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.  

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? 

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. 

   

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. 

 

A little forwardness, that’s all I ask. 

I have this admiration for people, especially women, who are forward.  I mean forward about sex.  I guess it is because I struggle so much with social interactions, to be able to walk up to someone and go, “hey, I wanna have sex with you” feels like a stunt out of a super hero movie. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way saying random people should walk up to random people and request a dalliance. Depending on who and how you do it, it could be sexual harassment. And that’s not my brand. I’m all for people respecting each other, I’m all for consent if anything sexual is to happen. What I am saying is, if in this lifetime, or the next, but preferably this one, I am able to comfortably express my sexual needs to a man, without hearing society’s voice and judgement in my head labelling me a slut and a freak, it won’t matter much if I achieve little else,I will definitely go down in my books as the most phenomenal woman to ever traverse this planet. And just so you know, that book has the likes of Maya Angelou and Audrey Hepburn in it, so it’s no small feat.  

As a child, I unfortunately internalised the prettiness of a woman’s silence. We are taught from a young age as women that we are supposed to be seen, not heard. We are to do our hair, smile and look pretty. We are supposed to evoke desire, but not express it. Men are to find us attractive by the broadness of our hips, our inviting smiles, the glow of our skin and not by the contents of our brains or the words out our mouths. We are taught to let men hit on us, and only encourage the ones that actually do. Don’t flirt too much, don’t show too much skin, don’t laugh too loud. It’s desperate and it turns off men. We are not allowed to be picky, or even go out of our way to attract the kind of men we want. All we have to do is keep the man that wants us. So we have to cook and manage the house and raise the children, but more than that, make sure our men don’t stray. Because a man cheating on a woman, is somehow a reflection on her; the blandness of her food or her unwillingness to try certain positions in bed. Which is ironic, because we live in a society that deems it perfectly okay for people (read men) to use phrases like, “good dick will hypnotise a woman” but an abomination for women to applaud their sex game. It is understandable for a woman to stick by a less than average guy, because he gives her good dick, but incomprehensible for a man to stay with a woman because of the sex. She has to be a slut, if sex is the best thing she brings to the table.

So while, this is not the 1950’s and I cannot deny that men understand the essence of a modern-day woman. The woman who won’t do your chores and suck your dick (metaphorically speaking), but will give you great conversation and pay half the bills. Society still struggles with the concept of a woman being able to express her sexuality. We still tell little girls, to let the boy text you first, let him kiss you first, let him ask for sex. And even then, don’t put out on the first date, play hard to get, don’t make him think you are available, he might mistake you for a whore. We teach our boys to categorise the women in their lives. The kind they’ll just have fun with and the kind they’ll marry. We make our girls feel like they have to choose, will you be the fun girl or the wife? Will you be the booty call or the mother of his children? Why can’t girls have it all? Because I want it all. I don’t mean the booty calls and giving lap dances to strangers at a party. I don’t do that. But that decision doesn’t come out of judgement for people who do, it is out of an understanding of the mechanics of my soul. I am not a casual sex kind of person. I am not saying we have to be in a relationship, I am saying I want to have an emotional understanding of my sexual partner. And that is the only place that kind of decision should come from. It should be from an awareness of self and not because people told you that you have be a certain way, that you can’t do certain things because of your gender.

Because beneath my cynicism, I still believe in fairy tales. Well, sort of. I believe in finding the love of your life and marrying them and not getting divorced. I believe in making relationships work and not giving up on people. I believe in marrying your best friend (or at the very least a friend) and being there till death do you part. It could be the dumbest of my dreams, but it is the greatest of my hopes. I just want someone I’ll make puns with. I just want a friend I’ll be sexually attracted to for a really long time, eternity if I had it my way. But in the meantime, I also want to have fun. I want intimate dinners and poetry by a fireplace. I want Coldplay concerts and bitter-sweet goodbye kisses from an exotic man I just met on a trip; the inevitability of the end of an affair and the relief that my sins will stay with him. I want star-crossed love and blurred lines with a friend.  I want sexual innuendo and geek talk. I want to be able to wear sweatpants and mini-skirts just because I feel like it. I don’t want to be asked if I am not worried that sweatpants dull of my femininity. I want to be able to wear a short dress without being asked who I am trynna look good for. I want to be able to wear shorts to class and not have to worry about the lecturer misjudging the content of my character.  I just want to be able to be comfortable in my sexuality. I just want people to understand that I own my sexuality and whatever I do with it, or how I choose to express it is not a statement on my morality or intelligence or humanity.  And if I can get at least one person to see things this way, then my work will be done. Because to me, there’s more to feminism than ending rape and equal pay for women. My favourite bits are the ones that make women comfortable in their skin, the parts that allow women to stand tall and unapologetic for wearing their skin as they see fit. The kind that makes us realise that the quality of our lives should never be determined by society’s willingness to allow it. 

