2017

Hey guys.

I know it’s been a while. I’ve been meaning to write a sequel to my previous post but as you can see, I didn’t get around to it. I got such overwhelming positive feedback from you guys, it felt like anything after that wouldn’t be good enough. I just stopped trying at some point. But I promise, even if it kills me, I will write that sequel.
Unwillingness to post substandard work isn’t the only reason I haven’t posted. I have also been feeling a bit substandard, generally. Haha, that’s so sad and pathetic. And yes while the first reason counts as growth, I do remember the reason I started this blog wasn’t to amass a following, it was to vent. So today, I’m going to write for that same reason.
So here goes, a review of this past year, in some fashion.

For a year that generally seemed good, it sure did kick my ass; emotionally, mentally, educationally (whaaat?!) I mean, I graduated and I sort of figured out what I want from life and how I want to go about it. And that’s a big deal, I just never got around to celebrating it. Also, I stayed alive.
Anyway, here are the highlights.

Books.
At the beginning of the year I set out to read at least one book a week. That didn’t happen, because, I’m broke. But I did read a lot more than the previous years (Thank you Vushya.)
My favourite book this year was Khaled Hosseini’s, “A Thousand Splendid Suns.” As I’m getting older, I’m finding it increasingly difficult to stomach books written by men (especially, straight white men.) They never seem to do the female characters justice. They all portray this stereotypical woman; sexy and girly, smart and boyish, powerful but mean and unmarried. While women are and can be these things, I find it dangerous to box women into stereotypes. Because then it propagates the notion that a woman who isn’t these things, is fundamentally flawed. Women are multi-faceted human beings and I think it is important that they are portrayed as such, because then we can normalize women living to the full extent of their humanity and sexuality, and not have to be labeled weak, sluts, intimidating and not fit for marriage or just bitter hysterical bitches. I like that Khaled Hosseini in this book, in as much as female subjugation is a major theme in this book, doesn’t portray the women as damsels in distress who are finally saved by this man. They fight and they earn their happiness and liberation.
Aboyami Adebayo’s, “Stay With Me” comes a close second. I was a bit underwhelmed because I heard so much about it and I went in with really high expectations. I think it’s one of those books I’ll have to read more, than once to fully appreciate. I came out with this quote, “If the burden is too much and stays too long, even love bends, cracks, comes close to breaking and sometimes does break. But even when it’s in a thousand pieces around your feet, that doesn’t mean it’s no longer love.” I came really close to ending an important relationship because stuff got overwhelming and this quote weirdly put things in perspective.
I think my all-time favourite quote however is in Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” She was talking about her brother when she said, “Of all the needs (there are none imaginary) a lonely child has, the one that must be satisfied, if there is going to be hope of wholeness, is the unshaking need for an unshakable God. My pretty black brother was my kingdom come.” All the lonely children in me come out to weep every time I read this quote.

Owning my pain.
I had suppressed or just blocked out a lot of painful, traumatic experiences over the years and these last three months, my demons came out to play. They were seated on my chest and dancing on my throat. I was sleeping fifteen hours a day at some point just so I wouldn’t have to listen to my chest heave as soon as I opened my eyes. Sidebar: can we just take a moment to realise how lazy and uncool I am? I could have done heroine, but instead I chose sleep. The beauty (or cruelty) of life however, is that it goes on and as long as you’re alive, you eventually have to get out of bed and catch up. I honestly didn’t think it would be as hard because I’ve been really down before and I dealt with it. You however don’t feel the same kind of pain twice and yeah, my ass got thoroughly kicked. But now that I’m slowly getting out of it (or maybe just not fighting being in it), I’m beginning to appreciate the importance of unpacking your trauma, of laying it out on the table and examining every crevice. Oi had to admit to myself that I wasn’t oaky and consciously take steps towards healing. Some things are a matter of waiting it out and others require standing up for yourself and confronting the people that hurt you. It requires that you stop apologizing for your emotions and keep reiterating, even if it’s just to yourself, that you’re not a bitter, unforgiving person. Sometimes things take time and you can’t rush through your emotions. Sometimes you need to scream and kick and through it all, not forget that you are deserving of a space free of judgement and fear to do that. If somebody wants to be in your life after they hurt you, they have to be willing to let you go through the motions. They have to own up to their shit, and sometimes just sit there and let you speak your truth as uncomfortable as that may be for them. Because really, a relationship that can’t survive brutal honesty and mind-bending introspection isn’t a relationship you want to invest yourself in.

Take a leap of faith.
So I decided to pursue writing professionally and dear God I’m scared. But really, it’s the only thing I feel good about in my life right now. I’m prepared to make a few mistakes but all in all, I feel I’ll live a more fulfilling life this way than if I chose a different career path.
That said, my friend and I are working on a project that we’re super excited and proud of. We’ll be done in the next couple weeks or so. I’ll probably do a blog post to inform you of the details and availability of this project once it’s complete. So please spread the word and say tuned? (Does that phrase apply to blog posts?)
Also, I’ll be a lot more consistent in posting next year. I’ll be doing a post every week. I’m excited about that too.

