Tag Archives: Love

The Broken Glass Inside My Head

Last week I watched Deadpool. I hated most of it. It reminded me too much of a world that is always dancing on the edges of my peripheral vision. Memory is too close for comfort. I’ve been there. I’ve lived that life.

The movie is made for and about people living safe, suburban middle-class lives and fantasizing about how larger-than-life, how badass, how utterly above ordinary they are. It’s called substance abuse for a reason and this is a world that doesn’t live, it abuses. Every single thing that makes one feel is abused – work, the environment around, friendships, flirting, food, sex, love and conversations. The flirting-by-fighting, the ‘let’s see who’s life sucks the worst’, the assholier-than-thou attitude, it is all so toxic. And I’m never far away enough from it to feel comfortable enough to laugh.

Manisha saw one of my tweets about it being the kind of movie my ex might like and that being a good enough reason to dislike it. She told me later,

“I wondered how long you were going to let that guy get to you.”

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

I’ve been struggling to keep afloat for more than a year now, a fact that some of my more regular readers have noticed. People have been kind, very kind, the way I remember from my early days of blogging. Not at all like the poisonous cesspools that most internet forums and comments sections are these days. I am trying to be as honest as I can, after a few years of hiding behind personas (ever since I lost the comfortable anonymity of being just IdeaSmith). And I’m grateful that I’m not being slaughtered.

A stranger stopped me at an event, introduced herself as a reader and asked how I was doing, that my last post had sounded so sad. Someone who had only ever spoken to me from behind anonymity wrote me an email trying to help and turned into a friendship. And readers are speaking up again, to me, after years of silence.

It’s hard to be me, as I truly am, honestly and with dignity. I’m grateful the world allows me my tears, my messes and overlooks my indignities. Even the fact that sometimes I forget that it lets me be so.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

Today was a day of sudden stumbles. I was eating what I thought was a peaceful breakfast when the doorbell rang (uncharacteristic for the hour). I jumped and with that my glass of orange juice fell and shattered. All I could do was stare at it, bewildered. And the doorbell rang again. I left the orange-stained shards of glass lying on the floor. At the door, the watchman was standing telling everyone on the floor that there would be no water supply that day.

Mechanically, I picked up way through the glass shards, ignoring the silicon crunches and filled up water in the buckets. And then I came back and stared at the floor. I know shattered glass should be picked out in big pieces first, then swept and then mopped with a wet cloth to remove even the tiny fragments. How does one sweep a sticky, wet puddle?

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

I developed up a headache mid-afternoon, slight nausea and an enveloping darkness inside that has come to feel familiar. I shut my computer, drew the curtains, laid out my yoga mat and started a meditation on an app I downloaded ages ago but never used. I didn’t hear most of what was being said. But I awoke 4 minutes before my alarm went. It was different. Most waking up these days feels like a heart attack. Shock. Fear. Dread. Pain. Struggle. Struggle. Endless struggle. But this time, I just sat up in the darkness, curled my feet to me on my yoga mat and laid my head on the tops of my knees. A few minutes later I felt like I could stand up.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

I’ve been falling sick and relapsing chronically all this year. Last year I embraced the rose quartz, a stone that I’ve avoided ever since I developed an interest in crystals. Rose quartz is best known for being the love stone; also the healing stone. But every rose quartz I touched would give me a headache, nausea sometimes and even a feeling of giddiness. Swati, my healer friend, suggested that there were a lot of emotional tangles in me that needed to get expressed and that the rose quartz crystals were bringing them out. I finally got tired of being afraid (as I tend to do) and faced my fear, told it to do its very worst.

It started off deceptively. But that’s a feature of the energy rose quartz espouses too – subtlety is another face of gentleness. I drew a lot of Librans into my life. Crushes and flirting happened aplenty. Good food and beauty as well. And the year ended with a close brush with love. Love left too. And since then, I’ve been falling in and out of sickness.

I realised three weeks into January and a messed up respiratory system that I had had a rose quartz crystal next to my bed all that time. I immediately put it back inside. My cold started getting better the next day and it was all gone soon.

Ten days ago I took it out again. I have many flaws but I am no coward. And if that rose quartz is going to help me heal those flaws, I’ll brave whatever I must. The cold and cough were back again the next day. As was the utter deadpan dread that gave rise to my last post. I’ve been putting the rose quartz away at intervals and taking it out for one night or one day at a time. I am learning subtlety as well.

As it turns out, the crystal reads this too. I spent three hours mid-week crying. The incident that triggered it was not new. For once, I just let it all go and cried and cried and cried. To my surprise, when I was cried out, I didn’t have a headache. I even slept well and woke up the next morning feeling clearer-headed. Not angry, not resigned, not rebellious, not sad. Just that ‘one foot in front of the other and breathe’ feeling that I associate with feeling light and healthy.

Two days later I was struck with feeling so parched I spent the whole day drinking water. Even my skin started to itch and wouldn’t stop until I had slathered on three layers of cream. So thirsty. Twenty years of pent up pain is starting to come out and it’s bringing both floods and drought.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

I finished the article I was supposed to write. I even made it to the Open Mic. And when the last performers went up, I found myself tapping to their rhythms, cheering as they hit smart ideas and sharp notes in unison. They were a beat boxer and a rapper duo going by the name of SENSE. All I could feel was a sense of joy. Such young boys, not even old enough to vote but with such ideas about politics. All there was in their performance was their rhymes and their rhythm. It has been a really long time since music touched me in that blind, pure way. It has gotten so adulterated in my experience.

It made me wonder whether rap was so hard for me to deal with because my ex was just not very good. And as gently and as quickly as a wave on the beach, that idea left me. It really did not matter. It was as easy as that.

Yes, some days it is possible for the past to feel like no more than recollections in my head that can be turned off at will, like a TV set, with very little impact on reality. On many other days it feels like I’m fighting stuck inside a dark, sticky, poisonous monster.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

Yesterday was strange too. But I performed, which is always good energy into and out of me. And I watched Swamini who has never been a stranger, since our first conversation, perform. And the De is back with his twinkling eyes and his jokes hiding an occasional nugget of wisdom. Today I changed my profile pictures on Twitter and Facebook to photographs he took yesterday – both in colour and both smiling. It’s good to have smiles, colour and Shaunak back.

Life is not a party, not a lesson, not an adventure, not a song. It’s a bit of each of these sometimes. It has its moments of grace and of dignity but it’s never uniformly graceful or dignified. And the tears must fall when they will.

Love As A Matter of Habit

UntitledA doctor friend defined love as ‘primarily a form of OCD’. I pondered over the idea for a week and indeed, it gave me a way out of the end-of-love situation I was facing at that time.

When I’m facing the inevitable disillusionment, discontent and general dissatisfaction that sets in after the dramatic highs of the sort of relationships I get into, I know this. I know I’ll get over it, eventually. I can even estimate how long it’s likely to take me. What I didn’t know until the doctor’s prescription, is how I would get to that place of ‘over it’. Do I know now? I suppose I do. If love is just another form of OCD, a habit, I can figure it out. I know about making and breaking habits. Goals work for me, organising is my strength. I just have to focus on what parts of the person or relationship constitute habit in my life and figure out ways to get out of those habits.

I need to stop eating that particular food for about six weeks so it doesn’t immediately pull up the memory of him cooking it for me. Because then when my body is processing the dopamine hit from the food, my brain connects it to his memory and to him. Break that pattern, learn a new one. I’m so Pavlovian.

I‘ve never been addicted to any of the common afflictions around. I’ve tried most of them and I still dabble as often and as much as I want. It’s not that I have stronger willpower than most people. It is that I know how to manage habit. I’m good at organising actions, thoughts and motivations into bite-sized pieces and feeding them to myself (or other people, if required) in a staggered out way. It requires a fine blend of deprivation in tiny quantities and rewards on a periodic basis. It’s not rocket science and I am good at it.

I am speaking often now to a former love. He’s going through some hard times right now. Off and on over the past few years, we’ve reconnected briefly. A lunch here, a movie there, coffee and some messages. Then we get into newer habits with other people and lose touch till the next time we reconnect. I think it suits us, not making a habit of each other.

I spoke to another ex today, who is married to a friend of mine. I set boundaries in this relationship by changing or insisting on certain times, places and conversations. We only ever meet outside homes. Only sit on opposite sides of a table. No hugs except at the end of a meeting. We discuss the past in detail but the present, only superficially. This relationship gets defined by the habits we both agree to. Periodically he breaks a habit and in response, I create a new one. We stay in balance.

And finally, this now explains my restlessness at the start of any relationship when nice things get done and said. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it. But I fear that it will turn into a habit that I become dependent on. And who knows better than I, how acutely messing up a schedule can hit you?

This works for me. The only trouble is, I draw people who are the exact opposite of me. People who enjoy the excuses and hiding places that chaos, the lack of habit/OCD affords them. Then again, I suppose you could say I enjoy solving puzzles and what are relationships like these but puzzles to be solved?

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* If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

Completely Pointless Ramblings on Love

Today I’m going to talk about love. It’s an overused term, I know. But I haven’t written about it in a long time. Not really. I have been suspicious of love, waged war with it, tried to control it, compartmentalise it and even ignore it. Today, I sit down with it like it’s an old friend, a welcome visitor to my life. Bear with me if I sound preachy in this post. It is not my intention to do so. What claim do I have, to speak knowledgeably about love, other than my own experiences? Writing is my way of telling myself, listening to myself and trying to make sense of myself.

Love. Love isn’t sex. We keep getting told that, as well as how women tend to mix these two more often than not. I don’t know if I’ve learnt the lesson well enough. But I know it is a lesson.

Love is also not romance. This was an unexpected lesson to learn. Love isn’t pretty, pink or pleasant (or any of those ChickLitey ‘P’ words). It is not fun or euphoric. Those are caused by chemicals that burn off just as quickly as they start. I’ve been meeting a lot of charming people lately. They are good listeners, good talkers. They smile and make me smile. There are compliments and flowers and chocolates and sweetness and light. There’s charm. There’s nothing wrong with these things. Except that one tends to mistake these for love and when they vanish, there’s the heaviness of disappointment to deal with. That is really ugly.

Love is not politically correct. The last person I know with absolute certainty that I loved, is more than five years younger than I am. He wasn’t nice to my friends and they did not like him. He was antisocial and selfish. But I loved him and  he loved me, I think. That is what made the two year relationship and the engagement (which sadly, didn’t result in marriage) happen. Nothing else mattered. And that is what they mean by love conquers all.

Love doesn’t restrict itself to romance novels. It doesn’t stay within the boundaries laid by governments, families and ideologies. It refuses to be pinned down by stamped paper or weighed down by a gold pendant on a yellow thread. But sometimes it does grow in old friendships and in associations you take for granted.

Love probably should be trust. Though it’s got nothing to do with trustworthiness. Or logic or credibility or past experience. Trust – why do we use statistics of the past to determine that, when it’s about futures that can’t be determined? Statistics can’t even accurately determine whether a coin toss is going to land Heads or Tails. One trusts because one does; that’s all. And that might be the nature of love.

The Phone Call

My truth comes calling, on an international phone call
Sounding exactly like every other person who thinks
They have something important to say to me
Except this one always does
For sure, her words are truth, her truths truer.

She thinks I need to be better, work harder, be smarter at my job
I know, I know, I haven’t done it all yet
“Oh, didn’t they promise you that last month?”
I hate her for saying that
Hate her even more because it was 6 months back, not last month.

This was five days ago and I’m still frowning in my sleep
I know because when I wake up, my jaws hurt from clenching them
Every hour from midnight to seven, she reminds me,
“Wasn’t that promised to you 6 months ago?”
Every night she invades my dreams and every day she dogs me.

I won’t take her calls anymore, I decide, I’ll block her, delete her number even
Who needs this constant pressure?
And I plunge into being better, working harder and being smarter at my job
And hope and pray that it’ll help me forget
That she only ever remembers to call once a year.

Social, Secretly Human

So I’ve been checking out some of the popular Dating apps recently. I was intrigued by Tinder, my interest part professional and part personal. The friend who told me about it also mentioned OkCupid, a service whose blog (with charts based on users replies to answers) intrigued me years ago.

My first impression echoed that of women across the globe. Men were falling over themselves trying to connect in some manner, many of them uninteresting, boorish and outright offensive. Despos, I decided and cut down my activities, even deleting a profile. This I’m told, is not unusual either, for women.

