Saturday, October 03, 2020

Happy Endings

I know the title is a little risque because there is a world out there associates happy endings with massages rather than faerie tales. But I grew up on a diet of faerie tales. It was what sparked my interest in reading in the first place. And so for me, happy endings, is always, the happily ever after that was supposed to ensue after all the bad stuff had happened. What was the point of it all, if not? But here's the thing. You need stamina for a happy ending. You need to be able to see it through and come out on the other side. You need to have grown to achieve or deserve your happy ending. You need to follow through, move past the miseries, forgive the hurts, forgive yourself, transcend the unhappy situation. I don't think I ever got a happy ending. I never stayed with any situation long enough. When I was miserable, I needed to leave. I didn't believe in happy endings anyway. Not for me. So I moved from miserable ending to miserable ending. Many times I wanted to end it all. And after my mother died, there was really nothing holding me back. Well, there was Arnold. And after Arnold, there was Sylvie and Bruno. And after Sylvie and Bruno, there was Ebony, then Sheba, and now, five different cats, all needing me, the youngest being a spunky little kitten who was abandoned at a week old, alone, possibly the runt of the litter, not expected to live. After two months of steady feeding and tonics and immune boosters, she still has developmental disorders and is terribly tiny for her age. Ebony fell off the balcony and died. Moonbeam died when she went for surgery. I loved them both. There was no happy ending there, just enduring the misery of their passing too soon. People make fun of my cats but they provide me a reason to live, to wake up, to go to work, to earn some money. It's not a happy ending, but merely an enduring because my life means something to some helpless creatures whom I don't expect anyone to take in, if I am not here. That's got to count for something. I've had happy beginnings. I need to find a way to transcend my life, to transcend my heart, to transcend my soul and find my way to a happy ending for once. Just for once.

Monday, September 28, 2020

The Idiot

I dreamt of someone I have hated for so long that I forgot I used to have a crush on him. In my dream, he seemed to revert to who he became so impossibly horrible and I remembered how much I had admired him. Nothing ever happened. It was one of those crushes, where you admire from afar and do nothing about it.

We were in another place, a place I could not identify, maybe Johor, although there were hints of PJ in it. He had cats or rather furniture that had been mauled by cats, like me. He was quiet and gentle and I felt stirrings of the old attraction as if all that had happened in the intervening years had disappeared. It was strange. 

I used to admire him so because he was unfazed by life and knew how to shortcut any process. I was overwhelmed by life and didn't know how to shortcut anything. I always took the long, ponderous way, and spent way too much energy on anything.

He had a light touch and I had the tread of an elephant. I never learned to tread lightly and take things as they come. 

Everything spilled over with me -- too much emotion, too much reaction, too much anger.

No wonder people recoiled. We live in a light touch world and those who go about, stepping lightly are those everyone wants to be close to.

I am reading The Idiot by Elif Batuman and wondering at how she goes along with everything her crush says although I can't really figure out why she has a crush on him. And I thought about how I hated the all-nighters, how I hated going along with things - how my present desire and common sense were always at odds.

Oh the stupid things that I did and went along with. Oh the stupid things that I initiated.

When I watch the Chinese or Korean shows or even read this book, I am amazed by how self-contained the women are, how dignified, how they didn't feel the need to go along with everything.

The dream left me with a strange feeling inside, like something resolved. This was a grudge that I forgot I carried. It was lodged deep in my gut, only surfacing if this particular guy somehow surfaced in the new, in social media, in my environs. I took my hate for granted, it felt righteous, and I didn't even think that much about it.

But now, I guess, I can let it go.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Six impossible things before breakfast


When things start disintegrating, at first, you expend all your energy trying to stop the disintegration, trying to keep it all pieced together. At this point you haven't learnt yet, the pointlessness of it all. And trying to keep everything together, well, that's something you have to do, a rite of passage, so to speak. 

It is important, in hopeless situations, to not lose hope too early.

At some point (depending on how resilient you are), you let go and everything crumbles beautifully and truthfully you feel a little relief that what was supposed to happen, has happened. You let it all go.

And then you watch all the pieces fly every which way in slow motion. It's beautiful, kind of like when you are projectile vomiting after a night of too many drinks and the pieces fly out of your throat to everywhere, coating everything. And you lie exhausted in bed, too tired to mop it all up although it stinks something awful, but you think, in the morning, I'll do it in the morning.

And you like back and take a much-needed rest, because now that the worst has happened, you're no longer anxious, you no longer care, you'd just like a little sleep, for a little longer, pretty please.

What happens after the worst has happened?

What happens when there's nothing left to hold on to?

What happens when everyone has deserted you and you no longer have anyone who loves you, who will take your part?

What happens when people watch you tentatively from the sidelines, not willing to catch your eye, in case you engage with them and beg them for help?

What happens when your life is a train wreck, a 10-car pile-up on the highway, a bloody broken thing of gore and twisted limbs?

Why was I born? What's the point of it all? 

I'm just too tired, OK?

No I don't want to get up. No I don't want to try again. I don't want to and you can't make me.

Just go ahead without me.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

How long is a piece of string?


