i know you must look at me and think me mad. but in the very same way I am beginning to find less sense, lesser reason in the the world supposedly chosen for me. i am not the first to wander on this path and most certainly i will not be the last. if these words could be final i don’t know what wisdom I would impart. i don’t know of any wisdom I have acquired. all my attempts at a higher purpose were for naught. all my desires to not let the bitter take over were futile. all my quests for understanding led to the most complex of circles. once, i used to find these patterns beautiful. now, i find it to be made of only drama and hurt. these are not worthy of being carried on. we have made ourselves the best of fools to give meaning to things that matter not. forget fortune and fame, i don’t care for material gains nor of prestige sought. you will agree in my madness to see nothing of lives misplaced. when will your eyes adjust to the thought that individual journeys do not, cannot, should not, accumulate to things worthwhile. worth this existence. any claims you have of reasons to live, in time they too will leave you. misery and disappointment is certain, all else is not. and if you’re an eager fool, you too will look to where i am now. on a cliff. peace on the horizon. rest for a body that ages. pause for a mind that does not know how to stop. I don’t know what you seek in the ramblings of a half remaining mind. I don’t believe there is anything to be found save for nothingness. i have nothing for you, in the same way you have nothing for me, and the world left nothing for us. not even a thought of a perfect god. i know you must look at me and think me mad,but my insanity will lead me to my peace and that is all that I ask. I do not hope you will understand. i am sorry for what you think you have lost, please know there was nothing to be found. to nothing i am bound.
“bad man, easy to find. bad man – everywhere” she says in english that is broken but coherent. “good man,” she continues, “all dead!”.
the four of us burst out laughing and we have a good long chuckle over it. it’s true, we say, it’s true. and wouldn’t we know. more than the comment of bad men, good men, and dead men, i am amused by the context of our conversation.
never mind the age gap between the two of us and two of them. never mind the difference in nationality, in culture, in tongue. never mind how far apart our lives are, there appears to be commonality within our experiences of men. and a large part of that experience is negative.
all the good men are dead, she said. i wonder about that. it rings on repeat in my head. all the good men are dead. i wonder if it’s more to do with our age. veering close to the end of our 20’s the marriage market has changed to say the least. if nothing else, being near 30 means we’re nearing our culturally stamped marriageability expiration date. a cute prospective turns out to be 24 and such significance in the age gap negates the possibility of relationship. where are all the good ones? we ask. taken, we say, or dead.
we’re too independent, we say, and we are. we weren’t raised to be buharis, we say, and we weren’t. we won’t settle just to be married, we say, and we won’t. but as the list of friends married increases and single friends dwindles, we must, of course, take a look at ourselves. sorta.
these things…the context, the age, the culture, the good man…all factor into this worry of ending up “alone.” how dreaded that ‘a’ word has become. how my mother hangs it over me in an attempt to get me to see the merits of marriage. you’ll end up alone. is that a prophesy? you’re too picky with men, no one is perfect, my mother has also said to me. there is truth to that, but still, even with these realities swirling about me, i still choose to leave men. i still choose (admittedly with various degrees of difficulty) to walk away from relationships. and in due time, i am more than happy with the men who have left me.
i find comfort in solace. i don’t miss waiting for him to show up to dinner, i don’t miss waiting for someone who is late. i don’t miss feeling like i’m not beautiful enough, or that she might be prettier than i am. i don’t miss not being valued or appreciated. i don’t miss being let down, being put down, being led to feel inadequate. there are far worse things than being alone. i rarely dread being alone.
i rarely feel lonely when alone.
i don’t fear singlehood, i fear being in a marriage i hate. i fear love turning into hate. i fear the changes of people, how one day i can be adored and the next i am unwanted. i fear knowing admiration doesn’t equate to respect. i dread knowing fidelity isn’t assumed anymore. i fear the promise broken oh-so-many-times of my heart being treated with care. i fear how easy care turns to callousness.
in a different place, again, the two of us find company with two other women and a near empty second bottle of rum they kept calling whiskey. “men….no gooooood” one slurs. we piece together something about having a husband, a son, and a boyfriend. “only good for one thing” the slurring continues into giggle-filled full throttle hip thrusting. again, we burst out laughing. again, i wonder at how basic communication is enough to convey that we are together in this experience of bad men, good men, and dead men.
