Blog Getting Personal

For Sheroug, 20 bits of nonsense

Even as the most prolific bloggers among us question the friendships the blogs have spawned, there remain certain friendships which ill deserve time under the harsh light of doubt. One among the vast number of friends I’m grateful to have made through blogging is Sheroug of 8bits of cofee fame.

This is in honor of Sheroug, who a few days ago, said her I dos. For Sheroug, who held firm on what she wanted and had the backbone to stand up for it, you are a harbinger of hope for everybody struggling to piece together the courage to want something more than what the present dishes out. She’s also the only woman I know who’d consider a dose of Valium to steady herself for the big day, she’s been unabashed about animals with rears the shape of hearts and an affinity to caffeine that is rival to none. Sheroug tagged me to blog a certain number of trifling details about myself well over a year ago and I’ve had this post humming in my drafts since. My edits are in brackets.

1. I started off my university life wanting to be an economist but was coerced into doing languages instead.

2. Studying languages has been a coercement well worth its infringement of human rights.

3. I’ve become rather scatter-brained. It comes from having too many windows open and an unwavering faith in the capacity for women to multitask better than men.

4. I’ve just eaten a packet of Doritos Taco. Too much junk food does not intelligible writing make. (I’m drunk on jasmine infused green tea)

5. Everybody knows I’m a bibliophile, it’s become a bit of a pressured position, some people expect me to have read everything.

6. Oh, and the quotations thing, but everybody knows that as well.

7. I am an ardent believer in, “An unhurried sense of time is in itself a form of wealth.”….

8. I can’t be too honest about myself here, too many of you know me now, I can’t destroy the well formed opinions.

9. My favourite poem, Stars by Emily Bronte

10. Joint favourite, Mirror by Sylvia Plath

11. I’ve become cluttersome.

12. I coined that word, “cluttersome”, to describe my habit of shoving in my paper tray all things that look too painful, too tiresome, or that would require more than one braincell to digest. Cluttersome and blehringitis, my buzzwords for the moment. (All proceeds from blehringitis to be sent to Crimson Shimmer)

13. This is the view from my bedroom window. (I look out to a garden and pool on most days)

14. I am disconcerted by the absence of the sound of water crashing into the pool.

15. I have no idea what next year holds for me. (It’s been a year most kind to me in some ways with some unforeseen kicks to the guts)

16. I am about to turn down an excellent job offer, one that I’d always wish for. (I’ve done that again a couple of weeks ago)

17. Because I want to spread my wings a little next year. (Because I am betrothed to me magazine)

18. Or I might have them clipped too, well if it’s an ever after kind of clipping.

19. I’m being more cavalier here than I’d ever dare to be in reality.

20. Gosh, that’s a whole twenty bits of nonsense!

Allah ma3k ya habibti.

Blog Getting Personal

I share, you share, why share?

I do schmaltz too often on this blog. Too often I’m inclined to warm, giddy feelings and like a child at a fair for the very first time I jump up and down excitedly screaming, ‘Look, look!’. I want to share. I think it explains too, why I enjoy entertaining, it’s heartwarming to have people share in what’s mine, albeit for a short while . I’m not altogether a people’s person, I’m clumsy in most social settings. I’d dearly like to be quiet and unobtrusive and smile at the world in passing but nothing makes my heart flutter like opening my palm for others to also revel in the butterfly within. I’m a sharing sort of person. I write because I want to share my thoughts, my ideas and often, the only way for me to make sense of my feelings is by sharing them. I’m wondering if this predisposition to share is in fact a display of selfishness, of a constant need to keep myself bolted to the focus of the moment.

