Category Archives: short prose

The facade of Perfectionism

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My parents always told me that in order to succeed in life you have to push and push until you’re at the place where you want to be. You have to run even when you’re lungs are giving up because that is the only way you will ever succeed. Don’t you see glorious men who have carved out their name in history by exerting efforts when the world was asleep?

Child, work and work, until you know that the pain will leave a legacy. These ideals have been grinded and cupped up in a pill that they made me swallow at the age of 13 and ever since, I remember working tirelessly to get what I want. To achieve so much so that my own voice started to haunt instead of becoming an applause.

“That will never be good”

“You can do better”

So I was sleeping less and working more. I was skipping meals and biting my nails. I was smoking 2 packs a day and drinking caffeine like water. I was the best at what I was and still I felt like I had failed. I felt like I had more potential and I wasn’t pushing my limits. I was successful and still sad which made me wonder why couldn’t I be happy in life if I’m doing everything right?

Success came with milestones and I was good at achieving all of them. The pills taught me that focus, persistence and perseverance is the way forward and God, I was so ahead! I was like a robot that kept on leading life like it’s a task one after the other.

Until, it cracked. I failed not at achieving a milestone but living my life. It wouldn’t have been bothersome if I looked at death as another milestone to achieve in the long list but I didn’t. Now I’m at a crossroad trying to find meaning in the fight that I’ve put up but till now, I’m empty handed with my feet grounded waiting for it all to somehow make sense.

Kiss them drunk

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We’re conditioned to doubt ourselves. To think twice before we act and draw lines between everything. A friend can’t be a lover just as love cannot be synonym to lust. Differentiation is what marks the small space between sanity and insanity. You can’t kiss drunk. You can’t spell love and lust within the bones of the same man. It makes me anxious to see how we’re taught an appropriate behavior. In trying to chase “forever”, we find the present slipping away. Out of reach. Out of grasp. Suddenly, only a concept of what could have been.
Next time maybe, don’t over think and kiss him drunk? Because, there are no right or wrong people. They’re just people who were best for you during that time and now they aren’t anymore.

Stillness in abandonment

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i)

My parents tell me about their youth. Times that they would like to live again. Memories, back to when they we’re not married. They drape their lives across for us to listen and get a glimpse of how carefree they were. My mother talks about how free she was until she fell in love with a man. A man who made a cage out of false promises and she chose to stay in it. My father talks about how he always meant well but never well enough to hold his ground.
You see?
He had kept the door of the cage open, always. He never believed in chaining someone down.
They don’t ever leave one another; the one free or the one captive. The cage has room for both of them, now. They sit in it with the door open. I think this is what Stockholm syndrome is like.

ii)
I learnt the importance of detachment at a young age. My feet are quick to change direction towards an exit even when my heart tells me not to. It’s been long since my heart sounded like mine.
Tiptoeing around the ones I love, biting my nails and avoiding interactions as I make my way out of their heart.
This isn’t a heart, I say to him. This is an iceberg and I push the ones I love off the tip.
My mother taught me to have a hard heart. Having a stone heart is better than having a cold one and if you don’t have one at all? That is the best. Shut them out before they see that you’re just a tangled mesh of nothingness.
A sadist ode to the inner masochist poet.

iii)
We’re all tiny galaxies orbiting around the ones we love. We make them our center of attention from time to time. I learnt from the cage she was kept in to know never to stay around anyone longer than their intended purpose in my life. Never slip through into their universe.
A failed union taught me to never let anyone become everything; even when great poets tell me otherwise.
I become watchful of boys who spin cages out of promises that they don’t intend to keep. Boys who tie ropes around your fingers with promises; and my mother still hides the jute marks from her wrists as she talks about love.

iv)
I remind myself to always be on guard when it comes to feelings. Never get close enough for people to lure me in with their ropes and cage me.
Practicing on the ones you love is the best way to be perfect at the art of running away. Never getting attached but always making it seem like you’re emotionally dependent on them. This way you can always have someone to love you but never run the risk of collateral emotional damage.
My psychologist calls this “fear of attachment” but I call this, survival in a world where everyone believes that love is a simile for imprisonment.
Because once I knew a boy who told me that his mother refused to leave his abusive father because she loved him. Months later, I saw myself in the same position- very familiar to our conversation. However, I decided to leave because in the end-we’re all just somehow fulfilling the patterns and scripts laid out by our parents.

