dishonest culture. Also, it comes rather easy to me because I have never much cared for my likeability. I have never thought of myself as a nice person. And quite frankly, I find it mildly aggravating when people think of me as a nice person. So while I do endorse humane characteristics like kindness and sympathy and generosity and I will till the day I die, and even in my next life, endeavour to be as humane and as good a person as I could be, what I will never try to be, is hold my tongue or pretend to be pleased by something that isn’t so just so that I can be liked. I may hold my tongue to spare a loved one’s feelings, hell, I would even lie to them for the same reason (but that would depend on how much I love you) but there is only so much compromising I am willing to do.  And if that makes me an oddity, then so be it.

And that may be the reason why I write. It could be because I am very opinionated and my lack of social skills doesn’t allow me to fully express them. It could be because I spend so much time in my mind and I need an outlet or it could even be because some of the things I say and believe hold a bit of wisdom or maybe even some truth.  It could any number of these things, or none of these things at all. I don’t know. What I do know is that I write not to lay claim to the conceptions of my mind as righteous or even absolutely true, but as the unapologetic, honest opinion of a misunderstood child trying to understand a vastly complex universe and vaguer still, the occupants of the aforementioned universe. It is not in my desire for the opinions expressed in my writing to be used as a threshold by which judgement can be passed or counter-opinions dismissed. I only document the changes my mind (and sometimes body) goes through. My writing is solely for myself; an attempt to clutch on to the quarters of my being that are most honest and free; an unwillingness to give up on the bit of madness that I was bestowed; if anything, to make sure this insanity runs it’s full course. I only share it for like-minded people to relate to and more than that, offer insight to help me grow. The contents of my writing may not always be true. But they will always be honest. Besides, there is no such thing as absolute truth. Even the declaration itself may not be absolutely true.