2016: The Year I Realised My Father Was Right

On New Year’s Eve last year, I was holding myself together and crying bitterly in my father’s helpless arms. I felt like I had failed and wasted the previous two years of my life in a job that I didn’t really enjoy but felt like I was obliged to stay in.

Dad sang me to sleep, saying that next year will be different. I woke up in 2016 with my eyes swollen and my head heavy, but my heart lighter. I resolved to get out of my shitty job as quickly as I could.

A week in, I was back on my couch, inconsolably weeping before I could leave for work, my father on the phone line and my mother frantically pacing the living room because she didn’t know what to do with a crying mess. After five hours of crying, I got an email for my dream job.

The rest of the year has been a blur of working hard, doubting myself and unlearning everything I had ever learnt about hard work. But, that meant every little achievement felt like a battle won. My life centered around my work in the best way I could have imagined and I also spent my last day of the year volunteering to work at a job I genuinely love.

This year taught me to trust my father in that regard, I guess. He was right. I would be okay.

Another lesson he taught me was that food and sleep were the best things in the world, barring none. I should have believed him when he told me that three years ago. 2016 taught me that the pursuit of good food that nourishes my heart and body and a good night’s sleep were all I really needed to feel okay. No amount of romance, sex, alcohol or motivational speeches ever matched up to what good food and sleep did for me.

My father also taught me that love was not the best thing in the world because it was an other worldly feeling. I spent the year chasing that all-elusive feeling and realising all over again there was more love in a moment spent over the phone in comfortable silence than in my romcoms. There was more love in holding my best friend’s hand as we crossed the road and talking over a beer. There was more love in sitting on the beach on my birthday and telling my best friend how I just want to hold my dog. There was more love in sitting on the floor and mourning my cat’s death. There was more love in sipping on wine while sitting alone in my living room. There was definitely more love in writing, reading, singing and dancing.

This year was the best. This year was also the worst.

But, this year showed me a different kind of love everyday. It showed me love always wins — even if in small doses, but it always does.

Terrible Weeks Call For Terrible Writing

I have had a terrible week.

It was a shitstorm of injuries, adult responsibilities and realising how much distance is just not something I will ever be ready for.

I woke up this morning, my eyes swollen from lack of sleep and excessive crying and looked at myself in the mirror. There is a slight vanity I attach to sadness and don’t ask me why I do that. Every time I am crying, I look in the mirror to see myself. It is still unclear if I am looking for the mirror to tell me I am okay or if I am just literally looking to see what I look like when I cry, quite like toddlers do.

As I looked at myself in the mirror, I remembered the last year and how every time I woke up crying and anxious, I just needed to be told I could go on. I just needed to be told that there is a world out there that I can be a part of, a world that may not fully understand me but will probably still want to accept me.

I looked at myself and said, “You have tried way too hard for you to go back to that now.” I thought of every day in the past week and how it disappointed me in every way possible. I couldn’t go back to being the person who gave up on her life before it even began.

I have been told in the past week that I am not good enough, that I am not someone that a certain person would like to be seen with, that people I love don’t have time for me. But, I still want to love myself.

We’re in a world where it is a crime to be happy and love yourself despite the odds. The odds need not look like intense distress. But, I would really like to love myself right now especially considering I have no one to pass on the torch to.

Ladylike 101

Who said you’re good enough?
You’re not beautiful
Well, maybe, if you just tried
to walk straight,
with your hair straight,
always smiling,
stomach tucked in
with your thighs at a safe distance from each other;
But not far enough for someone to make their way through.
Why were your legs open?
Why was your button open?

Maybe this is why you don’t have friends.
You have opinions.
Why are you seeking God anywhere else but
a temple,
a mosque,
a church?
God says you’re beautiful only if He can see you.
Maybe that’s why you’re not beautiful.

No one is looking at you because you’re beautiful.
They look at you because you’re a freak,
A circus phenomenon.
You’re on display,
but in all the wrong ways —
with your sides hanging
and your back in everyone’s faces.
How dare you impose?

Stop being yourself.
Kill yourself.
Build yourself up.
But, don’t forget to go through the instruction manual.

Fear

I fear the things my heart chases because they might not be good for me.
I fear the things my body chases because they might kill me.
I fear the things my mind chases because I might lose my will to feel.
I might be afraid of the fear that surrounds me suddenly like an ocean.
Or even like a prisoner in a tightly wound rope in a dingy cell.

I fear the words I write right now
for they might define me.
What if I was the wind?
What if I changed?
How dare my words become my only identity?
I am more. I am more.

Yet, I am so little. So small. So insignificant. A speck, a drop, a freckle, an atom, a cog in the wheel.

I am alone. But, I am not the only one.

शीशे का घर

शीशे के घरों में रहने वालों को
पत्थर फेकने का कोई शौक़ नहीं है।
घूर घूर के पर्दों के अंदर से जब
बहार देखने का मन्न किया
तो देखा तुम्हे घूरते हुए।
जब बारिश की बूँदें शीशे पर सजी
तब देखा तुम्हे बेफ़िक्र उछलते हुए।
सूरज की किरणे जब पड़ी रस्ते पर
तो उसका भी मन्न किया बाहर खेलने का।
पर जब तुम दहलीज़ पर आए
तो लगा, “कही महमान-नवाज़ी में घर टूट न जाए?”
अकेले रहने को जी तो नहीं करता
पर बेघर होना कौन चाहेगा?