32

I turned 32 yesterday.

Life goes on. On and on and on. I do an OK job of turning up at work, keeping my appointments, seeing (some) people, making conversation. heh.

Existence has always been a bit bothersome. I’ve always had a foot in melancholia.

So here we are. 32. And perfectly comfortable in a certain kind of sadness. A certain type of gloom. A depth defying sorrow. I get up and go about , looking at existing, and some days , I swear, it feels like an out of body experience.

Someone at work blow-dries my hair, I wear a new dress, put on eyeliner. I look at all of it and I know I am here. Here. Proof. I have pictures. I went somewhere yesterday, I had lunch with my darling nephew today. My father and I made sandwiches for dinner.

This is where I truly belong.

Being parentless is extremely hard. Being without my mother, the person she was, the person she was to me, the person who without fail stood up for me at every turn, the person who loved me endlessly, who always came forward to  wipe my tears, to look at me with nothing less than kindness and love; losing her has opened up an abyss of emptiness for me.

And so. Here we are. Another birthday come and gone. How strange is life. How strange is it that I should be here, feeling all this , living this life?

Sweety.

Sweety died she died so hard
She shook the ground in my back yard
We lowered her down with a golden chain
And every link we called her name

Bye bye Swee, You good dog you
Bye bye Swee
You good dog you.
-Adapted from an old folk song-

 

Sweety was a gentle dog, a good dog. But mostly, she was a friend. She dominated the second decade of my life. We loved her , but she loved us more. Who can tell if I could have made it through life without her. I certainly couldn’t.

I think fondly of all of my memories with her, the time we lived at the Summit Flats, when she would lounge by the window by the stairs. And I would read and drink tea, leaning on her tummy, sitting on a step or two below her. She would look at the butterflies and when the wind came up, she would sigh contently.

In the evenings, she would take herself to the nearby school playground, and play with a dozen other neighborhood dogs. When I walked back home from work, she would see me from afar, and jog along the fence from inside the playground. At the gate, she would swiftly climb under it and we’d go home , she jumping all over me , dancing around me, and me laughing and wondering if I seem a bit mad.

The neighborhood loved her. If I happen to come home early from work, I would find her playing with a soldier from the camp next door and she would look at me guiltily, but she wouldn’t come home until it was time for the soldier to go away. Hrrrmph. I would say when she finally made her appearance.

She would wake up with my father, go downstairs and wait with him  while he cooked. While she waited by the kitchen door, she learned to grow a grudge on some pretty weird effin crows , who took it their hearts to torment her by sitting on the trees behind the kitchen, then flying low over Sweety’s head and going back up to their posts. Sweety hated this. She would wait silently , until they came close enough and would snap snap snap but her sparkly eyes gave her away. She took this to be play.

She was also spoiled. My father made her meals seperately and she hated it if anyone else attempted to make her meals. She would starve herself for a couple of days , if he had to be away and someone else took care of her. She would also sleep in his bed , while he was gone.

For such a cutie, she had such ugly boyfriends. I would hear my father scolding her about it in the mornings. He would wonder outloud where she was all this time and that he was  not happy with her choice of boyfriends. So ugly. He would say. I would say she had a type. Missing ears, wobbly legs, patches of fur gone. The more run down looking, the better she loved them. She even kept this one boyfriend for a long many years before she dumped him for someone far less appealing.

She had a best friend next door who was  a big German Shepherd who was about three times bigger. They would play in the sand for hours on end, having such a ball ! When Sweety once tried to slip through a barbed wire fence to go to the camp side, she was badly scratched on her back and it was the German Shepherd’s owners who took her in and dressed her wounds.

Once at my mother’s house, which she loved for all the space it provided for her roam around in, she went sniffing through the woods behind the house and alarmed a porcupine. She came home with a few darts in her neck, passed out and my father cancelled his day to take care of her. He cancelled our christmas, for the first time in his life, when she was taken seriously ill a couple of years ago.

Long years ago, nursing a broken heart late at night, I would stay up and she stayed up with me nuzzling my neck and licking my face.

We trained her to travel long distance since we travelled back home quite a bit and she always travelled in my lap so that she wouldn’t get car sick. At the vet, she would hide her face in my shoulder and stay there till the good doctors were done with what they had to do.

She was a good dog and we loved her. From the first day, when she licked my face at first sight, to her very last, she loved us more. I miss her immensely, there is a Sweety shaped hole now in my heart. I don’t know if I could ever fill it.

Isn’t it strange how we are made up of the people we love, the pets who take away our loneliness, the gardens we walked in? Now some of the people we loved are gone and in their places are only these memories. And that’s ok. Grief and loneliness are not something we are meant to get over. They just reshape us , we morph into different creatures , we go on, our sadness now a permanent part of ourselves. I accept this.

I feel as if my soul had to stretch on to accomodate all the pain. If my mother, and then my bestest dog Swee, had to teach me one thing, it was to love and love anyway, despite how others may see you or treat you. I’ll try to remember this.

