Finding Her Reason

She could honestly say she was trying her hardest. She focused all her energy into picturing what she wanted, felt the power surging through her veins; faint, yet still existent, and flung her arms upwards expecting a shower of dancing lights to erupt from her hands. Instead, there was nothing but a faint flicker, like the faint embers of a once crackling fire.

“I can’t do it!” Emily cried, her features etched with exhaustion. She plopped onto the floor unceremoniously, her breathing heavy.

Her instructor watched from a distance, trying to mask his disappointment.
“Maybe we should try a less logical and a more emotional approach to this.”

“Oh, let’s face it Isaac, I’m not the person you think I am. I have no magic!” Emily said in a dejected tone.

“We’ll see about that,” Isaac said in a manner that suggested he still had a few tricks up his sleeve. “I want you to think of what you want to project magically, and associate that with a person in your mind. Give yourself a more personal reason to want the sparks to appear.”

Emily got off the floor and resumed her previous position. She thought over Isaac’s words. Why would I want the sparks to appear for a specific person?’ she thought to herself. It didn’t take long for her to find a reason.

‘Ethan’ she thought. Immediately, the face of one of her best friends appeared in her mind. She could see his face in vivid detail. She had memorized his features countless times: his unruly brown hair, honey-colored eyes, his lopsided smirk, the small birthmark on his upper left cheek.

He had done so much for her. He’d been there for her in the darkest moments of her life; he’d made her laugh at times where all she wanted to do was cry; he’d made her realize her own worth and strength on several occasions. He had been her rock and still continued to be.

She had always wanted to be able to repay him, and although she was able to several times, on many occasions her clumsy nature came into play and she only made things worse for him.

She wanted him to know how much he meant to her, that she was more than her mistakes, and that she would always try her hardest to be there for him the same way he’d been there for her all this time.

Emily smiled as a series of memories played out in her mind. ‘I guess I’ve found my reason now,’ she thought to herself. ‘I want to do this, for myself but also for Ethan. I want him to know that he’s gotten me through so many tough times, and that I’ll do the same for him.’
She felt the same kind of power surge through her veins, only ten times stronger.
She focused all that she had into what she wanted to project, imagined thousands of flickering sparks erupt from her fingertips, and threw her arms into the air.

The sight before her was so much more breathtaking than what she’d pictured in her head. The sky was alive with glimmering sparks of silver and gold, better than any fireworks show she’d ever seen.

And as she looked at the view, Emily couldn’t help but feel very happy. She had discovered the magic within herself, and she finally had a reason (besides her own self) to want to do more with her newfound gifts.

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Pieces of My Soul

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
― Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934

Every person I’ve met in my almost 18 years of existence has played an important role in my life, even if I’ve only met them very briefly. But the most important roles have been played by my closest friends; people who I’ve bonded with throughout my childhood and even those who I’ve known for only a short amount of time but have formed a connection with.

People may have only one or two people they could count on, or they could have a large group of close friends also. When it comes to a lot of my friends, they have only one or maybe two particular people who they share their secrets with and whom they call their best friends. I’ve been blessed to be a best friend to some of them, and I would never exchange that for anything. But there are always certain issues I see myself facing in all kinds of relationships, even in friendships, unfortunately.

I’ve only recently noticed that I try to avoid using the word ‘best friend’, but only when it comes to myself. I have no problem when I hear others use that word. I’m still trying to figure out why it is that every time I use that word, I only feel uncomfortable. It’s not like I don’t consider some people my best friends, I do, but to call them as such makes me uneasy and instead I always call them my ‘close friends’.
But not being able to call people my best friend doesn’t mean I care for them any less than a person does for their best friend. I suppose, at the end of the day, it is just a word and doesn’t matter much as long as my actions prove what I don’t seem to be able to say. But I feel guilty nonetheless. My friends never say it, but often I get the feeling that I unintentionally hurt them when I don’t respond with ‘You’re my best friend too’.

I’m not a very open person. But there are a few people in my life who I can be myself around and who I can share things with. But the thing is, I share different things with different people, all close to me, but not everything to one or two people in particular. It’s like I’m Voldemort and I split my soul into several pieces (minus the part where I murder people to do so) and those who I share things with now have a piece of my soul with them for life. Point being, not one person has more than the other. All of those people are very close to me, and I have room for them all in my heart. But sometimes I feel like I disappoint some of my friends when they find out that they aren’t the only people I rely on, especially if I am that one person for them. It makes me feel very guilty.