​On Death and Humanity. 

My roommate thinks I have a casual attitude towards death. I’d like to think that isn’t true. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. On the surface, it might be true. I will admit that I do not avoid thinking about death. A lot of times, the thought of people dying doesn’t leave a bad taste in my mouth. It doesn’t make me sad, it doesn’t affect my current mood. Generally, death doesn’t fill me with dread as it does most people.  Is this something I’m proud of? No. Am I ashamed of it? Honestly, no. it just is.  I think over time, I have managed to convince myself to be indifferent to things that are beyond my control. So maybe that may be interpreted as having a casual attitude towards death. But that doesn’t mean I do not care about death. I just seem to not care. I think I care way more than I will ever be to fully grasp, let alone admit. So maybe that manifests as a casual attitude, or horrifying indifference and misplaced laughter. Maybe. Or maybe I’m just a horrible person. Or maybe it is both.  I don’t know and to be honest, I do not know where I am going with this. So hang on, or don’t, I don’t think I care much. 

I have this belief, that all human beings are potential killers. We all have a breaking point, a button that can be pushed and make us kill. I also believe that how we are raised and how we are conditioned over time is what makes the difference between guys who kill and those who don’t. I will admit, I have no psychological evidence to support this theory and I am open to corrections. As a matter fact, I hope to all that is moral and sacred, that I am grossly wrong about this. I want to believe that killers are born that way. I know, it doesn’t make the world any safer, but hey, a few serial killers is contextually better than a potential seven billion serial killers. Again, I’m hoping serial killers is a Hollywood fiction. I mean, I understand that serial killers do exist in real life, I just don’t want to believe that they are as prolific and scheming and clever as television shows make it seem.  Even so, I haven’t been able to get this theory out of my mind these last few days. Particularly, I haven’t been able to stop myself from worrying about my seemingly casual attitude towards death. A statement that was said in passing has managed to lodge itself into my brain and make me question everything about my humanity. 

Just how human am I? And while we are at it, on what scale is humanity measured? But even more importantly, how human do I want to be? Am I comfortable with the cliché standards of humanity? You know, is it enough for me to just be bothered by wars and hunger and excruciating poverty levels? Is it enough that every once in a while I donate my old clothes to orphans and drop a coin or two to the beggar on the street? Why do I even do it? Is it because I actually care? Or is it because I don’t have much use for my old clothes or the few extra coins? Am I kind? Am I empathetic? Why do I have a morbid sense of humour? Why does death not rattle me as much as it does others? Can I take a life? Would it be a leap to think that if I have managed to convince myself to not be somewhat indifferent towards death, then it is only a matter of time before I convince myself it is okay to cause it? Is it a valid worry? Why am I seemingly indifferent towards death? Is it because I can’t deal with it, so I just brush it off? Or is it because I actually don’t care? And if the most permanent form of loss, doesn’t scare me much, then how can I tell that my humane emotions are genuine? Do I feel because I have been conditioned to feel or because I am actually human? Have my emotions become routine? Is that what my humanity has become? Some sort of garment that I wear every morning? When I am descent, or even nice, is it because I am kind, or am I only acting on ingrained tendencies? Is my humanity on some sort of auto-pilot or is it a conscious decision? Is it all just a game? Am I aware that I am playing it?