If there is such a thing as heaven, my mother must now have company. I imagine my mum and my dog walking on the golden shores together, smiling happily, while calm waters lap silently at their feet. I imagine locks of my mother’s soft curly hair , ruffled by the wind, she would pat them away the way she always did, while Sweety would squint her eyes at the wind and grin which she always did whenever the wind came up.

Rest in peace.img_20160703_101104.

 

 

 

The letter

My mother wrote me a letter last November , for my birthday.

The day it arrived, I was going to the mall with one of the very few friends I made in Jersey City. I grabbed my mail and exit the building from the back door while my friend watched me quizzically. Why did you use the backdoor?  He asked. The mailbox is at the back, I told him. I read the letter sitting in his car, then in the mall, sitting on a bench in the lobby. I watched as a young mother and her squealing toddler played hide and seek. My friend had a haircut. When he was done, we walked around in East Meets West and he bought incense. When he left , I went back to my bench and read the letter again.

She wrote beautifully. She ended the letter wishing me and Darling all the best in everything we do.

When we left Jersey City, I packed all my books and postcards and letters in the shipping boxes, the letter, in one of them.

We came back, a month later amma died and another month later, the boxes arrived and in it, the letter. Her voice echoed in my ears once more. It was as if I found her again, even though I can never have her back.

“No matter what happens in your life, do not lose courage.” she wrote.

Funny you should say that ma. I want to tell her. She would have grinned. I’d love to give into despair especially since you’ve been gone and life feels like a long nightmare. She would’ve crunched up her face before saying “oh but you can do this” .

Oh ma.

I wish she was here. But I have this letter and even though it could never be the same thing , I have her words and I hold onto them for dear life.

In my longest, darkest days, let them light the way.

The way she loved me.

I miss the way my mother used to smile. I haven’t been out all that often since of late, but whenever I met someone and their mother, I felt like I was searching for my own mother in them. Traces of kindness, friendship, love, empathy. So much empathy.

Do you think all mothers are created equal? I once asked her , after I had been snubbed for being an outsider, by a friend’s mum. People are vastly different from one another putha. She said. But all mothers love the same way. I remember not being particularly pacified , but her words managed to make an impression on me ; that she was able to look above someone’s meanness. This seems to have been a recurring theme in her life. I have been stung by the prejudices of other people just as many times as I have been stung by my own, and it was her words that helped me when I had to face people who didn’t seem to quite like me. I could take a deep breath and remind myself that these people deserved my kindness, if not for their attitude towards me but because maybe they were able to love other people the way my mother loved us.

If you have ever been kind to me, please know that I’ve thought of your kindness in likeness to some of the ways my mother was kind to me. Should I ever do anything for you, be it something as small and as simple as making you a cup of tea, please know that I am trying to pass on the light my mother gave me.

I miss her. I miss her presence, I miss the whole of her. This void is limitless. Her smile, her cool skin ( which was always a wonder to me as my own skin has been compared to a coal oven ) , the drops of water on her shoulders after a bath, her big belly laugh.. But I try not to miss her love.

Her love, is eternal.

Contradictions

IMG_20160321_111245

So we all agree that some of us are only made of contradictions.

And love and some tea.

Throw in a chocolate cake will ya please.

One of those contradictions I am contemplating on these days is my need to be alone versus my need for people.

I’ve been a lot more alone than usual this past year. We moved to a new country for a while and in my quest to be with ‘my person’, I also found time. A large amount of it.

Circumstances would have it that I was alone a lot , and that was fine for a while.

 

I also found out that my moods vary between needing people and being drained by them whenever I was with them.

While I’ve always been more towards being by myself, now I found that I didn’t want to be by myself too much, nor did I want to be around other people for more than a few hours.

I am of the breed of people who must pour every inch of themselves into their relationships so a few hours with people I like would mean , I am depleted of any energy for myself.

Owing to age and a hard earned capacity for self-preservation, I now pace my time between social interactions, I say no, I don’t go places I do not fancy.

I am also now good at timing, when making plans, I know when I need to be home , in my PJs, with tea and a book, in bed before I have to carry around a headache, feeling completely dull and gloomy.

It’s nice however to be married to someone who recognizes this about me and is usually sympathetic about making plans. Darling is of the breed of people who has zero need for recharging , who can go from one social gathering to another, spend days walking and seeing places without tiring himself out and can also fall asleep in a heartbeat.

But he would nudge me out of the house if I’ve been cooped up inside too long, but he would never drag me around if I was miserable.

I am also a bit spoilt that way.

But contradictions.

Do you suffer from any ?

 

 

A ‘people’ post , yet again

People Watching

Lost Time by Steven Paul .

I am a bit of a people watcher.

Aren’t we a fascinating bunch ? Walking down the road with our jeans falling off our butts, in our layers of make up and high heels , with our smokes and sandwiches, we spit and scratch and swear. We are amazing.

Anyhoo.

