Day 44 – Bitter or sweet love?

Love is not meant to hurt. It is not supposed to make you feel sad or cry. Love is not meant to make you second-guess yourself or wreck your life. Love is supposed to make you feel joyful and at home. It meant to be glorious and beautifulWhat if in all this time, it wasn’t love but an infatuation with the idea of love?

Whether it is new or old, when it comes to love, you give each other everything you have. There is no shame in where you come from or where you aspire to be. With love, there is no room for a third wheel – be it doubt, misunderstandings or another person. With love, you give it your all in or nothing.

As millennials, we find ourselves at crossroads because we’re told or seem to believe that love is hard and impossible. Sure, it involves compromise and is a work-in-progress. But when you think about the person you share this love with, it meant to feel and be beautiful. It is the people you share this love with that often make it bittersweet. If you or they didn’t find to make it last, maybe it wasn’t love. It may have been something good, just not love. So don’t give up on love and don’t give up on yourself.

Someday, someday, maybe.

Today’s tune: Someday by Michael Learns To Rock.

Day 44 – 28 September 2017.
322 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

Day 43: Is grief a new-age fad – what do I know?

Food for thought from one of my favourite humans, “Why does figuring and coming up with what’s wrong in our lives or even creating situations that make our lives seem bad come more easily to humans?”

I don’t know. It just does.

Lately, I have become more cynical about everything and everyone around me. My recent posts have even urged people to worry for my well-being. There’s the occasional “I think you are depressed”, or the “don’t do anything stupid”, or “why do you need a counsellor, things can’t be that bad”, or “calm and be positive” and so on.

Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s to do with being human and our unsaid attachment and love for pain. We’ve got a million things to be grateful for. I know I do. Yet, beneath that surface, there is always that one thing that upsets you. And as much as we crave for happiness, pain stings and stays a lot longer with us (with me). One thing I’ve realised is that most of this pain stems from comparison. With oneself, with others. It inevitably sets this foundation to set ourselves up for disappointment no matter the good.

Coming back to the question. Are we really unhappy or is grief the new rage? Does our generation succumb to peer pressure when it comes to feeling sad?

Yes it is in everyone’s faces at all times. Insta stories are canvases for our woes, and Facebook an excuse to vent. Snap filters a reflection of our emotions every now and then and captions a gateway to the daily dilemmas. As you read this, you’re aiding my path to sadness. Or maybe, this has to do with the content we read or the conversations we have. We tell ourselves to be grateful for life as we know it to shelve other emotions. Are we being grateful because we truly are or is it because we want to avoid feeling like shit instead?

What do I know?

I bought a gratitude journal a few months ago and I haven’t written a word in it. Not because I don’t have things to be grateful for. I do. The list doesn’t end as they flash before me right now (including “urgent” texts from my mother at this very moment and through the day; hi Ma). It’s because it comes more naturally to me when I wake up every morning or when I’m about to call it a day. Growing up in a Catholic family, we prayed before getting out of bed and before tucking ourselves to sleep. Short prayers thanking God for everything that happened and was meant to happen. The concept of prayer was a conversation in our home (it still is), and again I have my parents to be grateful for for the liberty of practicing my faith in a way that has only strengthened it over the years. That book is blank because my gratitude journal is my daily conversations with God every morning and night. Shorts prayers of gratefulness and affirmation.

It is better to be happy than to be sad. No doubt there. Be happy for those around you and be happy for yourself. And I am. But writing about things that bother me also makes me happy in a strange and twisted way. My recently pointed out that I should write about happier things. She seems to think I’m using my words (and talent) in a dark place and I know she means well. I seem to think that my words resonate with others in my place. This isn’t talent or love for literature, it’s pure honesty.

For over seven years now, my blog has been the bonfire I burn my secrets, confessions, struggles and joys in. During one of my confessions in church, the priest suggested I write things that still hurt me and burn it in flames. This blog and you are those flames.

“Why does figuring and coming up with what’s wrong in our lives or even creating situations that make our lives seem bad come more easily to humans?”