Is our humanity supposed to be a conscious decision? Are we supposed to be aware of it when we are being human? Do we get accustomed to pain and cruelty over time? Do we stop to care about injustice? Do we resign ourselves to the fact that the world is rotten and there isn’t much we can do to save it? And when that happens, have we lost a bit of our humanity? Do we lose our humanity every single time we are not as human as we could be? Is it possible for our humanity to be completely corroded? Is that all we’ve become? Shells masquerading as human beings, slowly dying? Really, why am I so worried about this? Is it an overreaction to a less than accurate observation? Or is it because deep down I know I have lost a bit of my humanity. Because not so long ago, I fiercely wanted to help people. Street children and natural disasters upset me to the point of tears. Right now? I think television shows about serial killers are funny. I would like to think it is because I have grown up and somehow managed to handle my emotions. And maybe that is partly true. But I am also still emotional as ever, albeit most of it is rage and irritability. Maybe that is why I feel so lost. I have lost a bit of myself. And maybe I just miss caring about other people. Random people on the street. People that I don’t have to care about. People that aren’t my family and friends. People who don’t have to reciprocate that care. Maybe I just miss who I was, and I gotta say, it is a little scary and embarrassing and rage inducing, that I don’t really care to do the work to get her back. 

What’s done is never done.

I think I was six years old when someone told me to stop looking her in the eye because it is rude as I was a child and she was older. To date, I still struggle with maintaining eye contact especially with older people. I still get mini-panic attacks when I have to hold a conversation with an older acquaintance because part of my brain thinks it is rude to look someone in the eye. This misinformation has stuck with me, fifteen years later. Long after I have learnt that maintaining eye contact isn’t rude and in fact is an essential part of having a fulfilling conversation. I constantly need to remind myself to look at people when I am talking to them. Sometimes I have to practice in the mirror before I go out. And sometimes I fail horribly and just say screw it and look anywhere else but at someone’s face. I am not proud of this, but there are people I have had conversations with and I do not know what their faces look like. I could tell you the colour of their shoes, the size of their fingernails, the design on their shirts, but not a single detail about their face. So what’s the point of this? This is about those things that we cannot talk about, those things that still hurt, those things that eat away at us and we can’t vent because someone told us that we should be over it. That we should stop bringing it up because it is in the past and what is done is done. This is because sometimes, what is done is never quite done.

It is said that actions speak louder than words. Every single time I read this somewhere or hear someone say it, there is a voice in my head that goes, “but do they really?” Because the things that have hurt me are more of the things people said than what they actually did. But maybe that is just me. Maybe it is because I have always considered words my fortress; the place I run to when I need to run away. My arsenal; what I wield when I want to win a fight. Because honestly, I am so little, I could never win a physical fight with anyone. And that is even before life wears me down. I think words are the best part of me; the glue that hold my disintegrated attempts at being a better person, a better friend, a better sister, a better daughter. Because I may not be the easiest person to approach, or the easiest person to talk to and I never know what to do in a social situation but I could always write you an email or send you a text that pulls at a few of your heart strings and feebly hope that makes me worth your while. So I guess that is why words hurt the most, when someone uses your best feature against you. Because words have a way of getting under your skin, itching at your brain, corroding your very being.

That being said, let’s talk about abuse. Verbal and emotional abuse to be specific. I think the saddest thing these kinds of abuse is that they are perpetrated by the people we care about. Because words only hurt if you care about who’s saying them. And the occasional vile utterance of a complete stranger. More times than not, we forget about the latter but never do we get over a parent calling you useless, a loved one thinking of you as pathetic, or a friend calling you stupid. You know it’s just words, and the opinions of others are in no way a measure of your self-worth and abilities or whatever self-help banter you chant before you leave the house every morning, and a lot of times, you believe it. And then there are those nights when you’ve had a bad day and you want to call your best friend but you don’t because you don’t want to seem pathetic. Or the days you don’t understand a concept and it doesn’t quite surprise you because part of you has always felt stupid. So is this an aversion of responsibility? No. I am in no way saying that other people are to blame for our self-destructive thoughts and unhealthy perception of self. I am saying, that maybe if we were nicer to each other and mindful of what we said to one another, then maybe loving ourselves wouldn’t be a daunting task after all. That maybe if we didn’t grow up in abusive homes, we wouldn’t be so abusive after all.