I may care for a lot of people in my life, but I choose very carefully who to give a part of my soul to i.e. who to share things with. I’m learning that I can’t please everyone and I shouldn’t try, but it becomes especially hard when those people mean a lot to me and I don’t mean to hurt them.

I can’t help being like this though I’m trying to change.
Until then, to those who I’ve unintentionally hurt because of all this, I truly am sorry.

A Question Worth Asking

I’m the kind of person who’d rather ask people deep and meaningful questions to get to know them than make small talk. So this is one question that I always try to ask the people I meet and also those I already know: What is it that you’re enamored of? And a lot of times, the answers have been things I never expected.

Some talked about certain places they’ve been to that quickly became their favorite; some talked about gifts that they got from people they cared about; some talked about their passions like art and music and poetry; and there were even a few that fell deep into thought and just their expressions were enough of an answer and I didn’t have the heart to ask again and unintentionally pry. But it is people’s reactions, and the way their eyes light up when they talk about the things they love, that make me glad about the  few times I get over my bouts of social anxiety to ask them that question.

There have been times people asked me the same question, and I’ve sometimes been called a hopeless dreamer for my answer. But honestly, it’s the little things I’m enamored of, that seem very magical to me; books, because they transport me into a world where I go through countless emotions and unimaginable events and I love the feeling; crafts supplies, especially glitter, because I love making things from scratch and then adding glitter to give them the element of magic; the feeling of contentment after watching a sunrise or sunset all by myself (or maybe even the people closest to me), it courses through my veins and it’s so powerful and indescribable; and just people in general, because they fascinate me and their excitement and passion makes me happy too.

So I guess if you’re like me and love getting to know people on a personal level, I’d say ‘what are you enamored of?’, is the perfect question for that.

When The Fates Intervened

Every one of us has something special to contribute to the world: it could be through our writings, or out art, or even something as seemingly simple as comforting a friend. We all have the potential to make a difference.

Two specific people on the planet had this potential as well, though a guarantee for them, as The Fates had bestowed them with gifts and had a special plan for them. It had been their destiny to bring about a change in the world when it needs it the most They had been brought up with the knowledge and had been training ever since they were ten.

A problem that The Fates hadn’t thought they would encounter was the animosity between them.

Their names were Celia and Zander.

Regardless of knowing what they were meant to do, the two could never seem to get along with one another. Anyone in their vicinity made sure to steer clear of them because their infamous fights were quite well known among their magical circles.

Yes, Celia and Zander were born magical. They both used their powers for good, but when it came to working together to complete a mission, they could never seem to accomplish anything and those missions often resulted in one of them having an outburst that lead to failure.

The Fates knew the both of them couldn’t go on like this, and feared that someday something really bad might happen that could be irreversible. They also knew that the both of them came from slightly different worlds but refused to see things from the other’s perspective. So they came up with a plan to make them do so, even if it meant going behind their backs to do so.

So one morning, both Celia and Zander woke up feeling the same as everyday, not knowing that The Fates’ plan would ensue the following day. As they were ‘destined for greatness and whatnot’, they were required to share the same quarters. They set about their daily routine and freshened up, all the while ignoring each other as best they could. This was hard since they only had one bathroom to share and one of them always spent longer time in there on purpose just to annoy the other, and the fighting would begin henceforth, usually with an abusive remark and a shove.

This time however, when Zander gave Celia a little shove while they were arguing, they both felt a zap from the point of contact which pulsed through their bodies and made them go unconscious for a few seconds.

When they came to, Zander found his hand magically glued to Celia’s shoulder from where he had shoved her. After Celia shouted at him to remove his hand and realized he wasn’t joking about it being stuck, the both tried using all of their magic together to try to remove it but it seemed impossible.

They both knew the only other magic they couldn’t counteract was The Fates’. Needless to say, they were extremely angry. The Fates informed them that only when they can learn to cooperate with one another will their so-called punishment be lifted. The both of them grumbled and protested but knew in the end that not complying would be futile, so they begrudgingly accepted their circumstances.

The two of them learned that Zander could hold on to any part of Celia, so long as they were constantly in physical contact. The first few days proved to be extremely hard, especially when it came to activities like taking a shower or having to pee or going to sleep. Thanks to the both of them being magical, they could take care of their bathroom problems but sleeping next to each other was another matter and initially consisted of a lot of warnings and threats before they finally came to a sort of understanding and became used to it.

Due to their circumstances, they were forced to learn things about each other which they had never cared to do before.
Celia found out that not everything was right in Zander’s life, especially when it came to his family. She learned that his family mostly ignored him since most of them used their magic for evil, and shunned him when he chose to use his magic for good instead. She grew to respect him more. Having family and friends who could be pushy yet still cared for her deeply, she only then realized how he had no one and how lonely it must be for him.
Zander learned about the pressure that was on Celia by all those around her. Her family and friends were good to her, yes, but they had a lot of expectations from her and often forgot that she was human and there was only so much pressure she could handle without imploding. Yet no one seemed to notice that except Zander. He admired her strength. Since Zander had no one close enough to have any expectations from him, he couldn’t imagine how hard it must be for Celia.

Though neither would ever admit to other that they were starting to see each other in a different light; at least not in the near future.

The Fates noticed the gradual yet remarkable change between the two. They noticed the increasing attraction between the two. One could even say it was a magnetic attraction, though quite literally in this case. They were glad when the two not only started to get along, but even became pillars of support for one another during times they couldn’t turn to anyone else. Sure, they still had moments where they bickered, but those arguments were now more of a playful nature than a hateful one.

Thus, The Fates patted themselves on the back for a job well done, and had more hope for the future of the two young adults, and all of mankind, than ever before.

 

 

Bothersome Stereotypes

Why is it considered weak for a guy to show emotions? Why is it that for a guy to cry is considered ‘unmanly’, and he is told to toughen up?
So many times I have seen a guy hold back his tears and try to stay strong just so no one around would say anything demeaning about him, even if his whole world just turned upside down and he has every right to cry. So many times I have seen a guy being discouraged from just being human.

Because crying is indeed a human trait. For it to be okay to cry shouldn’t only be restricted to children or females.

Growing up, I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by males like my brother and father, who expressed their emotions however they wanted and never discouraged me or anyone else for doing the same. In fact, they often brought up topics regarding emotions with ease so I never grew up believing in the stereotype that guys should be unfeeling. I actually prefer to encourage my guy friends to be more open to the idea of revealing their emotions and not being very closed off, if not in front of others then at least in front of me as a start.

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Another stereotype I am very against is how females are always ‘too sentimental’ or ‘too emotional’, and that because of said personality traits they are considered weak and fragile.
Firstly, not all females are always crying or always emotional. And females aren’t necessarily on their period if they ever snap at you, and it can be annoying to hear that.
Secondly, even if a female or even a male show a lot of emotion or cry easily, it does not mean they are weak.
Crying is not a weakness and I hate how it has been deemed as such by society. Crying is a basic human instinct and helps relieve a person when they are in pain. More often than not, crying is a result of staying strong for too long.

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Also, why is it that colors like pink are for females and colors like blue are for males? I have seen some of my family members discourage their kids from wearing certain colors just because they are stereotypically associated with the opposite sex, and it has been bothering me for a long time.

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I’m not saying all of this is true for all females and males but I try to speak for those who do go through this and may not be brave enough to voice their opinions. I don’t expect change to happen overnight but I hope we can address issues like these which seem very minor in the long run but can be very hard for the individuals going through them.

 

An Unexpected Gift

For most of my life, I’ve been a very boisterous and smiley child, even a chatterbox at times. I don’t know when it happened but somewhere along the way, things changed: I became a lot quieter, but I also became more attuned to people’s emotions and actions than ever before. And among all the changes, a strange sort of sadness settled in my core.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not depressed; at least I don’t think I am. I have lots of moments where I am happy and can smile easily. But there are just as many times, if not more, where I need to isolate myself from everyone and I get really quiet and sometimes even sad. It is the kind of sadness that has permanently inhabited my soul. It even dictates my actions sometimes.

I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing though. It has heightened my sense of empathy and I’ve been able to help and relate to people a lot more than before. But I’ve noticed that it can be addictive. Although this happens rarely, sometimes I think I purposefully reach out for it when I feel like things have been going well for too long.

I don’t know if this is bad, but either way, I don’t think I can part with it. It’s now embedded in me and is a part of me that I’ve come to accept even if a few others haven’t. Some have even called this side of mine very ‘emo’ and discouraged me for it but I’ve grown above those taunts. This part of me allows me to connect with people I know (and even strangers), on an emotional level and I have gotten to know how much depth there is in those people, and human beings in general. It has cleared up many misconstrued notions I’ve had in the past and has made me realize there is more to people than what meets the eye.

So for now, I’ll tread carefully when it comes to this feeling. But I know for certain now that I would never willingly part with it. It might just be a blessing in disguise; maybe even a gift. And I know that I would definitely like to explore more of this uncharted territory.

Short Fiction: More Than a Coincidence

Samantha had never truly believed in a ‘soulmate’. But at times, she liked to imagine that there are certain pairs in this world who show synchrony in their actions or thoughts, whether or not they have already met yet. They could be at opposite ends of the planet yet do certain things at the same time or in a particular way unlike any other. And when they would find each other someday, only then would they realize just how similar yet somehow different they could be.

What she was unaware of was how accurate the scenario that her imagination had come up with was, for she did have such a soulmate, someone who was so similar to her yet so different, but he complemented her in a way no one else had ever previously done so or ever could. She just didn’t know it yet. But she would find out soon enough.

Her family moved to a new city two weeks prior and it was her first day at a new school. To say she was nervous would be an understatement. She felt very jittery and she had to take deep breaths after every few minutes to try to settle her anxiety. She had only ever been to one school before this, where she had spent her whole life up until high school. She was heartbroken when she found out she had to move.

As she walked the halls of her new school, she felt the stares on her; naturally, since she was the new girl and everyone was curious about her. To avoid the stares, she had been looking down at her feet while walking and didn’t realize she was about to bump into someone until it was too late. She collided with someone’s chest with an oomph and would have landed on the floor had it not been for a pair of hands grabbing her shoulders and studying her.

She looked up, a thank you and sorry at the tip of her tongue, when her breath caught in her throat as she looked into a pair of blue-ish grey eyes that reminded her of the ocean she enjoyed looking at back home. She saw her shock mirrored in those eyes and it took a lot of strength and willpower for her to look away.

She took a step away from him and muttered a quick apology under her breath. She looked back up when she heard a chuckle. Once again, she was transfixed by this mysterious yet oh-so-familiar boy; his eyes, his jet black hair and the lopsided smile he was directing her way.

“It’s okay,” he said with another chuckle. “You’re new around here, right?”

“Er yeah, today’s my first day here. I’m Sam, by the way.” She replied.

“Pleasure to meet you Sam. I’m Jordan.” He smiled. “Say, I know how hard first days can be, so would you like me to show you around? I really don’t mind.”

She breathed a sigh of relief and smiled for the first time that day. “Yes, that would be great, thanks!”

“C’mon, let’s start with the cafeteria.” He fell into step with her and they conversed easily as he showed her around.

No, Sam had never believed in a soulmate but something about this Jordan fellow made her reconsider. Although she had just met him, she felt a connection of sorts, the kind her parents talked about having to which she always rolled her eyes in disbelief. She felt like she had seen him somewhere before, but that was impossible given she’d spent her whole life elsewhere and he’d never been there (she found out after asking him about it), so she brushed the thought aside.

What she wasn’t aware of was that Jordan too was having similar thoughts.  Throughout the day, he noticed things about Sam that were uncannily similar to him, yet other times she was really different and unpredictable and he found that refreshing. He had known the people at this school for the longest time, and although some were his best friends, the constancy had started to bore him at times and he found her a welcome change in his life.

Sam and Jordan knew that that day had changed everything for them. Neither knew just how much though. The Fates had a special plan for them, and they would soon find out just how much their influence on each would further synchronize their futures, just like their pasts had been without either of them knowing about it.

 The Daily Prompt: Synchronize 

(I know this is slightly clichéd but sometimes I enjoy reading and writing such stories. They warm my hopelessly romantic heart when it just wants some fluff and no angst.)

Short Fiction: Her Superpower

Superpowers come in all forms; some are simple enough like being able to understand and communicate with animals; some are massive and complex like in books, like telekinesis or the ability to fly.

Rosaline too had a superpower, one which many people considered unimportant and weak: she had a way with words.
She had the ability to use her words to influence people and their decisions. She could use that ability for either good or evil, though of course things aren’t as simple or as black and white as that.

Most of the time, Rosaline used her words to heal and comfort those around her, even complete strangers. Wherever she went, she oozed words of comfort and brought joy to the people around her.
But every now and then, certain people would enter her life who would test her patience, and many times she wanted to use and manipulate her words for hurting them. But she knew that would only hurt her in the long run; after all, her compassion was a large part of her personality and causing pain to others would do the same for her when she’d see the adverse effect of her words.

So she bore the cruelty thrown at her by those people. After a while, it became easier to ignore, since she had the support of so many people who cared about her and were grateful to her for being able to help them.

After all, what did a select few hundred harsh remarks matter in the long run when she was surrounded by so much love and positivity? She was blessed with a gift and she had every intention of using it only to brighten the days of those around her.

via Daily Prompt: Ooze

The Poisonous Guilt

“Guilt upon the conscience, like rust upon iron, both defiles and consumes it, gnawing and creeping into it, as that does which at last eats out the very heart and substance of the metal.” – Robert South

‘To err is human; to forgive, divine.’ I’ve heard this quote more times than I can count. It holds a lot of truth in it, yes. But I feel overwhelmed by the amount of weight such simple words hold; how powerful they are, and how much impact they’ve had in my life recently.

I have made so many mistakes but it’s the most recent one that has affected me most. For the first time in my life, I’ve broken the trust of two of my friends and I’ve hurt them. I didn’t think of the consequences of my actions at the time, and now the guilt and regret I feel is like hell. It is like poison being poured onto my heart. It has been hours and the guilt has not diminished and I’m afraid it never will. And I feel like I deserve it.

The first friend was upset with me initially, but told me he forgave me and he still trusts me. And while I feel like he was being too lenient and I didn’t deserve it, I accepted it with gratitude.
My other friend, whose reaction I was more afraid of from the beginning, reacted just as I’d imagined, only worse. He started out calm but angry and his words cut me like a knife. The calm didn’t last for long and he shouted at me and while it hurt, I felt like I deserved every biting remark. I still feel like I deserve it. So at the end of the conversation when he told me he was disappointed in himself for getting involved with me in the first place, it hurt so bad but the pain was nothing compared to the pain of knowing I had broken his trust and he may never trust me again.

I haven’t felt pain like this in a long time. In unintentionally hurting my friends, I hurt myself. And I could never blame them for being angry. I blame myself as well, and rightfully so. The other part of the quote says “…to forgive, divine.” I have found that it is easier to forgive others than to forgive myself. Because right now, I feel like I will never be able to forgive myself, even if my friends have. I know that rather than being too hard on myself, I should learn from my mistakes and try my hardest never do something like this again. But at present, I find that almost impossible.

Maybe in due time I will learn to forgive myself. But right now, the guilt is like an endless cycle of being stabbed in the heart, and regret is all I am able to feel.

And I am so sorry.

Short Fiction: Her Mantra in Times of Distress

Everyone has a certain coping mechanism they resort to in times of need; some think of their happiest memories to block out the negativity; some try to escape by going for a run, trying to outrun their problems in a sense; some seek solace in their favorite foods; some write; some sing; some dance. There are countless coping mechanisms as every person in the world has a uniqueness about them.

Just like any other human being, Ella too seeks comfort in something during her times of need: she recites texts that she has memorized.

Whenever she is distressed, Ella’s family and friends find her in some corner, reciting texts from the latest books she has read. Sometimes they are facts about things that most people would find boring; sometimes they are poetry with deep and profound meaning; and at times when her mind is too much of a jumble to sort through, she can be heard saying to herself, “Recite, Ella! Don’t stop! Think! You read about it just an hour ago.” And whether or not Ella would successfully remember what she had forgotten, she would still lose herself in trying to figure out just what it is she ought to remember.

Sometimes Ella envied those around her who could channel their emotions and negativity into something productive, like writing or sketching or dancing or song-writing. All she could do was memorize things and no one seemed to care about that ‘nerdy’ aspect of hers. Sometimes she wished she could be more like the others kids.

Ella had the best friends and family that a girl could ask for, because in those times she was constantly reminded by them that being different from everyone else was nothing to be ashamed of; in fact, in a few years’ time, she along with others might even revere it.

So with their support, Ella soon grew accustomed to the whispers and the pointed glances her way that clearly meant that those kids considered her an outsider, and she no longer cared about what they thought of her. They hardly even knew her and she didn’t know them, and their words didn’t matter in the long run.

Naturally though, sometimes she stumbled. Who amongst us hasn’t? But it was in those times that the people closest to her helped her out. And she always had the support of her books. And while it was words that hurt her in the first place, it was words that also helped pick her back up. After all, it’s not the words that are bad themselves but the people who use them in negative ways. She was finally learning that lesson, and she knew that someday their words would never be able to hurt her again.

Until then, she would just recite when their taunts would get to her, and she would rise back up again with more strength than before.

via Daily Prompt: Recite