Of Saying What You Want To Say

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I say too much and speak too loudly. Yet I manage to not utter the things worth saying or that another would need hearing. A walking paradox these days, suffering from an acute case of foot-in-mouth syndrome even when trying to measure my words by the millimetre.

When you mistake boredom for connection, and self interest for caring, that’s when the disillusionment gets transformed through a sort of alchemical process into a new layer of defense. The journey from within to outside of oneself becomes even more daunting, while the task of finding a way in for the Other an almost impossible quest to complete. Stuck at level 20, no way to upskill.

A maddening cycle, we make each other mad, we turn each other into cowards posing as careless brutes. There’s always more underneath, yet the masquerade must continue – it’s the best we’ve learnt to do, the best we’ve been taught to do. Education is more than maths and history, we’re only starting to acknowledge.

Hallow quotes, online lives and this wretched lack of willingness to listen to the person in front of you. Listening to reply and impatiently provide our own opinion (or comparison to our own experience) is the norm, listening to understand and create a meaningful link is the odd exception. By extension, the ones attempting this insane feat are the oddballs everyone laughs at with a slight tinge of pity.

Photo by Meghan Schiereck on Unsplash

I listen. But some days I wish I could be the one doing the talking. I wish I were brave enough to say ‘Look at me, here I am! Can you see me?’

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Of Summer

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To me, love smells
like sea salt and warm skin
that's been caressed by the summer sun for days on end.
Love tastes of vanilla,
and whipped cream and cherry ice cream
(and faintly, but undeniably of cigarettes).

Love will slow dance with me
in my living room at midnight
to Florence and Lana -
drunk on wine and each other,
because there's no more perfect a summer soundtrack.

My love will just throw his clothes on the floor
before slipping into bed,
but my love will never forget to kiss
the nape of my neck
before slipping into dream.
Photo by Hannah Skelly on Unsplash

Of That One Moment

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It’s been established that I’m not a very good storyteller (different plot line, maybe I’ll tell you about it later). How about metaphor crafter? Image evoker? Feelings instigator?

Words will open up worlds of unexpected depth, reveal the true face of someone you’d not paid much attention to until that instant, and sometimes even the reality of pains you’d been avoiding to face. Just as easily and defiantly, words will cut threads that were just starting to be woven into a never before seen pattern and close doors that had been left ajar – forever? Who’s to know. I refuse to declare forever because permanence is something I don’t believe in. Growth and transformation are.

The instant right before discovery is the most frightening of all. Right before jumping the fence, hand in hand with your best friend Lack-of-Caution, you take a deep breath and make a secret wish. Your hope is to take a dip in the luring pool – water to cool your feverish summer madness and the stars above to keep you dreaming still. But there’s no knowing what lies beyond the fence until you’ve jumped over, so you clasp your buddy’s hand tighter and pray it’s not a big dog just waiting for a piece of your sorry ass to bite.

But pay attention, don’t blink, or you just might miss that pivotal moment. The chances of it repeating itself at the same intensity and causing a similar frisson will be extinguished quicker than candles on a birthday cake. Try to jump too soon and you might lose your footing while climbing the fence. Wait for too long and there’s no going back. Choose wisely. Or just flip a coin.

Of A Mystical Number

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For a week or so, Facebook has been reminding me that my birthday is coming up soon. Thank you, Mr. Zuckerberg, you did not need to rub that in.

Every year around this date, I write a birthday post. It’s a coming full circle of sorts. It’s about drawing lines, conclusions, and new directions if the situation and state of mind allow for it. I’ve been drafting at least five versions of this in my head for some weeks now, but avoiding facing the blank space until what’s essentially the last minute. The past year has been both underwhelming and overwhelming, sometimes at once, other times in such rapid change of rhythm that it made me dizzy, instinctively reaching out for a hand to help me keep some semblance of balance. Maybe one too many full circles.

Learning when to say enough and walk away. Accepting that there’s only so much you can keep trying and tearing away from yourself for the benefit of another before you end up someone you don’t recognize anymore. Understanding that words and actions may in fact not be about you at all, but a reaction and the result of all the struggles you don’t know about the person sitting in front of you is going through. 

