Over the Edge

This post will most definitely be weird. It was inspired by (and quite frankly, WAS written by) Cristian Mihai, and even he begins by saying that the post may not sit very well with many people. Cowritten by all the people who commented on it, from whom I have taken excerpts. It tackles the darker aspects, the bottomless abyss, whatever you want to call it, but the post itself is about his battle with (what I think is) depression, and what he learnt from it. I wanted to reblog it, but that wouldn’t reflect exactly what I got from the post and the comments, because I know many peple don’t read comments. How? Because several people that found me reading that post asked me what in heaven’s name I was doing reading the comments. But anyway, here’s what I carried away from Cristian Mihai’s post, OVER THE EDGE, October 2014 on his blog/website… http://cristianmihai.net/2014/10/07/over-the-edge/ (I really should learn how to do that linking thingie… bear with me meanwhile)
P.S. These are really just excerpts, I would suggest you read the post for the whole picture, lest you draw conclusions that have no basis… 
Cristian: Freedom comes from the realization that you can kill yourself anytime. It’s a special kind of freedom, one you’ll never taste again… You can see that your life is your own, that you’re exactly as free as you want to be.
Frankregan17: Sitting out on the ledge or staring down into the abyss – it is amazing how comfortable it can be and how damn hard it can be to get up and do something; anything!
Repeoples: Sometimes I feel like a mime trying to get out of an invisible box.
Ida N.: I stare at the same abyss daily, and kind of like you said, I feel I can live a more fulfilling life knowing I have chosen not to fall in.
Alexander: A person can be dead long before they pull the trigger… Your life is a beautiful thing and to bring the story of your life to an end in one final, abrupt chapter would truly be a tragedy. To persist in hardship, against all odds, is part of the human condition and your ability to stare total defeat in the face and stand right back up is not a testament to your failures but rather an assurance of the strength of your own personal character, if you continue ‘trying’, luck will exit the equation entirely as your efforts will surely provide fruitful rewards. If ever you find yourself staring back down into the omnipresent abyss: simply reach out and there will be others willing to sacrifice their own internal flames to keep yours alight for that much longer – and you can count me among their ranks.
Jerry Hall (Jerry’s mother said): If you don’t have dreams, you will die.
Plainandsimpleempress: Pessimists are far happier people than optimists are. We are never disappointed, and sometimes we are pleasantly surprised.
Steve Perrin: Once you plunge into the void, you cannot change your mind. Pulling back, you can always reconsider.
Endlesssojourns: I came. I read. I understood. Had my own edge and abyss. What fascinates me is how did we reach this abyss. Why us. Why not others. How some have moved on while others stay forever at the edge. And why some take the leap.
Susan: I laughed. I cried. Yes, I have looked into the abyss too. Thank you for the hope you shared.
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Shantisram (shantisram’s lecturer said): Every situation is one we can learn from, it’s just that some come with more pain than others.
X (a band, someone posted these lyrics of theirs): “This must be hell, she thought, as rain began to fall, To have everything you want, and hate it all.”
Blackbird: The curious thing about hope is that it gets stronger as things get worse… Lift your eyes up to the dawn and keep fighting.
And the last line that Cristian put in that post, after sharing his lessons from that period of 3 years of sitting at the edge and staring into the abyss, trying to see the bottom, is this: “What you take from it, if anything at all, is not my concern.” He wrote because he had to write, because it was his way of coping, his wayof dealing… HIS.

Twin Crushes??