I decided to break the pattern as my mother talks about how I should have stayed. I wonder if she realizes that love and hurt are not similar. “There is no need to associate the notion of hurt or pain with something so beautiful as love.”, I say, and she dares not look into my eyes.

v)

Being “present” has never been one of my strongest attribute. I like to run away on purpose from people so there is no chance of emotional attachment which can lead to detachment, later on.

Escaping everything and everyone, like a social Houdini.

However, instead of magic tricks I just disappear for days on end because that way I can be friends with the empty space of my room.
Ignoring every attempt that people make to reach out to me with the phrase “I’m busy.”

I’m not busy.
I’m just chugging in sleeping pills and valium with a tenth of whiskey to sleep off whatever it is that is bothering me. Sleep off whatever it is that has been growing inside the pit of my stomach that I have to escape to deal with it but not deal with it, at the same time.

He tells me escapism is a magic trick that is getting old
I say, “Abracadabra” , and smile.

vi) I take two pills with a glass of wine. I realize that I’m getting old and so is this liver. I find myself trying to be careful in the destructive path that I have chalked out for myself.
Shit! I think I might be in love. Because why else would I be so careful?
The next day, he tells me that I’m not as bad as I like to tell the world. I smile knowing that he doesn’t have half the clue or maybe he does and accepts.
What I am in front of people is not who I really am or maybe that is exactly who I am. Someone so volatile, raw and absurd that everyone thinks it’s an act.

A reality mistaken for illusion.

He tells me, I’m more of a habit than a love.
I laugh.
He says, that my attempt to throw people off is forced than natural.
So, I push him and we laugh
He touches my hand
I can feel the ropes tightening on my wrists. The same ones I saw on my mother and warned myself about.

vii)

Every man I know searches for a lava heart underneath this iceberg even though I keep on telling them that there isn’t one. They try hammering their name on it.
Freeze their fingers trying to hold it.
Break them off.
I find their attempt at trying to find something real under something false so beautifully heart wrenching, I almost give them a chance.
Chance

I run before they realize that I’m not the person they want to freeze over.
Run as soon as their fingers become blue.
Run as soon as I feel the rope creeping up on my wrists.
I say their names like an empty prayer I will soon forget. A prayer that creeps up on your lips only when you realize that “loneliness”, is a word laced with melancholy and wrapped in abandonment.

I leave because the cage door is open and I’m not going to take a chance on captivity by choice. Never by chance.

 

 

 

Lovers United

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Depression. It’s like a lover that sweeps me up in its arms and throws me on the bed so hard that I end up breaking no bones but for the next few weeks, I can hardly get out of bed.
No. I don’t want to be yours, anymore. I see it go away and muster the strength to start afresh in life. Every effort against it is a win. I think I’m winning.
But, I am afarid.
I’m afraid that it is still there lingering like a shadow ready to turn into a ghost that will haunt me. It stares at me from outside the window and I am too afraid to let fresh air in because I cannot run the risk of letting it come back.

Depression is back. Sometimes the emptiness in my chest gets so heavy that I find it hard to breath. I end up beating my chest to unclog my lungs in an effort to rid of this disease. It goes away but I’m not sure for how long. I wouldn’t know because last time I spent two months without it and bid it farewell.

What I’m saying is that the dark clouds are back again and like everytime, I fear that there would be no way out of this. I’ll crumple like a piece of paper in the corner of my bed and my bones would sink into the mattress. My chest would be empty and suffocation will be the death of me.
I see it smoking by the door. Depression.
It’s coming at me like a war torn lover coming home.

Wrong Places

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I wish to have loved you in another place. Maybe another continent where the sea could run through your veins and you wouldn’t have to worry about drowning. Maybe a place where the air is gentle on our skins and we do not fear it becoming a tornado. Maybe another land where we could have played with the constellations instead of mistaking a fallen star for a drone attack.
I wish to have loved you in another place, another time or another dimension.
All my life they told me to be wary of people who talk sweet but have poison lips. It’s a sacred body described in metaphors. They taught me to stay away from the ones who dare to paint their futures with blood stained hands because the likes of them are dangerous.
Men are dangerous.
Women are deadly.
I’ve been away far too long from those who wore their flaws like medals and declared war on their past to have the future that they painted.
I wish to have loved you in another place where my lips weren’t poison. We didn’t need metaphors to describe our love. I wish to have loved you in another place where the air swept through our pores and the tornadoes didn’t ruin us. A place where we could have played with the stars and your wish on the fallen one would come true. I wish to have loved you before I became one of them, another one from the lot of blood stained hands brewing poetry behind closed doors in an effort to taste freedom.
I have loved you in the wrong places but the time was always right.

