Last Day of Undergrad

A couple of weeks ago I was wishing I was Michael Chabon, and today late at night, reading Billy Collins, I was wishing I could be him.

Last day of undergrad classes today, and I missed almost all of the only class I had. Turned up late, and didn’t pay much attention; Skyped with S and the Boyfriend, then walked out in the pouring rain, to get tattooed by a South American lady called Anabela. Arguing with tattoo artists always makes me iffy- it’s so hard to come to an artistic vision when two people are involved, each with definite opinions. Julie came along to hold my hand. Then we went back to school and had Chinese food and unnecessary ice cream. Comfy lounge with the remains of my ice-cream, watching New Girl and trying to figure out the nth version of a not-needy message to send a boy who’s decided to cut me out for some reason. Ran to watch an experimental play at the Black box theatre: got there with my hair sticking up, 5 minutes before it started and straightened my hair in the reflection of a fire extinguisher, only to find Erik staring at me from the end of the corridor, waiting. Then back home, with Erik who tags along and eats all my pizza- and some amounts of deep conversation interspersed with youtube and music.

The roommate came home late, trying to convince me to ditch the Indian hippie plan, and live with her in Toronto instead. She also informed me that no, I’m not making shit up in my head, the boy in question is definitely annoyed at me.

Note to self: Stop putting people in a gray area? Even if it works, it will probably end up messy.

It rained all day today. I wish it hadn’t.

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The barista at the counter was someone I knew. Hooray, I thought. Free coffee.

She blinked at me, when I went up and said “How’s it going”, with the familiarity of someone you’ve met. Half a beat, and she realized who I was. Now she looked bemused.

“It’s funny”, she said. “You look like a different person every time I see you.”

“Is it a good different?”, I asked, uncertainly. This was the same girl who’d told me that I was a beautiful person, the first time we’d met. Awkwardly she’d explained that no, she was’t talking about my soul. “With the hair, and the face. It’s good for my eyes”, she’d said.

“Well, the first time I met you, you were wearing this really nice frilly dressed up shirt (it had been an indian tunic). The second time- yesterday- you looked really chill, like really dyke-y ” (I’d been wearing black pants, and a black sleeveless sweater with loose shampooed hair, tired, and kohl-smudged eyes). And today, you have the glasses and the lipstick and the bun.”

“It’s just funny”.

I grinned at her, took my free iced coffee, and headed upstairs to my nook. I’d never been called dyke-y before. I was carrying a copy of ‘The Feminine Mystique’, and living in a feminist commune at the time. Clearly, they were rubbing off on me. Being called dyke-y made me strangely happy. I wasn’t entirely sure about the rest, though.

Epiphanies abound

Like this:

T: well long distance is one thing that’s working for you
R: haha how on earth is it working?
T: you can choose how much you want to keep in touch. it’s all in your hands really. if you actually wanted to, you could go incognito
R: maane? just drop out of his life without a word?
T: err mane just cut him off. i’m not saying it’s an option but that’s the thing with long distance. you’re not prompted by phsyical proximity anymore.
R: yeah. i think that’s too mean. but. it is an option.
i don’t know. i think i just realized how much of my mental space he eats up and how much i    DON’T want that. it’s not his fault. it’s mine. and its because i’m intense and obsessive. but i really can’t afford to lose my focus now and i really have. so i need to get shit together and consciously think about him less, just spend less energy on him
T: well said. if i was there i’d pat your head 😛
T: i think the fact that you’re thinking this way means you’re seeing the larger picture
R: haan. i think its about time. i’ve been so scared of the future, i think i’ve been clinging to N as one good sorted thing in my life. but you know. here’s the thing. a guy can;t make you magically happy. even if he’s the right guy.
and ignoring my problems and just all the SHIT i have to figure out with gradschool and the future and whatnot won’t go away by focusing on N.
R: so. i’m not doing that anymore. i mean i just realized that i *was* doing that.
T: i’m glad. you have to balance the head and the heart
R: yeah
T: and being abroad and on your own, you need to do that even more

In other news: I ate escargot! It was too drenched in olive oil, and butter, and cheese for me to really make out anything of the flavour than it was rubbery and reminded me of mussels. Also, I have realized that I hate steak and I’m never going to put myself through eating it again. In even more news, I’m on the lookout for housing again. If anyone lives in Boston/Cambridge and is reading this right now, Heeeeelp. I do the dishes, and take care of floods, and cook once in a while. I’m generous, and make a mean chicken noodle soup. I’m also cute (no, really) and love babies, and animals, but don’t own a pet. I’m smart and a great listener and am willing to amuse you with music or horrific anecdotes and witty pop culture references, if that’s your kind’ve thing. Haaaalp.

