Rejected by your past And now you have moved To a point distant From where you left off A once seemingly final And absolute place A crippled soul lying in rot And a newer one shabbily superimposed And your eyes reflecting The play of this two layered world Of distortion and romance Of confusion and ambition Of damage and beauty Of death and destiny Complementing and contradicting A war between two selves Neither is true And you will never fathom The complexity Or the impending disaster The relative motion of both Caught in an ebb and flow Inculcating and appropriating Snippets along the way Of left over spirits And discarded feelings And hand-me-down love Under the mercy Of a vision Of tomorrow.
Do you know what it feels like? It’s like losing a piece of a completed jigsaw puzzle. When you have seen with complete satisfaction what the whole looks like but now a small piece missing has rendered everything pointless. It’s like that one small void has taken over everything, spread like an infection. It’s just one empty space, just one gap in the beautiful picture, but it feels like it’s protruding like a tumor. It’s like watching your hand burn slowly, while a pail of water lies just there. The emptiness inside burns more than any fire, beginning at the heart and radiating outwards. Till it consumes you. Makes you a part of it. You collapse into your own core like a star at the end of its life. The limbs that would spring into action after seeing them now carry no emotion. It’s like a nail that snapped off a wall and the painting it held crashed to the floor. When a cyclone destroys everything and smashes every castle you built and dreamt of living in but the factor of time continues, on and on and on and on and on. Everything remains the same. But you just lost a piece. And now the picture is ruined. But the most you can do is see the ruins and try to make sense of it. You try to rationalize the tragedy and see if it makes any sense, as a consolation, as an afterthought to all your depression, as a funeral for your guilt, but there’s no coffin for your past.
And it’s scary to think of abandoning this. It means you have to leave your artwork. Your creation. Something you both worked on. Because that’s how love works, like a painting. You two work together to express your vision, some like it deep and symbolic, others prefer minimalism, some like it wild and abstract, but abandoning each other is like abandoning your artwork in between. The hardest thing about ending, is starting again. Finding someone with the same vision as yours, who looks at the canvas with the same passion as you, the same perversion and destructive tendencies as you, every stroke of paint is as measured and precise as yours, the same amount of emotion going into it, and as you stand by admiring your work, holding each other’s hands, the painting seems perfect. Time stops. Will you find someone like that, again?
A part of your soul has died. A world far away from the real one has just crumbled. You have been jerked away from this heaven and pulled back to the painful reality of mundane existence. It’s like a high wearing off after your first smoke, the warm fuzziness giving way to your cold and rational self. Every interaction with other humans is fake and shallow. You suddenly realize how weak and helpless you are, and how much of life can be drained out of you in a few hours. And you’re obsessed with time. Time, the supreme driver of all reality keeps moving, indifferent to the reactions in your brain and the hormones in your system. Hope and expectations are evil at times like these. Because time doesn’t wait, it discards the inefficient.
He lay back on the bed, his big belly protruding rather vulgarly into the space around him, looking outside the window at the garbage dump nearby. He wished the window had shades so he could avoid looking at the scene outside but rains had covered the glass with fog and it was getting thicker and denser by the minute. He let out another cloud of chemical smoke from his mouth and let his large body stretch and relax. A lot had happened in the life of the towns’ richest businessman in the last few months and he had managed to remain in the news quite frequently.
On the floor sat Rosy (what a cliché name, he always thought), the Eunuch hooker to whom the room belonged, she sat there reading a children’s book about alphabets though she was about 25 herself (Rosy preferred the female pronoun. Being a male meant less business). He was one of the few who actually knew where she lived, he was a frequent customer after all ,and one who did not want to be seen anywhere around the Red Light District.
‘You shouldn’t be sitting with a children’s book, it’s a turn off.’ He said with evident displeasure in his voice.
‘I am all but trying to learn how to read.’
He chuckled. ‘And what do you plan to read?’
‘Rene Descartes to begin with, maybe some Baruch Spinoza and some Voltaire as well. But they are the first ones to come to mind, I have a lot of other works on my wish list as well.’
He was dumbfounded. ‘What does any of that mean anything to you?’
‘It means a lot to all of us.’
‘Why should their thoughts mean anything to a lowly street whore?’
‘Ah, it is simply a matter of interest.’
He chuckled again. ‘And what interested you in them?’
‘A man. He would come here very often, the only other person who knew where I live.’
‘He came here to talk about that?’
‘He came here to talk about a lot of things. You see he was a man full of doubts, and this was his safe space.’
‘Quite a place he chose.’
‘I went to him first, to meet him when I first came to this area.’ She continued, ignoring him, ’I was going through hell and the brothel business was a nightmare. I felt disgraceful, dirty, and imprisoned. But I remember what he said to me after listening calmly to my grievances, words nobody had ever uttered before ‘you live and work in an island where you’re not bound by the chains of morality or expectations, you have the privilege to see the true side of humans on a daily basis, the side nobody reveals in public. You might be confined by your physical environment but you are truly free in thought and in word. Nothing you ever say or think will be blasphemous or judged. You are the symbol of depravity and that in itself means liberation. In thought and in word you are the freest soul.’’