Gratitude

I cannot thank you guys enough for believing in me and taking time out of your days to read my somewhat censored and scanty ramblings. Thank you guys so much. I promise to be a better host next year, and do everything in my power to make visiting this space a worthwhile experience.

I started this blog to just get stuff off my chest. And now it’s blossomed into a career and I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated that before this moment. I went from being the girl that went for walks at one am in the morning because I was too sad too sleep to being someone that thinks, “hey you’re awesome. Hey you’re beautiful” when I look in the mirror and actually believe it. It’s all because of this blog. So thank you guys. I hope in my own sad, angry and intense way, I made somebody’s life a little better.

Happy holidays:)

I’m​ not quite sure.

When I was about nineteen years old I had a crush on this plain, tall and seemingly arrogant boy I knew from back in high school.

Actually, knew of is a more accurate way to put it. I saw him about five times when I was in form three (sixteen years old) because my school had this program we called Socials where students, who were male I might add, from the neighboring school would come to my school (or we’d go to theirs, depending on the term and what house you were in) once a term for snacks, music, conversation and a movie in the afternoon. Ha! Snacks and conversation makes it sound so fancy. And maybe in some respects it was. Because to date, these girls and boys remain some of the most intelligent people I have ever met. I would like to think our conversations had some semblance of this. At the same time however it was a gathering of horny teenagers, so maybe not so fancy.  As you’ve guessed, this kind of mingling required some form of preparation. I happened to be part of a group of ten or so people that was responsible for ensuring Socials was a success. And this is how I met, came across really, Paul. Let’s call him Paul. He also was a member of his school’s committee. Apart from the obligatory meeting at the beginning of our meetings, Paul and I never talked. I doubt he even knew my name. He only talked to this insanely beautiful schoolmate that clearly didn’t fancy him. I think she only paid him attention to humor him and because all the other boys were too intimidated to approach her. There was something about her beauty that seemed (to me at least) transparent. She made me think of glass and air; delicate yet risky, like she could either crumble down or slash your wrists, save or choke you.

I spent most of these meetings snacking away, stealing glances and sometimes full on stares, at Paul and his date and very rarely brooding that no one seemed particularly interested in me. I choked the latter up to the fact that I was ugly; with my shaved head, loose skirts, preoccupied mind, hostile expression and docile esteem. And before you start feeling bad for me I’ll have you know that I was okay with it. Maybe not fully okay, but I didn’t go about my days wishing I was prettier. Even back then, I had this feeling that a pretty face wasn’t going to be what makes me stand out. Granted, I didn’t know what my defining factor was and God knows I didn’t have much in the way of evidence that I even had one. Now that I’m a bit older, I realise that everyone has a unique factor, like a marking on their soul that makes them irreplaceable and so stunningly, genuinely beautiful, it would be pointless to go through life wishing that your mark is a bit like somebody else’s.

I guess more than anything, especially at these meetings, I was just too busy trying to figure out Paul. How he absent-mindedly touched his brow when he was trying to make a point or tell a joke, how he seemed unaware of how strikingly plain he was. I often felt frantic on his behalf, watching him head over to where she was standing pretending not to notice him and acting surprised when she said hi. Girl please! Everyone knew that she was fully aware of the spell she had him under. I worried that Paul didn’t seem to notice that standing next to her only drew sharper contrast to their features, more so, how generic he was. I guess since we were both so plain, I has assumed his sense of worth would also be on crutches like mine. So when it was finally time for them to go, I’d watch him standing there, mouth twitching, hands shaking, wanting but trying not to hug her (it was against school rules) and it would dawn on me that he wasn’t like me. That he was confident. That he was brave and curious and care-free enough to want to touch glass, willing even to be cut by it. To take a leap of faith, plunge into air and fall face flat on emptiness.

This, I think, is what attracted me to him three years later. I had hardly seen him after high school but not a day went by that I didn’t think about his attraction to the glass lady. I wasn’t particularly jealous of her, if anything I was envious of him. Because by the time I was nineteen, my mind had become this dark, bottomless pit that I kept falling farther down into. Everything felt overwhelming and not enough at the same time and I had this incessant, sickening feeling that I was rushing to my death. I went through my days actively trying to slow my brain down. My brain wouldn’t let up the first few days but then slowly it would grind to a halt, a disorienting silence.