Saying thank you and really meaning it. Saying I’m good on my own right now and really meaning it. Saying I understand and really meaning it. Saying I’m curious to know more and really meaning it.

But also, all the things left unsaid no matter how much brave you try to muster up.

There comes a moment when letting go of symbols you’ve held onto for the longest of time is necessary, plain and simple. Strong coffee with lots of milk in my big red mug (Gilmore Girls-style) used to be the perfect start of the day. But after the famous red mug ended up shattered to pieces and replaced not just once in the span of a couple of years, it may be time to accept that the Universe is sending me a message. Seek out new symbols, attach to them new meaning. The end of a chapter is always accompanied by some flavour of sadness and nostagia, but the new one might exceed your expectations.

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

A few other things the past 365 days have shown me or confirmed for me:

Say what you will, but my friends are the absolute fucking best! I’m surrounded by a group of incredible people, as different as they may be one to the other, but just as fantastic in their own right. I know I should stop questioning it, but I still don’t know how it happened or why exactly they’ve decided to stick around the way they have – some for decades, others for much shorter a time, but caring just as fiercely as if we’d known each other for a lifetime. For some perspective, I was the shiest kid, wishing I was part of the cool gang but always feeling like the odd one out and resigned to the likeliness of becoming invisible one day. I wish I could show my 11-year old self how wrong she was. Instead, I’m going to say thank you to every single person who’s decided there’s something worth sticking around for.

I know with absolute certainty that no matter what, when I’m at my lowest low, when life kicks me in the shins, my family will somehow manage to teleport to the place where I’ve been defeated. Arms in hands, they’ll leave no tear un-wiped, no course of action un-suggested, no comfort food un-tested (food fixes everything, haven’t you heard?). Thank you. I love you.

I’m trying to remember what falling feels like, but it’s been so long and I’ve been so cautious. Love feels like a distant memory right know. The saying goes that women are so complicated that it would take forever to try to understand what they want. But to me, men are becoming more of a mystery the more I attempt to understand them in the context of relationships. Sex is easy, chemistry is what’s rare. If you manage to find someone who shares similar values to yours and both of you are in the same place of emotional readiness, then you’ve hit the jackpot. What happens when not all conditions are met? I dunno, man. I guess you just have to try anyway.

To wrap up – it’s been one heck of a ride and knowing my life, it won’t slow down anytime soon. Summer’s round the corner, so who knows what’s in store next? What I can promise is that if it’s worth it, I’ll be brave about it.

Of What I’m Not

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Wild and raw, but softer than melted butter
in the depths of my heart
that I only let show
when the sun is sleeping soundly
and that bottle of red is almost finished.

Do not confuse my resilience 
for an inability to break;
do not confuse my desire to remain grounded
for an inability to fall.
Do not mistake my longing for connection
for anything more or anything less.

Not your therapist, not your mother.
I am not your solution, neither your problem.

My arms know how to cradle your head,
but not as a child's.
My lips know how to make you scream,
but not out of pain.
My words know how to make you

be

just as you are.

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Of Trick Questions

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5AM and I can hear the birds singing like there’s nothing else to worry about in the Universe except for the coming dawn. A few too many for some of us. A cocktail glass abandoned on the sidewalk by some merrymaker who’s in fact anything but merry.


Photo by Alexander Kay on Unsplash

I’ve been getting the best introspective questions from dudes recently. To me, this is very surprising given the extent to which men are conditioned by society to bury their feelings and act as if emotional depth is something not suited for ‘manly men’, rather reserved to ‘fragile women’.

I told you I love the night and what it does to us humans. Defenses go down like domino tiles, one after the other in the precise order in which we secretly wish others would break through them. Add a few drinks to the intoxicating mix of a spring night smelling of raindrops and you’ve got the recipe for some potentially intense exchanges of thoughts and self reflection.

You might find yourself sitting next to someone you’ve literally known for years, but who you don’t know much about (now read that again). In between nonsense and changing topics every 30 seconds, a couple of points somehow mange to hit the mark:

First: ‘You don’t know about me because you never asked, and I don’t share these things (voluntarily).’ Raise your hand if you identify with some version of this.

