The White Lie

Can nothing be a thing,

That is heavy on the heart?

Can nothing be a knife,

That carves out a hollow in the chest?

Can nothing be dark,

Engulfing the air around, suffocating me?

It seems to have too much character for being nothing.

 

It approaches every night

And I am afraid of sleep.

It approaches every dawn

And I am afraid of the day,

Of going through the motions,

The endless rituals of what we call life,

As I hide behind the mask of a white lie;

“I am afraid of nothing.”

Puppet Show

Photo by Dikaseva

Both hands are tied;

The strings, an intricate pattern

Just barely co-existing,

A mere second away from getting tangled

And messing up the show.

 

She manages to maneuver

All important pieces of her soul

Separating them, letting them meet.

Dancing a delicate dance

That only she knows the steps to.

 

But tugs at both her hands continue

The tangles keep getting tighter.

Her platform is now a stage

And her strings are controlling her;

The puppeteer now a puppet.

On Vulnerability, Bravery and Failure

Trying out new things; the thought makes my stomach plunge a little every time. You know the feeling; a sudden jab of fear, adrenaline, and a worse version of “butterflies-in-the-stomach”. In general, stepping out of your comfort zone, leaving behind “what you know” invokes similar feelings.

I’m generally very good at identifying “what I know”. While that can be a valuable quality to have in various situations, it is also a liability in personal development; I form unnecessary boundaries and define limits for myself.

This is not my thing: not making an attempt.

I’ll try my best but I’m warning you, I’m not very good at this: being apologetic in advance.

I know what all of these statements mask. A fear of failure. What if I try it and find out I’m not good at it? I won’t even try. What if people see me fail? I’ll claim I knew it in advance. All the while hiding behind a claim of self-knowledge and a show of courage.

I’ve spent a lifetime in a cocoon. I’ve cottoned my surroundings to lessen the impact of any stumbling block.  All my life, I’ve held on to things that I know I’m good at. It has stopped me from giving a chance to things that I could have tried and probably enjoyed. And yet, I know I’m missing something; exhilaration. Devoting your whole and soul to something and simply hope for the best.

The past semester has taught me various things. Getting past the feeling of vulnerability is one of those things. I’ve tried to put myself forward, right into that uncomfortable spot, in small, everyday moments of life, consciously. A prick of fear, many moments of “What was I thinking!” and a final dogged attempt later, I’ve always feel glad of attempting the uncomfortable. And in most cases, it hasn’t been that bad. A lot of my inhibitions have been over-exaggerated and sometimes, downright irrational.

In this past semester, I’ve made myself face small challenges every day. I’ve tested and flexed what I thought my boundaries were. I’ve launched heads-on into things that make me uncomfortable. The results have been satisfying. I’ve found new strengths. I’ve discovered a depth in my capacities that I never knew of.

Unfortunately, I’ve found out that such attempts, while very enlightening, have not changed my basic instinct. Which is to save myself from failing. A few days of comfort, and coming back to facing vulnerability is as difficult as ever. Bravery then, is a product of not one (or a few), but many such attempts.

bravery3.jpg

This is my goal now; to continue to challenge myself every day, to try my hand at something new, to conquer that discomfort felt in the pit of my stomach. My goal is to fail, perhaps in the eyes of the world, so that I do not fail myself.

Walled

Note: Sorry for the long absence. I’ve had a great time being busy and working hard. 🙂 In the coming posts, I shall be writing about a lot of things that I’ve learnt in the past few months. But for now, here’s a poem.

This is a backlit photo of a girl sitting in a chair.

Photo via Pinterest

My poetry is a window

To the chasms of my heart.

My words are cloaked by a veil

That only some can tear apart.

 

I weave into ink

What cannot be said.

My poetry is a pattern

Of the mosaic of my soul.

 

I shall stop writing

The day someone discovers

The chink in my armour,

The crack in my wall.

 

For then, it will all be out.

All  fears and dreams;

My desires, all naked

For strange eyes to see.

 

For then, I shall be unclothed.

But for now, I can’t stop.

For now, I have to write.

Or else, the words will die.

Fire

File:Candle flame (1).jpg

Photo by Jon Sullivan (Wikimedia Commons)

The wait is endless.

The outcome no nearer in sight.

But the fears have fallen

On the way in the quest to get.

 

I stand impatiently

On the branching pathways.

Each road better and worse.

Each way beckoning and repelling.

 

I see broken shadows

Of desires; pent-up and hidden,

A lifetime of unspoken wishes

On the path that I’ve come from.

 

But I’ve come a long way

And the past is now

Nothing but that; past.

I look forward, restive.

 

The fierce fire burns within

The wake of passion

Has shaken off

The strings of vulnerability.

 

I am no longer afraid.

Unabashed, I am free to be.

As the fears have fallen

On the way in the quest to get.

Not Being Able To See

In A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson, there is a scene, where the protagonist, Ellen is being interviewed by the principal of the boarding school where she has applied to be a housemother. At one point, he asks her what she fears. And she replies, “Not being able to see.”

Being blind isn’t what she meant. She meant being limited by something (prejudice, love) to be able to gain a clear perspective on a situation. Basically, she meant that she was afraid of being ruled by own emotions, her own fixed ideologies.

I’m sure that many of us struggle with this. There has been a time period in my life when I was so consumed by what was supposed to be, that I failed to see what actually was. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had problems with perfection. It was particularly bad during this period. I had such a clear vision of a Plan, that I couldn’t (wouldn’t) accommodate any curve balls. Admitting to myself that I tried something and failed isn’t easy for me. It’s not about other people; I don’t accept my own failures with an open mind. And this is the reason why I could only see my so-called “failures” instead of what I had actually achieved.

Today when I look back at that time, I realise that the situation wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t like my life was doomed if just one single thing went wrong. My plans weren’t that off-the-track that I couldn’t redeem. I know now, that I could have avoided a lot of pain, tears, irrational fears, had I been able to see.

Today has been one of those days. You know, when nothing seems to be going right. When your judgement is addled by mood swings. When your own view becomes so myopic  that everything seems a disaster. I was agonizing for half a day about what was going wrong with absolutely everything. For the major part of the day, I could only see the flaws.

And then I stopped. I decided to let life happen, in its own way.

It’s so easy to become lost in the perfect picture of the future. I’ve mentioned before that I make a conscious effort at trying to be in the present. It still doesn’t come that naturally. But I try.

I fear it too; not being able to see. Because I know what that kind of narrow-minded worry can do to me. Instead, I try to let out the steam; cool off, call up my mother and rant about people and things that she barely knows. But I try not to let that anxiety sit in my heart. It’s better to be annoying to others for a little while than harm yourself with worry. People who are close always understand.