I enjoyed the inactivity only for a few hours. The silence eventually did drive me nuts and more often than not, I would find myself in a desolate park bench at one am in the morning begging my brain to work, to panic, to tear itself into pieces. Pain as I came to find out, was a lot better than nothingness. I was self-destructing and I knew it, the morbid parts of my soul maybe even enjoyed it. This isn’t to say I didn’t feel guilty. My stomach was in knots half the time and I almost always felt physically sick, constantly suppressing the urge to throw up. And so on some days I would go out of my way to have a good day; to enjoy a friend’s company. But as soon as I sat down to watch a comedy or have a conversation with someone, my mind would drift to my impending and seemingly inevitable death. And so I would force myself to take in the moments, to absorb the life around me; the laughter and the noise. Somehow I had convinced myself if I had enough supply of life, death would be afraid to get me, that maybe the darkness wouldn’t seem so suffocating if my mind trapped enough light. And then without so much as a warning, it would all seem so overwhelming, I would spend nights begging whatever agents of death to come take me for I had seen enough life.

On my more upbeat days, I realised the vicious cycle my life had become; how I was losing grip of reality, how dead I felt. And so on these days, I fixated on Paul. He had ultimately become my epitome of life. Which is to say I equated being alive to being willing to get hurt. And yes, the irony isn’t lost on me. I was hurting all right, only I was doing it because my mind was broken. Paul on the other hand, was willing to risk it for happiness, and dare I say, love. I often wondered what it would be like to have a conversion with a mind so whole (as far as I knew). Would his sentences come out in colour, rearranging the air around him, so that when he breathed it back in, it nourished him? As far, as my nineteen year old self knew, that constituted a sexual attraction.  May I just say, to date, years after I realised what I felt for Paul was a bit too hazy, that it didn’t fit into a particular box, I’m still really proud of myself for thinking that curiosity about what goes on in someone’s mind was what I considered basis for a romantic entanglement. I have grown in some places and shrank in others, but the one thing that my nineteen year old self and I still agree on, is that good conversation which in a lot of ways is the hall mark of intelligence, is the ultimate aphrodisiac. I am forever grateful to my nineteen year old self, as battered, lost and green in all matters relationships and love, for clearing the path that enabled that realization. So on the days I’d fall, hands clutching at my chest, howling into my pillow, I’d whisper into the universe, sending my words out, hoping they reach him and come back tucked into the syllables, the secret to happiness.

So anyway, I was nineteen, in college, struggling to override this unwarranted guilt I felt whenever I ate more than two meals a day. See, in my head, I didn’t think I had done anything worthwhile with my life to deserve regular meals. As it so happens, I was standing outside my building, counting all the reasons, trying to convince myself that I deserved to grab a bite; I had gotten out of bed, showered, gone to class, not cried(heaven knows I wanted to) and even talked to a classmate or two. Surely, with how heavy my head constantly felt, doing all of these things was nothing short of an achievement. But then again, I was a student. To say I deserved a prize for honouring my obligations would be like saying living things deserved a trophy for breathing. This second train of thought made a lot more sense and I had just about turned, on my way to punishing myself, with a movie with stupid, mind numbing conversation. I hoped it would lull me to sleep before I got too angry at the poorly written script (but really at myself) and broke down wailing. And then I saw him, coming towards me. Maybe not me, I don’t think he saw me. Clearly, he had taken to working out and had grown some facial hair. Compensating for his plainness? I couldn’t say. What I can say however, is that standing there, staring at my feet, acting shifty and suddenly feeling so fretful, like a toddler in a supermarket who’s just been informed/ threatened by her mother that she won’t be getting her favourite doll, I  wouldn’t look at him. Not even in stolen glances as I had done those many years ago. I couldn’t look at him. I didn’t trust myself to do it, not without getting pregnant.

 


Hey guys:)

So, I’m trying to venture into new, scary, uncomfortable territory with my writing. I’m trying to tell stories more and maybe get out of my head a little bit(nuts I know. Reality is pretty warped.) So I thought I’d do a mini series. I’m not entirely sure what it’s going to morph into. What I do know is that I want it to highlight (at the very least) mental illnesses and sexual freedom (especially for women)

So here is an intro(partly fiction but mostly true) I couldn’t just jump into the deep end of fiction. Clinging to my truth I guess, is my way of staying afloat. 

I’m hoping you guys can keep me in check, keep me writing. So please, feel free to shoot me an “hey pal. What’s with the rest of that story?” kinda email. God knows I get so wrapped up in the going ons of my head, I forget to write it down. Or it all becomes blasé, not worth writing about. 

Please, do let me know what you think on the comment section or via my email: cgor921@gmail.com.

Title suggestions are desperately welcome.

Happy reading.

Conversational Anxiety.

Hey guys. I realise that’s it’s been a long while since I posted here. 

I am trying to grow up so I won’t use writer’s block as a scapegoat.  I do have ideas I’d like to write about. Truth, I just don’t have the energy. So I went through my drafts and I found something that rings true today as it did a few months back.

Here goes..

