// 2:11 a.m.

I can’t sleep.
Am I tired? Sometimes it feels like I’ve been tired for an eternity, and sometimes there’s such an intense fire building up inside me that it engulfs all of my exhaustion.

What am I doing? I wish I had a more poetic answer to that; I wish I could say I was reading, stargazing, or talking to someone about the world. The truth is that I’ve been working. It’s all I ever do lately, so much so that I run out of time to even breathe.

Lastly, am I doing okay? Is anyone? Is anyone out there sleeping everyday with a smile and satisfaction etched across their face? I’d like to meet you. I envy you.
All I know is; I’m holding on and getting by, one day at a time.

My Thoughts on Love // Volume II

If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you’ll remember a post I wrote back in December 2014 titled ‘My Thoughts on Love’ (To read that post first, click here.)

In December 2016, I’m going to write a volume two.

Love.

In volume one I wrote about how I’m a hopeless romantic, and I don’t ‘need’ anyone to complete my life and follow my dreams. A part of me seems scared and terrified of falling in love, because it’s immensely painful to fall out of it. I’m a couple of years older, and maybe a little less fearful now.

People think love is this feeling we’re all supposed to be feeling. They take love and project it as something so vast, that it leaves us wondering if something that grand will ever happen to us. The truth is, the world has romanticized love. They’ve made it seem unattainable, life-controlling and all-consuming, when it’s not.

Love is simple.

I believe you can’t chase love or go looking for it. Love, will come. And when it does, you’ll know. The duration of your encounter with that stranger won’t matter. Where the stranger is from, what they’re doing won’t matter. What your friends and family think won’t matter. Nothing will matter. Only they will matter.

I will admit that I went around searching for love on many occasions and for many years and always returned empty handed and broken hearted. Sometimes, it would leave me unscathed and the other, torn apart. But none of that ever made me believe in love less, none of that made me give up on the hope that maybe one day I will find that missing puzzle piece.

Love will come, give it time. It won’t fall from the sky (or maybe it will?) or show up with flowers at your doorstep. Love will come if you let your heart be open, if you let yourself be accepting. Let yourself believe in what the universe is trying to say, and trust your guts when it whispers in your ear to ‘forget everything and go after what makes you happy.’

And when love does come, everything will fall into place. You’ll never be able to imagine a life without love, and won’t understand how you survived all these years alone. When this happens, and I’m serious, you will be afraid. You’ll be afraid of taking this leap and falling into a hole in which you can’t see the bottom. You’ll be afraid that when love ends, you’ll never be able to climb out. But there’s also this beautiful possibility that maybe this time, you’ll have gotten lucky, and love will stay. After all those torturous years, it’s finally here to stay. If it wants to stay, let it. Jump.

And if love stays, it will get hard, because making love last is never easy. Sometimes you will argue, yell out words you shouldn’t, and curse. You’ll scream and cry and shout, but don’t you ever let yourself leave. Give it time, and remind yourself just why you fell in love in the first place. It’s always easier to leave, but it’s not always the right answer.

And finally, I still support my claim: “You don’t need someone to guide you along the way and to hold your hand through the journey. You don’t need someone else to make you feel good about yourself. Fight for what you want, and do it alone if you goddamn have to.”

For when love comes, it won’t stop you from fighting for what you want, and will never come in the way of your dreams. Love will never stop you from chasing after your goals, and love won’t ever let you believe that you’re not worth it. In fact, love will stand by you for whatever choice you make, and never try and influence you. Love will wipe your tears off when you fall, and will convince you that you can fly again. Love will be cheering the loudest when you reach the top. Love will do all this, because you will do the same.

My statement still stands.

I am a hopeless romantic.

I love love.

🎶 Love Is Easy – McFly 🎶 

// On Being Undermined

As an artist, I believe the worst thing that you can do to an artist is undermine what they create. In a lot of ways, everything a painter or a poet creates, and puts out for the world to see, is personal. To the shade of blue used to paint the curtains to the color of the sunset in the quatrain has some messed-up explanation. Every detail screams truths which are far from what the piece is even about.

Personally, the constant feeling of my writing never being ‘good enough’ engulfs me. There’s not a day which goes by in which I don’t feel the inexplicable urge to delete my blog, and pretend that it never existed in the first place. Every poem I write is so brutally truthful, that posting it feels like exposing my deepest, darkest secrets for the world to see. Yes, most of the time the pain is so deeply cloaked under the shadow of tiny details, that you probably can’t make sense of it, but that doesn’t make the fear go away.

Every morning, I’d look at the things I wrote the night before, and (for lack of a better word) feel stupid. There are honestly very few things I’ve written that I can say I’m actually proud of, and believe them to be something of value. The rest? The rest just seem like useless inklings, something anyone and everyone can write, and pretty much worthless.

You can ask my roommates the amount of times I’d pace around the room, fingers hovering over the ‘publish post’ button and the sheer number of times I’d close the tab, then reopen a minute later. So whenever someone says anything even remotely undermining about it, trust me, I’ve already said the same things to myself a million times. Probably even worse. Most of the published posts on here have been in my drafts for weeks before I gathered the courage to finally put them up.

Yes, art is subjective. Which is what makes it even more difficult to believe in yourself, because there’ll always be someone who’ll think of your art as junk. There’s no avoiding that. I’m not uptight, I’m always up for some constructive criticism. But there’s a very, very thin line between criticism and mockery. Criticism can very easily turn into insult, and nothing can feel worse.

So my point here is simple: you’re not going to like every single piece of writing I put out, but that doesn’t make it bad. It doesn’t give you the right to be cruel about it. I’m always up for helpful tips, but think twice before sending a message, as every poem is like my baby, and you have to regard it as such, too.

Here’s to spreading a bit more positivity, eh?

// On Changes

This month has been full of changes; and I don’t know any other way to deal with it other than write it down. I won’t bore you with the details, but those close to me know what exactly went down, and that’s how I wish to keep it.

Ever since I was 13, I had my own identity, an idea of who I was as a person. And now, almost 5 years later, it’s changed completely. Scary doesn’t even begin to describe it. I believed so much in who I was and what I wanted to be; and when everything just shatters around you in a fraction of a second, you suddenly feel so lost and vulnerable. Heck, I don’t know who I am anymore.

It’s not a bad thing, whatever happened. It did because I wanted it to. But these incidents are the exact of opposite of what I stand for, the exact opposite of who I am as a person.

The past few weeks, I kept telling myself to not overthink it, and to do whatever my brain told me to. I decided to just ‘go with the flow’ and not worry about ‘labels’ and ‘tags’. Everyone I knew agreed that this was probably the correct thing to do, anyway.

The best piece of advice I got was: “Don’t take too much stress over it, and don’t force yourself to act a certain way. Let whatever you do be natural. Hard advice to follow, trust me. Take your time to see what you’re comfortable with. Don’t limit yourself to what you might do. It’s okay to do something uncharacteristic, don’t stop yourself from doing something because you have a preconceived notion.”

So I think I need a few more weeks which pass relatively normally, and figure out who I actually am as a person. I think I need everyone to give me some time, I swear I’ll come around. I always do. As for the people who’ve stood by me through this, I can’t thank you all enough.

// Hold On

I feel like I’ve been having more ‘bad days’ than good ones, lately. Days when it’s almost impossible to get out of bed, and just the thought of making it to class and having to talk to people gives me nightmares, and I sink deeper and deeper into my covers; wishing that the day just ends.

It’s not like I don’t want to go to class, or hang out with my friends, because I do. It just gets physically torturous to get out of bed, put on my shoes and leave the comfort and solitude that is my room. Don’t we all have those days sometimes? When your chest feels heavy and the outside air seems to suffocate you. When nothing anyone does seems to make you happy, and almost all your smiles are forced, just so no one notices that something’s wrong. But something is wrong, and you want to reach out to someone, don’t you? Because I do. I want to scream and shout and cry, all at the same time. But most of all, I want to sleep. Not because I’m tired or unwell, but because sleeping is the least strenuous thing I can do, and time just seems to pass by.

The worst thing about college is the fact that no one cares about anyone else. They’re not supposed to, everyone’s dealing with their own issues, and no one has time to bother. Even your roommates won’t notice that you’ve been going to sleep at 10 every day and still not making it to your 8 a.m. class the next morning. No one notices that you’re skipping meals, or spending way too much time sitting up in bed, trying to convince yourself to walk to class. I mean, they’ll ask you a couple times, and you’ll tell them you’re ‘not feeling well’ or ‘I don’t have class today’ or even ‘I’m not hungry’, and they’ll have to believe you.

In times like these, I really miss family. My sister would always know what was wrong, and she’d know what to do. Whether it was getting me to watch a Disney movie with her, or letting me take her to the candy store and buy chocolate muffins and instant noodles, or ordering pizza and watching some good old Pretty Little Liars re-runs. My mother always knew just how much she had to push for me to blabber out whatever was bothering me, and then giving me the advice that she knows I always need, ”You’re strong enough, and you’ll make it through just like you always have.”

And when days like these occurred more and more often, I knew I’d have to figure it out myself. I ordered pizza just for myself, bought all my favorite snacks. I organized my dresser, picking out my favorite outfit and laying it out to wear for the next day. I took the longest, most relaxing bath, indulging in treating my hair to all the expensive ‘hair masks’  I’d been meaning to try. Then I wore my comfiest pajamas and sat on my desk (which I cleaned, and it somehow helped de-clutter my head) and made a to-do list of all the work I’d been putting off in some pretty pink stationary. I switched out my bed-sheet, re-arranged my pillows and watched Friends till I fell asleep (the first night in weeks that I didn’t go to bed next to tear-stained pillows.)

The next day, I woke up feeling like I could take over the world. I made it to breakfast before class (I hadn’t made it to breakfast in weeks), put on some eyeliner, wore my headphones which blared feel-good Coldplay, and walked to class.

(Yes, the to-do list I made that day is still in the process of getting done, but I believe I’ll get there.)

🎶 Superman – Rachel Platten 🎶

On New Beginnings? // College

Since the start of tenth grade, I’d been dreaming of starting college. It was what I thought of, day in and day out. It consumed my every thought. All I wanted was to move out of my parent’s place and finally be independent, to start life in a new city and meet new people. College provided just that, and I couldn’t wait to get started.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I hated where I lived or who I was around; I had the most lovely people to surround myself with, and they were not the problem. The problem was me, and who other people knew me as.

All I wanted was a fresh start, to go to a place where no one knew me, where no one knew of my past, and I could finally spin myself a new life and have people actually believe it. I wanted a chance to show people exactly who I was and what I stood for, instead of having them hear rumors and lies from everyone else beforehand. I wanted them to see through my facade of ever-present strength and the intricately spun lies I lived in.

Naturally, I shook off dying friendships and quit trying to salvage lost relationships, threw away clothes that reminded me of the time that was long gone, bought a new phone that I could now fill with new pictures and memories, and songs which would now remind me of the happy moments that were about to arrive. I went shopping, filled my suitcase with the wardrobe of the kind of person I wanted to become, cut off my hair like I’d always wanted to, and hopped on that flight. I was ready, or so I thought. No one I knew was as prepared as I was, and yet, trust me, you’re never really ready for this.

I’m the most unattached and emotionally unfazed person you’ll encounter, and yet, the first two days I spent in my new room were petrifying. All the things I was so enthusiastic about, suddenly doomed in front of me intimidatingly. I didn’t even know my way around campus yet, and I couldn’t bring myself to remember the names of the hundreds of people I met every day. I didn’t eat food in the mess for those two days, because the idea of going to a room full of strangers you don’t know, grabbing a plate and eating lunch was now the most daunting task I could think of. Suddenly, I didn’t know where I was, or what I was supposed to be doing. I didn’t know the language the shopkeepers spoke, or what half the things were even called. I didn’t want to encounter any of this, when did I sign up for this kind of intense pressure?

Needless to say, I panicked. I called up my best friend and told him that I think I made a terrible mistake and that I don’t think I was ready for this yet. The reply I got was precisely what I needed to hear, “Dwija, if you get intimidated by college, I doubt what any of us are going to go through. You’re the strongest person I know, but right now you’re just being stupid. Play some music, and unpack your bags. I swear you’ll make it through this, and you’ll find your people in no time. You always do. That’s the only plus-side to your quality of letting people go easily; that you find new ones just as fast.”

In a weird way, that turned out to be true. I found my family here in no time, and saw that I barely missed people back home. It’s been two months, and I still find people spending hours on the phone talking to their old friends, and yet I never even bothered to text them after I left.