There is this song by The Script, my all-time favourite band, titled “The End Where I Begin.” My favourite line is “sometimes your first scars don’t ever fade away.” The first time I made my best friend listen to this song, he teasingly asked me, “What is wrong with your taste in music?” which was his way of asking, “Why do you listen to such sad music?” I just shrugged. Years later, I still think about that question. It is because of how painfully true the aforementioned line is. Yes, we heal. We move on. We are able to tell our stories without shedding a tear and sometimes we even find those same stories funny. But the scars remain. And while scars are proof that you’ve lived, that you’ve been knocked down but didn’t stay down. Scars are proof that you can survive, that you are much stronger than you seem, sometimes they are just reminders that you were hurt. That you are still hurting. So be nice. Because sometimes, what’s done is never quite done.

we live,we learn.

I think it was Ernest Hemingway that once said, “I have never met a happy thinker.” And boy, he couldn’t have been any more correct. Now I am not saying I am a sad thinker, but I will say this, my life would be a lot more easier if I thought about things just a little bit less. Anyway, I have been watching a lot of Elementary lately. I just love Sherlock Holmes’ character. He is so awkward and clueless, it is just so damn sexy. So those of you who are familiar with the “legend” of Sherlock Holmes know he has issues with drugs, you know, heroine and the likes. Now, Sherlock is a genius in the science of deduction thanks to his extraordinary senses. He has the ability to spot and connect mundane or even related events in a way that most people, or anyone at all, cannot comprehend. But that right there is his undoing. So while his gift has helped him as a detective and has resulted in saving countless lives, he is also acutely aware of just how rotten the world is. A case example would be he is scared of flying. Because while most people see and trust a qualified pilot, he sees the tinge of nervousness in his demeanor. And if the pilot is nervous, what has he done about it? Has he taken a drink to calm him down? Is he nervous due to a problem at home? Will that be a distraction? I know, sounds like paranoia, but you get my point. Sherlock even once said he wonders how differently his life would have been if he was born at a different time. When it was a lot quieter out there. When there was less evil in the world. Would he have turned to drugs to dull his senses? That maybe he wouldn’t have ended up an addict.

And that in a way is my problem. I sort of live inside my head. It started as a way to escape reality, but right now it has become a habit. A habit I am not really willing to break. I think I find it easier to be a little oblivious. It makes me a little less susceptible to taking crap from people. To put it mildly, I am an obsessive thinker. And I am in no way comparing myself to Ernest Hemingway or Sherlock Holmes, but I do have moments when I am washing dishes, listening to music and I have a flash of an unpleasant memory and then I spiral out. I end up going through all the different probabilities, the things I should have done differently, what I should have said, places I shouldn’t have been, the person I sometimes wish I was. And yes, eventually I manage to talk out of it, because at the end of the day it is the present that matters, that I am better now. Even so, those five minutes of intense what-ifs have still ruined my day. I don’t think there is a remedy to that. I have accepted that I will never be able to take things lightly, not entirely. That I will occasionally have my intense moments, that those moments will make me feel depressed but that is just who I am. There is not much point in trying to change that. That despite of my somewhat self-destructing state of mind, I am okay. Hell, I am great.

And that is what I am trying to say. We are who we are. And as long as we are human, we are bound to have moments when we are not comfortable with who we are. Some moments take minutes others last a lifetime. Some are for mundane reasons like a pimple on your face and others are for reasons that only our souls could ever be able to hold. And as long as we are alive, these moments will fluctuate. Some will get harder, others will get easier. That more often than not, things will not work out the way you want them to. That life will always surprise you. Sometimes with birthday parties or a thoughtful gift from a friend. And other times with a fist in your heart, moments that will just knock the wind out of your system. But amidst all these, you will be fine. You will grow. You will change your mind. You break the promises you made to yourself as a kid, you quit medical school, your childhood friend dies, you try different things, you meander, you get lost. That amidst all the noise and confusion, you find a quiet place in your head, or your friend’s kitchen counter. You find yourself, be it between the pages of a book or the words of a character in a movie. And maybe, you find someone who takes an interest; others go with you, others stay and wait for you to come back. And while you do, you find joy and laughter and tears. You find friendship and heartbreak. You find your favorite song. And speaking of songs, I have had Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars” on repeat for like most of today. I don’t know why. Maybe I miss 2007. I feel like I was a lot smarter back then, or maybe things were just easier. There is this line in that song. “I don’t know where, I am confused about how as well. Just know that these things will never change for us.” And I guess that is all I am trying to say, we all eventually get there. We all eventually find our souls. And if we are lucky enough, we find someone to share that with, even if it is just for a heartbeat.