Some More of the Thinking Thing

Sometimes, you have to wear an old, soft & worn loose shirt, put on a pair of fluffy socks, and turn on your fairy-lights. Wrap yourself up in a blanket under the soft golden glow of your tapestry and create for yourself the kind of environment that warms more than just your body.

Because sometimes, other people leave your life, and suddenly, it’s your own responsibility to help yourself rise from the darkest days. Alone and on your own. There is some fear around needing to do that. And there is also a lot of power.

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Fighting Trunchbull

Flashback that inspired a part of my Common Application’s Personal Essay (which I have been thinking about a fair amount lately, as it is a) part of the reason I have physically been where I currently am for over 7 months, and b) rather relevant to the trains of thought that leave my brain station past midnight):

Once upon a time, I called a friend of mine. Crying hard, somewhat distressed.

There’s an owl perched on the railing of my balcony, I said.

“Okay, and…?”

I want to be that owl. But I cannot be that owl, ever. I just really want to be that owl.

Image result for gretchen crying gif

Excerpts from said Personal Essay:

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The Curse of Love

as the slush and snow come down, i tremble lightly, craving the warmth of your fingers. it has been days since the hands of my clock changed their story, eternity since the taste of your body reminded me of love. just to hear you breathe would do more to give me life than air ever could, and yet all i sense is the coldness of the rain on my window. the sun crawls lower and the darkness whispers hostile words into my chest. and it begins.
suffering comes in stinging waves, washing upon my lungs, leaving traces of dust on my skin. in the quiet static outside of my reality, the world offers no hand. the raindrops tap tap on my window sill, they try but cannot keep up with the rhythm of my heartbeat. water races itself down the cold glass as i fight the deafening silence. i wonder why in such a situation my mind is so cruel to scream your name as some sort of haven, but perhaps that is the curse of love. you cannot separate the happiness from the pain. you must share one and conquer the other. together.
a tiny warmth flickers in my chest and burns on at your name. i wish only my smiles felt the need to keep you apprised of their presence, but so do my tears. for that i am truly sorry. to think of cool winds murmuring soft kind secrets to the trees, to imagine sunlight glowing past the leaves through the space in my fingers, to feel your eyes gazing upon me with the tenderness of a child’s touch: these are the gifts i grant myself during times of desolation. the human heart beats for a long time before it stops and vanishes all together. mine has never come so close to protection like you. perhaps that is terrifying in the way the very real possibility of one’s only home catching fire is terrifying.
i notice i’m clutching my hands so tight there are marks, as if i can hold us together though time has thrown us apart. the days have grown short inside me, and the night brings back to my mind your arms reaching for my waist underneath soft warm blankets like rays of sunshine seeping through the gaps in my blinds. i miss the way your eyes used to hold mine. i stare at my fingertips and the tiny slices in my skin feel like only they really belong to me. there is only so much i can expect. and so much i can hope for.

An Inarticulate Ramble

(but this time in America)

Walking down a residence hall corridor at 3:33 AM is definitely a weird experience (btw why do we say “walking down a hallway?” you literally stay at the same level. what is English). I should be studying for my Psychology exam that’s worth 25% of my grade; I should be making notes especially since Jennifer needs them, too. Four whole days before an exam? Maitreyi is preparing a full four days before her exam? This has never happened before, simply because no one has relied on her to make notes for a chapter before. There’s the loophole in her extreme procrastination – it will transform into not too terrible procrastination if someone else needs her to work. Why would I rather do healthy, useful things for other people than for myself, why will I literally not get lunch if it is not a meal I have plans to get with someone else (i.e., I will only go to a dining hall if someone is relying on me to show up, because who cares about, you know, feeding myself so I continue to live well), why will I stop myself from engaging in Unhealthy Behavior just so I don’t feel hypocritical when I encourage others to stop?

Anyway, my phone died and I’d needed to pee for a while but felt lazy and Pearson Revel signed me out of the textbook while I was mid-sentence and there’s a pack of Coffee Nut m&ms lying on the top of the dresser in this fake, tiny, second-floor Houston study room and I’m mad at Pearson and super tempted to try those m&ms but 1) I don’t know who left them there, and 2) I’ve never tried that flavour before; it sounds interesting, and 3) what if Mystery Apathetic@Chocolate wants the m&ms back, 4) I don’t really care about point (3) but what if I dislike the flavour and am stuck with it being in my mouth for a whole bunch of time until I can get breakfast? should I eat ahhhh

I couldn’t make that decision just then, and since I’d finally found something I wanted to do less than walk all the way to the washroom, I decided to go pee to avoid making that decision. On my (short, but it felt long, it’s late, my concept of time is skewed) walk to the washroom, I really noticed and appreciated just how weird and particular the aroma of residence hall corridors is. Sometimes they smell like various perfumes, sometimes like carpet and shoes, sometimes like what I think is alcohol, not that I can be sure bc my experience with it is very limited and I am just terrified of it. Other times, like Thursday nights and Friday evenings, it’s weed, and every other day, it’s a combination of remnants of all of these. Outside my Indian mumma-friend’s room, it smells Indian it’s like chai but maybe I make that up in my head out of expectation of what is to come when I step in. On some mornings, when I get out of the washroom after having brushed my teeth, the bit of corridor right outside my room smells like black coffee and that’s how I know my roommate has woken up. Either ways, it’s so strange that these smells that were totally unfamiliar to me three months ago now smell like Home(?)(am I ready to call this place that yet, I do not know).

