My story..Or yours?

Every one of us has a story to tell.

We are all broken inside.. some a little less, some a little more – but broken nevertheless.

Is your story worth telling more or is it mine? Is your pain worth more tears or is it mine? Did you face it all more bravely or was it me? Did you lose more or was my loss more devastating?

Who is to say? Who is to judge? Who is to label?

Who can put a price, a worth, a value – on my story or yours?

The blood that oozes out of my pores match the same color as yours; the tears that slide down when the heart snags over the broken pieces inside look the same, taste the same – both for you and for me.

Then why, oh why is it so difficult for one man to see the shattered insides of another? Why is there pleasure in tearing open another scab, or drawing blood from one another?

Are my broken pieces any different from yours? Are your shattered dreams any different from mine?

Aren’t we all just walking around hiding inside us a story that made us, that changed us, that formed us, that fused us?

Aren’t we all just living this life – for someone, in some way?

Is my purpose of life of more value than yours? Is your sacrifice more deserving than mine?

Who is to judge that? Who is to say? That your life is worth more than mine…

 

 

 

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Words..paused

It’s been days since I have written anything. I stare at the blank page. Nothing comes out. It is as if the flow of words has choked inside me.

I am scared. I don’t want to lose this. I don’t want to stop my conversations. I scan my mind. The thoughts, images, words, dreams, memories – they are all there. But the flow of these pictures in my mind into the black and white text seems to have stalled.

I probe gently the feelings inside me. I feel numb, and sad, a numbing sadness enveloping inside me from that day. Just a sense of being resigned – to being misunderstood and misinterpreted. I just bow my head down on my hands and let the numbness and sadness drown me completely. A feeling of helplessness.

My mind is tired.

Tired of trying to explain, trying to show, trying to reveal the real me, that I am not the one whom you have sat on judgement, one whose verdict you sealed without trial, one whom you decided not worthy of your company without a chance. One who alone is the untouchable, not allowed to be seen, heard, or allowed to touch or talk. One who is outcast for crimes not committed.

———————————————————————————————————————————-

But why should this stop me from having my conversations? They were after all, always unfinished. They were after all only from me. They were after all begun on the strength of my memories, my dreams, my desires and my alternate reality with you.

Why should my mind dry out spilling the words on paper? Why should my imagination sputter to a stop?

I began a life anew here – through these conversations. I laughed, cried, shared, and recovered from my demons through these conversations. I found a calling, a meaning, a beckoning light through these conversations.

I cannot let this fail. I cannot let this dry up. I cannot lose what I gained painstakingly, working on it – day by day. Putting letters together, forming words and sentences on these pages.

Living every day with feeling and a sense of completeness.

My Unfinished Conversations are after all, mine – to be nurtured and loved, till every last word I have to say.

The misfit

I do not know the art of keeping people hooked to me. I look in wonder at the people who do, and sometimes – if I am in the very depths of loneliness, I envy them too.

They say if you need to keep people hooked to you, if you want to keep them interested in you, you need to play them as a game.

I have no idea how to do that.

You ask me something, I reply. I like you or not, does not matter. You ask a question, you will get an answer.

If I like you, my actions will leave you with no doubt about my affection.  If I am hurt by a person I care, I tell them. If I am confused by their actions, I ask. If I am happy and excited, I share. The ones I love, I love with all my heart. And I am happy for them, in all that which gives them happiness. For the life of me, I cannot ignore them or treat them as if they don’t matter.

If you ignore me and I value you, I feel hurt. I will ask you the reason, I will try to work it out; but if you decide that I don’t deserve answers and move away, I will do so too. Of course the hurt and pain remains; but I do not know how to hold a grudge or act mean to you; and every time you pass by I will still hope that you will acknowledge me as a fellow human.

If the person has crossed every boundary of mine, and broken my trust and betrayed me, I  just move away, and they are no longer a part of my world. Astonishment, the feeling of being blind-sided, angst and anger remains. Depending on the depth of closeness and transgression,  it then slowly fades and they become another member of this larger universe.

