Earlier this week, I found myself completely unstitched, and then sewed up back again by the end of it. While trying to keep up, I thought of Kintsugi and what it would mean to glue our broken souls with liquid gold. If we could see souls, all of us would be walking skies with glowing constellations stitched across us. And if I ever can, I want to try my hand at the art. It’s all very well to read instructions, quite another matter to do them entirely.
Yesterday, someone gave me something out of the love of their heart, but I didn’t wholly believe in it. In that bottomless moment, I really disliked myself. My cognitive self told my emotional one “Go all the way.” But I’m beyond making empty promises. How to go all the way, I wonder, when there’s so much at stake. When the blessing and curse of going all the way is that I’ll never be the same again. However, in that bottomless moment, I wanted to be someone who had faith, who was secure in the protection of something greater than the self, who believed in the greater good. There’s nothing scarier than an unrelenting, unyielding universe. More so, unrelenting, unyielding people.
In one of her replies to a reader, Cheryl Strayed said, “Don’t be strategic or coy. Strategic and coy are for jackasses. Be brave. Be authentic. Practice saying the word ‘love’ to the people you love, so when it matters the most to say it, you will.” And this is why I adore her writing so much because this is exactly kind of thing that causes me to respect people. I’m not strategic and coy. I’m all in or all out. There’s no in between. Specially now that I am acutely aware of the limited length of this life, but also cognizant of the boundless breadth of it. The untended, ever-widening breadth of it. I want to fill it with color, pop, and sparkle. I want to fill it with bravery. And even have the courage to walk away from people who consciously subtract from me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not chasing after a façade of pristine relationships. I’m a big believer in the messiness of humans, even a champion of it. But there has to be a line beyond which I give up on people. Currently, I’m looking for the line. Sure, I’ve loved you. Sure, time has heaped up on us. But is this parasitic or symbiotic?
Because I don’t buy into the emerging phenomenon of “suspending expectations”. I will not keep giving and forego the receiving. For nothing is more deplorable to me than not taking responsibility for the relationships you’re in. You’re accountable for the lives you share. You have a duty to maintain the bonds of your life. Don’t wear your petty insouciance as a crown and disrespect people who have invested in you. I’m not going to show you an ounce of empathy. You owe your people. Don’t be a sorry excuse for a human being. Have some honour.
And specially, if you’re in a position of power, for the love of God, don’t be a hypocrite as your job description may demand it. As I grow ‘older’, if I may, I find myself more and more dismissive of hypocritical authority. I get the whole she-bang about taking one’s diplomatic self to the workplace. But every time I do, it bothers me – is this the person I want to be? Is this the way I want to spend my days – in trying to hoodwink people? Am I going to like the person I become at the end of it? Will I go to my grave by becoming a warped version just because I decided to play along? Will I be happy with myself if I didn’t stand up for what is right? No matter what they do to me. I ask myself every time I have to make a choice between what’s right and what is easy – will I be who I am even if they crucify me for it? My life is happening now. It’s not happening in the past or in the imaginary future. It’s in the now. And am I going to stand tall in the end if I bend every step of the way?
At the beginning of this year, I started reading a bit much about the Middle East because I lost a friendship due to religion. I needed to understand what the fuck was going on. I’m not done reading – because 5000 years of history, you see – but I know one thing with absolute certainty that if one takes a step back and really tries to understand the world, you’ll know why there’s nothing such as black and white. It’s all blended in the sinews of time with intricacy that your little life will not be enough to chart it out. So, I’ve come to the conclusion that the next time my religion is a reason for anyone to leave, please just leave really soon. I could do with the space for the old folks, the authentic souls, and the storm-stirring partners in crime. And all those holier then thou Jews, Christians and Muslims, don’t come to me with your ‘enlightened knowledge’ of superiority over each other. You’re all a part of the same bandwagon – so just sit the fuck down
And now, to what really beats in my heart with an unstoppable rhythm. I know that the universe is going to meddle and ensure I don’t get it. But just move aside, will you? Make room.
A bunch of weeks ago, I read an Icelandic book titled Stone Tree. It haunts me until this very day. It’s a collection of short stories, and each of them ends, as they say, abruptly. One minute a man is walking back home after seeing kids play in a run-down yellow van, the next minute the story closes on you. It might irk other readers, but I enjoyed the collection oh-so much! It became ‘play’ for me. I would keep guessing where the narrative would end – after the closing of the door, at the second smoke, in the snow prints, off the fjords – and much to my glee, I was able to successfully predict climaxes. Reading Stone Tree absolved me of leaving Independent People, but has reaffirmed my resolve to pick it up sooner. But the thing that it actually did, which I don’t admit, is that it has made me “want” again. It made me long for something outside of me, something that pulsates in a different part of the world just like reading about Istanbul had once done. Now I exist in two places at once – inside of myself and outside of me. I see myself ahead in the future standing and calling out to the person I am now. It has given me an elongated perception of who I can be. It has taken a part of me and sprinkled it across time.
It broke me open. It widened my heart.
After all, I may try to believe, again.