Watch out, the world’s behind you

It’s the strangest thing. I was going to write about separating the essential from the inessential. And disconnecting. Then I read something which made me rethink and shape my ideas with more honesty and clarity.

What I have been doing:

Separating the essential from the inessential.

Since the beginning of this year, I have turned (mostly) vegetarian, developed an easy camaraderie with people at work, stepped out of my comfort zone, and entertained the possibility that I’m alright.

What I have realized: I turn older, I run out of patience. I have no patience with people who are inconsistent, and who take more than they will ever give. I really love few people, and I love them fiercely. My time is limited, but I will give it without reservation to them. The rest I have no time for. I am not one for social niceties. I thought I was, but I’m not, and I’m strangely happy with this decision. I will not waste my time with people I don’t really want to any longer. It is my time after all.

I am a possessive little brat. Who tries very hard to be pretend to be a grownup. I’m not really sure what to do about this, but I do know that I need reciprocity when it comes to being essential. To be really free is to remove oneself from the need for anything, or anyone save the few biological requirements. You are then the sole master of your heart, your moods, your life. I do not want this freedom. Another kind of freedom lies in trusting someone else with the capacity to hurt you. In making someone an essential when they do not have to be. This is the one I instinctively choose, and prefer for myself, after having given it some thought.

Which brings me to: Sometimes taking a step back is necessary. A slight shift of the frame brings back the perspective that was hard-won and then discarded- slowly, and then all at once.  I have realized that you do not really need anyone. Not really, you don’t. Allowing yourself to is terrifying, but it also brings with itself the second kind of freedom, that can make life immeasurably richer if you let it.

I have realized that I do not want to be a doctor. And that I want to teach and get my hands dirty with the children. That I am not a cynic, and I never want to be. That it s important to differentiate between what you really want and what you think you should want.

I have realized that I have a choice now between viewing my life as a straight trajectory of what I could do, and what would suit my career best, or letting it become slightly unpredictable and geared towards experiences I would like to have. Not having a straight career path is borderline terrifying, and such a choice would be something that I would admire in someone else. Using myself as an experiment, is both something I long to do, and something I’m incredibly nervous about.

I’m a clingy monkey, lazy and irresponsible. I want to be the opposite.

The old motto of the lab I’m at used to be “Do something”. I think I shall try very hard to adopt it as my own. Do something.

I partied away the last two days, and felt really old. Today I woke up without a hangover to a phone call from the mater, and listening to my thamma’s quavery voice over the phone. She is not amused with the vegetarianism. I skyped with Upi and had a brief glimpse of Mishtu and shared virtual hugs with Shalmus. I also devoured the majority of a pumpkin pie.

What I want to do moving forward:

gain some perspective. take a step back.

get the ball rolling on life after undergrad

take greater care of my hair and my body (time to read that damn yellow book again). i’m thinking it’s time to get a haircut that always brings a change.

unpack my life, and set up house properly.

stop feeling obligated to do things and meet people and spend my time on things because it seems like I should.

be productive and a step ahead at work. do something.

Something tangible

there are nights on which i crave you. i can almost feel the soft wetness of your tongue, as it traced  the outline of my lips. i remember licking mine in return (something which was most uncharacteristic of me). but i cannot feel it anymore; the memories are fading into pictures, losing their tactility. i have told you before that sometimes all of it feels terrifying unreal to me. like it didn’t happen. like i never went to that house with green walls or got pulled into the rain. like i never nuzzled up to you in my drunken haze, for godknows what reason (i noticed you. i noticed you and thought you were nice). i remembered an evening the other day, it rose up in my mind unbidden- i hadn’t even been thinking of you at the time. i’d come over to steal an hour between the time i finished my work at the slum, and the time i returned home to the family. i was exhausted from the long sweaty bus ride and metro ride, and my libido was working overtime, whispering things in my ear. i got there and i remember we went into the bedroom and found roommate number two passed out on the mattress. we went back out into the living room then, and spent that evening just lying next to each other, swatting away the mosquitoes, talking, occasionally kissing. the dog was in the same room as us, tied up next to the window, where she eventually settled down. i remember the walls vaguely (were they green?), and the slow whirring of the ceiling fan. mostly i remember this sense of calm and peace. you fit me like one of those old, holey, threadbare t-shirts that you insist on wearing. no making out happened that night, but i remember feeling happy just to be next to you. i think this is the image or the feeling i fall back on at the times we react violently- like matter and anti-matter, as you said.