 

I do not know how to be mean. I sometimes wish I knew. Mean people seem to be so popular and successful!! I do not know how to get close to someone for my own gain. It’s happened to me so many times, and I see it happening around me so often, but I never seem to get the hang of how the whole setup works. When someone does something for me, I feel a deep sense of gratitude. I really cannot understand how one can use the person’s name and title and closeness to gain favors, threaten others, make the person lose credibility; or just walk away and treat the person who helped you as a stranger after you get what you want…

So yes, in today’s makeup world of masquerades, I am a failure.

I am a failure in the art of keeping people hooked to me, in the art of gaining benefits solely for self, in the art of keeping pretenses. And so I am also a failure in the art of making friends and keeping friends.

The mind at times feels numb and heavy, because the heart wants to share things with the other person; but the other person has decided that for whatever reason, I deserve to be ignored ; and do not deserve any explanation too. Ask them and you do not get any answers; do not ask them you still do not get any answers. You were there happily talking last week afternoon, and by evening the equations have changed so much that you are no longer in a position to communicate with them.

The intricacies of playing this game, confounds me. I really don’t want to play this game. It tires me and lies heavily on my heart. Why can’t you just talk to me when I talk to you. You don’t like something I did, tell me. You want me out of your life, tell me. You are busy with more important people, just tell me. Isn’t easier to just tell someone what is going on, than play the guessing-waiting game?

I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me… Maybe I just need to learn to live in this world of make-believes and learn to write my thoughts on a wall and share my feelings in the air.

Maybe I just need to let this all be, and continue to live as this misfit in the world which is truly now just a stage.

 

Why do you?

Empty spaces, empty places, empty dreams

Leave them untouched

Do not prop them up with your pillars of

False hopes, false fantasies, false fancies

Why do you weave stories that don’t exist?

Why do you imagine feelings that were never there?

Why do you think there is a place for you which never was?

 

That oasis is just your mirage – a figment of your loneliness

Trying to hold on to something that never was

Trying to feel the emotions that you never experienced

Trying to look for something that you will never have

Why do you think there is an otherwise?

Why do you still hope for the next week?

Why do you think anything will be different?

Mistaken, misunderstood, misjudged

Still hoping that the love that you feel will be enough for one more day

Still hoping that maybe things will indeed happen your way

Still hoping that you are seen to be worthy enough this day

Why do you still think you will be accepted like any other?

Why do you still hope you stand a chance like another?

Why do you still wish you will get more than crumbs and morsels?

Empty spaces, empty places, empty dreams

Leave them untouched

Embrace the emptiness and encompass it in you

For this only is yours today and tomorrow

 

 

 

 

Battle Symphony

I know this is a little late to pay tribute to Chester. But I don’t think there is any end-date or timeout period – to remember the people who in one way or the other touched your life and helped you push forward.

I love music. I don’t listen to music everyday, nor am I an expert in music lore. But, I have my choices – songs and singers, lyrics and melody, that I tune to depending on what and how I am feeling.

I listen to Bryan Adams just to hear his earthy raw voice, and songs that romance you, without even bordering on anything obscene. I can’t think of another singer who could belt out a song like “I Wanna Be..” without sounding creepy and crass, or who could make “Let’s Make A Night To Remember”, so romantic and seductive (hated the video though…didn’t do justice to the song). He is my childhood crush.

Taylor Swift and Katy Perry – I love these girls. I listen to them whenever I feel like kicking someone’s ass. They never fail to put me in a better mood.

Glen Hansard – makes me cry. His songs just touch that part of my soul which is aching and lonely. I love his songs, but I don’t dare to listen too much, for I always end up an emotional mess afterwards.

And then..there is Chester Bennington.

Chester came into my life when I was going through some very tough times. Struggling to recover from a past that kept haunting me, struggling to stay afloat, struggling to rebuild a life, begin anew, as a stronger individual. It was the time when I would have one good day, and then ten bad days. Days when I felt totally out-of-depth. Working hard, hard, hard to get out of the misery I found my mind swimming in.

The first song I heard of his, was “Heavy”. I know “Linkin Park” fans didn’t like the song. I know it was considered not to be “Linkin Park” type, but the first time I heard the song, it was as if Chester and Kiiara were talking to me – about me. I just sat there listening, my mind going “How do you guys know, that this is how I am feeling ?” Every word of it…it was as if somebody had pulled out a page out of mind and printed it out and were singing it loud (https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/linkinpark/heavy.html)

Needless to say, it was on repeat on my phone, and I was playing it again and again and again. And believe me, when I tell you – every time I heard the song, I felt a little better. And then a little more..and then some more.