i can only guess the detail of their stories. men who didn’t respect them. men who cheated. men who lied. men who used them. men who moved on. men who no longer cared. men who maybe never cared. (and yes, women are guilty of the above too)
i’ve experienced all this. in men all around the world, in men from many countries, many languages, and such different backgrounds, i have come to see there is more to fear from marriage than there is from being single.
do i still hope to meet someone? certainly. i would like to meet someone where we are more like close friends who understand and encourage each other. i’d like to share household duties. to take turns making dinner. to appreciate and value each other. it’s not much to ask, but it’s not easy to come by.
and if i don’t meet someone? i’ll be better than fine. i’ll have different adventures. i’ll still live my life, and i’ll live the way i want it. the possibility of this is far more appealing than a marriage of misery.
and in the meantime, i’ll laugh with women over this. we’ll laugh together, we’ll laugh at ourselves, we’ll laugh over the memories. good men. bad men. dead men. i am equally content with no men.
i don’t know why it is that certain mornings i wake up already feeling defeated. dread sits in my stomach like the uncomfortable feeling after a night of too much drinking. you know it’ll all rumble out eventually. you know it won’t be pretty.
and this, this makes me restless. should i go for a run again? lose myself to music i’m not listening to, watching for people, feeling raised roots and leveled dirt at my feet. would a run make it better? maybe.
maybe i should sit and draw again. the piece in my living room is quickly turning into a one-time-wonder. i can’t be bored of this already. i was looking for new discoveries. new passions. i’ve got to keep going.
keep going onto something. there were things to be excited about. reasons to be happy. why do they diminish so quickly? what gets me so distracted?
distracted isn’t good. it’s a full time thing trying to stay upright in motion while maintaining balance. without movement we are dead, but in moving we lurch ourselves into stumbles and falls. it’s a tiresome game. you always lose. until you get up again.
again, again, again. i am amused by the things that repeat. a de ja vu sense about things. but there are things to stay away from. to not repeat, again. to remove as a distraction. to help maintaining clarity. breath. move. balance.
balance. move. breath. i am hoping to lose myself in productivity. there are things that need to be done. work to be finished. places to be traveled. things to be experienced. at the same time, i am hoping to be done.
Balls balls balls. balla’. bullocks. a list. bullshit. does it come down to a list. identifying all that i am. all that i want. all that i am willing to take on.
the other things, smaller things maybe. what other things do i care to take the time to note. to ponder over. what were the things i didn’t put on the first list.
relationships – i struggle with relationships. as i come into more of my own. more of my thoughts. more of my self. i struggle to find the right space for relationships. the romantic kind. maybe i don’t understand them anymore. maybe i never did. maybe i understand it differently. i no longer want the things i used to. i no longer have the same expectations. love is a strange thing. strange when you have it. strange when you don’t. you learn something each time though. love renders words meaningless. ‘i love you’ has lost it’s potency. it’s not as hard as i thought it would be, to love less. to pick up a pinch of indifference. i am open to other things.
food – i pity those who eat for fuel. to deny yourself the pleasure of flavor and texture. smells and tastes. at the same time, i have a odd relationship with food. gluttonous and unapologetic on occasion. deprivation and hunger other times. it’s a battle of tongue verses body. ‘you’ve put on weight’ a friend tells me, i am not offended, not even when it is suggested i should work out. i miss being inspired in the kitchen. ‘nothing tastes as good as skinny feels’ someone vaguely famous said. i think that’s bullshit.
body – which brings me to the way i carry my body. perfect i am not, but i love my body. i do. i love my breasts, the expanse of my thighs, the flow of my belly, the proportion of my legs. even with the extra kgs in places that don’t flatter, i feel beautiful. i find it odd when some tell me otherwise. my beauty is not based on the visibility of a double chin or the size of my ass. i feel beautiful in a way beyond make up, flawless skin, and a 36-28-36 figure, doesn’t anyone see it?