It’s 2 am and I see no God

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“That is the thing”, the voices whisper, “pretend or give up” and there is an urge to reach out to someone at God fucking 2 a.m in the morning with the words, “Help me”. But, I don’t because anxiety screams, “why the fuck would someone be up at 2 a.m in the morning on a Sunday?”
Contemplating on ways I would like to ask for help without actually appearing weak. For you see, I’ve pretended to be strong for so long that these self imposed restrictions make it hard to reach out or break down.
It’s hard to ask for help when you’ve been on the other end. You’re the helper, not the helpee. You’re the anchor at the bottom of the ocean that does not let others drown. You save. You don’t ask to be saved.
The realization that I’m drowning comes in too late and there is no end in sight. How does one swim against or with the currents when they were made to sink?
But that is the thing, “you cannot drown at the bottom of the ocean” it whispers.
That is the dilemma. You’re going to suffocate but it won’t let you die. You’re going to be in the dark for ages but this won’t let you die.
You sit here at 2 a.m talking about drowning in a nicely lit room but you’re suffocating and the world outside doesn’t know.
The only way to deal with this is to make art out of your personal tragedy. Coping, is the most bravest word in the dictionary because it shows the determination of an individual to survive against all odds. It is a depiction of standing against the strong waters at the bottom of the ocean while every particle is willed to drown you.
Tomorrow is another day. Another day to ask yourself, what is tougher? Pretending to live or trying to die.

I’m drowning. I see no God down here. Is it too late to say, “Help! I think I won’t make it.”

Confusions

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I’m not good at letting things so. I guess that is why I try not to get attached. Attachment means vulnerability and I’ve never liked being vulnerable. Sometimes; it means exposing the galaxies inside your chest but how can I if mine is a black hole? I have no justification for what I do at times. The constant manic cycles that leaves you bloodied. Running back to you on lonely nights just to howl outside your door. At one point in time I thought I knew what love was like. It smelt like your cologne and cigarettes. Love tasted like tobacco and caffeine. Love felt a lot like shutting the world out on rainy days. Love was sneaking around with the adrenaline pumping through our veins. It was stolen. Our love was always stolen and sneaky. It was a chase. I still have no justification for leaving.
Sometimes, I wonder if I’m not able to let go of you or the feeling of love?

No going back

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As I grow old, a part inside has become deeply aware of time. It is not something that I am surrendering to consciously but rather, it is very unconscious. I’m becoming more conscious of how I spend my time and the people I spend my time with. Counting my days is easy, heck I’m just 21 years old. My accomplishments as a person have started to define me. I am the product of all that I have conquered. This includes my fear of the dark .
Victory small or big is still victory.
Growing up is not fun but it’s the only choice I have. I cannot go back in time so just as well go forward.
“Age is just a number”, this is a tiny piece of wisdom that usually pops up when discussing the relativity of time.
But how do I sweep my realizations and regrets under the rug that came with time and of age.
Time, however, can be on your side. I’ve learnt this. I have also learnt that a single moment can cause inevitable changes forever.
You know how when you’re drifting off to sleep and this sudden sensation of falling down hits you? So you jolt out of your dream into reality.
That sudden plunge feels like eternity but in reality is just a micro-second.
Sometimes I feel that becoming aware of time is a sudden plunge. Because, I’ve always been more carefree than I would like to admit.
My friends are growing up and people are changing. I have no definite plan for the future. It used to be scary but now, it is not.
 
I know that I’m falling right now but eventually I will wake up.

Preferences

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I’ve always preferred the fake.
Fake people
Fake intentions
And a fake reality
While the world boasts about being “real”, I say, “Give me the fake ones, Charles”. You see when you’re given the fake it’s easier to access the real. The sugarcoated fakeness helps pinning down exactly what is real within. When you’re real it’s too boring. Don’t equate being real with bravery. Everyone is scared. Bravery isn’t exposing your scars to the world. Everyone is scared so they hide. Bravery is how expertly you hide something with sugarcoated words and feelings. I like fake people, they’re more honest in their struggle. They know what they don’t have so they make it up. Now, you’re going to say that this is all fake but fake is what I like.