October 6, 2016 § Leave a comment
true // love
What is this incessant melancholy that hangs around my spirit like stale smoke? I am contented, I tell myself. I have accomplished the things I set out to do this year. I’m poised for greater adventures ahead. With my birthday looming just a few days away, I have many things to be grateful for.
Why then is this darkness lurking just beyond my peripheral vision?
Simple. I mourn the things that played out strangely different from the countless rehearsals held in my head. I wrote the script but the actors didn’t like the lines. The props fell apart and the scenes… forever lost. No one would remember the original play, forever seeing only what unfolded. Would I ever dare pick up that beautiful script again, try again to make real my visions?
I strongly doubt it. I’ve grown cynical of true love, for what is true?
<blackout on stage; cue mournful violin solo; follow-spot on Woman #2>
I know love. I’ve tasted it. Shared it. Lost it.
I know passion. I’ve indulged in it. Felt its dying embers.
I know desire. Answered its call. And went home empty.
But what is true?
<blackout on stage as flickering images of random YouTube happy moments are cast onto backdrop, some random bittersweet music plays>
<follow-spot on Woman #3 centrestage>
True is what you are to yourself. True is what you do for yourself, to make yourself contented with who you really are and not for someone else’s acceptance. True is choosing to spend time with the people you want by your side when you die.
True… is not another human who brings happiness, it’s you. It’s me.
It’s who we are in the dark, down on our knees crying, wailing, moaning in silent pain before washing our faces and going out with a smile. It’s the choices we make when no one is watching or judging, but choices we make anyway because that’s who we are. True is not an experience to wait for. It’s an experience we make with ourselves.
<blackout; Woman #4>
Nevermind the man I fell in love with who ghosted on me months after.
Nevermind the man who strong-armed me into having sex with him.
Nevermind the man who, after hearing that story, cursed and left me.
Nevermind the affectionate bastard with the wittiest conversation who really was just looking for the next lay. And who I unfortunately developed feelings for.
Nevermind the men I dated. And dated. And dated.
Nevermind if after all these experiences I doubted myself, hated myself, wondered why I was so pathetic, stupid, blah blah blah… I knew deep within me that they just weren’t that into me. And for good reason.
I wasn’t ready.
Because I wasn’t yet true to myself.
<blackout; Woman #1>
I’m a mother.
<Woman #2> Writer.
<Woman #3> Lover.
<Woman #1> Teacher.
<Woman #4> Daughter.
<blackout; follow-spot on Woman #1>
When I can be true to all these different facets of myself, I will meet true love — every single day in the mirror.
But then, perhaps, just perhaps… I’ll also meet him at my regular coffee-shop around the corner. And this time, I’ll be ready.
May 18, 2016 § Leave a comment
I’m tired of reading about how struggles make us stronger.
I’m sick of hearing how challenges make us overcomers in life.
And I’m fucking irritated with how life’s difficulties are romanticized into inspirational quotes.
I don’t care about how one day, my story will encourage someone else.
I don’t give a damn about how getting through my life’s problems will help mentor other women.
All I want, truly want… is to be happy. Now.
Is that too much to ask?
I want to have someone to text when I see something funny, or am feeling frustrated.
I want to be able to eat in a nice restaurant without worrying if I can buy groceries after.
I want to go away on a short holiday, to take a break from all this need that surrounds me.
I’m honestly very achingly tired of being responsible for so many lives.
I want to be selfish for a while.
Some days can be such a pain to get through, and I had one of those spectacularly messed up days today. Receiving several pieces of real fucked up news, my knees were wobbly, I felt strengthless and my hands refused to stop shaking. By the time I reached home, the edges of my person felt smudged against life’s hard edges. I climbed into bed and curled up into the smallest ball of existence possible. Yet I couldn’t cry.
Instead, I breathed.
And grew quiet.
breathe in… breathe out…
I won’t grow bitter. It’s too late for regrets and I refuse to live life looking behind.
I won’t give up living because I’m wired for survival.