time – i feel like my ability to grasp, understand, and measure time is more warped than usual. the days merge. i can’t tell apart weeks or months. everything is momentary but some moments last forever. i struggle to calculate by calendars, i experience time in a blur. it’s hard to allocate time when it’s impossible to compute. how you remember time changes your memories and the experiences had. things that feel distant are easier to accept. to sentimentalize. the things i want seem further away than they are. it’s hard to keep track of, so i don’t bother.
new people – i like new people. i like new conversations. new thoughts. new jokes. new insights. i enjoy finding individuals who give me new things to explore. without new people, after a while, everyone starts to echo each other. there’s limited progress in that. i am surprised to find myself in new friendships. in new confidence. in newness that feels fresh. it’s just a little shy of inspiring.
motivation – there are things i want to do. things that need to get done. and yet it’s hard to find the motivation. to find the push to get going. to take the first few steps before settling into a pace. the pace of life. it’s hard to find, others move differently. i don’t feel the same rush. i lack the same urgency.
playing house – someone said ikea is a an adult’s doll house. i think my life is a dollhouse, but i’m growing into playing adult. the simple tasks that one wouldn’t notice if one wasn’t responsible. making sure there’s drinking water. not running out of toilet paper, or toothpaste. buying a new broom once in a while. restocking on dish soap, and oil. tiny threads that keep things together. keep me going. necessities without any doubt, but enjoyable too. the satisfaction of going to bed knowing the house is clean. coming home to a tidy room. knowing this is my space, it’s not grand, it’s not special, but it’s cozy and it’s mine. i am in want of nothing else.
changes – change is the only constant. i appreciate change. i crave it. i ache for it. nothing weighs me down like stagnancy. i don’t know that i am in motion as much as i am shifted by the movement of others around me. i am watching the lives of many transition. i am seeing a different landscape on their horizon. i am affected, but i am still only here. soon, soon, very very soon, i too need to prepare for changes of my own. it’s time to move ahead i think. i think i’m ready. i hope i am. we’ll see. one way or another, we’ll keep going.
i struggle to write about Nepal like i used to years ago. the country has changed, i have changed, and the way i see the nation has changed.
as i step onto the streets of a city i’ve come to know so well, i am confused. dashain draws near but the air doesn’t feel festive, it feels abandoned. a strange ghost town void of the same buzz and activity. are there more people on the streets than usual? for some reason it’s hard to tell.
i walk by discarded bits of paper where a marker scrawl reads “#backoffindia”. near by a larger than usual group of the armed police stand about. my ears notice the absence of anticipated traffic. the roads aren’t quiet empty but they lack numbers. i wonder how many across the city have taken to walking, how many yet decided to stay home. a seat is much coveted should you be able to find transport.
i read somewhere we are about a week away from running out of fuel. the airport won’t refuel international flights anymore. it’s hard to understand this as reality. we are a failed state. we are a state that despairs.
i cannot understand the reasons. how can a nation like India deny the blockade? while the riots continue, while the capital is running dry. how can they said they’re not doing it when the evidence of it is so plenty. i am astounded. how can one person deny the equal value of another? isn’t it outdated to price by skin tone? why do i still have to defend my existence as a female? my validity for equality? aren’t i more than breasts to look at, a vagina to penetrate, and a womb to create life? i tire of this.
the repeated ignorance, the inability for us to learn as a group of people frustrates me. the powerlessness we feel. the absence of meaning in our nationality. lately i’ve been understanding my love for this place. a love that grows and accepts. that becomes more patience, more invested. even then, i cannot understand how we can want land more than acknowledging equality. how do the concepts of borders tear us apart. how do we, tear ourselves from the inside for being different? how are we still this foolish?
what can we do to help. how can i help myself. how can i help others. solutions are not easy. they will not come quick enough. the more i look into this, the more questions i have, the more frustration. aren’t we all ready for peace?
the longer i wait, the more i despair.
mellowed and glazed into the quiet of the night, i have time to think. time to wait. 25 minutes he said. i have time to kill. youtube won’t let me play music and vidoes, i think maybe i’ll write.
there was that prompt, about all the balls i’m picking up. piece by piece. the core of my life. everything that fell to the side when you know, i get into those phases. the depressive state.