I find that I’m unable to have a proper conversation with anyone of late. Without thinking about it, this needn’t worry me, or anyone else for that matter. I have never been much of a conversationalist. Normally when I’m in a setting that requires conversation, I zone out. The only times I get out of my head long enough to have a conversation, though I wouldn’t call it a conversation; it’s more of giving  somewhat sasatisfactory replies to posed questions, is when I’m in the company of someone I care about enough to make the effort. 

Is this a good thing? I hardly think so. It is however, justifiable. 

I hate, nay, loathe small talk. I firmly believe the only time someone should ask what I’m doing is if they intend to take up my time. Asking for the sake of having something to say annoys me in varying degrees. Sometimes it’s just an incomprehension (if I really like you), but more often than not, it’s gut wrenching anger(why in the fuck do you have my number in the first place? What lapse of judgement in my part could have possibly allowed that?)

I believe that the best conversations are held in silence. There is something about never needing to say anything, knowing that whatever you have to say is already known that sort of gets me going (sexuallly I might add.) People don’t appreciate the intimacy that comes with silence. They feel this need to fill the silence with small talk or emotional assessment (are you sad? Are you angry? )That exasperates me.

I do like conversation. Start a conversation about something that interests me and it’s unlikely that I’ll stop talking. Well, until recently.

Of late however, I’m unable to master the will to even participate in a conveconversation I would enjoy. My head could be full of ideas, but I’ll still keep my mouth shut. I feel as if I’m subjecting my opinions to the judgement of others. And that makes me anxious. It makes me feel as though an unhygienic fat man is sitting on my chest. Previously, airing my opinion has never been a problem. It had to be one of my favourite things (I’m stubbornly opinionated.) 

I can’t really say I know exactly where this new-found anxiety is coming from. I’ll try and venture an explanation if it’s all the same with you.

First, I don’t feel as smart as I think I am. I feel as though my opinions don’t hold much meaning. And if that’s the case, then why even have one in the first place?

Second, I feel as though I have run out of people who care about what I have to say.  People who’d care for my unfiltered opinion. I constantly feel as though I’m expected to stick to a script everytime I try to say something. The problem is, I don’t think this script was availed to me. So I’m mostly trying to construct pieces of the story from what people around me are saying. An endeavour I’m failing at, disappointingly so. So I opt to skip the table reading altogether.

But mostly, I’m in no head space to carry on a conversation. I’m a lot more emotional than I always am. I’m prone to bouts of intense sadness. I feel numb(such a paradox) and empty by day and drained by night. I have all these words swirling in my head, carefully reconstructing themselves into doubt, fatigue and despondence. If I were to have a conversation, I can’t promise this negativity wouldn’t find it’s way out of my head and into my mouth. I don’t want to be the person who kills the mood. So I choose not to speak until I’ve found my way out of this dark, dreary place my head has become. 

Also, I’ve increasingly grown hateful of texting. I’d prefer it if people just called me. Well, only certain people.

So until I’m back to being myself again, I hope you don’t let the silence drive you too crazy.

Also, please don’t leave me:(

​Dear daughter; lessons on love and friendship.

I chuckle at the irony of what I’m about to do. Truth be told, I don’t know much about love and friendship. Attempting to talk about it, would be like Hitler giving a lecture on tolerance. I’ve only ever had a handful of friends and up until I was twenty, I did not understand these two concepts. I would like to believe that I have grown; that in just two years, I have acquired knowledge I should have amassed in twenty two years. But really, the jury is still out on that. So let’s see.

Friendship as I know it is the purest form of love. You are going to grow up in a society that will make you believe that a sexual relationship is the height of all relationships. But you are my daughter, and as you will find out, I am not in the business of raising you into a cliché. You will be a rebel, an outcast, an outlier before you ever are ordinary. So take it from me, if you screw up all the relationships you will ever be in, if you’ll break the hearts of everyone you set your sights on, pick one friend that will know every bit and crevice of your soul. When you find this person, it doesn’t matter gender what they’ll be (because people will try to tell you that you can’t be friends with male people. Another myth I’ll debunk), be good to them. Endeavor to unravel every bit of their being. Learn the difference in the quivering of their voice when they are about to cry from happiness or sadness. If you can’t do anything else for them, never let them forget that you love them. Be vulnerable, be honest be raw. Because really, out of all the things you could give to people, the greatest will always be your uncensored self. That and your time. So if they ever call you in the middle of the day saying they are having a bad day asking to talk for a minute, please say yes. Because you can always finish your homework an hour later. What you shouldn’t do is let your friend go through the day thinking they are a bother to you. If you ever have the power to make someone feel better, do it. And as you get older, you will find that these are the things that truly matter.  

