#1: How Do I Trust Myself To Fall In Love Again?

I was in a relationship for over four years. Everything seemed perfect except it wasn’t. His parents did not approve and he chickened out. He broke up with no explanation except that he cannot stand up to his parents. I was extremely heavy back then and had very low self esteem. I thought this was the end of the world and that nobody will ever love me again. I tried to kill myself. But luckily, I have wonderful friends and family. It took me a while but I started working on myself. Two years later, 20 kgs lesser and I’m still not able to accept that anyone can love me for me. Mind, body et al. I met this wonderful guy in February. We’ve been going out on dates. But I think, somewhere, I’m not letting it go to the next level because I’m so scared of a broken heart. I’ve stopped putting myself out there.

Answer:

Two years ago, I thought to myself, “There is no way I will fall in love again.” I didn’t have a clue who I’d fall in love with again without thinking of the eyes I fell in love with as a teenager. I didn’t know what I could do if I wasn’t able to call the same man “The Love Of My Life” for the rest of my life.

I wept. I wrote in my journal. I sang sad songs at 3 a.m. I cried some more. I cried till I fell asleep.

But I’m here. Two years later. And I am asking myself the same questions that you are asking yourself, “Do I trust myself to fall in love again? Do I trust someone else to not hurt me the same way?”

For this, you need to understand that we do not love the same way twice. We do not even love the same person the same way twice. The older we get, the more experiences we gather, the more we find our ideas of self and love changing.

Imagine yourself as a house. We build ourselves brick by brick with our stories, our experiences, our pain, our joy, the people in our lives, the people we let go in our lives, and more. Sometimes, in the process of building from the ground up, we forget to add some things that are necessary. We forget windows of an open mind, or doors to let people in. Maybe it’s the kind of experiences we have. Maybe it’s the kind of people we’ve met in the past. But, that’s who we become.

That, however, doesn’t mean that we cannot add a door to let people in. We can make this happen. Sometimes, you can start with a window. You can even start with a hole to peep through. But how do we begin to make these changes?

Honestly, no one really has an answer that doesn’t involve ripping your guts out and giving it over to someone else with all the faith you can muster. Because that’s kinda what you have to do.

Take the leap of faith. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and tell this person you have been hurt before. A person who really deserves you for the love you have to offer them will listen and understand that your trauma has shaped you but is not who you are. That is what matters.

If this person doesn’t respect your fears and your vulnerability to admit to them, maybe they’re not ready for you either. And that’s okay.

Take. Your. Time.

Healing is not a straight line upwards to happiness. It’s going to be all over the place. You might find healing by falling in love with someone else. Or on your own. Whatever you do, remember to be honest with yourself about how you feel in the moment. Trust yourself to take care of yourself in moments of heartbreak even if this doesn’t work out. And, if not, ask for help. It always works.

thank u, next: 2018

I’m here.

That’s most of what there is to it every year, isn’t it.

I’m here and I’m alive.

This year, though, I am a little worn down, a teensy bit wary, and incredibly exhausted. I have been seeing everyone’s highlights from the past year and I feel defeated by the wave of gratitude, lessons, and learnings.

Did I really live this year at all if I felt none of those things? How could this have been the slowest and yet the oddest blur I have lived through? I understand that time is relative, but how much?

I started this post thinking I’ll actually list the lessons I learned and the many many things I am grateful for. But, I am just as annoyed at the microsopic view of everyone’s lives I am getting on a macro basis and I almost want to save this for my journal.

Am I writing this to prove to you that I am more than my Instagram story? Or am I here to remind myself that I am more than the nights I spent crying myself to sleep? Being a child of the internet, I have spent so much time living my life out here. I gave so much of myself to the world — just to be seen. And now, I am trying so hard to not let myself show through the cracks in my words. It’s almost as if the layers have peeled too far to let you know that there is actually a person under all of this.

There is a person who dropped a toxic friendship. I also am the person who had to undo every single pattern that the friendship put me in. I am the person who cried more than she laughed this year. I am the person who projected her grief on to Ariana Grande because it’s all I thought I had. I am the person who was afraid to even tell their friends that there is more to me.

