I grew up in a collectivistic society, where the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” wasn’t open-ended.
The only acceptable answer, especially for those who performed better than average at school, was a Doctor or an Engineer. When I announced at fourteen that the field of medicine isn’t the right fit for me, I was met with several sad and disappointed eyes.
After all, who would inherit my Father’s Stethoscope? — This was a real question posed to me, intended to guilt me into submission.
My personality was not in accordance with my gender’s guide book, and I refused to comply with most social conventions even though I had the potential to excel. …
The clock struck twelve,
the throbbing grew faster.
Feel it in her heart,
dusty skin and bones.
It’s time, she knew,
to walk into the unknown.
Wear a warm coat,
stock candles in her pockets.
Pick up the iron key,
slip into the sturdy muddy boots.
Walk down a flight of stairs,
then another, then another.
Unlock a hatch in the floor,
strike a match against the brownstone.
An empty room to another,
a portal for the seeker.
Graze the walls lightly,
caressing one stone at a time.
Scour them for a clue,
a distinct color, texture, or feeling.
Close her eyes for a second,
feel weightless for many.
Wake up in the wastelands,
travel towards the horizon. …
New Year, Ordinary Me, and the Same Old Shit.
The optimist inside me died a slow death last year. For whatever reason, I could not spend the final weeks of December basking in hope, believing that 2020 and everything it represented is finally coming to an end and 2021 is going to breathe back happiness into our lives.
As January comes to a close, I can safely say that I was right, that things are pretty much the same as before. But the cynic within me refuses to rejoice.
She’s confused, and so am I. What now?
We log into work, read the news, fight with strangers on the internet, drink the slightly cold cup of left out coffee, and battle anxiety-ridden insomnia at night. …
I miss the days before social media when you could smudge black eyeshadow across your lids, go to bed with it, and wake up in the morning with skin that’s good to go after a wash.
Maybe my teenage skin was that much more tenacious. But, I often reminisce about that time when we could do anything we wanted without judgment.
Do you ever feel crushed under the weight of it all?
If you wear too much makeup, that’s a self-worth issue; too little, and you are a cave person. You spend years buying the right brush, blender, and sponge for every step, and then the Guru’s change it up and advocate natural makeup, using your fingers instead. …
Still blue expanses form,
an endless ocean of calm.
Withdrawn clouds shrink and hide,
a radiant glow pierces through.
The air is new and fresh,
to breathe away, breathe away.
Ditch the constant reminders,
no desire for hourly affirmations.
Find me in the driver’s seat,
in control of the savage beast.
Thoughts are tethered and tamed,
can always pull back in check.
A sliver of sand to nap on,
an island amidst frenzied seas.
Eyes shut tight sans flicker,
double-sealed from the cosmic darkness.
Shadows dance alone in the night,
no contest to sway anymore.
Check my watch, check again,
peace lasts more than mere seconds. …
Sometimes I imagine my brain to be a large control room, with buttons, joysticks, and giant LED screens. When the room is lit up with rapidly blinking red lights and a roaring alarm indicating a shutdown, I need to take action.
Clad in a white coat and a serious look on my face, I pretend to know what I am doing. I flip through the pages of my mind’s manual to look for a solution.
Maybe a prescribed protocol or a formula that was successfully administered for a similar problem in the past. Alas, there’s nothing here.
Flustered and stressed, I dump the book on the floor and begin to push random buttons. I try the green one that says breathe, another one that displays the Netflix logo, and finally, reach for the gray bar that says rest. …
Layered tassel curtains, enough candles to hold a seance, and magical fairy lights as far as eyes can see. A strong throw pillow game, plants so green they can cure the world’s climate crisis and a fully stocked fridge.
She walks in after a long day at work, and her home is ready, cozied, and warmed up to welcome her tired mind and body.
Holding a glass of wine in her hand, she plops down on the couch of the year and wonders, why is my life so empty?
She fires up her phone and messages her friends, her family away from home. Plans are made within a split second, and she promptly runs up to her walk-in closet and picks out a designer dress. …
I’ve never really understood the fascination with manicures. Sure, they look pretty in magazines and pictures, but I have no clue how one actually maintains it in real life. Seriously, do they even last the ride home?
I’ve gotten two of these in my lifetime, and the experience wasn’t nearly as fulfilling as promised. It felt weird throughout.
Someone worked on my misshapen nails for one hour, and the result was eerily similar to me hastily filing and painting them at home. The end product looked nothing like the displayed brochure or the copy of Vogue in my lap.
With a disappointed heart and a lighter wallet, I remained lost in thought on my way home. Is it me? …
Tall narrow walls,
A crevice inside my mind,
a self-made trap.
Weak weary bones,
threaten to turn into dust.
Aches erupt from deep within,
a burn rushes through my skin.
Sleep isn’t welcome here,
nor a moment of peace.
Eyes droop and twitch,
yearning for it to cease.
Today I want to rest;
today, I cannot get up.
Tomorrow I want to try
and change the world.
A pen in my quiver,
some words, and some paper.
Start a cascading revolution,
radical thought, and action.
A ripple in the dreary ocean,
a giant wave of change.
A spark of kindness,
a raging fire of compassion. …
I didn’t expect the year to end this way, and my cynical self finds that extremely surprising.
I knew what the pandemic was in March 2020, when it started to wreak havoc on my country and my mind.
I had waves of realizations about how it impacted my life psychologically and have been actively managing my fragile mental health since then.
I felt anger at quarantine inspo. I have felt deep disappointment with myself for being unable to work as much as I wanted to. I have struggled with my anxiety and sleep deprivation. …