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Calligraphy Mornings

Oh, Small City! I love you but sometimes, you don’t have what — or who — I am looking for. Like now, I have been dabbling in calligraphy, but the only tools I have are a pencil, a Panda ballpen, and a fountain pen that has a fine nib. The real pens they use for calligraphy are those that have broader nibs (I am so interested but uninitiated!).  These are not available here, but I’ll find them soon — or they’ll find their way to me. :-) 

I love how calligraphy — at least my crude kind — pins me down and suspends everything around me. It suspends unnecessary talk, unnecessary tinkering with other things, unnecessary, mindless munching.  But amazingly, it does not in any way suspend thinking.  I never realized that three of my interests — prose / poetry, sketching, writing by hand — would merge into one quaint art form. 

My mornings have been spent journaling and writing by hand.  So far, it is becoming a good preparatory exercise for my bigger tasks for the day, like writing (the serious kind), research, and my daily Sacred Half Hour. 

I’ll have the pens, and like-minded friends, soon, so thank you, Providence! ImageImage

Sometimes, Lord, I also want run to the river and fill my pockets with stones, and just resurface after three weeks, all washed and new and welcome. I know you wouldn’t approve of it, Lord. The other day I was talking about the wonders of Easter, and quite quickly, I am back to Black Saturday. Godless. I am so sorry for these episodes, Lord, but I sometimes want to be run after, too, to be taken care of, too; escape and disappearance seem attractive.

 

In ways you alone can do, calm me, calm my nerves, my temper, my mind, my heart, my body. If at times I wish to be embalmed in my own sorrow, shake me, take me, heal me with the salve of your love. When I get tired of dreaming, clear my head, breathe through the dark clouds. Make me new again. And in all days, give me a nudge, a nudge towards you always.

 

Many times I don’t feel you, Lord, and I get disheartened.  I go through the day, defeated, tiptoeing in the midst of dead and dying dreams, casualty of lost command. I still believe in you, but I don’t seem to understand your presence, or your guiding principle for when to show up.  You definitely are not actively there in all battles of the good ones; but you seem to show your hand, blessing the affairs of the wicked. Other times, none at all. Who you favor most, I don’t know. Your sense of equality in the distribution of blessings and woes, I have no idea. Do I have to get started on beauty, and love and relationships?

 

Or maybe, Lord, I have not yet discovered or mastered the way to feel your presence. Do I have too many layers, affectations on me that I don’t feel you poking? Do my eyes look down too much, or is my mind too shackled that I don’t recognize your feet?

 

Whatever it is that’s inappropriately in me, please take away. Whatever it is that I lack sorely, please grant me. I’m tired of hitting a slump and bouncing back only to find myself in extreme sadness again. They come in seasons, Lord. If I won’t be saved from these seasons, these peaks and valleys, please, at least, let me go through them with your hand leading me.

 

And while we’re talking, Lord, please guide my choices. Save me from choices that will rob my life of meaning and purpose. I am ready to live in simplicity, in lack of worldly achievements, and attachments, if it would mean giving me meaning and true purpose. I don’t want any more detours to true, genuine happiness, Lord.  I love you more and more.

Simplicity School: My Reasons for Enrollment.

Do you really have to crash for them to know something is wrong?