i don’t really get this open relationship thing at a practical level. theoretically, i’ve always been all for it, but i’m a lot less cool than i like to think i am. so i have a date, but the guy might just be gay (given my past streak with white guys), and i was really chuffed about it, but now i feel really weird. i mean, here i am, like completely fucking obviously in love with you but i’m going to grab a “quick bite” with him. i don’t know how to feel- i need to have a mental map of things, and i just don’t know where this situation charts. but you know, we’re on different continents, our lives may never physically intersect, and i’m only 21. i have to live and meet all the people i’m supposed to, right?

this is a nothing post, this is an “i’m frustated with the shitty boston housing market post”, this is an “i’m home on friday night post”. the truth is i just wanted to write something sexy. sexy is hard to come by from continents away.

epiphany number eleventy

self love is more about doing than trying to reach this state of zen in your mind. actually, i’m not a 100 percent sure that this is true, but it sounds a lot more approachable. and i’m definitely a 100 percent sure that doing things for yourself is a huge part of it. condoning foolish behaviour and mindlessly indulging yourself isn’t. understanding is key. but what is also key, and what i’m going to try to implement in my life from now on is treating myself- including my body, my time, and my mind with respect. stuffing my face with a box of chocolate is not self-love, it is indulgence. also obesity, and possibly diarrhea. spending a zillion hours on the internet and going easy on myself for it? again, indulgence.

respect yourself. respect and love yourself enough to recognize that your time is important. the things that give you guilt pangs or make you feel like you’re wasting time are an abuse of yourself. the right thing is rarely ever easy, but it is so worth it.

Thank you to thoughtcatalog (ironically) and lifelessbullshit for helping me come to this realization.

on that note, have a song everyone.

helping me turn my grumypants into something more palatable. friday, you cannot possibly come soon enough.

Blue

so clearly this is a very bipolar blog. i am better at writing about melancholy than i am at writing about happiness. it started out as a virtual rantspace for myself, but gradually acquired readers, much to my surprise.

today was a small annoyances kind of day. the type that makes you want to put a gun to your head and pull the trigger, because it’s just so fucking boring and long drawn and exhausting. i am a sentimental sap apparently because the first real thing to absolutely make me miserable was the strap of one of the hendrix slippers the hobo gave me unexpectedly tearing off. the slippers are filthy by now, and have gone from white to a dirty grey. hendrix’s afro is beginning to fade and you can barely see the writing, but it bothers me. there is no way i can fix it, and this was the first gift, and it’s only a pair of slippers, and if i told him, he’d laugh, but it bothers me.

i don’t know what to do with them, so for now they’re on the floor of my room confusing me as i wander around the cold january night barefoot. i unexpectedly came across Pino Bros. on my way back from visiting a prospective house. a tattooed, pierced bro stared at me in confusion, recommended gonzo and gave me their card. it snowed today and i walked around in it for an hour.

i’m having intense bouts of nostalgia and homesickness and self loathing. it would be absolutely sickening if it wasn’t so foolishly trite.

the hobo is going to be gallivanting around harlow and london in february. it’s brilliant that his company is sending him, and holy fuck, he gets to travel to the uk, and he’s excited in his own dry way, and i’m excited for him in my manic way- but holyfuck am i going to miss talking to him. yes, i am turning into that girl despite wanting to flirt with deadbeat baristas and harvard grads. whattodo. it’s an alvie singer kind’ve neurotic love. as the bengalis would say, as my grandma would say- dhurr, bhallagena.

You’ve got the love

1. Invincible Summer. Vines. Morning slow dawning eureka moment.

2. Productive bus ride reading paper.

3. Discover old messages. Find unexpected peace, and subconscious calm acceptance. Let go of bitterness and regret.

4. Intelligent discussion with intimidatingly smart people. Fail to reject competence.

5. Visit MIT with colleague. Bond over rants and dreams.

6. Eat Turkish chocolate.

7. Decide to leave work early. TGIF!

8 Say goodbye, promise to let people know about party over the weekend.

9. Carry hand drawn map by coworker and find indie cafe on street corner.

10. Settle down with cappuccino and research paper and alternately read and eavesdrop on conversations. Initiation ritual to life in Boston.

11. Get up to leave. “You have a radiance about you. You’re going to do great things”.

12. Have long conversation with strange well dressed old man. Talk about life, Reiki, Harvard, and listen to all his advice about your life with pinch of salt, and some amusement.