I don’t think it is about making our lives seem bad. I think it about voicing out what upsets us because, whether we like it or not, pain is more powerful joy. Pain can be motivational. Occasionally, it can be aspirational. Pain is what draws us together. I think it is about seeking out voices of assurance that we are not alone and that life’s obstacles, no matter how big or small are common to all. I think it is because it is easier to complain about the rocky road ahead than it is to accept the bed of flowers. Maybe grief is the new-age fad, maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s an escape or maybe it’s comforting. Maybe it’s easier to feel insecure than it is to feel confident. Maybe it’s is easy to be a victim than to wear a cape.

What do I know?

I also don’t think my opinion should have a bearing over anyone else’s. I think it is great to be grateful and happy or to share our lives in all its greatness with the world. I also think it’s okay to cry over the smallest fears. Some days we’re wrong, some days we’re right. Either way, most days, we’re getting through because we have each other. We always will.

You and me, and my soulful (WhatsApp) groups. You know who you are.

Today’s tune: What Do I Know by Ed Sheeran.

Day 43 – 27 September 2017.
323 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Photo by Luke Ellis-Craven on Unsplash

Day 42 – Send my love to your lover

I convince myself that I have moved on from the pain and heartbreak caused by a certain relationship and person in my life. That’s all it is, me convincing myself of something that isn’t true.

Not yet. I’ll try.

I don’t blame you for where we are today. Not for all of it anyway. I do blame you for not letting me go when I so pleadingly asked. I do blame you for wanting more than one love in your life when you couldn’t give me half of what I needed. I do blame you for giving me hope during my darkest days until you constantly had to remind me that I knew better from the start. I do blame you for ever telling me that you loved me. I blame you for your heart. I blame you for you. I blame you for me.

Telling yourself or your friends something over and over doesn’t make it real. You have to choose and decide to let go. You choose your happiness, don’t let your circumstances decide for you. Maybe someday I will choose mine. Until then, I will curse you (and my poor judgments) as I try falling asleep and bury my face in damp pillowtalk.

I’m giving you up
You set me free-ee

Today’s tune: Send My Love (To Your New Lover) by Adele.

Day 42 – 26 September 2017.
324 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Photo by elizabeth lies on Unsplash

Day 36 – (not so) small wonders

I hate that I sound like a nag on loop but bear with me. I can’t remember the last time I slept without worrying about the next day or the day before. Or since I walked out with no map or agenda for the day. It has been a while since I really laughed. It’s really been a while!

Despite this and being away from the comfort of home, for all the days that I’ve felt worn and torn, I am grateful for all those calls, hugs and affirmations. All the days that I didn’t want to get out of bed or dragged myself from work to school and home, I am grateful for those companions who’ve shown so much love and understanding. Thank you for bearing with my lack of enthusiasm and poor communication.

It has been a while since I’ve had some good things going. More to do with how I feel mentally than the physical evidence of things going well. Yes, there is a lot to be grateful for but it’s difficult when you mind gives up on you. It’s difficult when you often see the darkness of the tunnel instead of the ray of light at the end of it. Tonight, however, does feel good knowing that I’m surrounded by the kind of family that isn’t bound by blood alone but by choice too.

Oh life, thank you for your small wonders.

Today’s tune: Sham – Aisha Soundtrack.

Day 36 – 20 September 2017.
330 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Day 35 – Serendipitous strangers…

… and small talk.

 

Somewhere past first introductions, being acquaintances and small talk, you find similarities and intimacy with strangers you didn’t imagine possible. Over those many texts and phone calls, the best part about these friendships is getting to know each other.

Whenever I’m in a room with new people, I’m always tongue tied and my gut always pulls back. There is this sudden need for boundaries from people you’ve met only moments ago. How much information is too much? How much is enough? Funny enough, this guard just drops when I see who I am with, and tongue tied who?