There is also the person who achieved her biggest goal for the year. There is also the kid who held on to her parents because it was the only form of unconditional love she thought she had. There is the person who slept (slightly) better because crying does that to you, I guess. There is the person who’s still healing.

This person is more cynical, unhealthier, and barely trudging towards the new year as if it’s going to change things.

But, it just might.

The past year has been a book that needed to end as soon as possible. So I’m shutting it down.

I’m here and I’m alive.

(Not) All Too Well

For the first time since the year began, I am sitting down to write about the waves of feelings that I let wash over me in the last six months. I never stopped writing. I wouldn’t have survived without it. But, addressing large emotions hasn’t been easier when I did that with as much clarity as I could muster.

I have had to fight emotions that I wasn’t prepared to feel. No one told me I was going to feel this way. And by this way, I mean betrayed by people I love, the things I love, and worst of all — my own body.

I have had good days. I have had days of absolute objectivity where I could see the past for what it was. And I could see the present and solve the problems at hand. If they could be called problems at all. I mean, I am a woman living in an urban population in a house and I am well-fed and well-taken care of.

I saw a toxic relationship for what it was. I saw that I was far more blessed than I could have imagined. I am fulfilling two of three resolutions for the year and I couldn’t be more “on course” for things than I ever have been. I am really adept at a job that I love immensely and gives me purpose that I have been seeking outside of myself.

But, it’s nights like these that makes me not be grateful anymore. It’s 1.30 a.m. on nights that are humid and there is no wind in to let the leaves on trees blow gently. When the sweat doesn’t trickle on my body anymore and just sticks to my collarbones, beautifying it, but also making me question why I love the city I call home so much.

It’s nights like these that I spent awake for someone else, probably writing just like this. But, having my words belong to anyone but me. To have complete responsibility and autonomy over the words that I say out loud, or write has been feeling new to me. When I am not speaking to be heard, but just thinking out loud. I have pages, whole diaries, and so many posts over here that I wrote to be read, to be heard — just to be seen, for God’s sake — that I have to now take responsibility for. Forgive her, Father, for she assumed she was loved. Silly girl.

My anger and my sense of betrayal with the world around me has manifested within my body. My body responding to the world outside and the voices within has betrayed me so many times in the past six months that I am not sure of the autonomy over my words anymore. I mutter affirmations to my body, hoping it will heal itself magically with potions I don’t have or cannot conjure. But, I end up much like I did today — screaming, kicking, crying — on the bed, willing myself to get better. I walked, I jumped, I lifted, I ate more, I ate less and honestly, I’m just tired of having to change my body every time there is a problem. I am tired of minor inconveniences that are veils for glaring issues.

There are genuinely, even now, days that I just want to shut my eyes and never wake up again.

We have not learnt to give up on the things we love best. We haven’t learnt to give up on what we thought gave us purpose, but what was actually just another person and seeing them everyday. What do we do when we are lied to? When we have to reconcile with the idea that what we loved dearly is not a part of our bodies anymore? What do we do when we realise that we actually considered this person a part of ourselves, enough to think that we are living without limbs without them? What do we do when our own bodies betray us?

A part of me feels like I have been here before. Many times, in many births. In many forms. I have been here and I’ve been… okay.

I hope I am right.

2017

I entered the year not knowing what I wanted to do with it. Only that I wanted to end it well. I knew I wanted to make this about loving myself more than anything. But, I didn’t know anything else.

I started the year working and I worked hard all year round. The past two years have shown me that I knew nothing about hardwork. I knew nothing about really wanting my work, and the people I work with, to do well. I didn’t know what it was like to really feel success and failure, and seek it actively. My work gave me a refuge, but also gave me the confidence that I could be a lot more than my imagination. I cannot wait for the future. And that is the most hopeful I have been about my life.