I will find something to be grateful for, something to laugh about, something to dance to.
And no matter how many times I break down and cry, the tears will come to an end.
They always do.
I’m not strong.
But perhaps I won’t wait for my circumstances to change before I find a reason to be happy.
Even when every part of me deeply aches in pain…
April 26, 2016 § Leave a comment
On days I don’t have anything smart to say, I’ve decided I’d list the good things that happened instead. It’s still a form of writing, nevermind it’s potential to sound mundane. At least I’m keeping to my promise to write something daily.
The Project That Almost Got Away
Had to let my client know that since I started teaching again, I couldn’t promise I’d be able to deliver the creative content they wanted for their new website.
“I’m happy to write if you could supply me with a clear direction but if you need me to spearhead this project, I don’t think I should do it. I can’t promise you the time I’ll need to develop/research the content, and I don’t want to do shoddy work,” I explained. I was sad though. I really did want to do this project.
“We’ve discussed it with the team and we’d still like to work with you.” I received their reply an hour later. “We’ll work on our new brand and identity, do the layout, design and photography. Let us know your available hours and we’ll do our best to meet you during your available hours so we can work with you on the content.”
Dumbfounded. Really? Wow.
The Special One That Almost Got Away
“You around? I really need to talk to someone.” Eric texted me early evening. He only did that when he felt messed up inside, and there was just one reason why that could happen – problems with his current girlfriend. We talked via Skype and when I first saw his face, my heart ached. He looked awfully broken.
45 minutes later, he was laughing again.
“You’re one of the most precious people I’ve had the chance to meet in my life. I’m so thankful for you,” he smiled, before we hung up.
Likewise babe. We never had the chance to be together, being on opposite sides of the world, but the distance developed a friendship I didn’t think was possible. And while having him as my guy will never happen, it’s absolutely lovely to know he’s still in my life.
The Dinner Date That Almost Got Away
Tired, I almost sent a text to my date to cancel our appointment. I was already late after my call with Eric, and only wanted to crawl into bed and get lazy. Heaving a very large and dramatic sigh, I booked a cab instead and traveled 30 minutes to a quaint little restaurant, where I had the best burrata, wine and steak. Conversation was easy, the grappa sealed the night.
The Guy That Did Get Away
No one’s ever ghosted on me before. In fact, before it happened, I didn’t even know such a term existed.
I met George in February, and after an amazing sequence of events, found myself in a relationship when I didn’t even think it a possibility. In mid-March, he clean disappeared. No texts, calls, nada. After a month of near silence, he finally explained that he had shit he needed to deal with alone, and that he was sorry. I didn’t push for more details. Something kept me from asking.
But I still have nights I wonder what went wrong. Was it me? Did I do something? Why did this happen?
And then I wake up from my slumber of doubts to realize… life has a very interesting way of letting things happen when they should. Perhaps the Dream Maker was saving me from pain. I’m not sure.
I still miss him, but perhaps, this was for the best. Because he did teach me something about myself: I now know that if I meet the right guy, I might actually be ready for a relationship again.
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
― Anaïs Nin
And that is why I need to write.
It forces me to see view life again with strange, new eyes.
One where the mundane becomes good, and the bad is a source for gratitude.
April 25, 2016 § Leave a comment
I thought of pussy the whole of today, and it wasn’t an erotic experience.
It all began after a romp in the room with some chap last week. We were lying in bed after too many drinks and some acrobatic fumbles when he reached down to tickle me there.
“We’ve got to get rid of this,” he tugged on the hair.
“Wait, what?” I laughed. “No, I like my hair!”
“I’m going to convince you otherwise,” he shook his head.
After that night, we made no plans to see each other again. Which got me thinking. Not being hairless was obviously a deal-breaker. While I didn’t really care too much about him, I grew curious about the allure of having pre-pubescent nether regions. I find women with neat, triangles of hair sexy, and I don’t think I’d like it if a guy was hairless. We come with hair. It’s a little wild. It hints at some crazy abandon in a world so fixated with preening. To me, hair down there is like a secret rebellious act.