I looked for more songs from Chester, listened to them more, and the more I heard him, the more I liked him.

Today, when I look back at those dark days, I know that Chester helped me a great deal in healing me, in telling me it was OK to feel what I was feeling, that I could get over it, that I had it in me to face my battles and come out it all with my head high.

Right when I considered myself out of the dark woods is when Chester decided to move on from this world. That a man who helped me find the value of life and living through his songs, decided that his life was not worth living broke my heart.

I understand that every piece of music that he gave the world, every song steeped in pain, an anthem of courage and will was a piece of his soul. That he was struggling with his demons just the way I was, and while he helped me get over mine…he decided to let it all go.

I wish he was still here around, making his music, belting out his numbers, perking us and picking us up.

I hope he has found peace and relief from all the pain that he had and is singing his way along, wherever he is.

Thank you Chester. For me, you are still around. And every time I feel things bogging down and my mind becomes restless and angsty, I put on my earphones and hear you ask me to repeat:

“I hear my battle symphony
All the world in front of me
If my armor breaks
I’ll fuse it back together”

 

 

To the man I met in the trial room… I am sorry

Let me tell you an incident I am extremely sorry about today. I felt embarrassed, thoroughly appalled, and guilty about what happened.

Every time I feel too down in the dumps, I go to this place nearby, and shop for clothes. More than shop, I do a lot of window shopping. I also love trying out all these different designs and styles, which I definitely cannot wear for various reasons…but what the heck!! I can still try them out and look at myself in the mirror inside the trial room, right? Lifts my spirits up..

So on this day, as usual, I have this set of clothes to try out. My mind is completely engaged in the various styles, colors, cuts… I walk towards the trial room and the door is ajar and I push it open. There is a man inside, and he has a black t-shirt in his hand. I casually look at him, and just assume that he is the guy who belongs to the store, who checks the trial rooms and clears them of clothes left by the previous occupant. I gesture that I want to enter and he just smiles, nods and rushes out with the t-shirt in his hand.

I enter the room, close the door and pick up a dress from the bag to try it out… when suddenly, it strikes me like a bolt from the sky!!

That man was just another customer like me!!!  He must have just entered the trial room, and maybe he was just about to close the door, when I barged in. Of course, he must have clearly understood the assumption I had made about him. But he was too courteous and too shy to correct me. Instead of taking umbrage, he just let me take the room, and that too with a smile!!!

I groaned and sat down inside the trial room. I was no longer interested in the clothes in front of me. Shame, guilt and embarrassment flooded my whole body. I felt weak at my knees, and red in the face. After spending a couple of minutes, berating myself for my appalling behavior, I walked out in the hope that I could find him, and apologize. But I didn’t. I wish I could have seen him, and I could have said sorry; but I just couldn’t locate him or identify him.

But, what made me make the assumption, that he was not another person like me, that he was a trial room boy? Why did I not pay more attention to the person who was in front of me?

It was because – I had stereotyped him.

There are a lot of people from the north-east part of my country in this city, who work in malls, restaurants, salons and boutiques. They are in majority – pleasant, courteous, soft-spoken people; Their physical attributes are distinct from the people of the rest of the country. They are often slotted, branded and treated as if they are not part of us, even though they are every bit a part of my country as any other citizen.

My mind, that night, just saw a person who looked to be from this part of the country. In white shirt, and black pants (which was the uniform for the store boys); and it jumped to a conclusion. That he didn’t wear the store tag, that he was not wearing the store boy uniform shoes, that he was not checking out the trial room (as the store boys usually do when they clear out), but was looking down at the shirt in his hand… all these points didn’t strike me till after.

I saw something, and just made a conclusion. I had stereotyped him.

Stereotyping people – on the basis of how they look, how they speak, from where they are, or what they do. I myself have experienced being stereotyped, see it happening all around me – always.  I hate it..but, I am ashamed, that this one time, I myself am guilty of doing it.