Writers are like trees, they grow together but each to their own potential. Like trees, writers help each other grow to their own strength by competing to be their best.
Yu Hua

Blog Getting Personal

“Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” Oscar Wilde

We all go through a phase where every second song on the radio seems to be sung especially for us. ‘It’s like it was written for me,’ we’ve cooed, while piously singing along, creating prophets out of boybands and holy grail out of CD sleeves. The last time I found myself a disciple of this religious order I was eighteen. Fresh out of high school, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and very much a babe in the woods; I was tacitly informed by the best-friend-of-the-day that the he-of-the-day had been haranguing the-girl-about-town for some attention. ‘C-r-a-ck,’ went my heart, and my carefully constructed reality thundered to the floor.

For months I felt as though the world had been cruelly tugged from beneath my feet. As it turned out it was only an illusion I was robbed of. Back then, it was not the heartbreak I felt most acutely, though I assure you, I felt slighted. I was overcome though, by disappointment. It was not disappointment over a white dress and dashing groom that I felt either. In my mind, that wretched place all my troubles are born, I had built this particular he to be something of an esteemed personage. ‘He’s so perfectly himself,’ I would gush to all friends, relatives, bit acquaintances and just about anyone else I encountered with an ear for a praise song. I was quite sure I was in love with him, perhaps I was, but what I felt for him back then was based on him fitting some highly contrived bill. I’m not sure exactly which songs were so empathetic to my abject disappointment and it’s been a long time since he’s redeemed himself enough in my esteem to be one of my closest friends.

Thinking back, I’m grateful to have had my illusions snapped by reality. Like acne, it’s awkward to negotiate, visually jarring but essential to growing up. While reaching out for empathy in music, singing along at the top of my voice, I grew up, I learned to find a sense of self away from the admiration and affection I have for others. And my taste in music, well, I think it’s evolved.

But something unnerving’s happened.

I picked a thriller off my sister’s bookshelf a few days ago and while racing through the pages I found a near accurate portrayal of conversations I have with my friend Perry, like Perry Mason only smarter, younger and better looking. It was in fact an eerie portrayal not so much of me, which would be altogether too disconcerting but rather of Perry’s distinctive way of speaking; right up to his affinity for the word ‘bang’. A couple of days later, watching some odd Hugh Grant film I had a similar experience. This time Hugh Grant’s character reminded me of another friend, complete with his flair for the dramatic. I’m inclined to coo to these friends, ‘It’s like it was written about you.’ But I’m no longer eighteen. I have the three grey hairs, bad back and rapidly deteriorating eyesight to prove it. I like to think I’ve lost some claim to the silliness that previously predisposed me to seek out echoes of my own experiences in others. Or perhaps not- I do still own an embarrassing collection of Westlife albums…?

Could it be though, that we are more alike than we think and our idiosyncrasies are not at all that unique?

Blog Getting Personal

No (wo)man is an island

I think there’s some merit in being an island. An ignoble suggestion perhaps; and perhaps too essentially impossible. But there is some merit in trying at least.

Once we become vulnerable to others, once our happiness, states of mind and levels of bewildermint are hinged on other people, that’s when there’s a fuzziness between where self ends and others begin. And most of the time, I’d say it’s a priveledged position but sometimes it’s a scary place. We don’t choose to make ourselves vulnerable to family, we’re born in these circles and you spend much of your growing up adjusting your individuality with whatever it is your family is experiencing. But friends and lovers are different, they require a conscious volition, a permission, to matter to us. And sometimes our choice in awarding these matterings needs serious reviewing.

I wish I knew why. You see, there’s some merit in being an island. A river island. An oceanic one would be altogether too pretentious. A river island; where the shore is a distant dream. A river island where there is only enough space for one.

But I think it would get lonely, and that’s the only reason I haven’t tried being one yet. But sometimes in some places there’s some merit in trying.

In the words of a good friend:

There is a real world.
It’s where assumptions can be trusted,
It’s in your father’s/mother’s house,
It’s at your sister’s bedside,
It’s at the river’s edge,
The lexicon can move-
I’m not running.

And in the words of Vikram Seth:

…to friends who’ve read this, quickly
Advised me to desist and cease,
Or burbled, “What a masterpiece!”
Or smoothed my steps with sage suggestion.

Thank you for not allowing me to be an island.