You are all the bad decisions I have ever made returned to haunt me.

It’s hard to acknowledge pain when you can’t talk about it in past tense.

Almost 21

I am turning 21 next week. I have thought about this with a sober mind and feel that there are some things that are worth addressing at this age of my life.

I’m not surprised to find that I haven’t come very close to living the life that I had imagined for myself five years ago, when I had dreamed about being at the golden age of 21. I thought that life would have fallen into place by now. But that isn’t the case.

I am, however, pleasantly surprised to find that I don’t hold these failures against myself. I am not angry at myself or sad that my life is in shambles, even at twenty one. Learning that this future me that the past me had dreamt up turned out to be a kinder me than I could have imagined is something to be grateful for all on its own.

This, of course, doesn’t mean that there isn’t something left to be desired.

I have tried this many times before and, although the endeavour is something to be admired, the results have always fallen short. I want to just live better and be better to others, I already learnt how to be kind to myself  but I still need to learn how to be good for myself.

 

Not in love

I have chosen not to be in love. Isn’t that such a wonderful thing?

I used to believe that I was a victim of circumstance and berate myself for failing to be in a relationship. That’s pretty messed up. But I have chosen loneliness over everything this time, and it is a luxury I would never give up.

I will admit, however, that this conviction stems from fear. Or more accurately, an aversion to falling in love with the wrong people. I’m scared of falling for a man who I want nothing to do with, someone I’d rather hate.

I have no patience for teaching a man how to love me, having to prove my worth as equal to his own. What if I fall for a man who denies the validity of human experience? What if I fall for a man who thinks transgender people are no longer human? What if I fall for a man who would love me but deny me access to an abortion, while still refusing to stay and be a father? What if I fall for a man who believes self-love comes secondary to hard work and hard will?

I’m an all-or-nothing kind of woman, so I probably couldn’t stop myself from loving someone who loved me back. So, instead, I err on the side of caution, and choose not to love. I would rather be alone than share my life with half-baked human beings.

I am fighting the urge
to make myself small–
compact and pocket-sized,
because you do not deserve
to taste me in pieces,
if you will not have me whole.

The man who wants to touch you

The man who wants to touch you
memorizes the taste of your skin,
leaving fingerprints on your lips as he traces the shivers down your spine,
and he will implore you to stand a little taller
just so he can reach down to kiss you.

The man who wants to touch you
does not hesitate to hold you when you cannot hold it together,
he forgets sometimes where your flesh ends and his begins,
and he will try to only stare
when you are not looking.

The man who wants to touch you does not need to be taught
how to love you,
and he will not deny the hardness of the ground
or how much it hurts to fall.
He will remember to breathe enough for the two of you
in case you forget.

But
the man who wants to touch you
is not waiting for you around the next corner,
he does not look for you across the room.
He is the stuff of hot winter dreams and bad days of the week,
he only dwells in the dark spaces that you have made familiar.

The man who wants to touch you
does not exist.
So do not reach for strangers anymore,
they do not know where to put their hands.
And they will never learn to say your real name.
They apologize instead for your mistake
and will leave the door open as they exit,
letting the cold creep in.

11 Things That I Like

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  1. waking up to the sound of birds chirping outside my window
  2. getting shoulder massages when I’ve only hinted once
  3. hearing my name pronounced correctly
  4. soft poached eggs for breakfast
  5. seeing the full moon
  6. feeling confident about my personality
  7. watching the clouds pass on a sunny day
  8. the number 8
  9. feeling sand under my feet
  10. racing the waves on the beach
  11. pretending to know the taste of your lips

I write because

I write because I’m scared that I will lose my voice before I find the courage to speak up.

Writing is such a huge part of who I am, not because I write well, or even often, but because I’ve begun to crave it. It’s something I wish I could do, would do, find the time to get better at it — much like a lot of other things, really.

There is something remarkable about writing. You are able to transport someone, a million miles away, to a world you’ve created that exists entirely in your mind. Or you can heal them and help them by simply putting down in words how your heart aches sometimes, too, and how you have made friends with your demons and you know them by name.

I want to be heard. And I want to trust myself — trust that what I have to say is worth hearing.

I write because it brings me peace, and it makes the pain real — but it makes the healing real, too.

Better is enough

In Grade 11, I asked my father to bring home a new camera and lens for me. He was coming home for a visit and had asked whether there was something I wanted, and of course there was. I was passionate about photography. (Saying that in past tense now does not feel so good.)

And when he came home and unpacked his suitcase and revealed to me the exact Nikon camera and lens I had asked for, I took it from him, looked at it, and packed it away. I packed it away because I was determined to somehow earn this gift. My parents had never been ones for giving or withholding anything as either reward or punishment. Sometimes we celebrated birthdays with a dinner and I never really begged for anything because I knew if it was good for me, I would get it. I may have been spoilt. But we still never had cable TV.

I had put that camera in my cupboard in clear view of my desk. And every time I looked at it I would remind myself to study hard and get amazing grades and prove, as much to myself as to my parents, that I deserve to get what I ask for. And I did get good grades, adequate enough, I guess, to unpack that camera and call it my own without guilt or regret. That was the one time I was satisfied with my own efforts. Proud. I don’t remember any other time like that.

Do you often feel like an underachiever? I do. All the time. I feel like I’m behind everyone else in their lives and I should have already accomplished something, anything that I could hold on to and say “I am capable of some pretty amazing shit. And there’s proof.” It seems like there is no end to my mediocrity that even when I set goals, I fall short of even planning to reach them.

But eventually something’s got to give. Right? This can’t be it. If this is it then push me down a flight of stairs and throw me into the tide because I’m quite alright with it all ending right now if “this is it”. Judge me all you want but I can’t be the only one who sometimes, or all the time, feels the way I do.

I understand that I hold myself back a lot of the time. And there is a fear in me that I cannot shake. But acknowledging all this counts for something. I truly believe that. And so I do want to find my passion for photography again. And I do want to become better, better than the times that it hurt to breathe, better than yesterday. Better at treating myself right and taking care of myself. Better at just getting better at things. This blog was a step towards finding my passion for writing again, and I will — I am — slowly but surely. So there is hope, there is always hope.