I might be old-fashioned though, which was when my pussy-obsession began.
“Do you wax?” I asked the Sister.
“Well apart from my head, I’m hairless everywhere else,” came her reply. “I just feel cleaner that way.”
“I don’t wax. IPL. It’s painless,” answered another girlfriend.
Lasers, tweezers, shavers or waxes… every girl I texted today had the same reply. Guys weren’t left out either. They all groomed down under. I’d understand a trim if someone had errant strands waving hello but when did being sphynx-like become the norm? I’m not Chewbacca so there never was an issue about keeping things tidy and clean; it came naturally.
I’d been jealously guarding my bush, but now, I was starting to doubt my own terms of beauty.
“Did you ever have a problem with my hair?” I asked Eric, after ranting about my current pussy-obsession.
“Oh… you’re epic! And no, I like a little hair down there. I never had a problem with your pussy,” he chortled in reply. I sighed in relief. “You could trim it a little shorter though.”
I couldn’t help it. When I got home, the first thing I did was to stare at myself down there.
Was I too… bushy?!
It’s exactly 12 midnight now and after writing this, my obsession has faded, as a clear resolve has crystallized. I won’t ever go completely bare. I really do like things natural. Still, there’s no harm trimming the patch a little tighter.
I mean… we all like it tight, don’t we?
April 24, 2016 § Leave a comment
“Dude, you need new pants,” I laughed at Dean, “unless you’re going for the Kriss Kross look that is.”
“Yeah! I love having such problems,” he grinned. Dean had been working hard to lose weight, and when we first met last year, immediately bonded over our passion for/against food. We are also some of the laziest asses we know, surrounded by an army of friends who gym, do handstands, MMA, yoga, sport climb… and nag us to join them on early Sunday mornings for boot camp.
We do love our workouts (when we’re done with them), but I fell off the exercise bandwagon two months ago. Work kicked in hard and for a night owl to get up at 6am every day, it was torture. Dean on the other hand, suffered a breakup with his girlfriend and diving deeper into sweat helped his heartache. I was happy to see his progress but it did make me feel a little awful about myself.
“You know the best part? I think my workouts have taken on a whole new level. I mean, I feel strong!” He whooped.
“Yay you!” I laughed, while I mourned inside.
I miss being strong. And it’s time I did something about it.
I have two dates scheduled for this week.
I’m guessing such plans would normally be greeted with enthusiasm. Unfortunately, I’m everything but excited. Weighing in a good 13 pounds more than what I did last year, none of my clothes fit.
How quickly can I lose weight and get fit again? I wonder to myself as I grab a beer, stare at it, put it back into the fridge, walk away, walk back to the fridge, pull out the beer and pour myself a glass. Yes, I have amazing self-control.
I sip the beer while watching workout videos, wondering if that somehow helps me burn calories. Maybe I’ll cancel the dates and spend the time hitting the gym instead.
My phone beeps just then. It’s Date #1.
“I was thinking we could go to this amazingly authentic Italian restaurant,” his message reads. Darn it. I google the restaurant and the food/ambience looks faaaantastic.
“That sounds great! Looking forward to it,” I reply.
Okay, so maybe I won’t cancel.
Sometimes, the things we need most aren’t what we desire.
We fail to see that if our needs were met, our desires might change.
And desires fueled by a lack in our lives are a double-edged sword.
An endless cycle of defeat and pain.
What are my most immediate needs? Work, for one. Getting fit and happy with myself is next.
My fight isn’t to lose weight. I need to get fit again. My fight isn’t against loneliness. I need to do things that fill my empty spaces with joy. My fight isn’t against tiredness. I need to sleep.
In view of a new start, I’ve scheduled a workout tomorrow, bought tickets for two gigs that I’m very much looking forward to, and yes…
I’m going to sleep now.
You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need.