Most of us are blessed with two eyes that see and a brain that functions well. Yet, we let our opinions, biases and prejudices, cloud our judgement. Race, religion, lifestyle, food habits, dressing habits – we judge people by these. Jump to conclusions, make assumptions, stereotype them. We sit on trial and seal the verdict on the basis of our narrow minds – overlooking the obvious.

That all homo sapiens are equal. And what separates one from the other is only their actions. What each does, and how they do it.

To the man I met in the trial room – I really wish I could tell you how really sorry I am for that incident. And thank you for not only being so nice and so kind about the whole episode, but also for giving me a lesson on not just looking at what I see, but understanding and comprehending what is in front of me, before I make a conclusion.

 

 

Thinking of you…

When something puzzles me, makes me wonder, confuses me, or makes me anxious I think about you. I try to think how you would look at it, and what you would do.

In my mind, I see myself telling it all out to you. I see you hearing me, in that patient way of yours. Listening intently, but your thoughts flitting in and out, looking at the whole situation in a way that never occurred to me. I hear you speaking to me – In that calm, measured, warm tone of yours. Telling it as it is. And making it all seem so simple, so easy to comprehend, so straight forward; that I automatically know what to do.

I wonder if you know how calming your manner is, and how much you are able to put a person at ease.

In my imagination,  I have these deep conversations with you about so many things.  Life, world, love, politics, religion, humanity, psychology.. anything-and everything. Learn, understand, articulate. Just talk, and listen, curled up in your warmth.

The vacuum inside me aches at times. Makes me aware of my incompleteness. How bare my soul feels, and how much it craves for you.

And then I close my eyes, and wander into that different world. Where I can see you, talk to you, feel you, experience you.

Your intense eyes, unruly hair, smile and scars. Your gestures, mannerisms, voice, tone and intonation. Your shyness, awkwardness, apprehensions and doubts. Your thoughts, mind, warmth and passion- I run through them all like a caress.

And I let the calmness steal inside me slowly. Easing the ache, and filling me up with the feeling of warmth, love and peace; and my mind once again picks up the thread of looking forward at life, of making the best of things and of never giving up.

That you are actually not here does not matter after all…

For you are always a part of me, in every chapter… from the one you entered, to the very last one – in my book of life.

 

It is a sign..

When you feel uneasy, uncomfortable, anxious and maybe scared about something, think of it is a sign.

A nudge – by the Universe to act, to move, to take that fear head on.

Quiet your heart, breathe and let the whole thing wash over you. And when you come out of it a winner, as you surely will, life will be more beautiful and serene; and you will be stronger, and living a better life, than ever before.

Amen

 

Looking back…

74-Pivotal-Moment-half-life-1

One more month to go, and this year comes to an end. I look back at these past ten months .. with gratitude. It’s been a learning, discovering, rebuilding, empowering ten months for me. Like a fledgling inside an egg, I have come out to explore and experience the world around me anew.

I take pleasure in living my life . Finding happiness in the little things . Doing things(which are still possible) that I have always wished to do. Fulfilling my own little whims and fantasies, and allowing myself to experience the small joys of every day.

Whether it was the wish to wear a short dress; take my Dad and Mom out to a fancy -upscale restaurant; dress-up nice, cook delicious stuff and celebrate on festivals; go out with my parents and little girl to see places; take a vacation trip and explore; cook new things every weekend (and now my daughter thinks I am the best cook in the world!! That’s such a proud and happy feeling); introduce my Dad to the world of smartphones; or painting into my hand something that I deeply wished to have; I did them all…

I watched some beautiful movies, read some amazing books. Met some people, whom otherwise I would have never noticed, who humbled me with their attitude towards life.

And of course, I have my “Unfinished Conversations”; my blog where I get to talk freely, from deep inside me;  and so many of you – who read what I write, comment, give me feedback and fulfill me in so many ways. I can never make light of “Unfinished Conversations” or all of you – for you helped me recover from what I was struggling with (Thank You Fellow Bloggers, Every One Of You..)

I try my best not to think of things that I can never have, or parts of me that are lost or damaged over the years. Fake people, who come and go as the weather suits them don’t bother me at all. I am completely indifferent to their presence or absence. I am neither curious about their lives, nor want any part in their activities. I am perfectly OK not knowing what is going on, and I have my own life to look out for and live.