There are so many things people don’t tell you about college; of how you never know where to go to be alone, since there’s no place which gives you complete privacy. No one tells you that it never gets easier to use the communal bathroom, and how there’ll always be people you don’t recognize in your room. I suddenly regretted the fact that I never learnt to do the laundry or use the washing machine, or how to clean up my plates and bowls after me. Everything seemed expensive, and I felt pressurized walking around with so much cash in my wallet. This kind of huge responsibility was new to me, and I didn’t feel confident enough to undertake it. My whole idea of time was now warped; I didn’t know how long it’d take to get from one building to another, and always ended up reaching way too early or way too late for class.

But the worst part is how you meet people who’ve figured it all out already, while you don’t even know your timetable by heart. They’ll have cleared exams you weren’t even eligible for, and interned at companies you only dream of scoring a job at in the future. These people make you question your own life goals and long term plans, and make you feel like you’re the single most unaware and lost person in this entire establishment.

Then there’s studying, a routine you *thought* you had down already, right? While giving my first exams here, I realized that everyone studies differently, and at different times. Back home, I’d switch off my phone, lock myself in a room and study till I felt confident enough. Now, that was a next to impossible. I had girls knocking at my door at 3 in the night, recommending books and asking questions I couldn’t make head and tail of. All that just throws you off, and you have no clue of what to study and where to study from. Plus, count in the added pressure of the ‘first ever college test’ and you’re sure to incur a mental breakdown. I didn’t have my mother anymore, making me coffee during my late night study sessions, or my father wishing me luck and telling me he loves me before I run out of the door. In an irrational way, I began to miss my sister, who’d wake up before I left for any important paper, and groggily reassure me that she believed in me and that I’d studied enough, even though she barely knew what I was supposed to be studying.

Back home, everyone has their special spots, their little niches where they’d go and contemplate when life put forward decisions that were too arduous to make. Here, it’s hard to even find an empty sink to brush your teeth in the morning, right before an 8 a.m. class. Then there’s this feeling that still hasn’t disappeared; the explainable sensation that this is somehow just a vacation, and you’ll be going home soon. The truth still hasn’t sunk in of how this is my home now.

There was this freedom that I just couldn’t quite fathom, the emptiness and yet, the abundance of responsibilities that were now showered on me. I could do anything, which meant I could stay up all night watching a movie, or I could spend that time working on assignments. You never really thought you’d miss you parents’ nagging at you to study? You’ll soon realize just how much you needed it.

Here’s my message to everyone starting college: you’re not alone, and everyone around you is just as terrified as you are. You need to believe in yourself before anything else, and trust yourself to make the right decisions. You’ll make it through this, trust me. Everyone does.

Up Up And Away

I won’t deny it, I didn’t think I had it in me to move ahead, to ever be so okay with myself that the memories from that period of my life become nothing but a faint, familiar tingling sensation in the back of my neck. I won’t lie to you, no one thought I’d be able to, too.

I don’t know what happened, but I think I found myself in the process of trying to be okay with losing everything I ever stood for. All the pillars on which my entire being is built, shattered all around me. And likewise, my heart crumbled into tiny little pieces and disintegrated in my bloodstream. For a brief time period there I think I lost my heart, and somehow couldn’t locate my soul. I don’t know if it’s scary, because the base of fear is your heart, and I don’t think I had that anymore.

Bear with me, this is a happy story. It doesn’t really end in flowers and sunsets, but in a wild forest fire which charred my entire life down until nothing remained, but ash and an unscathed, but empowered, me.

I think somewhere down the line I just accepted how things were. I can’t romanticize what in fact was a painful and self-realization filled journey towards a new life. I did not wake up one day and believe in a greater dream, but instead I slowly and steadily undid the strings that were suffocating me and revealed someone I hardly recognized, but fell in love with instantly. I slowly pried open my body, vein by vein, and excruciatingly pried out the shrapnel of the explosion that were somehow stuck to my skin like a drunken tattoo, the morning after.

This is probably the first time I allowed myself to write about it, just because I feared that if I let myself wander in these thoughts again, I’ll snap back into that zone and get sucked into that warp that I had lost so much to escape from in the first place. But I’m strong enough now, and I am nowhere near snapping back.

So listen up: if I can rise from the ashes and renew myself, so can you.

🎶 Comforting Sounds – Birdy 🎶