I haven’t stepped out of my room in three days. I tell my mother that I cannot move, she seems worried. I tell her, “Maa, the demons have chained themselves to my ankles”. I hear her recite Ayat-ul-Kursi and blow it on me. She tells me to do the same-recite it three times and try to sleep.
I do and turn to the other side. I remember that the Baji at our madrassah, once told the entire congregation that it is easy for the devil to wear the skin of an angel and fool humans. “Man”, she said, “is not inherently that smart in the matters of love. Love puts a veil on your eyes.” I think she was talking to me but addressed the whole congregation. I think I gave my heart to a demon cloaked in angel skin and he chose to sink his teeth into it. I just watched. People that I chose to love in my life splayed me open like raw meat at the altar of their lust and I became exactly like the demon I used to run away from-desire more than want and greed more than need.
My mother tells me to sleep. She says, “Sadness, like this is a curse from Allah and that I should remember Him more so that He remembers me”. The woman talks to her Lord and I find her prayers, my prayers-empty like the rosary beads that she so dearly clutches. I recite my Ayat-ul-Kursi, again and ask Allah to put an end to the sadness that has plagued my heart. I seek his refuge from the demons but I tell him, I know the demon is me so I seek protection of myself from myself. He does not respond and I lie awake at 3 am on a Sunday night.
The demon wears the skin of an angel to deceive human beings. I am wearing the skin of a human trying to deceive both the angels and the demons or so I think.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
I’ve always been against the notion of “hard” love.
A love that does more harm than good to your soul is not the sort of love you should strive for. Like a lot of things being in love sounds very poetic but living “a life with the love that you want” is an entirely different concept.
There is a moment when you need to decide that there is no place for a love that makes life hard.
A moment where you need to recognize that toxicity is not a synonym for liberation.
Love is a poetic concept but it should not make you dwell in riddles for long
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?
I’ve always preferred the fake.
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.
Life and time are two concepts that are deeply intertwined. It is almost impossible to grasp the concept of one and leave the other behind. Life isn’t very cinematic. Someone’s heartbreak is another person’s freedom. I believe that there are countless heartbreaks happening this very minute. But the sky didn’t tear open and neither did the mountains shook. Life went about its business and other people barely noticed that you’re crumbling. It’s okay though. Life isn’t a movie to begin with. We’re all very metaphorical in our pain. I learnt it the hard way. There were no grandiose elements that signified major transitions in my life. It was all very quiet and sometimes subtle. People went on with their business. I went on with my routine too, never acknowledging that someone might be in pain.
This realization makes life easy. It means we have control over things without reaping havoc. Control is a form of strategic chaos, as I say. So, we have control and power to determine our course. Precisely that moment is your key to take charge. It can be 4am in the morning, when all you want to do is catch some sleep before routine starts. It can be 6pm too when you’re driving back home from work. It isn’t a God damn film where everything points to something rather significant. Kids these days need to stop believing in that sugar coated bullshit. The moment is very random and probably dull. But one thing isn’t dull in the moment and that is you.
You decided to take charge of your life. There were no cinematic elements in it, but it was the moment that transitioned you into a better person or maybe a bad person.
Either way, best of luck with it!
Women are supposed to be gentle and kind. Men do not have to be gentle or kind. Women are taught to compromise. The higher a man’s ego, the better it is. Women are not meant to be loud. Being barbaric is in the nature of men.
Shameless women are shunned out by the society. It is okay if men don’t exhibit shame. Women are taught guilt before they learn about love. Men are taught to suppress their feelings before they learn about love.
I wonder where we went wrong in the process of bringing our children up.
We labelled them before they could even learn to walk.