― Mick Jagger
April 23, 2016 § Leave a comment
“Promise me one thing?” Eric suddenly stopped walking, grabbing my hands. “Promise me you’ll start writing again. But not for me, work, or any other audience you might have. Write again for yourself because you need to. Don’t lose yourself hun.”
I nodded as he embraced me tightly, doing my darnest to hold back the tears. He was leaving and we knew better than to try anything but say goodbye. Watching him walk away, I chose to smile through the dull, throbbing ache that quietly engulfed me.
I remember the ride back home that night.
I remember the days that followed after.
I remember how he used to look up at me in the middle of whatever it was we were doing, that lazy smile spreading across his face.
I remember it all. But as the days pass, the intensity of what I remember fades, like a painting left out in the hot sun. Pain-filled or beautiful, every memory loses its colour, creating space for new ones. And I’m scared. I don’t want to forget. Who are we but the sum of every moment experienced? What happens when these moments disappear?
I need to remember. I want to remember. This is why I have decided to write again though putting these words down on a blank screen is a struggle. The words aren’t coming easily.
I didn’t date for a while after Eric left. There wasn’t the slightest inclination to do so. We were still chatting occasionally on Skype and I was honestly happy with my life; meeting friends who made me laugh, hanging out with Dean (my foodie-buddie) and hitting the gym.
The contentment with life though, was unsettling. I didn’t want to wake up one day in my 60’s, surrounded by cats and knitting needles, wishing I had a companion.
“I need to start dating again,” I mumbled to Dean, my mouth filled with delicious burger. “I mean, what if I wait so long I forget how to even be with a guy?”
“That’s the way to go!” Dean whooped, “Because these muscles down here… you lose it if you don’t use it girl!”
I rolled my eyes.
“Dean… I’m talking about dates. Not one-night stands,” I reached for my milkshake.
“Yeah, that’s how you start. All I’m saying is, you never know where it leads you. And it’s great to hear you want to get out there again. I’m all for it!” Dean’s enthusiasm always made me laugh.
And that was how I got on Tinder.
Which was where I met George.
Believed I could actually try working at a relationship.
Only to be utterly disappointed again.
The limits of my language means the limits of my world.
― Ludwig Wittgenstein
“I want you to strip away everything you’ve ever memorized about writing. No more idioms, catchy phrases, adjectives you don’t use in daily life… lose all of them,” I explained to my student today. “Write from what you understand, but take care to spend time choosing the perfect word that describes what you see, feel, hear and feel.”
“So I just write what I feel or see in my head?” She really looked confused. Years of being taught to write fanciful prose in hopes of scoring a perfect grade had robbed her of a very important skill – she didn’t know how to frame her thoughts with words.
“I’m not going to grade you. You don’t need to fear failure. Just write,” I encouraged her. “Look for something in the story you can connect with and say what’s important to you. If you don’t have the word that describes what you’re feeling, that’s when you look for it. But it needs to be motivated by what you want to say, and nothing else. Most definitely not your audience nor your grades. That’s fake.”
“Okay, I’ll try that.”
And like her, I say the same thing too.
“Okay, I’ll try that.”
I’ll try stripping away every pretension, the need to impress or be perfect. If clumsiness mars my syntax, forgive me. Writing feels both strange and familiar at the same time. What I long to see appear differs greatly from what I had hoped. One day soon (after much practice and with good timing), I’ll nail it.
Much like love, really.
“Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know more.”
I’m writing again, Eric.
I’m keeping my promise.
Not to you, I know. You wouldn’t want that.
But for myself.
I’m writing again.
January 26, 2012 § 2 Comments
copyright Dennis Maitland
Dennis Maitland, a photographer from Detroit, has made a hobby of taking shots of himself posing on rooftops, with feet dangling in the air. Looking at his belly-tickling pictures, I marvel at the fact that when he first started this project titled Life On The Edge, Dennis actually had a fear of heights. He couldn’t even climb ladders past 10 feet! But with every picture he took, he overcame his fear.
A great inspiring lesson from this chap in Detroit.