‘That’s an interesting way to look at things’ he remarked.
‘Yes.’ Rosy said. ‘He asked me for my address and I at once gave it to him. He would come here very often and talk to me about the doubts that his life brought to his mind. Grave existential thoughts, the kind of doubts that might have had him removed from society and incurred the wrath of people.’
‘What? Why would that happen?’
‘He was a priest.’
He stared back with widened eyes.
‘Stuck in the wrong profession’ Rosy continued. ‘He had read Nietzsche and Voltaire and Spinoza and knew at once what he should have realized a long time ago. ‘A brothel might be a moral graveyard’ he would say, ‘but religion is an intellectual one.’ He lamented over the fact that people came to him to solve the riddles that troubled them, but his was a troubled soul that never could decide if it could continue living the way it did.’
‘Indeed. He would talk to me about a lot of things, about society and its people. He was an intelligent man. He would come to share his feelings, never once did he even touch me. He spoke of you once, too.’
‘What did he say?’ He asked, sitting upright in a matter of seconds.
‘He told me about your recent marriage, that you had married the woman you had been cheating on your first wife with. He predicted the new marriage would fail as well, and as luck would have it, that’s when you started coming here.’ She smiled.
‘Ho…how did know that?’ He asked with a frown.
‘’What do you think makes the mistress so appealing?’ he asked me once and upon my admittance of ignorance he said ‘it’s the fact that she is the forbidden fruit. It is only desirable when it is sinful, the moment the wife is gone and the mistress is yours legally and morally, the pleasure disappears as well.’ When I told him you had started visiting me he had said ‘let’s hope he isn’t foolish enough to marry you as well’’
‘Does he still come here?’ He asked after a few moments of silence.
‘He died two weeks ago…’
‘…I was present at his funeral, but I left as soon as people started pouring in.’ she continued.
‘I don’t think anyone would have known you.’
‘I still remember the last time he came here’ again, ignoring him completely, ‘I had told him about all the pondering I had done over his words, about my life and my state of liberation. ‘Good’ he had said ‘contemplation is the beginning of any intellectual journey and also what keeps it alive’. I had remarked how glad I was that God made me this way because I wasn’t confined by gender roles either. He gave me a weak smile, but then his face turned grave and serious and for the first time I noticed how old he had become. ‘I don’t think God cares.’ He had said. And then he left, forever.’
“So what kind of music are you into?”
“Metal and some Hard Rock.”
I heard a patronizing chuckle.
“So you are one of those types. Is that why you had long hair?”
It was just another one of those get-to-know-each-other conversations where the person puts in very little effort to hide the fact that they are classifying you. Putting you into categories where you seem fit, based on assumptions that leave you wondering if there exist rumors about you that you aren’t aware of, or is this person really THAT delusional?
I have been a helpless victim (Did you just say victim? That’s weakness. Are you sure you don’t suffer from a Victimhood Complex? Are you sure you aren’t in need of some psychiatric help?) of these conversations and many more, ones where I am made into things I wasn’t aware I was. Dealing with this identity crisis for me has been far too complex and almost always unsuccessful.
When people do get the categories correct (Oh, you’re an atheist!), it’s the negative connotations that come along which are irritating. Being an atheist doesn’t imply I’m nihilist or angry and frustrated. Although going through bad life experiences, death of a loved one for example, is the reason some people turn into a Godless state; most others are atheists for purely logical and rational reasons. Some others reject the existence of God in favor of an even more supreme absolute; humanity. I guess atheists get a bad rep for deliberately choosing to stay away from the perceived majoritarian beliefs and lifestyles.
“I am afraid of speaking to atheists.”
“I always feel they might make me one of them.”
The immediate consequences of these assumptions are never good for either of us. I can’t count the number of times I have been told I’m unpredictable which has always come as a surprise since I lead a pretty mundane and consistent routine and thought pattern. Maybe the unpredictability doesn’t lie in my actions but in the fallibility of your baseless assumptions about me. No relationship, or conversation for that matter, can happen without a certain amount of trust. Trust comes with consistency. False judgements create a distorted sense of this consistency.
People would generally react to this situation by ‘sucking up’ to people which can be a total suppression of the individuals true identity. An obliteration of individuality. It can lead them to behave in ways they never would just to seek the approval of a group. While this can be positive reform in some cases, it ultimately leads to a suffocating effect where the individual feels like they are no longer in control of who they are. ‘Lost’, ’empty’, ‘confused’, and ‘insecure’ become regular states of the mind.