I walk down the market, cuffs unfastened, in a careless slouch. Vendors carry on with their business in their sleep wear, people haggle in their slippers. At the bank, my desk waits for me. Money waits for me, but rejection does, too. As well as talks about makeup and our richest clients and who they sleep with. I have to get away, just escape from that friendless hole, and run to the market where I can walk, spilling from side to side, in a frown if I want to. I pass by Fuji apples, oranges, pears but I go home with babana. Babana, that cancer buster, I instinctively buy. I don’t pass by a babana stall without buying a ripe one, and another to store for the next three days. It’s a hot afternoon, the hot afternoon that our December afternoons are becoming. Everyone rushes to the sheds, or hops on a jeep and heads home, mindful of the sun. I stand wondering what to do, aimlessly looking at the options surrounding me. Mercury Drug to buy metphormine and those supplements with dubious therapeutic claims? Fries and ice cream at Jollibee that will linger on your hips? the grocery and commit another mistake of unplanned spending? Mercury Drug seems inviting but I left — like I always do — my doctor’s prescriptions for fluoxitine. It’s been months since I stopped. I believed I was okay, and to put myself under medication sounded atrocious. But today it feels different. Why is it coming back? I wake up at 5AM and like some wind I can’t control, I tell myself I can’t make it through 8 o’ clock, or much worse, through the day. I walk around with a gray cloud above my head, and my brows are weighing down on me. If before I had the energy that built and moved things, today, people tire me. I don’t like the civil, inauthentic me who faces clients and colleagues and friends with a plastered smile and weary eyes. Inside me is a lonely monster curling up in a ball, occasionally unfurling in fits of rage.
I wouldn’t want to wish this upon anyone. Or, if a slump like this is an existential normality, then I wouldn’t want anyone to have or even wish for a mind like mine. In the same way that we shouldn’t ever exchange minds or life situations with anyone. My problem might appear bigger but I wouldn’t want to trade it for somebody else’s. But at least what I want is to have who you have, that someone you come home to and talk to about the day you just had. Mother, Father, brother, sister, boyfriend, girlfriend, roommate, child, helper, I don’t mind what form your listener comes in, as long as he or she is constant.  Oh what a drama queen. But sometimes, I’d love to stop by the living room, or the dining table, or the pub or cafe at the end of the day.  Otherwise I would just zoom my way to my room where I am not a daughter, colleague, sister, friend, enemy, partner, cleint; where I don’t have any responsibility other than to be myself. The room as refuge is good but only for a time and the books, the poetry and twitter, all the crossword puzzles and Leonard Cohen / Ingrid Michaelson / Dresden Dolls on my playlist must occasionally want a break from me, too.
 So, now I’m still at the market, in the midst of a decision that will give me momentary relief. Sometimes I regret stopping my medication, or having started it at all. For a time, it held me together, keeping me up till 6 in the morning, but not without frazzled nerves and irrational, impulsive tendencies. I remember writing the first few days while on the drug as recommended by my doctor. I filled page upon page, zoomed from one thought to another, and many times reiterated that I was taking the drug as a win-win approach though I hardly believed in the doctor’s diagnosis. After the diary entries, I would do– and complete–my crossword puzzles in one sitting. At that time, too, I went out at night nonstop, saw someone, ate less, weighed less. The dating was perhaps the highlight of that period but it ended a month after. Still it was good while it lasted. I felt better and turned to my medication inconsistently and only as a coffee substitute. When I was cast in a play this year–a highlight of my 2012–I totally forgot about the drug. I But during those fun times, I was only flitting from fantasy to fantasy, gazing up at the stars too much. I realized that while my mind was somewhere enchanted, I was wading and making snow angels in the muck.
The blues came back and left again for happiness to take over. Peaks and valleys. Seasons. But I couldn’t predict the pattern yet; no, not in intervals of 28 days, nor the drastic change of weather. I have yet to look closely, and I am trying my best to, because it’s so tiring to go through this and many things are on the line — my relationships, friendships, my job and sense of achievement, even my aura and countenance.  Peaks and valleys. Peaks and valleys for two years. I’m down in a valley now, the blues are here, and the thoughts that run around my head again, like rats on a treadmill with no answers, are questions of life meaning, existence, real joy, why me.  the sadness I feel is not the lukewarm type, but the harsh winter, sunday evening madness– intense, as if there won’t be any happiness glinting lambently for me in the distance; that I can afford to mumble, “take me, take me, take me now.”
This is not a complete account of my inner storm; in fact, it’s watered down for self respect. But it’s a relief to have forced my stubborn self to finally write and come to terms with this tiring cycle. I don’t want to wait until I crash to say and admit that I’m not okay and there has to be a better way out of the seasonal slump.

Man is indeed meant to wake up early. After a three a.m. to twelve noon shift at a call center today, I came home still refreshed and looking for things to tinker, and expend energy on. Sunlight does propel you into a spinning top; darkness invites introspection and meditation.  Off I scrubbed the kitchen sink and wiped clean anything covered with dust from renovation – pots, cement residue on windows, the fridge. The new bathroom was very inviting, too. The bath is always where I express my, err, domesticity best, especially on this new one, the usage history of which I keenly followed through.