Second: ‘Who are you really and what do you want from life?’ To which I fall silent, sort of surprised by this silence myself because I was so sure I had the answers to these questions sorted out in my head. I had been certain up until that point that if I were ever asked, I would be able to verbalize the answers like the most natural thing in the world. Big ol’ nope. So after a minute of trying to conjure up the ‘true me’, I resort to ‘I’m still trying to figure those things out’. Dude sees right through my cheap trick and is not impressed, accusing me of presenting him with the ‘standard and socially acceptable answer’. Well, well, well, that’s what I called being served! Lucky for me the topic changes completely a mere 10 seconds later.

Not to completely evade the tricky question I got asked though, more on that in a future episode just in time for my upcoming b’day. So stay tuned (if you’re still curious).

A different side of the story: ‘You haven’t changed a bit, you look the same as you did in college,’ I’m told by a former colleague I haven’t seen in a decade. Beside the moment of amazement at how fast time slipped by, I’m amused by this assessment. I see a completely different face in the mirror. My gaze will hold yours more confidently, my smile has got a bit of mischief in it if you look carefully, I’ve got more kindness in my eyes towards myself and more understanding towards others. I’m more genuinely curious and willing to get to know and understand the person standing in front of me, even when chances are I’ll stumble upon sides of them that can shock, upset or disappoint in the first instance.

You’d probably never guess it, but moral of the story is: we’re all changing as experiences flow through us and over us, but there’s also a certain constant core that never wavers and to which we’ll keep returning however much we’d like to deny it at times and chisel it into something else entirely. We must accept this contradictory duality if we want to avoid becoming fractured individuals always wondering which version of ourselves is the real one.

Of Love And Other Beasts

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Who do you write about

when you write about love?

Is it

your past lovers,

who've left you so broken

that even a non-believer

would be begging God

for mercy?

Or

the ones yet to show up,

who aren't at any fault

but might end up

paying for

other men's wrongs

nonetheless?

Who is it that you write about

when you write about

this cruel beast

called love?

Photo by Jorik Kleen on Unsplash

Read Threads And Broken Dreams

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These loose threads
I've been dragging behind me
lead back years,
countries,
continents even.
At night, I wish they'd tear for good,
but in the daylight
I keep willing them back to life - 
a cheap trick I play on myself,
like circus magicians
pulling quarters 
from behind little boys' ears.

My feet get tangled, 
my heart does too 
and it stumbles over itself,
almost falling into those thorny rose bushes again.

Step after step,
I find myself holding
a fresh bundle of red flailing threads instead of roses.

I'll just have to buy the roses for myself.

Photo by Alexandru Acea on Unsplash

At The Edge Of Spring

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I’d forgotten that I, in fact, love the night. This slip of the mind must come with age – slowly, unnoticeably, we realise one day that mundane worries have begun to litter our dreams and anxiety is keeping us up when we should be resting, distracting us when we should only be focusing on losing ourselves in our lovers’ kisses and caresses.

The bloom is almost gone now, a cruel and fast fate the petals have had this year. Spring fever is almost a thing of the past. But that’s alright, since my month is about to begin, summer madness is round the corner and I intend to fall into it completely and unapologetically. Come, summer! And kiss me deep, make my heart grow wings again on nights like this.

Yes, I do love the night for the way it makes us drop our guard. The city is mellow and the air smells of warm tarmac, of grass overtaking every last corner of earth it can. Silhouettes are softer and feelings are deeper. I love how nights like this turn hopes into possibilities, all that’s missing is a sprinkle of courage.

Of What I Look Like When I Get Scared

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I stuck out my tongue 
when you stretched your hand out to me.
I know it was mean and childish,
but that was me pretending not to give two cents.

I could barely contain my laughter
when you told me about the places that hurt - 
I was waiting for the punchline, as usual, you see.

I looked away
when you started pulling at strings
I though would never make melodies again.
Who do you think you are,
taking my breath away like that?


Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash