Trying

If someone were to ask me if I’d let go of the ability to feel emotions if given the option, I would flat out refuse. My emotions, my empathy has always been a part of me that I’ve cherished, even through the times it caused me a lot of pain and heartbreak.

But for a while now, fate has been testing my patience and my resolve to continue wanting to feel everything.

Like when someone you care deeply for tells you that you were the worst decision they ever made.
Like when you have feelings for someone who you know is not interested in you in the very least.
Like when you see your friend get their heart broken as the person they care for yearns for someone else.
Like whens your sister loses her will to live and she finally reveals that to you when you’re in a different country and too far away to help.
Like when you see a father separated from his kids and he only gets to meet them after more than year.
Like when you see a family broken after their son decides to end his life and burns himself alive.
Like when you see life break your friend’s spirit to the point where they start considering ending their very existence.

I have been blessed with so much and so many wonderful and supportive people. And I have much to be grateful for.
It’s just that when life throws hurdles your way, you tend to get so immersed in them and it evokes such hopelessness in you that you forget to look at the good and only focus on the bad.

I’m trying though. Every single day. And for now that’s enough of a start for me.

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Rest in Peace

It was your birthday today. You would have been 23 this year, the same age as Bhai.

It has been 2 years but in many ways the pain is still fresh.

I don’t know what life after death is like, but I hope that every prayer I send out to the Heavens in your name is somehow heard by you, and that you know that there are people here who still miss you with all of their hearts.

You know, Bhai dedicated his college thesis in your memory. And you may not know this but you also helped shape him into someone who wasn’t ashamed of who he really was. You haven’t just influenced my brother, but my sister too. She looked up to you, she still does and mentions it every now and then. I do too, and it is one of my greatest regrets that I could never tell you this in person.

I’ve always thought you were so brave. Your struggles were far from easy and it fills my heart with so much emotion when I see just how dedicated you had become to fight for the rights of others, and not just yourself. You truly have been a beacon of light for so many people, myself included, and you still continue to be.

You’re forever in our hearts and prayers. I just hope you know that somehow. And that you’re someplace happy. And free.

Your family misses you terribly.
I wish I could take away their pain and shoulder it all on my own, I really do.

Rest in peace, Anique Bhai.

Change

Today, I went to visit my old school, the place where I studied for 12 years, the place that has essentially played a major role in making me the person I am today.

I remember sitting there, my friends around me talking and laughing and being their brilliant, merry selves and feeling happier and lighter than I have in a long while.
But unfortunately I have a tendency to zone out and get lost in my thoughts, and I was reminded of a sad truth today.

It happened when my friends brought up a sensitive topic that we all had different opinions about. This time, they were all in favor of something which I too was in favor of once, but my view regarding it had changed in the past 2 years and I sat silently and slightly uncomfortably as I let them finish talking about it.

It was a sad reminder that I had changed. That we had all changed in more ways than one. That we had lives apart from each other now and although we intend to stay in contact for a very long time, things can never again be like they once were.

A small part of me was also afraid, that maybe if they knew what my opinions were now, they’d be disappointed or uncomfortable to be in my presence.
I’m at the point in my life where I’m trying to accept myself, quirks and flaws and all, so doubts like these tend to pop up in my mind quite often.

I know change is inevitable. As someone who hasn’t experienced much change in her life until just recently, even the smallest changes still give me pangs of anxiety. I’m learning though. And trying to adjust. We are always growing and changing. We were growing when our lives were intertwined, and we are still growing when our lives are apart.
It’s these changes that determine who stays in your life and who doesn’t. I know that there’s only so much I can hold onto the people in my life, and that the rest depends on them and whether or not they wish to stay.

I just hope that despite all the changes to come, the people who I currently consider the closest to me get to stay in my life for a really long time.

The Toxic Flames

There is an anger inside me that I cannot explain. It always lies dormant but noticeable deep in my heart, until triggered by things that seem trivial but strike a chord in me.

This anger is irrational; it’s toxic; it is poison. It burns my insides and leaves behind nothing but pain and emptiness. It is like a fire has ignited within me and no amount of water can douse the flames. I don’t know how to calm the storm in my mind and heart. 

The fire is reawakened every time they bring to my notice a flaw of mine which I am already aware of and am trying to remedy; every time they remind me of all the times my anxiety has stopped me from truly living; every time they so flippantly tell me to stop stressing and worrying, as though I don’t already know that and as though it’s so simple; every time they tell me I’m too sensitive and shouldn’t take everything so seriously.

It burns every time they point at a part of me that needs to be changed rather than accepting me for who I am, something I too am trying so hard to do. 

I don’t like this anger. It consumes me and leaves destruction and chaos in its wake. It makes me want to hurt the people around me, even the ones I consider closest to me. It burns a hole in my heart and the pain stays even after hours of the anger having been dissipated. 

I’m trying to control it, I really am. But if my worst fears come alive and this anger turns out to be something permanent, I hope the ones I love can accept this part of me, especially when I myself cannot. 

Baby Steps

Those of you who battle with social anxiety on a frequent basis must know how hard even the simplest of tasks can become if it involves interacting with strangers, even on the phone.

These past two days, I managed to perform a task which may seem menial to so many but to me it makes a milestone worth of difference compared to where I was only a few weeks ago.
A close friend of mine who currently lives in a different country needed help gathering information from different tuition centers and he needed me to call them and ask them the questions that he needed answered. I felt super reluctant to accept at first and every inch of me was screaming the word ‘no’, but being the kind of person who would do just about anything for her friends, even more so than for herself, I agreed to help out.

The first call was hard. I remember my hands trembling; my heart thundering in my chest; the anxiety bubbling inside of me, screaming at me to stop doing this thing that was setting off alarms in my head. I remember taking deep breaths to keep myself calm and I remember my voice shaking terribly. And before I knew it, the call was over and I was still alive. And I remember feeling this blissful relief coarse through my veins and every inch of me felt so powerful for being able to have done that.
The second call was slightly easier; my hands had stopped trembling.
The third one even more so.

For being someone who tries to avoid social interactions with strangers at all costs, this was a pretty big deal for me and I’m still finding it hard to believe that I actually managed to do this. This was just a baby step towards becoming someone who I would really like to be. And for that, I am so happy.

(Artwork by Metapuns on DeviantArt)

A Letter to Remind Myself Who I Am

Dear Me,
This is You,
Me,
Get up
The ground is your reward
It will hold you when you are done
Cancel all forks you are not done

Dear Me,
You’ve come so very far. Please don’t lose hope. Not now when you can sense a change about to come into your life. And I know very well how much change scares you; how much it has always scared you. But remind yourself of all the positives that have come from the changes. And remember your strength; you have so much of it, you just need to be reminded every once in a while. And for that, you have a group of amazingly supportive people around you. So don’t worry. Have faith. And trust that things will be okay. Eventually, if not just yet.

Get Up
Despite gravity, with her magnetic arms coaxing your mental dreams away from flight
Despite everything that will be said to weaken you against the towering odds that stand before you like a mountain kissing vertigo into your grip
And daring you to look down

You know how, more often than not, you’ve been your own worst enemy. You remember the days when your demons plagued you constantly, caging all the negative thoughts in your head with no way for them to escape and free you from the prison that became your mind. You remember how they turned you into a shell of your former self; how they let you live but didn’t allow you to truly live.
But you got through them. And you continue to get through them each and every day and I don’t say this as often as I should, but I am so proud of you.
Always remember that you are not alone, and although I know you prefer to fight your battles on your own, just remember that you always have people there for you to lean on. It’s okay to ask for help when you need it.

Your lungs will fill
Like the bank accounts of the corrupt
Your lungs will collapse
Like backyard tents after ghost stories and strange noises
Breathe
Dear me,
There will be another breath
Dear me,
Silence is not a psalm you should know all the words to
Dear me,
This is you,
Me,
Sidestep calamity like a matador taking on a bullet
Rise
As if the sun has taken the day off and hired you as its substitute

You know how when you look back at the pictures from when you were little, you always admire the confidence you had and how jolly you used to be. You miss how you always managed to cheer people up. And although you may not be as lively as you once were, you still haven’t lost that aura of yours that always made people come to you for help and allowed them to trust you. The difficult times have not been able to destroy that part of you, and for that I am so grateful.
You’ve always been great at understanding and helping those around you. It’s something that comes to you naturally, and I know how passionate you are about it. Your empathy is a gift, one that can help you connect with people in unique ways and I pray you never lose that. It completes the very essence of who you are as a person. Follow that. Remember that feeling of content you get every time you’re able to help people. Cherish it. But I hope you occasionally give yourself the time and space you know you often need. Also, please remember to make yourself a priority every once in a while.

I truly hope you come to love everything about yourself in time.

Sincerely Yours,
Me.

~ Inspired by “A Letter to Remind Myself Who I Am” by Shane Koyczan

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.

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.