But he’s changed …

He used to be so different. I remember those days I would lie in bed, praying for my father to leave for work before it was time to get ready for school. I remember every tremble of my knees when he looked at me with anger in his eyes. Would it come to blows again? Nobody else cared because it was normal for parents to hit their kids in our culture. Not for me.

I remember those days when I couldn’t be in the same room as him unless there was someone else present. I hated the fact that the one man in my life who was supposed to make me feel safe made me feel terrified around him. To outsiders, he was the ‘cool dad’. He was funny and gave me freedom and I didn’t have to behave like a polite little doll around him.  To me at home; not so much.

Oh don’t get me wrong he wasn’t some kind of monster. I know those exist too. He just had an inflated ego and a temper that he liked to direct at me when it flared. I’ll admit that I had an ego too. Thinking back, it was just dignity mixed with stubbornness. Perhaps a little bit of pride too. I’m not sure what I did to have it directed only at me but now, I’m glad I did. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else in my family. It’s made me feel the need to shield them from any harm.

But when I look at him today, he’s different. Sometimes when he’s pushed too far I can see that flicker of anger again and it still terrifies me. It takes me back to those old days that look so dusty in my memory. But he’s calmer. Perhaps it’s age. Perhaps it’s maturity. Maybe someone finally threw it in his face and brought him down a few notches. I’m not sure. But I’m glad.

I can sit next to him, sleep in the same room as him, run errands with him and have silly talks and laugh with him. We sit and eat together. I tell him stories about my life and he tells me a few about his. We joke and laugh and share smiles. So often I see a kindness shimmering in his eyes. Sometimes when I’m sleeping he’ll run his hand over my hair. We’ll never be the kind of father and daughter who share all the details of their lives, express their love and hug. There’s some damage that you can never repair. He never did apologize and I know that he still believes he was right. Maybe he was. But I forgave him anyway. Because that’s what you do, isn’t it? That’s what family is. You change and you forgive.

Now he’s gone

Up until here was something I wrote such a long time back. I think he was actually still alive when I wrote that. But going forward is something I’m writing now, three years since I lost him.

Losing somebody you loved, and then feared and resented, and then slowly learned to love again, hits you hard, especially if you were still working on repairing your relationship. I always thought he never apologized. But I’m older now, I had to grow up overnight. My life turned upside down when he died. He did apologize, and I’m astound that I never noticed. Me, the one person who saw a reflection of him in the mirror. He apologized, in his own way. Those little presents, his warm hands caressing my head as I slept, they were all apologies. I just never saw them.

When somebody dies, people say you don’t recall the bad things about them. Why is that? I like to remember each person for who they were, the good and the bad. Dying doesn’t erase your life. It only leaves an echo that reverberates throughout the lives of the loved ones you left behind.

I love my father, I feel his loss every waking and sleeping moment of my life. I am who he made me, the good and the bad. Allowing yourself to remember the bad doesn’t negate the good, and neither does it diminish the love and pain you feel. I love him, and I always will.

Faith

This isn’t going where you might think it is. This is no story about holding on to faith. It’s about losing it. It’s about what happens when in a moment, you no longer believe in the God you held on to all you life. 

I’ve always believed in the peace of my religion and had faith in my God.  Oh,  I’ve had so much faith. No matter how good or bad things got, I always held on to that. I knew my God wouldn’t leave me hanging out to dry. 

But my father was taken from me, taken from my family and this world. I saw my mother lose everything she ever thought she had. I saw my sister stop believing in the power of love. I saw my entire family crumbling and I couldn’t do anything. I screamed and prayed for my God to do something, to do anything. I prayed to the God my father brought me up to believe in; the God he put all his faith in. And nobody came to help.

What is God if he’s not there when you need him? What is God if not the light that’s supposed to heal you? Where is my light? Where is my God? 

Do you know what happens to someone, who used to carry a symbol of their God everywhere, loses their faith?  It feels like you’re being scattered into a million directions because you have nothing to anchor you. You lose the thing you looked up to, held on to, prayed to and the one thing you believed would be your salvation. 

But how can you believe in something that claims to look over you but does nothing when your life starts falling apart? 

No, my heart isn’t black

No, my heart isn’t black.

You can throw things at me, dear universe. But I’ll tell you this; I’ll survive. You’ve thrown all kinds of abuse at me. It came from friends and family, it came as emotional, physical and psychological abuse. You’ve thrown loneliness and pain right towards my being. You’ve thrown failure and mental illnesses. You’ve taken everything that brought me an ounce of joy. You’ve thrown my dad’s death at me. And guess what? I’m still standing.

I might be drowning, dear universe. I might be turning into smoke and mirrors. But I’ll never let you turn my heart black. My beating bleeding heart, the one I wear on my sleeve, is what lets me look at myself with a sense of pride. And you’re not taking that away.

No,  no my heart isn’t black. It’s raw and red, and it’s never been more alive.

She was art

She was art that nobody understood. She was the music that nobody heard. She was the  magic that bound the earth. And yet, she was just another harrowed soul.