13. Long train and bus ride home, listening to music and feeling at peace.

14. Find out that there’s been an accident.

15. Heat up chilli chicken, bhindi, and tortillas.

16. Call up friend and manhandle oven while laughing over life, love, and randomfluff.

17. Settle down. Receive goodnews about housing and the kindness of strangers.

18. Be profoundly grateful for the xx. Notice what a great bum Florence W. has.

19. Plan springbreak with friend.

The thing is, it could be the time for a “nothing’s the same” post but it isn’t that kind of time. Apparently if you’ve suffered DMSO exposure, you start tasting onions and garlic. Now I can’t really smell so I’m just going to have to be very careful with all the strange molecules and drugs we like to play around with. “You belong here”, I was told. I felt like I should have been in a movie then, with quietly powerful music playing. There is a huge common area/ conference room with a huge sofa where you can expect to find people napping, glasses askew, shoes flung over at an angle, at any given time of the day. There are these huge glass walls and it’s a little surreal standing there, dangling my legs over the couch, reading- it’s the old penthouse dream I had.

I am the littlest thing. I am inconsequential. I am homeless. I am suffocating.

I used to think I liked the smell of smoke. It hangs around all the time and it makes me want to retch. Violence of emotion and then dullness. Please, please, please.

Please, please, please.

I am the most ungrateful wretch that ever was. Maybe it is the time for a “nothing’s the same” speech after all, but there isn’t anyone listening.

I can ask you to love me, I can indulge in fitful periods of unconsciousness and wake up disconsolate, but I cannot move you.

I turned twenty one, unhappily. I flew across the Niagara and shared breakfast and music with a driver from the sixties. I can barely remember him now, but he had kind blue eyes, and when I told him that I was unhappy he offered me kind cliches and tales of how he’d been arrested when he was my age. Here’s what happened- they were smuggling their friends across the border to go buy alcohol where it was legal. So there are these two guys in the trunk of the car, and then the police asks ’em to open up, and put ’em up, and don’t you know. I’ve already forgotten his name and I thought it was important to remember, so.

So there was that, and then I got into the airport and this strange, really disorienting thing happened. It so happens that my ringtone used to be this song by Dylan for various reasons. So I’m standing at the airport, filling out customs forms and suddenly I hear the song playing, with the distinctive train-whistle-like beginning. I look at my phone but it isn’t ringing, and the sound seems to be coming from elsewhere. I look around, searching, and briefly consider the possibility that I’m going mad. Finally I track it down to a speaker on the wall close to where I’m standing. This makes no sense, so I ask other people if they can hear it, and they can. They look at me like I’m a little insane. The song plays in its entirety and then there’s silence except for announcements. That was the only song that played the whole time I was there.

Lots of things happened, and didn’t. Family is a strange thing, distant family even more so. Living in the suburbs of Massachusetts is another experience altogether. I have my own sadness, man; I don’t need yours. I have not asked for your frustrations or anxieties or hopes. I am not as nice as you would like to believe, and I do not care. I do not ask anything in return, except to be left alone.

Going on a completely unexpected trip through my head. Everything appears slow and all at once. The universe is a whole and also fragmented and disjoint. I’m in a videogame and can’t feel my face. A speeding car and lots of nightmarish christmas lights and deconstructing absolutely everything. Boston at my feet, I’m in a car that’s turned into a plane. Prepare for take-off. It’s a sea of lights. I will never do this again. Knock on lots of doors, make lots of calls, find soulmate- whoops, something totally random and unpredictable says that you can’t have it.

I travelled up a lonely hill, through scraggly trees with only moonlight and someone in the distance. I stood on a bench and looked down at Boston. It was a lot darker than I expected. The woods are lovely, dark and deep. Thewoodsarelovelydarkanddeep. I walked on water.

Chocolate covered Macadamia nuts made with aloha. Funny eared, frightfully important men. Virtual piles of ‘awesome’ papers. Two days and I’m reeling. Nightly phone calls that last for hours and stretch out over miles on foreign soil. Forcing concentration on talks that are strangely comprehensible and interesting. Being told that the future may not be exactly as I’d anticipated. Certain closed doors begin to swing open again, and certain open doors seem to never have been.

Lots of random chances. Lots of emotion. Blank. Give up hope. Blank. Overwhelming anger. Blank. Nervousness. Weakness. Comfort Seeking. Blank. Blank. Blank. Intimidation. Mind numbing exhaustion. Blank. Blank. Blank.

Retreat into self. Read,read,read.

I had a prayer. I said it over and over and it came from the deepest part of my soul. It went: please. please, please, please. please.

Please.

Things fall apart. It’s going to be a sunny week in January. Eighteen degrees- Celsius, not Fahrenheit. There’s a lot to get used to these days- inches, miles, pounds, ounces, gallons. The overwhelming presence of certain people, the overwhelming absence of others. I feel more Canadian than I’ve ever felt before. I miss Timmy’s. I miss –

“You belong here”, I was told today. Looked me straight in the eye and said, “You’ll do great”. My knees were trembling and I had confessed that I was intimidated by Harvard and MIT. “You belong here”.

Some things fall together, others fall apart. Slowly, and then all at once.