All these life-long friendships have grown from being serendipitous strangers to being friends like family. One such human of joy is Aakansha aka Keds aka Lover & Keeper of Fairy Lights. After months of texting each other and planning, Aakansha and I finally met at Pancake Parlour about a year ago. One thing led to another and the evening ended with me being at her house and hanging out like we were friends from some other life, in her backyard. We found ourselves sharing stories that were a lot more intimate than those you usually would in a first meet. Strangely enough when we have to share our story, we were introduced to each other by another common friend (shoutout to Rhuta). I remember one of us pointing out how easily we connected despite being just acquaintances the day before.

Getting to know someone for the first time is like diving into that delicious molten cake from your favourite Friday night restaurant. You start out with some vanilla ice-cream, move on to that warm layer of cake, and finally dive straight into that rich molten chocolate. Each element tells its own story while you’re unravelling all those flavours. A lot like new friendships and getting to know someone. It’s all in the details; in the stories.

Serendipitous strangers

Now that I’m reliving that moment, all it was was two serendipitous strangers sitting on the grass with their glasses of wine, talking about life instead of making small talk.

My daily affirmations are proof of the impact these beautiful strangers can have on your life…on you.

Get out. Stay out. Find your stranger(s).

Today’s tune: Perfect Strangers (Cover) by Grace Grundy.

Day 35 – 19 September 2017.
331 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

Day 33 – How deep is your love?

Hi Big,

How deep is your love?

I wore my heart on my sleeve and told you I loved you. You turned around said you did too but you see yourself with her. I get it. I broke us up once, I could do it again. Yet, you keep coming back. I keep giving in. In the hope that maybe I will still have a part of you. You keep coming back because you know you still have a part of me. It almost makes me believe that you want me. Is that true? Or is it just a version of me that completes you? You’ve said it before and I know it now. It is the puzzle piece that is missing to complete your perfect picture. How pathetic do I sound?

I don’t want to be the other woman. Not anymore. I don’t want to do your midnight rendezvous or your early morning sip of coffee. Yet, here I am, always knocking on your door. Thinking maybe if I can have some of you, it’s only a matter of time till we’re together. I know this is selfish. Ten years ago, I would never approve of this person. Of this version of myself. Now, I’m using this version because it pleases you. And you please me, my heart, my mind, me.

You tell me that you love me and then you don’t. You’re clouded by what you want until you return to your reality. Until you return to her. I am clouded even though I know better. Even though we know better.

In the real world, what good is this for us? I mean, you can’t seem to do justice to a relationship with someone you say you love and see yourself with? There’s no excuse, is there? So, who is selfish? My sins aren’t any wiser than yours. I want to commit and you love the idea of having the best of both worlds. I would never want to be her. Hell, I was her. And now you’ve made me into the women I’ve hated. You’ve made me someone I hate. No, you’re not to blame. Not entirely anyway. But then, I keep thinking about it. About us and our fantasy. I’ve had feelings for you and you see right through me. I keep telling myself that you’re taking advantage of me. But how I can blame you, when I am equally guilty? I wake up dreaming about us in a boathouse or the back of a bar. My legs wrapped around your waist and my back against the wall. Our moans echo through the walls and I want more. You make my mouth dry and I want nothing more. My hands are stroking through your hair and arms, pulling your closer. Not willing to let go. But in the back, there’s a shadow of her, wandering around looking for you.

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When you say you love me, it’s this version of me that completes you or your wants. You don’t love all of me. If you did, you wouldn’t treat me like just another number to be deleted from your call-log. Would you?

I really mean to learn

For the times that we speak, there is no one else. In that moment, I am the girlfriend. I get the compliments, the love, the lust, and your attention. I cave and never want to let go. I know what turns you on, and use it. I know what makes you moan and I love that I know. I love that it’s all me. So I am guilty too. Guilty of wanting you to moan and sweat because of me. I am guilty of wanting to wake up cradled in your embrace. I am guilty of wanting to be the person you vent to but also share the new of your next best thing with. I want to be her.

You’re in denial. As am I. What are we doing, stranger? I tell the world you’re my best friend. Maybe you were. Maybe you are. It’s all a blur now. I can’t trust myself with you anymore. You don’t seem to care beyond our platonic relationship anyway, anymore. You ask questions on the surface of things because one must. Then…we trail. We get lost and we get intimate. There’s an adrenaline rush and we don’t thinks straight anymore. Again.

This feels like an addiction. One that I’m not particularly proud of. I am so addicted to you. All of you, that I keep coming back for more. It’s not just the sex. Yes, you make my body feel things I’ve never felt before. You also make me feel sparks and the entire zoo flipping my insides, like never before.

Flash forward, now all I am to you is someone with walls and cranky conversations. Yes. These are my walls. This is my guard to protect myself from the toxicity of this relationship because it’s affecting my mental health. It’s affecting my sense of self and my potential of ever truly being loved and wanted by someone. But just like any other addiction, your presence alone brings back that adrenaline rush and I want you pinned under me. Again.

carrie-big-satc.jpg

We’re living in a world of fools, breaking us down when they all should let us be

We all deserve love. Even those that once turned it down or deceived someone. You’re taking that away from me. You’re taking that away from me because you think you know better – for both of us.

What is love if it isn’t all of you? With her? With me? With yourself?

What is love if all I am is a mystery you can’t solve? What is love if all I am is an unspeakable secret? What is love if you’re never willing to find out? What is love if it’s too late to find out?

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How deep is your love?

All yours,

Carrie

Today’s tune: How Deep Is Your Love by The Bird and The Bee.

Day 33 – 17 September 2017.
333 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Photo by Sweet Ice Cream Photography on Unsplash

Day 32 – I’m back (barely)

ryan-moreno-99464

When this project turned a month old, I promised myself to not worry about filters or what others thought. Let’s be honest, obviously that was an empty promise. I haven’t written since. Not because I didn’t want to but because this because this felt and became obligatory. This became something I was not. The same trickled down to my art too. I haven’t drawn in months and it hurts. You cannot imagine how much it hurts but I hate that what I love (used to anyway) seems like a task instead of a hobby.

These may seem like excuses but they’re really not. They are daily battles and I am at the losing end.

Just don’t give up
I’m workin’ it out

These past couple months have been draining in so many ways. My biggest source of exhaustion has been me, myself and I. Yet, despite the exhaustion I feel like I’ve gotten nowhere. Nowhere with work, nowhere with school, nowhere with life. This should scare right? It should at least worry me? Instead I’ve gotten comfortable with doing nothing. I have become complacent. I am tired most days and nights, and wake up with no will whatsoever. And while I’ve always loved my alone time, this time round, it isn’t as pleasant. Not at all.

Please don’t give in
I won’t let you down

Am I running away from responsibility and hiding beneath this whole pile of excuses? Am I using it as a defense mechanism against all expectations from self and others?

Having said that, a lot has happened in the last few months. I moved to a new home, I got a new job, I started a new semester at school. All this seems and sounds really overwhelming. And now, it feels really overwhelming too. The time that I get to myself, which is mostly nights wrapped in exhaustion and anxiety, is all I have. I have also started seeing a counsellor because I suddenly feel like I need to be diagnosed. It’s strange, this need for diagnosis, because you want to believe something is wrong with you irrespective of reality. I’m scared genes I thought were suppressed may suddenly take over my life.

It messed me up, need a second to breathe

I am sick and I am tired and I cannot wait for this phase to end. And like you’re going to tell me and like I already know, this won’t just end unless I do something about it. Here’s what I have been struggling with – how?

You will know how Chriselle, you just have to take that first step and be open to change. After all…you only live once, carpe damn diem, zindagi na milegi dobara, you’re the captain of your own ship, affirmation after affirmation, yada yada.

how???

Just keep coming around

Today’s tune: Whataya Want from Me by Adam Lambert.

Day 32 – 16 September 2017.
334 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Photo by Ryan Moreno on Unsplash

Day 31 – 22 June 2008

We got in the elevator and he wrapped his arm around me to try and comfort me. Comfort is a funny thing. Most other times it’s just awkward. I mean what do you tell your niece who understands nothing about death? I feel my uncle’s hand trembling against my arm. I know he’s trying to be strong and comfort me but seeing how shaken he is, makes me a lot more anxious and nervous.

It was only earlier this morning when mum rushed dad to the hospital. He was getting better, they said. A while later, the phone rang and I saw my aunt quiver as she listened silently to the person on the other end. It was my uncle. It wasn’t good news. It never is when there’s silence on one end of the conversation. The look in her eyes changed from concern to shock and pain. That gave it away. Looks were exchanged across the room and everyone was different now. For a while, I was excluded from this “sensitive” conversation. How do you tell a fifteen year old that she just lost her father? The man who was sitting on the same dining table as her two nights before he fell cold to a heart attack? Comfort, my awkward companion, they didn’t know how.

I was finally sat down and told that my dad didn’t survive his second heart attack. I don’t know if I was even listening to them in that moment, let alone grieving. I started making calls to extended family and friends to let them know.

Ring, talk, cut.
Ring, talk, cut.
Ring, talk, cut.

People were crying at the unexpected news but I responded with nothing more than a cold thank you. How could I be so cold? How could I be so clueless? Was anything sinking in?

The elevator opens and we’re almost at the ICU. I can feel this lump growing in my stomach but I’m moving mechanically. I feel cold and jaded. Have you ever dreamt of death? I have, far too many times. I’ve woken up in cold sweats and filled with guilt because the people in my dreams are my family and people I care too much about. They say dreams are often alternate realities of your sub-conscience. But I didn’t want him to die, I would never want him to die, how could he die? Two weeks before this horrific day, I dreamt that my father was dying. Two weeks later, it’s not a dream anymore. This was death in all its realness closing in on us, on me.

We walk down this corridor that smelt of that familiar disinfectant. As we reached the ICU, I could see beds of patients weak under their sheets, attached to monitors and drips. Some breathing by choice, some because of a simple switch. It’s ironic how peaceful the ICU seems to a lay person, only to be a sanctuary to fate of the very ill patients, tired medics and grieving families.

I see my mother from a distance. Her body is pale and her eyes are sore from crying endlessly. She’s repeating these words filled with regret, pain, anger and confusion. I can tell she’s been saying this all day. She is in denial. Her body is cold and she’s lost. Through those tears, I see pain and guilt all at once. I see how much she tried. I see how much she wished it was her instead of him. I see a part of her has died with him. I watched her age before my eyes in just a few minutes. Despite that, she’s trying to comfort me but I can feel her bones quiver beneath her body trying to stay strong for me.

We drew the curtain and there he was. The man I once knew to be fit and a champion of life, lying wrapped in a thin white cloth in nothing but his bare skin. He lay there in that hospital bed, naked and vulnerable. His body small, cold and helpless. A man once resounding with humour and candour, now silent and lifeless.

We stood by that ICU bed, holding each other and broke into hard sobs.

You tell me I’m strong. You tell me how proud he must feel to see me now. But really, I’m not. How would you know when you haven’t lived a day in our lives or walked in my shoes? How would you ever know what it’s like? How can you know what he thinks of me or my way of life? You don’t, I don’t. I lost a part of my mother too that day. A part I haven’t seen in nine years. A part you and I will never see again. She’s a strong new woman and yet nothing like she used to be before. How do you know everything is going to be okay?

22 June 2008.

On my way to work this morning, I felt that hand around me again. I was back in that damned elevator reliving a day I wished never happened.
It was every minute of a man once full of life lying cold in cloth.
It was every minute of a five year old boy never having the chance to get to know his father.
It was every minute a wife losing her best friend and companion, and herself.
It was every minute of me losing my childhood and father.
It wasn’t one person we lost nine years ago, it was our way of life and love.

Mum messaged me this afternoon telling me how she couldn’t stop crying because she missed him. For forty-five minutes on my bus this morning, I couldn’t stop crying because of how much I missed him. I cried again then because of how much I missed her. I couldn’t stop crying because for the first time in a long time I felt lonely. And like every other year since 2008, I was back in the ICU lost and alone.