I could attribute that hopefulness to the fact that I see my future very differently from when I did a year back — or even six months ago. I wanted the home, someone to love, a dog and a lot of money. That’s it. Now, when I see my future, the house has just me and the dog. Sure, I am not lonely. But, I am the universal definition of alone. However, I am not unhappy with this image of my future. I am grateful for the realisation that I don’t need someone to love to feel love. That freed me.

I am grateful to the men who got me to that realisation. I am grateful for the “no” and grateful they will never be “what if” anymore. I am grateful for the chance to unlearn what I thought was love, but really wasn’t. I am grateful for not letting myself stay deluded. I am grateful for the rules I broke and the new ones I made. I am grateful for the nights I spent crying to myself and coming clean on the other side of them, starting work all over again.

Now that I am free of all the space that love occupied inside me and over me, I feel lighter. I say this with a wide smile on my face and tears in my eyes. I took charge of my body and loved it a little more. I lost some weight and started enjoying exercise. I spent lesser time in bed and more time feeling at home in my home and my body. After seven years of restless sleep, I learnt to sleep soundly through the night. I learned to love selectively, but love anyway. I learned to care less and fight for what I care about. I made fewer friends, but I made them to keep for life. I loved my parents a little more and appreciated the work they put into raising me. I learned that while words mean a lot, they could be ridiculously empty too. Trust yourself to know better. Don’t trust others to always tell you who they are. But, when they do and if you don’t like it, step away.

I am grateful to the women who stood with me, sat down with me, lay down with me and held on to me when I couldn’t. Every single woman who taught me that I have a voice and I need to use it when I am unhappy or when I am happy or when I want to sing or laugh out loud (LOUDEST). Thank you to all the women in my life for making me realise how goddamned amazing we are as a people. Thank you for making me love my femininity more, for making me love my own company and the company of my female friends more.

But, you know what I am most grateful for? In the last few hours of this year, I am doing exactly what I love: writing, listening to music, and singing to myself.

I learned every single day, and I don’t want to stop. I cannot stop feeling the sun shine on me.

Things He Told Me – Parts IV, V & VI

The pause between pleasure and pain is more than ecstasy
and just a notch below eye-opening heaven.
I am sure your heart beats just as mine does,
when our fingers and bodies pretend to touch.

The world is connected by wires and machines we didn’t built,
but are grateful for.
The world separates us because the machines now rule us.
You say you cannot pass humans through wires and the various things that connect and separate us —
screens,
borders,
hands,
bodies,
love.

Love, I could tell you nothing is impossible.
You’d know I am right because we didn’t think we could feel this way before.
But, it’s impossible to say things you want to mean but are afraid to say.
My words hang in the air
and my cramped body cramps further inwards.
I straddle you
like I would the elephant in the room that I created,
but with more love.

“Listen, I know how hard that was to say.”
It’s an understatement, telling me that my words were as hard as you got when I told you what I wore,
when you ran your fingers through me,
feeling me,
not just dipping your feet in the water,
swimming together,
body-on-body.
It’s an understatement of the difficulty.
But — love, sunshine, a sigh in the dark–
I won’t say I’m sorry we both feel that way.


 

“I miss you a lot these days.”
“I like you. A lot.”
“I would take you out if I could.”
“I don’t know if I can say that because I have never felt it. I don’t know what love is.”
“My feelings for you have changed since then.”
“What do I do?”

“You’re the only friend I have.”
“I love you. I love you so much.”


Shame fills my entire body.
I was a fool.
Such a fool.
Such a goddamned fool.

I believed the lies that you fed me.
I swallowed them like I took you in,
Eyes, smile, words and so much more.

I can still feel your hands creep up behind my back.
I have started pushing them back down or cutting them out,
But your words weed their way in through the cracks as they always do.

My anger rises and ebbs as waves bring in your words on to my empty shore.

“I’m only trying to do the right thing.”

The right thing is leaving someone behind to watch your castle build in the distance.
The right thing, for you, has been throwing people under the bus
By playing it casually cruel.

Your righteousness will  find you a spot in hell and I will be at the doors: your worst nightmare coming to life, and death.