family – that’s a hard one. the role of daughter and sister is complex. the balance of power figures, strong characters, different thoughts. trying to weave through this, into the drama of relatives, into the issues of those i am forced compassion on. but they are family. and i love them. and i hate to cause them hurt.
friends – there are some relationships which are easier to carry than others. the ones we are eased into. the patterns and nuances. the effortlessness and comfort. those, rare, rare cases of finding someone of the same tribe. and then there is knowing the ones to let go of, for a time maybe, but let go of none the less. that one is a hard act to keep around.
work – this one is especially difficult. the vile necessity of money to maintain the source of biggest joys. for my escape and freedom, i must pay rent, i must pay utilities, i must pay food, and work is difficult when there is no joy and much burden. a dulled mind is a dreary thing, we are slaves to the things we love and anything that separates us from our passion is despicable.
hobbies – when the good shines through there is room for creativity. a few minutes with a pen in hand. a phase jotted down to be forgotten but maybe recovered and used later. to turn a space into a home. to take the time to linger over words. to construct them in my head. there are such little thrills and big pleasures in these activities. but they too require a balancing act of their own.
peace – in the midst of all these thoughts, i find i am in constant search of peace. not happiness. not contentedness. peace. i am in want of still and quiet, of balance and serenity. of being together and so very calm. this state of mind is hypnotic and addictive. i want it to be permanent.
the big questions – i dare not even list them. but the pursuit continues. seeking texts, craving dialogue, wishing for exposure. everyday the questions multiple and my ignorance grows. i am truly, foully, intoxicated by it. don’t ask. i know it’s abstract. but there is something that can be figured out, it feels so close. i’ll keep looking for it forever.
that other life – across the bridge i take off the comfort of my space and put on the cloak i have inherited. on that side of town i am so-and-so’s daughter. there i am wary of strangers who could turn into sources of rumors. there i am conscious of appearance. there i play into the other. the other version of myself. the one more acceptable to the lines of my societies. for them, you know, because i don’t want them to, but they matter.
the future – the most tantalizing ball of course is the unforeseeable future. there in the distant yet-to-be are my worries, anxieties, fears, and nightmares. there is the constant looming darkness that inches closer year after year. it seeps dread into age. it festers into regret. i do not want any of these.
the less distant future – at the same time, the storm is abated by snippets of possibilities. new travels. new experiences. new people. new thoughts. i am so easily seduced by the want of learning. i still struggle to keep it all going.
this list….is growing longer. and i am weary of just how far it could get. for now, these is where i let my thoughts rest. there are the matters of my heart that manifest into the experiences of all that i am. it’s a daunting list but a good list all the same.
don’t mind my madness. i think it’s been just over 25 minutes.
as my mind wandered before sleep my thoughts jumped from island to cloud, ceiling to roof, moon to black holes. i found myself listing the books i’ve read of a future foretold. 1984. Animal Farm. Fahrenheit 451. Brave New World. you know, those types. the ones that tell of the world we are living in now.
i wondered at my disgust of the ‘system’. of us being toyed. of being played. of being watched. turned into robots. of having this desire to resist. to be free. i marveled at how my disapproval had already been immediate. of course this world is wrong. they can’t control us. we must free ourselves. free our body. be willing to be considered mad. rebel. rebel. rebel.
but as these thoughts took legs and sprang into other places, i wondered why i hated this system so much. had i not been taught this in the same way i’ve acquired every other opinion, discrimination, preconceived notions, and judgements? wasn’t this just something else i learned? and if so, could i unlearn it.
what if the system had another story.
what if, the common errors of human experience, of our imperfections, of our emotions, our inability to grow beyond a certain point –what if all of it was leading us somewhere. to the unintentional but inevitable creation of a system that governed us. us, pitiful humans incapable of ruling the self. incapable of avoiding corruption. incapable of resisting temptations–wealth, fame, sex, power. slaves to trivialities. what if we build a system, an order, a big brother, a lover, someone to constantly keep watch. keep us in line. keep us together.
imagine what we’ve done. created something to be submissive to. created someone above ourselves. created it for our own good, and perhaps our own destruction. creating life is child’s play, what if we’ve birthed our god.