My body is a cage
That keeps me from dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key
I’m standing on a stage
Of fear and self doubt
It’s a hollow play
But they’ll clap anyway
“My Body Is A Cage” by Peter Gabriel
(originally by Arcade Fire)
How do I deal with this? I generally try my level best to not be judgemental towards people and give them a fair chance to reveal themselves. When I do encounter people who I feel are judging me in disagreeable ways, my response is either in silence or when the situation is appropriate enough, I like to play along with the statement and make a really offensive and/or silly joke about that particular stereotype. Not only does it take away the awkwardness but also manages to give the person some food for thought. Let them be aware that there might be a lot more to you than what meets the eye, you just might be the most perfect person for them if they hadn’t been looking at you through a fractured piece of glass.
“So, are you in a relationship?” She asked after a long period of silence. I didn’t know how much information she had gathered about me in the course of this conversation. I didn’t actually want to know. I didn’t want to know what she thought of me. Somehow it just seemed too irrelevant even though we had been around each other for a considerable amount of time now.
“Do you think you’ll find someone?”
“I guess I’m weird enough to find a real special one.”
I speak on behalf of all celestial beings
This is a prayer to thee,
The Master of all
Beyond whom nothing exists
You’re like a Buddhist monk
One who walks with utter peace and serenity
Unperturbed by the happenings of his surroundings
His consciousness on a higher spiritual plane
And his movements so subtle
Even his shadow cannot mimic the grace
But even he, my Lord, knows
That you’re above him
No being born in this cosmos
Goes one day without thinking of you once
You’re in the minds of all
Striking fear in some, an utter awe in others
Our only absolute certainty in a life of chaos
But you remain silent
You judge no one
You respond never,
But you’re there.
The cries or the prayers never affect you
No man has been born
No matter how rich, or talented ,
To be able to escape your awareness
No war or bloodshed could shake you
No tears could leave you disturbed
You walk your path and pick us up in your eternal cusp
The predator or prey, man or woman , a child with a terminal disease
They are all the same in your mystic eyes
I acknowledge your presence
I bow down before you, my almighty
Lead us one by one out of misery and lust,
This is my prayer to you, Death.
You saw him on your TV
A God that you had wanted
Lust that grows with peoples hatred
Every protest, and you feel insulted
He’s the man of your dreams
His words are more divine than your priests
His sound is the voice of your screams
And yet you think his style is grounded
He’s an angel with scabbed wings
A demon to save your world
He said he loves you like his little girl
And you felt the pain in his voice
He was the end of your misery, its dirty demise
Now you wear the same brand of lipstick
That he does, and the mascara he wears
His gothic black boots are your parents nightmares
He cuts himself on screen
With words too obscene
You waited in line for hours, you wanted to meet him
But he went too soon, didn’t get a chance to greet him
You were so frustrated you broke out at your parents
And spat at the guy from school who claimed you’re the dearest
That was the night you put his songs on loop
You slipped into a depressive cocoon
Of your lustful devotion
A bag of hallucinogenics and a mindful of twisted emotions
He’s an angel with scabbed wings
A demon to save your world
Watch as he lets his darkness unfurl
You wish he would be yours
Because he looks so sad and lonely
But little did you know that his story is phoney
You’d bathe in his sorrow
But all he did was piss on you
Because power always pisses on the weak
He’s a drug addict now and part of a scandal
He wasn’t too merciful with his groupies
And did things to them that you can’t fathom
But he’s the love of your life
And you stand by him even though he sold you lies
You thought he held your hand when you were alone
But heroes die too soon, and your models are decievers
You cut your arm for real but his blood onscreen was fake
His entire facade was built to target your emotions
Now you plead for the Angel
The demon you left your love and family for
You thought he was true, but he left wounds so raw
Your insecurity is his market
It’s not the sadness but the drugs that made his face rugged
You thought he would be yours
But as always, you’ve been cheated again and left alone…
Its just another day with very little sleep
Another night of horrible nightmares
Another day of violent vomiting and nausea
Another day in the Land of Malady
It’s been like this for a while now
My body has become a wasteland
In me grows my baby
I still remember the day
When the doc said I was pregnant
It was a day of such simple joy
But all too soon came the news
A crushing blow
My body was also a host
To an emotionless alien
Growing, spreading inside me
Eating my insides and corroding my immunity
My heart sank when the doc said it
And that’s the day the battle began
A beautiful soul growing in me
A human life, soon to be born
With dreams and hope and love
Together with a being whose sole purpose
Was to kill
‘Life is a race’ they say
Yes, and I’m a finalist already
But I have to run for the life that lives inside
Outlive the monster, I tell myself
But it keeps growing
Its will as inhuman as its purpose
I give up sometimes
‘Just begin with the treatment’ they say
But it endangers the life of the child as well
The thing, it has spread its claws on both of us
I shed tears, of desperation
Of guilt and sometimes of joy
When I feel my child move inside
It is a little triumph of life
A little nudge reminding me to carry on
‘Be a fighter mom!’
I dream my child say with a smile on an angelic face
And then I see the face begin to rot
It’s like even my brain is full of venom
I hope my child wins