 

In the daytime I feel fine and things cohere. A little tired but fine. It's at night that everything starts to unravel, everything starts to shred and I feel myself come undone. 

I think that maybe, that maybe, I am two different people. One person occupies the day and another arrives to take over the night.

And she makes the switch when I am not looking, before I realise.

But when I look again, I realise that this familiar sadness is back and that it overwhelms and I stand before it, helpless, abandoned, alone.

I don't know what to do.

I don't know how to face these phantoms in my head, in my mind, in my body, in my apartment, who swirl, who swirl, who keep swirling so I can't pin them down, can't look one in the eye and say, I know you, you are you, you are you, you are you, this is here and now, this image is DEFINITE!

Who are you?

What do you want from me?

Haven't you taken enough?

I have nothing left to give you.

Please

Please

Please

Let me be.

Friday, September 18, 2020

The Law Of Attrition

 


It's funny this law of attrition. At first you can hold it back, or at least, you think you can. Somewhere along the way you get weary of trying. Or you just give up. It takes too much energy, it's just too much pain. And there is no reason to hold back the tide. 

Canute couldn't.

You can't.

It's as simple as that.

And it feels like I've been running on empty for a long, long time, just clothes over a corpse pretending to be alive.

I pretend to care but I don't.

I save a kitten because she is given to me a week old and helpless, but it is the dead helping the dead.

I feed her, she sucks at the bottle, and stops. And doesn't put on weight, doesn't grow. 

I hire Rose to come take care of her when I can't be there, but she doesn't put on weight and doesn't grow.

I spend most of my salary on her babysitting but she doesn't put on weight and doesn't grow. Her eyes look sad and pained.

I take her to the vet, finally, who says there's something wrong because she is way too small for her age.

I give her tonics and vitamins and immune boosters (all prescribed) and she grows. A little.

But I'm tired.

I'm tired of all the meaninglessness that I have to wade through, coming back to the start over and over again.

I'm tired of the evil shadows that adhere to me like barnacles, that I can't shake off, that smile at me and pretend to love me, while I feel their teeth lodge in my neck as they drain the life force out of me. I'm so tired.

I'm exhausted.

I don't know who you are, I don't know at which point you appeared, I don't know when the switch was made and when you came in and replaced a living person with your shadow. 

The Buddha says you know that the sea is the sea because it always tastes of salt. And you know enlightenment is enlightenment because it always tastes of freedom.

But you taste of shackles and shadows and the deep bitter tang of unhappiness, of subjection. You taste of confusion, of lies.

What could you be, oh, what else could you be?

And I'm so tired of fighting you.

I'm so tired.

I just want to lie down here, and give up.

And let all that is to die, die, beginning with tired love.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul

A heaviness lurks in my soul. I don't know who put it there. It came on when I was not looking, not noticing. 

It's this great sadness that grows and grows in me for no reason at all; or perhaps every reason. I find myself letting go of life, letting go of longing.

It's weird how I spent most of my 20s lost in yearning, for something, I don't know what, although at that time I thought I did. I pinned my yearnings on things so small, so insignificant, and didn't get those either, because even though they were so small, so insignificant, I was not worthy of them.

I was not worthy of anything. I deserved my unhappiness and I crashed into it, like a train wreck, like a car accident, like destiny.

And now I've lost my yearning, lost my looking to a better day, settled into the greyness of this world, which is sort of blurred, where one day follows another in silent succession, and there's nothing much to look forward to.

Did I reason myself into this state of non-existence?

Did I pare down my life, getting rid of everything, until there was nothing?

Is this all there is?

I wish I knew. I wish I could snap out of it. I wish I could move from this ever-darkening world into something light, something bright, something that fills my heart with wonder, something that fills my heart with colour, something that fills my heart with joy.

But what?

I don't even dream anymore because there is nothing to left to dream about.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Kissing Strangers

It's the darndest thing, but most of us are out there trying to kiss strangers, as uncomfortable and as discombobulating as the experience usually is. We watch a show and fantasise about how it would be like to have this piece of fiction in our lives because of the character they have created on screen. Which has nothing to do with who they are. And has nothing to do with who we are. Or what we need.

(Which is nothing, if you dig down deep enough. Nothing and nobody. At least, not in that way)

A stranger always feels strange. They stare at you with indifferent eyes because you are simply a face, a not very interesting face, in the crowd. 

And in the intimate setting of a smoky bar, a stranger, with their liquid, whisky-infused eyes, looking at you less indifferently, is still strange. Everything about them is strange, especially this need for fake intimacy brought about by longing and loneliness and the search for any port in a storm.

Because you have no idea that you are holding your breath; waiting to exhale.

But after the high, the hangover.

After the loving, the morning after.

It feels like a desperate scramble to feel something, to make something out of nothing, to pretend for just a few minutes longer.

It is madness but you can't see it if you're caught up in it. 

It is madness because it leaves you emptier after than before.

It is madness because it is not nothing, and you can carry this not-nothing for life.

A lifetime of scars, of empty encounters, of dwindling into nothing.

Kissing strangers.

It's unbearably sad. 

It's hopelessly desolate.

It's always strange.