Silver Linings

Photo by Thomas Shellberg

Is it the eternal optimism of humanity,
Or schadenfreude taken to inanimate extremes,
That we witness the shattering of a star,
A collapse of the work of a million years,
And think to ourselves, beautiful?

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Metamorphosis

A meadow full of yellow buttercup flowers in full bloom

Photo by Tim Mossholder

I like yellow flowers.

I realize how much has changed;
How the stars appear brighter.
I am wary of the light sometimes.

I remember its deceptiveness.

I catch myself smiling
with a lightness and innocence,
Untouched.
Daydreaming.

As though I did not emerge
gasping for breath
only to submerge again.
And again. And again.

I chide the part of me that smiles,
child-like. I remind her
of happiness that is hard earned;
I tell her to not spend it all at once.

To save some
For nights that are darker
For mornings that are colder
For roads when she finds — I find myself alone.

I tell her to wrap up her smiles
In cotton wool,
To ration out her joy in bits and pieces
A little here and there, wisely.

She laughs loudly — audaciously.
And it sounds like cowbells
On a warm afternoon in the meadow.

She blows bubbles in the bath
And makes smileys on the fogged mirror.
I stand besides her
Trying to protect her from herself.

Someone has to maintain the archives of memories.

But her happiness is absolute
She wants no part of the carefulness.
I hesitate a little, and indulge
Into a smile like sunshine sometimes.
I still like yellow flowers.

Spunk

Photo by Chris Sardegna

She had so much spunk,

That she made oceans out of

The beads of perspiration

That formed at her head

When she looked ahead

At the series of lifeless days

That were coming.

As she acknowledged

The reality of what was to come,

She promised herself

That acknowledgement

Was not acceptance,

And that she refused

To passively wait

For days and months and years

For courage to arrive

And turn her life around.

She refused to simply look

Out of the windows

Of her cage-like dwelling

At the long road that led there.

She stopped waiting

To hear the doorbell

That would spring her into activity

And instead

Got to work herself.

Bracing herself for the tough task,

She started shaking the chains

That tied her to the weight

Of imagined obligations

That no one expected anyway.

The chains were hard to break

But at least they rattled

And betrayed the signs

Of inherent weakness.

For her, for now,

That was enough.

Seeking Solace In Your Past Self

Often, in moments of fear or anxiety, I go back and read my old blog posts; the ones about bravery and growth and optimism.  I smile a little, nod a little, but a lot of times, I just wonder. Many times, I start reading and get lost in the words and suddenly, I realize that I’ve been reading the words as if they are by some stranger, when in reality, they are mine. Was it really me, who wrote these uplifting words? How did I know then?

I used to think that knowledge and experience are things that only grow with time. What I learnt once would be remembered always. Maybe that is not always true. Maybe “knowing” is an ever-changing entity and you may gain something several times and lose it as many times too.

trust yourself......

Image via Pinterest

Maybe growth does not always mean adding to your reserve of strengths. Maybe it just means that it evolves continuously, and the what was once a strength may as well be a weakness now.

I have a love-hate relationship with crossroads and decisions. I like to believe that perhaps everyone does. I like the anticipation of beginning something new. I love that the thought that what may be coming may be wonderful and colorful. But at the same time, there is of course, this fear of choosing the wrong road, and ending up lost. What if that path was better? What if that school was better than this? What if that branch was better than this? Am I in the right place? Am I going in the right direction? Am I making the decisions which will lead me to that life? The one that I have planned?

In retrospect, my past self has always chosen the paths that ultimately turned out to be for the best. Sure, I may have certain small regrets, but by and large, I suppose I am right where I should be. And yet, whenever the time comes for something new, I’m terrified. How did my past self make all these big decisions? How in the world did I know? How did I stand so bravely in the face of all those changes, all those challenges? I feel awed by that self.

Maybe some day, I will read this again. And maybe I’ll have a clearer idea of what it all meant. Maybe someday, my present self will be a solace to the one in the future.

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.