In your lifetime, you will come across people that you will be inexplicably drawn to. The sad thing about life is there won’t be a lot of these people. So when you do come across one of those people, drop everything and see what shore that current dumps you on. These people will come in various forms; family, friends, strangers on the street. They will serve different purposes for different periods. I hope you will be selfish enough to enjoy these people, especially the ones that are not permanent (actually nobody really is because we all die.) But just because people aren’t permanent doesn’t mean they aren’t worth it. Some of the best memories will be made by people you shared a bus ride with, people it didn’t even occur to you to ask their names. 

Finally, I hope you know what kind of treatment you deserve. Don’t ever be too busy loving and supporting other people you forget to do that for yourself. No one deserves to be happy more than you do. If you ever are to choose between people, pick the ones that put in an effort over the ones that claim they love you. Because not everyone that loves you will try. But people that try will always love you. Pick the friend that listens to you. Pick the friend that knows all the different ways to put your pieces back together because they’ve seen you fall apart so many times. Pick the friend that cherishes, you’re A-Zs, your skin to your bones. Pick the friends that knows all your scars and the story behind each one. Pick the friends that calls you just because. God, pick people who try. I cannot tell you how important that is. And when you have chosen this person, try for them. Try even if it kills you.

And when all is said and done, not all relationships last. There are people who for whatever reason will hurt your feelings. Please forgive those people. If I should leave you with anything, may it always be an unwavering assurance that people’s actions are not a reflection of your self-worth. This is in no way saying that you are beyond reproach. We all need a little shaping. What we do not need however, is a crumbled sense of worth stemming from someone’s indecency. If you ever have to listen to such misconceptions, if your only choice is to sit and watch your life and everything you stand for be reduced into a vulgar misunderstanding spewing out of even more vulgar mouths, I hope you know not to turn the pits of your stomach into a graveyard; a dark dreary place to bury every judgement passed, every door slammed. But above everything else, may you always find the light inside you. That you will use this light to illuminate your shadows of self-doubt and turn them into reflections of beauty and joy. That you shall always put your happiness above all else.

Dear Son,

If I’m being totally honest, I am terrified of having a son. I don’t think I get men. No wait, I do get men. And when I say I get men, I mean I have put a lot of work into appreciating my sense of self, I really couldn’t care what goes on in a  man’s head in regard to my being. So actually no, I don’t get men. I just know how to use my voice to tell men what I want, to demand respect and to say no to shit. Also, I try to be a really good listener; a skill that I do not think I will ever master, but will never stop trying till my lungs give out. 

It’s boys I don’t get. It’s adolescents whose voices have just broken, and they are getting a little tall and trying to understand how their height and dropped balls factor into their lives. It’s spuds with unformed minds and shaky opinions and wandering eyes and a newly found sense of lust. It’s boys whose groins are just beginning to appreciate the effect of a female ass and hands just itching to touch a pair of breasts. It’s the boy locked in a bathroom with a page torn out of a Victoria’s Secret catalogue and he isn’t quite sure how to use his hands. It’s boys using a shaving razor for the first time, wrecked with insecurities, wondering if the package in his hands is big (enough.) It’s college boys who don’t know how to politely approach a woman. It’s college boys who refuse to invest in soap and maybe even cologne. It’s college boys who walk around campus in bathroom sandals and get offended when a girl won’t look in their direction. Generally, I don’t get boys struggling to be men. Boys who are yet to understand the nobility of their strength, or better yet, what strength there is in nobility. Boys just shuffling around, trying to find a solid place to plant their feet and grow. Boys with ambition but no character, boys with brains but not enough manners, boys with vision but no means.

And it scares me that someday, I may have to raise that. To be an anchor to my son when he goes through this challenging phase, just trying to find himself. How do I do that? What could I possibly tell him? Because I don’t have much experience with men. I don’t have brothers and I have never really lived with my dad. Sure, my best friend is male, but he’s always been more of a man than a boy. But more than that, I am scared that even after I’ve done my best, even after I’ve spent half my life trying to raise him into as great and as good a man as he could possibly be, he’s going to leave home, and go out into the world and society will ruin him for me. I’m scared that society is going to creep up at him at night, and erase everything I’ve taught him. I’m scared of the perverted fellow intern that will send him nude photos of his ex-girlfriend and more terrified that my son will look. I’m scared that he’ll come back home for Christmas break with sagged jeans and a computer full of pornography and a tongue uttering sexist slurs to his sister. I’m terrified of the war that will go on in me; between his mother who loves him unconditionally and a woman who wants to cuss him out and maybe even disown him.

So from me, to my future son. I know I’m only twenty one and I know nothing about being a man. But someday you are going to be twenty one, trying to find a job, struggling to be a brother, screwing up at being a boyfriend, learning how to be a friend. This is to tell you that whoever you become, you’ll always be my son. That I might screw up a little bit, but whatever you go through, whatever disappointments life throws at you, whatever victories you achieve, I’ll always be in your corner. That we will grow together and the list I’m about to write will only get wiser.

First of all, I’m totally fine with whatever sexual orientation. I will welcome and love whoever you choose to be your (life) partner. That said, I have a thing against PDA (Public displays of affection) so please keep that to a bare minimum when I’m around. In a nutshell, I won’t care who you fuck, just don’t do it in my presence, or my couch, or my kitchen counter. I’m not saying you shouldn’t experiment, by all means, experiment your heart away.(yeah, that’s a weird thing for a mother to say to a son)It’s just that I’m working so hard at ensuring my house has quality(expensive) stuff, please don’t ruin that for me by the memory of you being “experimental.” You’re my son, I love you, but that’s just gross.

Second, home will always be home. If I mess up everything, I hope you grow up knowing that there is very little that will make you unwelcome.( I should probably say nothing, but who are we kidding, you’re not going to enter my doors if you are a serial killer.) With the exception of immoral careers, I will support you. You don’t have to be a doctor or an engineer. You can be a drummer or a swimmer or a photographer. I’m working hard to ensure that whatever you choose to be, I will have the resources to ensure you are the best at that. If you want to be a musician, I will take you to the best music school, I will buy you whatever instruments you want to play. But even if life doesn’t turn out as I want it to, I hope you know that happiness and fulfilment doesn’t come from material things. I hope you understand that happiness is a choice, and an active one at that. I hope I raise you to understand that true fulfilment only comes from doing the things that you are passionate about, the things that make you happy. And I pray that even if you don’t turn out to be the strongest guy around, you will have the bravery to go after the things that make your soul dance; be it the weird boy in your school or a nerdy programming class. I hope you know not to measure your growth by what is popular and applauded but by what is noble and kind.

I hope I raise you to value your humanity above your masculinity. I want you to understand that it is okay to cry and show emotion. I want you to be the nice guy that opens doors for girls and pulls out chairs for them without expecting favours in return. I want you to be the guy that values friendships (with all genders) and goes out of his way to show it. I want you to be the guy who shows up with pizza and beer at your male friend’s house when he has been dumped and gives your sister flowers when she’s cramping. I hope you don’t grow up measuring your masculinity by mundanities like how many girls you’ve slept with or how good you are at playing FIFA. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with you playing video games. I just don’t want you to be the kind of guy that feels emasculated when a girl beats you at it. I hope you are the kind of guy that loves wholeheartedly even when he’s been hurt before. The kind of guy that buys flowers for his girlfriend’s mum and buys your girlfriend tampons when she can’t leave the house. I’m saying that I hope you turn out to be a good human being; a kind, generous, loving human being. A boy that values nobility over strength. A boy that uses his strength to help elderly people carry bags, and carry children across the road and not to bully the timid guy in class. I want you to be the guy who befriends this timid guy. I want you to understand that if you are stronger than your sister, it is not to intimidate her into doing all the house chores, but to help move the heavy furniture. But more than that, I hope you never outgrow your mother. That you never stop trying to be her friend.

But more than that, I hope I do not do you the injustice of raising you with a fragile ego. An ego so easily punctured that when a girl says no to lunch, it results to insults and threats. An ego that won’t let you be vulnerable or admit to not knowing something for fear of rejection or ridicule. I hope you know to accept defeat and reach out of your comfort zone. I hope you have a curious mind that will ask questions and learn from your mistakes. I hope you never let failure define you or stop you from gaining new experiences. But I also hope that you have a sense of pride. Not the kind that comes before a fall, but an assuredness in who you are as a person and what you deserve. I hope you know to walk away from toxic relationships. I hope you never let a girl use you just because you may get to sleep with her someday. I hope you never have to beg for respect. I pray you learn to stand up for yourself and settle for nothing less than your worth. I hope you know when to begin a relationship and when to end it. That you will know to tell someone when you are falling in love with them and they make your heart beat faster. That you’ll also know to tell them when you’ve met someone else or the passion has died, or you want different things. Basically, I hope you know to speak your mind and that your words will always be graceful and polite, but firm and clear. I also hope you learn to be on the receiving end of these words. To be composed, understanding and rational even when your heart is breaking. To wish them well and mean it even when you never want to see them again.

I hope you have good taste in music. Because everyone needs a sound track to their life. Especially when you are Twenty one and girls are ignoring you and school is hard and you’re broke and just barely getting by. I hope you will listen to more than just HipHop. That you’ll listen to soulful music; music that will give you goose bumps and make you want to cry. Music that will make you want to bang your head against a wall and scream when you hate your life. Music that will make you want to heal the world on your good days.

I hope you never lose your child-like sense of wonder. I hope you go for walks and explore the woods beyond our house. I hope you build train sets and castles. I hope you have pillow fights and build forts. I hope you never outgrow you spider man sheets and socks. I hope you never stop watching cartoons.

I pray that you love books. That you will read everything, from restaurant menus to graffiti on buildings. Because books contain more than just words. They contain ideas and dreams. Because a well-read boy is a great conversationalist. And a great conversationalist attracts great, smart girls. Girls that will challenge you and give you great conversation and adventure and with enough experimenting, great sex. Girls that will push you to be the best version of yourself.

I hope you have a morbid (dark, weird and twisted) sense of humour. That you’ll make puns, lame and nerdy alike.

I hope that you don’t lose yourself trying to fit in. I hope you know that normal is an illusion. I hope that you’ll always take weird as a complement.

Please be smart.

I hope this list is good enough.

Ps. I was going to name you Dilan. But there is this show called Modern Family with a character named Dilan that is very dumb and that ruined that name for me. If at all this is possible, pray that I name you something that won’t be used to taunt you.

On change.

The year was two thousand and fifteen. Young, ignorant me was excited about the new year. I truly believed it was going to be my best year yet. I really did. It makes me laugh(and sometimes cry) to think about now naively optimistic I was. I guess I just needed the hopeful illusion. Two Thousand and Fourteen had been an awful year. As it turned out, 2015 wasn’t that different anyway, at least not the first quarter. The prominent memory about this time is we were almost homeless, my roommates and I that is. We had to move out of our residence at the time, and we had no prospects of finding another place to live. Also, we were doing exams and we were as broke as it gets(or at least I was) Looking back, being almost homeless was a good thing for us. We really needed to move out of that place. The environment was toxic, both physically and mentally. We were out of Our league, We were spending way too much money and for some weird reason all our relationships were falling apart. I can confidently say, my roommates and I cried ourselves to sleep more often than we care to admit. Even so, moving out wasn’t that easy, change never is. I remember when we finally moved out and because it was to a different building, structured differently, we had to switch the curtains. Just the mere thought of having different curtains in my room, upset me more than it should. It was a while before I grudgingly admitted that we had done the right thing by moving.

Like I said, change is not easy. I guess we get so used to having things a certain way, as harmful as those things may be, that we dare not try to make things better. Change comes with unknown variables and with the unknown comes this paralyzing fear. You know what they say, better the devil you know than the angel you don’t know. And for the most part, it is understandable, I could say acceptable to some extent. It is okay to be scared. As long as you know, and are preparing to face that fear someday. What isn’t acceptable, is how we let this fear of change rule our lives. How we stay in a state of destructive inertia, we let ourselves hurt, how we slowly kill ourselves just because we are afraid to venture into the unknown. How we feed our bad habits, excuse others for theirs and pretend that we have forgiven ourselves for being so cowardly. If there is one thing that is common to all human beings, it is that we are capable of change. We owe it to ourselves to change, to grow, to discover the better versions of ourselves.

And it is on this premise that I am basing my dissatisfaction and disappointment in myself and others close to me(or everyone) for the times I have not been my best self. For the times I have procrastinated, for the times I have indulged my self-destructive thoughts, for the times I have used my humanity and my room for error to excuse my bad behavior, for the times I fell back into old habits, for the times I have let my ego get the better of me, for the times I have been as human as I could be. But more importantly, I am annoyed at the times I let people take advantage of me, for the times I let people hurt me, for the times I have forgiven people, or held my tongue and given them another chance simply because I understood where they were coming from, or that they didn’t mean to. This is also about the times I have been the offending party but still felt entitled to some forgiveness simply I was hurting. This is to say that hurting others isn’t okay just because you are hurt, or you have been hurt. Because we are capable of being better, because the goal in life is to be better.

Here’s the thing. We are all a little damaged. Nobody was raised by perfect parents. Hell, some people aren’t even raised by their parents. More often than not, the people that raise us, also break us a little bit, knowingly or not. We internalize things, we take up their bad habits, we accept the lies they tell as truths, and we never quite forgive them for the careless utterance that broke our spirit a little bit. As we grow up, we learn that we have to unlearn some of the things they taught us, Or at the very least, put it in context. The people raised in abusive homes have to learn that it is not okay and it is never an excuse to be abusive. The people raised by neglectful drunks learn that you can’t go through life evading your responsibilities and drowning your sorrows in alcohol. Even those brought up in seemingly perfect homes find the need to discard or at least change some ideologies they were raised up with. If not for anything, then for the fact that the passing of time necessitates a change. So while some people are more damaged than others, and some people need more time to change, it is never okay to use your damage as an excuse for the less than noble things you will do. Nobody should have to endure and constantly forgive your mistakes just because someone made you like that, or because you have always been like that. If you can be better, you should be better.