She floundered in pain while the ropes that confined her wrenched her back into the depths of darkness.

But she wouldn’t rest until she let the colours back in.

Will you love me then?

You say you love me now but what when one day the darkness clouds my mind again? What when it darkens my vision? What when my demons attack again? What when I lose my mind with baseless anxiety? What when I need so much assurance that I turn into a task for you? What when my insecurities are no longer endearing but frustrating?

What when one day you come home to find me sitting at the edge of the bed, my head between my hands with tears streaming down my face in the middle of the afternoon? What when you walk into the bathroom to find me scratching my face and pulling my hair? What when I go so quiet you forget I’m even there? What when you wake up in the middle of the night to find me staring at the ceiling, my eyes red and my face stained with haphazard dried tear tracks?

What when you wake up at 4 a.m. to find me out of bed; in the kitchen, using the knives to slice my own skin open? What when you walk into the bathroom to find me in a tub of water with crimson swirls and a blade fallen on the floor? What when you come home one evening and find me sitting at home just the way you left me that morning because I couldn’t motivate myself to move and go about my day? What when I can’t do my share of chores because I’m too tired battling myself? What when you find me sitting alone in a room buried in a book or a TV show completely ignoring reality and not sleeping? What when all I do is cry and blast painful music?

What when you walk into the kitchen to find me in my ugly torn pajamas, stuffing my face with all the food I can find because it’s all I can do to keep the pain at bay? What when I eat so much that I visibly become fatter by the day? What when I’m pigging out whenever you see me? What when all I do is stuff food in my mouth in the most unsightly manner and choke and cry violently simultaneously because I can’t get myself to stop and I can feel my life spinning out of control but can’t find the fire in me to stop it? What when I stop caring about myself at all?

What when I lose my temper and snap at you all the time for your mere existence? What when I get mad at you for trying to help? What when every little thing sets me off? What when I get angry at what seems like the most random thing?  What when I stop talking all together because I have nothing to say and even if I did, it was too much effort? What when one day I suddenly become distant?

What when you ask for a reason but I have none? What when I decide you can’t help? What when I feel like I’m only bringing you down and disappointing you but don’t know what to do about it? What when I breakdown all of a sudden with no reason or explanation? What when one day I flinch at your touch? What when one day I pull away from your embrace? What when you find all my obsessively sad writing?

What when one day you don’t love me anymore because I’m no longer the happy girl you fell for? What when I lose all the passion you loved me for? What when you decide I’m no longer worth the effort? What when one day you decide you’re tired of trying? What when you realize you’re better off? What when my baggage becomes too heavy? What when I decide I can no longer be saved? What if one day I drown and nobody’s there to pull me out? Will you love me then?

Darling, it’s time to go.

I always felt incomplete, wrong and uneasy. I felt like I didn’t fit. I was always dissatisfied and unhappy, as though something was missing or incorrect. I always wanted to go; to leave and never look back. I wanted to move away from the people, the atmosphere, the relationships and the pressure. I wanted to be alone and far away. I thought that would soothe the tornado inside my head and the one surrounding my soul.

Darling, it’s time to go.

I worked towards that. I took all the steps I deemed appropriate in order to reach that point where I could leave with no qualms. I studied something that I could take to another part of the world and I abstained from forming any affection for anybody so I wouldn’t hesitate to leave them behind. But life doesn’t always take the course you set it on. Because I fell in love anyway.

Darling, you need to let go.

Now it’s almost time to leave. I’m finally there. I have so much more ahead of me and while it scares me, it’s something I’ve yearned for. I’m nervous. Will it be what I thought it would? Will it be better? What if it’s much worse? What if it’s not what I wanted? Will I still love it? Will I be able to cope? Will I fall into despair yet again? Will my demons follow me there? Will I finally be free?

But darling, it’s time to go.

I was never happy and I always wanted to leave. But here I am, finally finding some of that happiness I so craved and now it’s time to go. But my current happiness roots from doing nothing with my life and I’ll soon tire of it. I’d rather try and stumble and move forward than stay stuck where I am, no matter how much longer I’ll have to work for that happiness to come around again.

So darling, let’s go.

To all the men

Here’s to all the men out there.

Everywhere I turn, I see all these posts about positivity and support for women. What about all those men out there?
I agree that men already have more privileges than most women and things are often easier for them but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the same problems as others. And I’m tired of their problems being neglected because “men don’t show emotions”. That’s rubbish!

To that man who was called short; you sir, are a beautiful human being and your height doesn’t define you.

To that man who was called out for his acne problem; don’t let them take you down; you’re just as handsome as anyone else.

To that man who needs to wear binders; I’m sorry the world is such an asshole to you. I wish you didn’t have to worry about being who you are.

To that man who was called names for shedding a few tears; don’t you worry about that, darling. Tears are beautiful and I’m glad you’re brave enough to let your emotions show. It’s really quite attractive.

To that man who was sneered at for being on the heavier side; I’m sorry people can be such idiots. It’s their loss for not seeing the beauty radiating from within you.

To that man who was poked at for being skinny; I’m sorry people have a problem with everything. You don’t have to have bulging muscles to be “manly”. Skinny is beautiful too. It’s downright appealing.