I am willing to bet that everyone who will read this post has had a crush at one point or another. Several, actually. And we can all relate with the feeling, how those butterflies come unbidden when you see the object of your affections, how you swoon, how you build an entire kingdom of castles in the air thinking about being together and how much fun that will be… Yah? Crushes are awesome, very good, wonderful, even. And then they die a natural death, or he gets a girl and your heart breaks into a million pieces for all of 3 days before you get a rebound crush, or something. Note, I’m talking about crushes today, not relationships. Crushes. Infatuations.
What happens when you develop a crush on identical twins? You don’t really know them yet, so you cannot exactly tell the difference between them, but you like one of them. Am I the only one who has gone through this? Something happened within the past week that reminded me of an incident like this that took place a while back. I was 13, and thoroughly in like with a guy who had an identical twin. Then, it was easy for me to tell them apart because they had only their looks in common, everything else was very different. One of them was the cool guy, he hung out with cool guys, he had cool clothes, girls liked him a lot. The one I liked was more reserved, chill, quiet-ish, simple – just how I like my guys. His acne had also checked in earlier than his brother’s (I’m not even sure if he developed it eventually, will explain why), but that didn’t matter to me, he was very kind and nice – you know? Personality. Inner beauty. That stuff.
I never really spoke to any of them, at least not at length… But my mother knew their father. Not that it changed anything anyway… and the only close interaction (and by close I mean in terms of proximity) I ever had with any of them was one day when we had a class retreat with our parents and teachers and got divided into teams, and I was in the same team with one of them, I think. The details of that day are a bit fuzzy. So yes, I had this debilitating crush on Adam for that entire year, and it died because we finished primary school and I went to a boarding high school and they disappeared off the face of the earth entirely – which is why I cannot say for certain whether John’s acne ever came knocking. I never saw any of them for the four years I was in high school.
Fast forward four years, and I bumped into one of them. We were 18 then, and the moment I saw those big eyes I was transported back in time to the days I couldn’t say a single word around any of them. We participated in a volunteering program together, and even then I couldn’t speak more than muttered hellos, because I was crushing again. However, this time, I wasn’t sure who was who… There was no acne, no brother to contrast with, and he was cool, calm, collected. Because I wanted to, I guess, my mind decided that this was the guy, after four years, ergo second chance. Rekindled crush. For another while, I revisited those early days every now and then (I know, right?????), until I had to move on. Because it was pretty silly, I said.
Again, fast forward another four years, to last week. I was doing my rounds on facebook, and I find a post by him with a few people tagged in it. I recognized the name of his twin and decided to check out how he was doing, and you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that the revisited crush in the previous paragraph was directed at the wrong twin!!!! Mortification!!!!! I didn’t even know where to start, I still don’t… but at least now I can see some humor in it. Which brings me to the question that had me writing this post in the first place… What happens when you develop a crush on identical twins you cannot as yet tell apart?
P.S. Adam is not his real name 😛

Keshy

My grandparents have a farm help, Njambi. She is very good at what she does, very meticulous, very diligent. Everybody that has ever been to my grandparents’ place before and after her arrival can testify to the fact that the house, the compound and even the cows – everything looks better. Waaay better… but this post is about Njambi’s daughter.
Wangechi, whom we call Keshy, is a bright 6 year old girl. When I say bright I mean not only intellectually, but personality as well. Her smile, oh, that girl’s smile is the most beautiful thing I have seen in a long time. She smiles with her whole being, she looks like a flower that is fast-forward blossoming (you know the way they do it on Nat Geo?) right in front of your eyes… Her whole body seems to light up. She has these very white, very small milk teeth, and her smile gives you a free front row seat to view this gallery of twenty. Her eyes light up, they look like they hold the essence of all the fireflies in the world, all the innocence, all the simplicity one could ever wish to acquire. Somehow all the beauty in the universe, in the night skies, the sun and the moon and the stars fit in that little, little body, when she smiles.
Now, in my grandparents’ house, there’s this room I really can’t name, but it plays a central role in today’s narrative. It looks like it could be a dining room, except that there is already a dining room. Each of its four walls has a door… two doors that are directly opposite one another each lead to a bedroom. The third door opens into the living room, and the fourth into a porch that faces the outside kitchen. This room has a cupboard that has been there since my mother and her siblings were babies, and it still keeps leftovers and salt and matchboxes and milk from the cows and flour… mostly. It also has two tables, one next to the cupboard that holds dishes that are in transit from the washing area to the living room dish cupboard, and the other that holds food in transit both to and from the kitchen. Under the first table is a small gas cooker we use to warm food in a hurry, and under the second table is a karai, where hens hatch their young. In one corner, behind the door that opens to the porch, is my grandmother’s kibanji, a huge earthen pot where she stores her drinking water so it stays cool. I think now you kinda understand why I cannot exactly give this room a conventional name.
Yesterday, Keshy introduced me to her child, Stella. She came into this room as I was preparing vegetables for supper, and I see something strapped to her back. So I asked her what was going on, and she told me that that was Stella, her child. And she was fast asleep. She needed my help adjusting the pink jumper that doubled up as the baby carrier so I obliged, and she left promptly in search of food to prepare for Stella, so that when she wakes up, she won’t have to stay hungry for long, or at all.
Stella is a very fortunate doll, if I may say so. She’s not much really, not as much a doll as she is pieces of cloth inside a larger pink one, but the love and the care that she gets is out of this world. Whenever she isn’t being cuddled and coddled, she is strapped to Keshy’s back, sharing in her adventures as she explores the farm and bush around. She is always fed on time, and I find it beautiful how Wangechi models her mother in how she takes care of that doll. She will speak to Stella, explain things, tell jokes, ask questions – even prioritize and put her before playing with her friends. She doesn’t just place Stella anywhere, she has to find a place that is stable, firm, safe, soft, fit for an actual baby. And then she will cover her well to protect her from the elements, just as she has seen it done, before she can go out to play.
So Keshy went out to search for food and left me very impressed. When she returned, about half an hour later, I asked her whether she had found the food, and whether Stella had been fed already. She said no, she hadn’t found food yet, and then looked at what I was preparing with this glint in her very white eyes. Catching on, I asked her to fetch a plate from the dish rack, and I scooped some (really like two tablespoons) out of the pot and gave her, to go feed her child. We were speaking in conspiratory whispers this entire time, and when she left holding that plate of food in her hands, I wished I could bottle up the joy that little mother was exuding. Since then, every time we meet, she has this look in her eye, and I would imagine Stella does too… the look you give a fellow conspirator when you did something and got away with it… But that’s not the point of this story and I don’t even know what the point of this story is!
All I know is that this little person inspired me to write something about her, and made me so happy just to sit back and observe her go about being a small person in such a big world, still hopeful, innocent, untainted, pure.

For The Destruction of a Legend

He sat at the door as he always did
With his head in his hand as it always was
And a pain in his chest, in his head, everywhere

This time he knew nothing would change
There would be no sorries, no “ I understand”s….
Gone meant gone, and he believed he knew
She was gone and gone for good

Twenty days, and still no sign of her
Twenty days of regrets and remorse
A shrine of penitence, the new name of his seat
Waiting, anticipating, hoping against hope
He knew he wanted her back
He knew he preferred her freedom
He knew the end had come,
Yet he still wished her around.
He knew she was happier away,
He knew it was better for it to be like this,
Yet he hoped that she would drop by.
Look in on him.
Light up his day with her smile.

He mourned her absence
Craved for her presence, but
He knew all too well
He wouldn’t have her back
Couldn’t find it in his heart
To raise a finger
Take aim
Hit
Watch her cry
Watch her break.
His little china doll
Now with no big monster
Hitting her everyday.

Last time he had her in hospital
And God knows the remorse he felt
But there was nothing he could do
He made her favorite meal every day
Took it to her and watched her feed
Apologized profusely and begged her to go
Leave him alone,
Him and his infernal despicable disposition.
He wondered why it had to be him
To inherit the manic trait
She had understood him, she said
That is why she had hung around, he believed
But even that soon got to him
And he couldn’t take her pained cries
And he thought it was for the better.

But by God! Why did…
Why did she look so broken,
So pained, so hurt?
Why did she go into mourning
As if she had enjoyed all the torture?
Did she have to make it so hard,
So mightily impossible,
So hard and painful?
She had gone on her knees
Begging to stay as he asked her to go
Braving the inferno as he started boiling

What was it in her that…
What did she see in him
That made her want to stay?
He looked in the mirror every day
And hatred seethed from within
At this, this…
This ruthless creature he saw.
What was it she saw in him
When all he saw was blackness
Through and through,
A wade in murky waters…

He thought it would be alright then
Knowing she was fine, but
Why did it pain him more now,
More than it did when she was in pain
Pain inflicted by his possession.
He didn’t want to let go,
But he knew he had to…

Memories of an unreclaimable past…
Threats of a looming curse…
Was she all that important to him
That he would let it all go,
All the family history, 15 generations down?
He’d lied he didn’t know,
She had believed and held on.
He needed his sanity now,
But what would he have done?

Leaving the shrine of penitence
Took all his energy because
Any time about now
He’d see her fleeting by
Fleeting, yes, but with pained grace
As she ran this errand or the other
Avoiding his direction
As it should have been,
Yet he’d feel her pain
As acutely as she’d feel his,
But history needed to be buried.

So he went to the basement
And hurled the chest in the furnace
Ignoring his grandfather’s warning,
Burning the curse chronicles.
As the last of it burned to ashes
He noticed time had stopped
And felt himself change, transform.
Excitement, worry, joy, fear…
Then it rang in his head
In the 15 cursed voices
Whose diaries – volumes – had been in the chest,
Beginning with the grandfather to his
Grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather,
Right down to his father’s:
“For the destruction of a legend
Cursed though as it may be
Your joy shall reach a tragic end,
Worse than the millionth sting of a bee.”
With a lopsided smile he realized
His happiness had come to an end
Long before he’d done this deed.

With a spring in his step he left the basement,
Went up the stairs and demolished the shrine.
Caught his reflection in a mirror,
And smiled.
The haunted look was gone.

She must have sensed it,
Because she came.
And when she came,
He noticed it immediately
But waited,
Waited for it to come from her.
And when it did,
He prayed he’d heard wrong
But she gave him facts –
And times, and
He didn’t have to check his timepiece,
For he knew all too well
The sound of that moment
When time froze…
And the fifteen voices…
He had her back now
She believed she’d had a vision
That asked her to come back
For he had changed…

But,
For the love of a lover
She had lost
Something greater.
It ran in her family
And she couldn’t bear to lose it…
She drowned her sorrow
In glass after glass of laudanum…
Became passive,
Lost her vibrance.
And then he realized
It would have been better,
Far much better,
To suffer alone
For hitting her manically,
For missing her presence,
Than to have her back
A mere shadow
Of what once was…

For the destruction of a legend
His joy had met a tragic end…
She would never be, again
And he would never see,
Feel, hear, enjoy –
The presence
Of his true love.
For the destruction of a legend,
He had lost his soul.

Wed, Nov. 3, 2010

Someone Like You

That she was blamed for inadequacies in ego… Making it her fault that he broke his promises due to an irreparable sense of inadequacy… Not being allowed to change… And any counsel that went against his opinions was wrong… Aggression against the entire damn world… And all the overlooked sacrifices, all the overlooked effort… That she was the only one striving to adapt, to fit a mould that was always very unforgiving… To be reminded that she was inadequate, not a good enough person, mate, confidant, critic, advisor, even spiritually… To be criminalized for poor personal choices… The stinging words… To have every one of his twenty friends know every darn thing about their darn misunderstandings and fights and what was apparently wrong with her… To almost throw away a career and prospects so she could be by his side…

To be called a liar, never getting the allowance to get a word in edgewise… And even after the mutual agreement to end things, she still believed his promise… That he would be fine, get along just fine… But that it would take a while before he got back in the scene… That she still believed and got comfort from that statement… I guess she was the fool…

Because it wasn’t even a month down the line when he tells her he’s found someone, he’s moving on… Because the someone has been by his side all along… Because she was there for him through every whip… Because the infallible, always-right, never lying Mr. Perfect’s last statement was a blatant lie… Because he is a liar too, and a preacher that drinks his own wine…

It is true, that every breakup has two sides, and this is just hers. It may be biased, it may be jaded, it may be laced with intent… But it is HER story to tell, and I am telling it. Because it is finally time she stood up for herself, even via proxy. Because this isn’t the last night she’ll erupt into spontaneous tears, grieving over someone she would rather not remember…

Because, maybe, for the first time, she don’t agree with Adelle… Because she does not want someone like you again.

Grieving Stages

They say that the opposite of love isn’t hate, because when you hate someone, you still care. The opposite, apparently, is indifference. Because then, the object of your indifference could run out in front of a train, and possibly the only reason you would have to get upset is that you didn’t think their death to be painful enough, bad enough, worthy enough, to pay back what it is you went through.

I have spent enough time convincing myself that I am indifferent, that I can be indifferent. But when times of reckoning come, and I am reminded of something, something small, something silly, something private… I seethe with rage. I seethe with rage at what has been, what was ruined, what could have been. I get consumed with anger, and suddenly, that train sounds very mild. Oh, if only worse things could happen… And no, you have no right to judge me. Because it is my right to grieve, and anger is one of the stages of mourning. So let me mourn, let me do it in peace, let me speak it out….

Dilemma, Dilemma, Dilemma…

I had convinced myself I don’t need any of it, that they could keep the whole darn cake to themselves, cherries and all. I don’t like cake… Well, I do, but not white forest… For obvious reasons. It’s too white. Too clean. I hate cherries. It lacks character. It’s bland – colour bland. It’s a spin-off from black forest, which is the best. So no, I didn’t want it. I don’t. Plus, I’m watching my weight now…. Yes, I said it.

All day the cake sat in the display, and all I did was come up with reasons why I didn’t want to eat it. Why I didn’t want to want to eat it. Because God also cared what I put in my body, and all that sugar isn’t fit for any temple, much less his. All day I told myself that this cake, which everybody expects me to think is yummy, isn’t my kind of yummy, and someone else would be better suited to eat it. Some amazing girl with metabolism from the gods that could swallow a whole hog and still be trim and in shape. Someone like my sister. But I didn’t just think it… I acted on it. I got her to come and have the cake. And she did… Fork in hand, getting all nice and stuffed, eating the cake with such ease that I thought she had been secretly practising how to eat cake in front of the mirror. Which reminded me of how daft I looked while looking into the said mirror, not knowing what to do. And as she are that cake, I could feel admiration slowly becoming jealousy. I had that cake first. Heck, I bought the damn cake. It was mine… And here she was, cake gliding effortlessly down her throat as if it wanted oh-so-earnestly to be swallowed by her. At that moment, I hated the cake… I hated her.

But of course, I’m not talking about cake… Or my sister. 😀

These Guys…

There’s a certain breed of guys I find myself gravitating towards… And thank God they do not know it yet.

The kind that should know better, but don’t. The kind that have no clue what it takes, or means, to keep a girl happy… Or just maybe acts that way… The kind that look like they don’t want to touch a girl with a ten-foot pole. The kind that sends the text that kills all conversation, and you have to wrack your brain to bring up something else. The kind that is adorable, but hates to hear it. The kind that shares in the same peculiarities, that shares the same secret pleasures as I, but away from the public eye. The kind of guy whose statements almost always sound mean, until you get to know them, and understand that no harm was meant by them…. The kind that fit many of these descriptions, and then some, because they are bigger than any descriptions. The kind that also happens to be some of this, and none of it at the same time. The kind that confuses me….

The kind that doesn’t really fit into the criteria of whom I should like, but that I do anyway. The kind that would probably laugh if they knew I’m into them. The kind that may stumble across this one day, and then deny that they ever know me, that they have any association with me. The kind that defies stereotypes, that guy that feeds me a whole lot more than anybody else ever has in any given environment, give or take. The kind that makes me all giddy and all comfortable at the same time. The kind of guy that makes me write a post at one am, despite my resolutions to not write about any significant others, or potential ones, because of how ephemeral this all could get. The kind that would never know I learnt that word watching Teen Wolf, or even that I like that show. The kind that I couldn’t imagine getting all old and wrinkly beside, yet I still get pulled in… The kind that makes me think I’m waaay in over my head, the kind that makes me know I’m screwed.

I think I’ll leave it off here, lest I add things I will regret, because the thought of having a crush figured out from a blog post, by the person himself, mortifies me to no end. Lol… This life. iOut 😀

Red Letter Day 2

Heys! (is that even correct?)

As I promised, here’s the second part of Red Letter Day, hope you enjoyed part 1! 🙂 Feedback is always appreciated :).

Scarlet balled her fists in frustration. For years now, all she had been getting from Christopher were vague descriptions in his emails, and he no longer sent photos. He had this uncanny way of going around her questions when they talked on the phone, and had even stopped switching on the webcam when he called. She wondered why she had been holding on to a failing long-distance romance, and gave up on it finally, for good. That day, after a particularly nasty phone call, she decided that she’d had it. She went all out and crazy, getting a total makeover. The mouse went dark – she dyed her hair scarlet, like her name, had her ears pierced, and got a bull ring. And, of course, make up to complete the dark look.
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The Pablos had been at a friend’s house, having a blast. Little Pablo was now seven and looked more like his father each passing day. As he bade his friends goodbye, he got into their car and waited for his papa to finish talking with his friends. Pablo Sr. came to the car still smiling at the invitation by his friend Jotham to his nephews’ birthday party – the twenty first, coming-of-age kinda party. Little Pablo soon got caught up in the excitement too, and he watched this particular pot for the entire week until it finally bubbled over. Sunday night came and the two gentlemen, or man and boy, if you please, got out their party gear and hopped onto papa’s black Harley, zooming all the way to the party venue. They paused at the gate to admire the humongous Goliath of a mansion located in the suburbs, only moving when the vehicle behind them hooted impatiently.
The house was already packed, and Little Pablo was sent to the ‘underage’ section, where he found most of his friends already there, playing. The adults partied and danced to the music blaring from the speakers, but none could beat the twins, John and Mark. They danced the hardest, ate the fastest, drank the most and seemed to be having the greatest time. It was their party, after all. Scarlet, now known as just Scarla, sat in a corner, pumping dreary music on her Walkman and wallowing in misery from a broken heart.
Pablo Sr. went to where Jotham was and was soon introduced to JohnMark. Jokes were passed around and they were all having a great time when the pair simultaneously suggested that Pablo try and liven up their sister. Not one to pass up a challenge, Pablo went up and introduced himself to her. No response. Again, his darned personality wouldn’t let him give up, and he continued speaking really nothing in particular, until she muttered something. “What was that?” he asked, and then almost choked when she said it louder. She had just called him a blithering idiot. Blithering! He stood up to leave, when the twins came over and told their sister something in a language he didn’t quite get, but that turned her into a rather good sport. She introduced herself as Scarla, and he was rather amused. He answered her unvoiced question, explaining that his son’s name was Scar.
“Really?” she asked, “And you? I didn’t quite catch yours the first time around…”
“Oh, that’s alright, I’m Pablo. Pleased to meet you.”
They decided to move it outside where they could hear each other better, and got ran into by a riotous crowd of young ones playing some chasing game. Pablo pointed at his son and got her up to speed about the boy, while she just smiled. He understood, everyone always had that smile whenever they saw his boy – the resemblance was unbelievable. As soon as the children ran off to terrorize another section of the grounds, their conversation turned to other matters, and was again soon interrupted by a call. He had to take it, and she didn’t mind it in the least. Whoever was on the other end of the line seemed to be having a hard time believing that he had the right person, and she giggled a little at how he had to repeat severally that yes, it is he. He started making faces at her while he identified himself, and then she froze. He raised a brow in question, which she totally ignored, caught up in something he couldn’t make head or tail of. She then turned, and ran off into the house. Irritated by his caller, he quickly ended the call and went back into the house, looking for her.
The twins told him she had gone off with Jotham and pointed in the direction they had taken, and he went after them. He got to the doorway and heard them speaking in hushed tones. She was upset, and Jotham wasn’t doing a very good job at calming her. He couldn’t hear much of what was said, but he picked up a few words. Ex. It’s him. Calm down… the more he made out, the more he was confused. He leaned back against the wall while he tried to figure out how to enter the room, and then he noticed the family portraits hanging on the opposite wall. The Johannesens were a nice family, photogenic. He moved closer to the photos, focusing on Scarla. Her hair had changed, it seemed to change in the photos as he moved from recent to older ones. At first it became longer… then blonde. Then – holy shit – her eyes changed. She wore contacts? And then – he knew her! He freaking knew her… He knew her!
Scarla stormed away from her uncle – her very young uncle – in a flurry of tears and bumped into Pablo’s back, whose amazement at the photos had led him to stand right in front of the door. He turned and steadied her, and they made eye contact. Hers were full of tears, his were looking for answers. Jotham couldn’t understand what was going on, so he stood in his place and watched. He watched, too stunned, as his friend ordered his niece to take out her contacts, and as the very defiant Scarla obeyed a man she had only just met. And then, even more surprised, if that were possible, as Pablo shed a silent tear. Oblivious to Jotham’s presence, the two stood there still in that awkward steadying position, both transported back to the time when Scarlet had handed Pablo a little boy as she wept, sobs wracking her delicate frame.
“Christopher…” Only one person called Pablo by that name, and when Jotham finally put two and two together, he fainted.