Recently though, I got onto the other app-of-the-season: Secret. Now this one intrigued me for other reasons. I started as an anonymous blogger, a state I tried to maintain for many years before having to ‘come out’ before I was outed more unpleasantly. Would other people finally get the lure of the shadows, I wondered. And the voyeur in me wanted to know what secrets people would share.

Secret turns out to be not at all like its almost namesake PostSecret. Or rather, it has the ‘dumb’ secrets that occasionally show up on that site in between horrific stories of rape and touching ones of unrequited love or physical disability. It also has the Twitterisms like slytweeting (slySecreting?), short form jokes and self-promotion. And finally after all that, comes a secret or two that gets lots of hearts and comments. The one I’ve been following says,

“I think I just went on a first date with my future wife.”

That secret actually went up weeks ago. But people showed up and offered support, empathy and interest. The author posted a little later on the thread with an update on how he (I presume) was feeling and about the girl. More comments. A few days later, more updates about waning interest. Commiseration and shared stories.

It made me think, what is it that reaches out and touches people uniformly world over? We are looking for companionship, for validation, for support, for empathy, for appreciation. We give it different names. We personalise this uniform need with our own individual nuances by defining rules for how we look for it and where we get it. But we are all looking for it. I don’t want to call it what I know you’re thinking. That’s an overabused word. You know it. And we all want it.

This was the first secret that I wanted to comment on and here’s the comment I left. I know it’s a secret but it is mine and I’m sharing it, in the way I shared my secrets years ago when there wasn’t an app for it – as IdeaSmith.

“Sigh. I wish this secret had come up a fortnight ago. Because that would be the date I went on and I’d say ‘I feel that way about you too’.”

Oh well. I’m looking as well. 🙂

#Ideastory: Play-acting

IMAG3039_20140130003154158

Let us drift on an ocean of ideas and call it conversation
Let’s share an AHA! moment and mistake it for compatibility
Let us feel the camaraderie of fellow voyagers and call it love

I will if you will. Shall we call it a date?

#Ideastory: Glasses

Love is blind, he says and falls asleep.
So cliched, she thinks
But she takes off her glasses
And snaps them in half.

#ideastory

View on Path

Love Is Such An Effort These Days

I miss being in love. The feeling that saves you in the morning, one minute after you awaken into a mundane day. That stomach-clenching, gut-wrenching, breath-stopping, cliche-spewing sensation that surprises you often. That nervous, embarassing cloud that surrounds you and feels strangely good. I miss it.

No. Missing being in love is just loneliness, the lonely of not having a dream to inspire and carry you over life’s utter mundanity. It isn’t quite that, even if I am lonely.

I miss how easy it used to be to fall in love. I miss its effortlessness. I miss not even knowing that it could be an effort.

I feel my age now. In my body, some, yes. But mostly in this tiredness. I worry more about being hurt. Whether my sentiments are reciprocated or not matter more to me now than they ever did. And even if I now know I will survive heartache and pain, I just don’t feel I have the patience for it anymore.

What do you when you tire of the effort of living, when you don’t know if you have the will any more for the very thing that makes life, worth living? You start to get old, to decay.

Last month, I injured my foot and sustained a fracture. I pushed myself, my independent self, into diagnosis, medication and healing. Then I strapped on an ugly bandage, unwieldy boots and a grim look to face my days’ schedule. I’ve been alone the past few weeks.

Exactly one friend checked in on me. The others were busy, caught up in their own lives and my family was out of the country. I asked myself if I was being heroic. Indeed I have that flashy, drama queen streak to me. But this wasn’t it. There is no glory in surviving a lone existance.

I wanted to see what the rest of my life was going to look like. Here’s what I found. A steady, peaceable existance, devoid of drama or much fluctuations. I barely noticed when day turned to night and vice versa. I didn’t hurt, didn’t worry, didn’t frown, didn’t nothing.

The house is full again and I have complete mobility now. Nothing stops me from going out and meeting people now. And in two days I’ve experienced hurt, awkwardness, discomfort, worry, irritation, anger and bitterness. I don’t like my city, don’t feel home here. My social circle makes me restless, not invigorated. And living feels like such an effort all over again. I think I’m better off cocooned in complete solitude than a world devoid of the chance for love.

Generous

Ruthless

* Earlier here as Extremist.

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