Not every one gets a second chance in life. I did. And I am determined to live every moment of life, here, now..completely. No regrets, no bindings, no inhibitions.

“Life is never meant to be lived backwards”. And today I look back, just to see how far I have come, up this road.

Pic: Sculpture named “Pivotal Moment” by Angela Mia De La Vega 

 

 

 

Like a phoenix – from my ashes..

I have an abusive past. Every day, I work on putting it away. But just as how a recovering alcoholic needs to constantly stay away from the booze, I have to constantly work on myself. Some of the damage is permanent, some I work on every day, day-in and day-out tirelessly – To rebuild and redefine myself.

I have changed. Into a better, more confident person. I no longer feel so much fear as before, panic attacks and terror that paralyses me. I look forward, and try everyday not to look behind.

So, what then is making me look at my painful past today?

A blast from the past…

The man who tried destroying me decided that he wants to show his authority.  Decided that he could threaten and abuse my father and get his way. In the past, I would shake with fear. Now, I felt anger. Red-hot, boiling rage. I don’t feel cowed or submissive now. “Bring it on..I will not only take you for all you are worth, but I will sweep the floor off with you!!” is what I felt.

For, I am a changed person now. And he is the same. And that is a difference. A very, very big difference!!

I was married to a passive-aggressive, physically and emotionally abusive man for twelve years. I used to be slapped and verbally abused in public places and in front of strangers, friends and relatives. Emotionally tortured day and night. I used to be even shaken awake from deep sleep and questioned on what I was thinking or dreaming of in my sleep! I used to be called names, and made to grovel physically in front of him. Lick his feet. Unspeakable, humiliating things which I try my best to forget, to bury deep inside somewhere.

He used to make me call myself names, make me say that I was a bitch, that I did not deserve to live, that I was worse than a parasite. He used to make me stand and tell speeches about his virtues and my faults; and then he used to beat me up. I used to be told day and night that I was worth nothing, was repulsive, made anyone want to puke, that I would die a dog’s death. I had a job, but was not financially independent. All the money was drained out by him and his family. I was isolated, and not allowed to make friends or have contact with my own family. I used to dress up in rags. I used to be left in isolated places at dark, regardless of the weather; kicked out of moving vehicles, punished in different ways by the entire family, for various things.

That his family was greedy for money, hated me, and helped him in torturing me and watched it with delight is another matter in itself.

To the outside world, they looked different. Sophisticated, well-dressed, tall, fair-skinned, charming, quick to joke… “No smoking, no drinking, no non-vegetarian food. Lots of prayer, rituals, customs… Saints”.

But I have not seen Sinners worse than these.

Greed, gluttony, cruelty, no ethics, no humanity.. a dark, filthy, repulsive soul is what every one of them had inside that facade.

People ask me often, why I stayed for twelve years.. I was too scared, too much destroyed, too much damaged. I had told myself so much that I was useless, that I really believed it. That there was no hope, no life for me. That this was all it was.

How I built the courage to make the decision to come out of that place, how this one person helped me understand that I did have other options to live and that nobody could take away my baby from me, how my tirelessly, supportive parents stood by me and took me out of that place, along with my little one is not for today.

What I want to tell you today is that I am no longer cowed, no longer scared, no longer anxious, of what that monster will do! Yes, I felt a pang, a twinge of anxiety shoot up and down, when the incident happened. That’s the remnant of the permanent damage that I have. But then I felt anger, amusement and my sarcastic self asserted itself!!

He does not know this new me. But I still know him and his family – in and out. More than they know themselves. I know how their minds work, their intentions, their actions, their tactics. I can read their dirty minds like a book.

He has no longer any hold on me. He can never get inside my head again. He cannot terrorize or scare me. He cannot threaten my little girl’s life and future. He is just a reminder of how strong I am now. How I have built myself up. How I have left my damaged self behind.

He is neither a part of my memories, nor a part of my dreams. He is no longer significant to be even a part of my nightmares. He is the character, who appears and re-appears in some chapters of my life, to present his charades and to play his part, to remind me again and again, that I am not what I was, that I live my life today with pride, respect, courage and confidence, that I live a life looking ahead not behind.

That like a Phoenix, I have risen – from my ashes, to live a new life, in a world of my own.