I have been told on numerous occasions that I should develop a sense of humour. What stands out about these instances is the people who told me that usually said it after they cracked a rape joke, or said something misogynistic and I wasn’t amused. I used to get so worked up when people tell me that because for starters, I have a sense of humour. I will laugh at anything. I just saw this text post about this vegetarian who climbed Everest to prove that vegetarians aren’t weak but she ended up dying. People were commenting things like,”Lettuce pray” and “rest in peas” and I laughed so hard. Don’t judge me. I have a heart. And a weakness for puns. Also, I do not have anything against vegetarians. It takes courage and strength to be so healthy. My point is, I have a sense of humour, dark as it may sometimes be. What I don’t like about these people who tell me to lighten up is their argument that “boys will always be boys.” It is essentially saying that boys will always be sexist, violent people. And that is not true. Did you know that there was once a convention in the middle ages where the table legs had to be covered because boys found them sexually attractive? I guess the table legs resembled women legs, but still. All I am saying is, if boys can learn not to feel a sexual attraction when they look at table legs, then they can unlearn the sexist ideologies that they have internalized. Boys Can Change. Girls can change. Everyone can be better. So let’s be better.

we live,we learn.

I think it was Ernest Hemingway that once said, “I have never met a happy thinker.” And boy, he couldn’t have been any more correct. Now I am not saying I am a sad thinker, but I will say this, my life would be a lot more easier if I thought about things just a little bit less. Anyway, I have been watching a lot of Elementary lately. I just love Sherlock Holmes’ character. He is so awkward and clueless, it is just so damn sexy. So those of you who are familiar with the “legend” of Sherlock Holmes know he has issues with drugs, you know, heroine and the likes. Now, Sherlock is a genius in the science of deduction thanks to his extraordinary senses. He has the ability to spot and connect mundane or even related events in a way that most people, or anyone at all, cannot comprehend. But that right there is his undoing. So while his gift has helped him as a detective and has resulted in saving countless lives, he is also acutely aware of just how rotten the world is. A case example would be he is scared of flying. Because while most people see and trust a qualified pilot, he sees the tinge of nervousness in his demeanor. And if the pilot is nervous, what has he done about it? Has he taken a drink to calm him down? Is he nervous due to a problem at home? Will that be a distraction? I know, sounds like paranoia, but you get my point. Sherlock even once said he wonders how differently his life would have been if he was born at a different time. When it was a lot quieter out there. When there was less evil in the world. Would he have turned to drugs to dull his senses? That maybe he wouldn’t have ended up an addict.

And that in a way is my problem. I sort of live inside my head. It started as a way to escape reality, but right now it has become a habit. A habit I am not really willing to break. I think I find it easier to be a little oblivious. It makes me a little less susceptible to taking crap from people. To put it mildly, I am an obsessive thinker. And I am in no way comparing myself to Ernest Hemingway or Sherlock Holmes, but I do have moments when I am washing dishes, listening to music and I have a flash of an unpleasant memory and then I spiral out. I end up going through all the different probabilities, the things I should have done differently, what I should have said, places I shouldn’t have been, the person I sometimes wish I was. And yes, eventually I manage to talk out of it, because at the end of the day it is the present that matters, that I am better now. Even so, those five minutes of intense what-ifs have still ruined my day. I don’t think there is a remedy to that. I have accepted that I will never be able to take things lightly, not entirely. That I will occasionally have my intense moments, that those moments will make me feel depressed but that is just who I am. There is not much point in trying to change that. That despite of my somewhat self-destructing state of mind, I am okay. Hell, I am great.

And that is what I am trying to say. We are who we are. And as long as we are human, we are bound to have moments when we are not comfortable with who we are. Some moments take minutes others last a lifetime. Some are for mundane reasons like a pimple on your face and others are for reasons that only our souls could ever be able to hold. And as long as we are alive, these moments will fluctuate. Some will get harder, others will get easier. That more often than not, things will not work out the way you want them to. That life will always surprise you. Sometimes with birthday parties or a thoughtful gift from a friend. And other times with a fist in your heart, moments that will just knock the wind out of your system. But amidst all these, you will be fine. You will grow. You will change your mind. You break the promises you made to yourself as a kid, you quit medical school, your childhood friend dies, you try different things, you meander, you get lost. That amidst all the noise and confusion, you find a quiet place in your head, or your friend’s kitchen counter. You find yourself, be it between the pages of a book or the words of a character in a movie. And maybe, you find someone who takes an interest; others go with you, others stay and wait for you to come back. And while you do, you find joy and laughter and tears. You find friendship and heartbreak. You find your favorite song. And speaking of songs, I have had Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars” on repeat for like most of today. I don’t know why. Maybe I miss 2007. I feel like I was a lot smarter back then, or maybe things were just easier. There is this line in that song. “I don’t know where, I am confused about how as well. Just know that these things will never change for us.” And I guess that is all I am trying to say, we all eventually get there. We all eventually find our souls. And if we are lucky enough, we find someone to share that with, even if it is just for a heartbeat.