I like watching them. I am not like, creepy or anything you know.:/

It’s always ‘over here’ in contrast to ‘back home’ for me. I am endlessly captivated with the way people smile, the way they move and hold themselves, the way they say hello. Everything feels new.

Or, that would be my mind playing tricks on me.

People are fascinating. I like them. ( On the surface I mean, I would prefer not to get to know them, because that would mean complications.😛 ) So I watch.

We rarely nod to strangers back home and say hello. I mean, I did, I used to talk to strangers whenever the occasion called for it, I do have a vibe that attracts the strangest sort of people to me , that makes them want to talk to me too. But if I mistakenly catch someone’s eye on the street here, people are bound to nod and at least throw a “how are you” or a “you alright” my way.

People are constantly telling me if it’s a beautiful day or a miserable one. They bless me , tell me I am pretty ( I’ll take my compliments where I can get them, I am not fussy, thank you very much. )

On a bright beautiful day last week, a man at the bus stop nodded at me and smiled before he asked if I didn’t think it was a glorious day. I said I sure did.

A boy stopped to shake my hand once and ask for my number and receiving the negative, narrowed his eyes, cocked his head to a side and clutched his heart to say “you are married !!” He walked away in peace.

A lady at the supermarket showed me how to pick the freshest Kale. ( She puts it in the smoothies for her son, makes a spinach and kale sauce with parmesan for pasta )

A girl I encountered yet again at the bus stop was breaking up with someone. “Oh my fuckin’ god , you breaking up with me!?!? ” She half laughed. “At least , have the guts to do it to my fuckin’ face baby.”  She said the word “baby” in the sing song way couples do, only making it seem also like a threat. Should have known you 10 years ago girl friend! I could have used that attitude.

At the MMA academy, I watched the tiniest girl, in her blue karate clothes, climb on to her father’s lap before her classes were to start. She tucked in her feet and her hands and her tiny little head under his chin. He talked to her in low soothing tones, patting her back, chuckling , both of them smiling, I don’t even know what they were saying to each other and from where I was seated, they were all I could see, so I took my constricted heart and my suddenly constricted throat, the sting behind my eyelids and hid behind a laptop and did not dare look up.

*cough* Excuse me.

 

From the graveyards

Sometimes, all I want to do is to put people in little boxes. ( I know, it sounds ridiculous. You can’t go around putting people in boxes , Sachi ! ) But I’ve lived all these years, and it  has taken me all this time to figure out that people aren’t all bad.

Or all good.

Aren’t we made entirely of contradictions? ( Just me? Ok. ) The most confusing of all is how while being utterly good and kind we also have an abundant supply of meanness to reach into whenever we need it.

I’ve seen it people ! I’ve seen it in ME. And I have hated myself because all I’ve ever wanted is to be good and kind and nice.

Behavior truly does breed behavior and the times I wanted to reach into my meanness and pull out some snarkiness was only when I’d been jabbed and provoked and hurt and made to feel small and jealous. So I know what you are thinking. That sounds childish. And it is ! I’ve dealt with my share of sarcasm and hurtful comments in my life, sometimes from the very people I love,  and since of late, I’ve begun to see that just like when I wanted to hurt someone for being hurtful, this bitterness that made these people want to hurt me came from a place where they felt small . Or jealous. Or wanted to feel something that was important to them. Who knows. Can you SEE the vicious cycles that’s starting to get unhealthy?

And boy, do words cut deep!

The biggest struggle in all of this has been about forgiveness. For the longest time, it felt like I couldn’t forgive myself for having all these thoughts. When someone gave me a dig, I took it, and I poisoned it with my own thoughts, and I lay awake at night wondering why, why they said what they said and why they acted how they did. And I still have the hardest time with people who has a knack for back handed compliments, you know where at first you are like oh that’s nice and then bam ! Right in your guts. I felt ugly. How can you live with yourself , I asked myself.

I also continue to have a hard time with snotty uptight people. There are times when you absolutely can not get away and you have to put up with them and they make you feel..basically like crap.

In all of this, my real problems lie with me. While I am not comfortable with The Snots, The Uptights, The Difficults and The Snarks, I am more uncomfortable with myself when I want to react to the way they’ve made me feel. It’s taken me a while to learn my lessons that people are just being people so sift the good from the bad, don’t hang out with them if they make you feel like crap, and for crying out loud, stand up for your self.

but at least now I am here where I know for a fact, if I don’t forgive myself for my thoughts , I am never going to be able to forgive them. Not that they need your forgiveness. But it helps to feel that you are able to, if it came to it.

So here we are.

I’d like to tell you that I’m a better person now, and I know how to deal with difficult people and situations. But I don’t. Experience has proven to be such a difficult thing to master and some days I feel better. Better at composure, nonchalance, wisdom and that much needed frankly-my-dear-ness. There are other days when I want to punch a wall.

Any progress is good progress in my books and progress for me now is the ability to throw my hands in the air, say “Arggghhh” and go make tea .

That’s my rant for the day. Enjoy the show.