I put the Christmas tree up, now an ageing cone with bald patches everywhere. I trimmed it though not satisfactorily yet. But seeing it out, setting the holiday mood, is a welcome improvement. Much like the house renovation we recently had. It’s not perfect, with yet a lot of rough edges, and much has to be done. But the renovation “tilled the soil” for many upcoming improvements. Mama moves around more to do a little cleaning. Her mind’s getting a good number of exercises by the plans she makes about furnishing the rougher, unfinished parts of the house. We have so much to thank Lee for.

My hands have been prune-like from being wet for too long, coarse from the cleaning detergent, but I loved the smell and feel of their domestic accomplishment.

Old Self, I forgive you

Old self, you look fine; beautiful, honestly, and you were crazy to think you were hideously fat in college. If you had just accepted yourself and didn’t mind the worthless comments from people around you, you could have held your head higher, confidently said hello to people – guys – who hung around you. But I forgive you.

You could have taken heed of the men who appreciated you, and not the women who felt you could look better than how you did. These women could have just been jealous, after all. Again, I forgive you.

Through the years you gained weight, but through all these years, too, you have displayed the strength and smile of your Mom, and the wit and character of your Father.

You listened to the wrong people, and this affected your sense of self. When men came or gazed at you for more than the usual time it would take for a glance, you dismissed them, thinking they were looking past you. There were men who attempted to get to know you, but you withdrew when things went beyond casual for fear that they wouldn’t like you anyway. You thought that your appearance won’t hold them for long.  You always told them, I’m sparing you from the one who will come along – she will be way better than I am, and you’d have the last laugh.

Indeed they did not hold you for long. Only for six months to a year of getting to know you.

How crazy of you. It wasn’t your appearance that repelled them after a year. It was your close-mindedness. Close-mindedness stripped you of your allure.

When you gained confidence and began to date and have fun, you had another fear. You felt that the men that gravitated towards you weren’t your type at all that you didn’t give them a chance after the first meeting. The problem, Kimee, is not these “inadequate” men. The problem, Kimee, is that you were afraid that it would work out with these “inadequate” men. You thought too highly of yourself, you made the gods chuckle.

Your fear of things working out with the “inadequate” ones (the guy whom you unfairly judged as not smart enough, the guy whose hobbies were too lowbrow for your pretentious ass, the guy whose pronunciations falsely blurred his character) got you entangled with those who were far worse: the unavailable men.

To flirt with the man with a girlfriend, the man married for twelve years, would be harmless and would go nowhere. Or so you thought. You knew that they had hardly remained harmless.

You are now at a stage in your life when friends are settling down or are comfortable in serious relationships. You are not. You don’t have to, but at least you have to be open to possibilities. Once and for all, drop the excuse that you want to focus on your mother at the moment. Or your career—you know it’s not what you want to build anyway. No one ever said that things cannot be dealt with all at the same time. You aren’t your family’s messiah, nor is your family your sole responsibility.

About not wanting to get married with your Significant Other, and not wanting to have children – let’s talk about it when he comes.

I hope tomorrow you wake up feeling better and newer. Remember that the rest of the men you will meet are broken like you are. But real beauty, as oils and essences, flows only from the cracks.

in white, and "hideously fat."

in white, and “hideously fat” in college.

 

If I turn to girls

If I turn to girls and find

my dreams in them, I wonder

if you would piece together all

those moments when you had

the chance and save me from

the confusing lure of

 

curves and cuntentment.

 

I wonder if you would spend

your nights in solitary bleating

for lost time, all the lost time

at other meadows looking

at a flock of conventional girls

finding nothing of me in them

they with the constitution of

goats.

 

I wonder if you would ever

think that my new-found fire

for sapphic territories may be

an aversion to yours, to your

blankness;

 

an Eve rising from exhaustion

Eve turning to Eve, exploring

none of you, none of swine–

only the sweet honeysuckle from

full teat, maternal measures

made carnal.

 

But I would long for you still

your protrusion, the turning

of gears and lock and key

 

opening futures in front porches

and beach fronts, the mystery of

you in palm fronds,

 

my unquestionable submission to you

your drone against my moan

the possibility of contentment.

 

 

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