To that man who was being stared at for being bald; don’t bother with nutcases, you’re dashing anyway.

To that man who was ridiculed for liking pink; sir, I think you’ve got your choices right. If people are going to colour-shame, they deserve to be ignored.

To that man whose gender was questioned for not being interested in sports; snub those ignorant folk, love. We’ll go do something more fun.

To that man who got bullied for being non-heterosexual; I’m sorry the world is a trashcan but I promise to stand by you if you’d let me. You’re fabulous, please don’t forget that.

To that man who was sexually assaulted; you may have been just a boy or maybe you were grown up but I’m sorry this world doesn’t recognize your torment. I do. And I’m so sorry you went through that. I’m sorry that your pain is dismissed and you’re told you were lucky to get “laid”. I know it hurt and I know it’s your nightmare and I’m here for you. I’d fight for your justice if you needed me to.

To all the men out there, whether you’re perfect or imperfect; you’re appreciated and loved just the way you are. You’re important and wanted.

Desperate Despair

Have you ever felt so sad, so desperately lonely that you’ve wanted to throw up?

I lie in bed every night and I’m okay. I’m alright. The part of me that’s crippled will always be there so it doesn’t bother me anymore. It’s that little shadow on my shoulder. But as the night crawls on and the loneliness settles deeper within the crevices of my heart, flowing through my aorta, I feel sick. My stomach churns and my eyes sting. I continue to lie there, letting the emotions race through me. I would have called it a storm if I was new to this. But it’s not; it’s no storm. A storm has no direction. This? This is more like a herd of wild horses racing in one direction. I let it gallop over me.

One moment my stomach is an endless pit and I can’t stop myself from raiding the kitchen for whatever appealing food I can find. I sit and stuff my face with it until I glance at the mirror and my throat narrows, choking me and my chest clenches. I push the food away, clutching my stomach and crying. Why am I crying? Why does it feel so horrible? Who do I feel so ugly? Why do I eat more than I should and then resent myself for it? Should I vomit it out? Do I want to go down that path? I don’t know. I have no answers. I like back down.

My stomach is in knots now. My heart aches and my eyes are swollen. My head throbs and my arms flop on the bed as though I can no longer hold them up. Tears leak over my temples and onto my pillow unchecked but I don’t care. The ceiling is a wonderful object to continue to stare at. The wings of the fan move so confidently and swiftly. They know their purpose.  I think I’ll continue staring at them until dawn.

Everything is turning numb. My gaze is blurring. My mind has long since wandered from the blades of the fan. It’s focusing on a different kind of blade now. I shake my head to make myself forget the thought of it. Sometimes I wonder if the fan would break if I hung from it. And it frightens me.

The loneliness continues to pull me in like quicksand. I reach out; my hand stretching towards the sky as I try to keep my head above the proverbial water. The need for alcohol and cigarettes engulfs me. I don’t let myself take that course. I know I won’t have the energy to fight it off when it gets too much and I’ll spiral into yet another kind of hell. But the want doesn’t disappear. I lie on my bed, staring at the ceiling, my mind a million light-years away and my torso arches off the bed with the effort to tamp down the need coursing within me. I feel desperate and needy and out of control and yet I feel numb.

I’m not sure what I’m feeling but I know I’m a mess. Someday, I’ll figure it out. Until then, I’ll continue to rub my soul on paper.

Twilight Tempest

The sky was alight but the sun was yet to rise above us. My sleep broke as my dreams took an unbidden turn. I sat on my bed, rubbing my eyes while longing for sleep to take me again. I could feel the perturbation swirling inside me and wanted nothing more than calm. I lay back down, my head sinking in the pillow. Sleep swept over me as soon as my eyes closed. I woke up a few hours later; the twilight had turned to late morning but the rage continued to course through me. It felt like a storm of a myriad of emotions. The anger was emerging strongest among them all. It was directed at nobody and yet, it was directed at everybody who had the misfortune to be at my side.

It had no reason and so it had no outlet. And as it always goes, you harm either yourself or those you love most. I hadn’t felt such tempestuous emotions in a long time. However, I had long since learnt to rein them in. All I had to do what give my fury a shape in my mind. To a twelve year old me, it looked like a giant cube of violently wriggling flesh covered in blood. My vision of it hasn’t changed in the past near-decade; perhaps because it’s the image that helped me control this storm inside me. It has failed at times but it has seen me through many furores.

I close my eyes and imagine the cube of bloodied flesh lassoed by a thick jute rope. It struggles and strains and pulls and wriggles to get free and my arms ache to hold on to it and pull it back. Please, please let me rein it in. I can’t lose more people to this rage. My eyes remain clenched while my breath heaves as though the struggle is physical. Soon, my breath will even out and my head will throb softly and my anger will be a small whimpering wolf that was forbidden from howling. And I’ll go about my day because this isn’t new to me. Sometimes I wish it was. Sometimes I wish I never knew these things. Sometimes I smack myself out of this self pity. But it’s better out on paper than writhing in my mind.