This isn’t a cry for help. It’s the only way I know to cope, so bear with me.

It’s been a long day but maybe we could end it with one of our favourite songs and go back to a day that had more smiles than tears.

Today’s tune: Walk of Life by Dire Straits.

It’s time we moved on.

Day 31 – 22 June 2017.
335 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Photo by Greg Ortega on Unsplash

Day 29 – I’m yelling Tinder

I get rebellious every now and then, and download Tinder. I suppose it’s my way to getting back to the person who hurt me and letting them know that I could move on too. Who am I kidding? (but that’s besides the point)

The last two times I used Tinder, I was surprised with a few matches but none that ever led to a conversation. A lot of these guys seemed really good but not hearing from them crushes the little self-confidence you have left in you. Worse still, most of my other friends who used Tinder seemed to find dates, even if not a companion, and move on. What was happening here? Was I not good enough? I had my brave moments and even messaged some but I was left staring at my own message over and over (World 1 Chriselle 0). I would feel pathetic, and cry and complain over never hearing back from people. Being rejected by strangers suddenly felt so much worse. What do they know? Eventually it made me feel more bitter. I deleted Tinder and swore never to download it again, that was until the next time I felt alone and vulnerable and wanted a partner to talk to.

Distractions, Anagha said, you need distractions.

It is my lunch break at work and my mind keeps drifting to the boy. I open Google Play Store and at the risk of facing more rejection, I download Tinder again. I think it couldn’t get any worse than I already feel. And this anger might be better than the way I’m pining for someone I can’t have. So I set up my profile, and paste this description I had previously written and we’re ready go. I pick out pictures that I’m told look nice; not too much but just enough. I pick out my Spotify anthem and John Mayer is strumming the strings on his guitar in my ears, and I’m thinking, “Let’s go to wonderland“.

Swipe left.
Swipe left.
Swipe left.
Swipe right.

This goes on for a while and suddenly there’s a flame flashing in my notification bar. I got super liked (Heart 1 World 0). And it happened again. And for the first time in my otherwise failed attempts on Tinder, there is a message and I am beyond excited. Suddenly, all is forgotten because I feel confident and liked? I’m not sure why but I feel validated. I felt better the next day because I started swiping yes for people I thought were out of my league (something I never did before), and I was matched yes again (self-esteem 8503804803843, anxiety 0).

My close guy friends always mocked me being on Tinder because it isn’t meant to be an app for something other than a hookup. But I know of friends who have found love. Sure, the chances are one in a million or two, but it’s possible. Right? When I first joined Tinder, it was a distraction and to fill a void. That makes me a horrible person but I have to honest – that’s what it was. So imagine my excitement when someone is actually interested in having a conversation about me and about him, and the things that matter. It shifted something in me. I don’t see us turning into something just yet but knowing that I could have a conversation with someone other than boys from my past that I have been holding on to for years made me feel really really good.

There will always be a guy like you out there. Today, maybe not, but maybe someday you will find your match. On Tinder or not, just believe.

I don’t want to be just an option for people to swipe yes or no to. But being wanted felt bloody damn good, and no, it’s not the solution but it feels like a step towards finding one.

You want love?
We’ll make it
Swim in a deep sea
Of blankets

Today’s tune: Your Body Is A Wonderland by John Mayer.

Day 29 – 1 June 2017.
337 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Day 26 – I just wanna feel real love

I am trying so hard to forget instead all I do is remember. I feel like I am surrounded by darkness because I am focusing too much on the light. I am staring at the problem but with no attention to the remedy. I am not coping well, I am trying to shape a fate that is already twisted and set in stone.

Help me move forward, help me let go. Help me get out of darkness and into the light. Help me feel light.

I just wanna feel real love
Feel the home that I live in
Cause I got too much life
Running through my veins
Going to waste

Today’s tune: Feel by Robbie Williams.

Day 26 – 29 May 2017.
340 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.