In the washroom, I realized I liked tucking my shirt into my jeans. I like how it makes me feel but also it makes me uncomfortable to do that when I’m not super loving my body, so I decided I would prevent my not loving my body by leaving the m&ms alone. I remember that when I was still in school, a boy on my school bus made fun of another for having visible “stretch marks.” I didn’t know what they were, and a friend explained them to me; basically, they usually happen when a person’s weight changes and some of the skin doesn’t know what to do with itself anymore. She said the boy had lost weight. I remember genuinely not understanding what was so bad about having stretch marks! Why are they considered yucky, when they’re sometimes proof that someone worked hard to feel healthier and better about themselves? I wanted stretch marks. I was happy to see them the first time they became really prominent on my hips after I refrained from eating junk food and exercised regularly for four months in Grade 12. I felt good; they were a sign that I was right in thinking that I was finally being healthy.

When do you know that you’re starting to feel at home somewhere? Is it when, in the map if your mind’s eye, you’ve started replacing unfamiliar building entrances with people’s faces? And their carpets and blankets, shoe racks, and wall decor. Is it when your French professor knows you well enough to email you specifically before Thanksgiving break, telling you to “try to sleep a ton during break! :)” and is it when you start having opinions on kinds of cereal that aren’t sold in India? Three months ago I felt dangerously adrift, but now I feel only moderately adrift. I mean, I did finally use the Belgian waffle machine, and the terrifying toaster to make myself my first bagel with cream cheese, and the panini press to make my friend a grilled cheese. I studied in the Study Rooms of residence halls other than mine, pretended to study at one of the libraries once, and stood beside and talked to my friend while she spread out sheets under the pretty tree outside our Hall with her books and laptop out to study (super cute, and super movie-like, have always wanted to do). There’s a hundred things I haven’t done yet, of course, but I imagine each will bring this strange place a bit closer to Home in my heart. I imagine each habit and preference I acquire, like getting the apple spice cake with maple buttercream frosting on Tuesday nights, and the other side of my floor, will cement it.

I love the people here. I hate that they don’t know Indian slang, so I can’t say jugaad, or mug up, or bunk, or thappad, around them and expect even a semblance of cognizance on their faces. I hardly pronounce “dance,” and “class,” and “answer” the right way anymore and the new way feels ugly and rude in my mouth but I have no choice if I want to be quickly understood. They try sometimes to say my name right, and most of them really want to be able but struggle. No one really uses nicknames; everyone mostly just avoids having to use my name. Only one friend in my life really uses a nickname to refer to me often, to the point where I call myself it in my head. I miss him very much, and I’m mad that I cannot be in his actual physical presence right now, especially since it’s nearly 5 AM and I am awake and I used to fall asleep within 7 seconds when sitting next to him on the way to school. Anyway, the people here are excited for me to try new American snacks and worried for me to experience the Actual Cold New England Weather. They are happy to invite me to their homes during Thanksgiving break and more than willing to explain weird concepts like cold salads to me. They will run to me from blocks away if I feel like I can’t breathe and am terrified I’ll die, and they’ll let me cry for hours about real chai and food with actual flavour and my best friends from back home and my cat and my idiot amazing brother, and they’ll kick me out of my bed at 3:30 PM when I’m being an idiot, and they’ll bring me cheese puffs and other favourite foods, and they’ll make me exercise with them. There is very, very little I wouldn’t do for these people and I need them to know this. I’m so grateful for them and how much easier they made this transition for me.

I’m not entirely sure how I got here from talking mostly about Coffee Nut m&ms, but the mind goes where it wants, I guess. Where it wants to go right now is to sleep. Earlier today, I told my best friend that if one could marry concepts, I would marry sleep, and I will forever stand by that 400%. I have so much more to say, but I’m thinking thoughts at too ridiculously fast a pace at the moment, and it’s impossible to capture a lot of it. It’s also nearly 5:30 AM and I’ve begun to make a terrifying number of spelling errors while typing (except for those red-underlined words like flavour and favourite, WordPress, I refuse to abandon British spellings), so I will try to go to bed, despite having to be awake in another four hours anyway.

Good night, and thank you for being here.

PS – God bless the time difference between East Coast and India (who would’ve thought I’d ever think this) because how else would I not be completely and totally alone at these odd hours

Tell Me, Honey.

there are some people who possess such a vibration that they can illuminate a room without physically being present.
the mere thought of you is enough to send rushing my affection; to set beating my heart; to command the taut, prickling attention of my entire being.

slow down.
let me look at you.
let me hold your presence.

people build entire lives out of turning away. they turn away from sunrise kisses and clouds wailing and force their bodies into creaseless costumes and lock themselves up inside cement buildings with blank faces to match their own.
people build entire lives out of turning away, running, running, running, but not you.

you with your golden heart and the sparkle you breathe inside, dream inside, speak of and teach us without even trying. you trace the stars with your eyes and see more than black and white. you play verses on my skin and both fear and savor the confusing pleasure of it. you who have been made of something mysterious which exists only in the frequencies of everything beautiful the universe has to offer. you whose brilliance has shaken worlds where shooting stars make wishes come true.
you, the steady in this breeze.
washing away all my troubles until there’s nothing left but your storm and the lingering, peaceful scent of petrichor you leave behind.

we are sheltered tonight by an upside down carpet of stars.
underneath, you nudge music into my soul; I write the perfect melody to the rhythm of your heart. you sing; I smile (your every word is like a little love note spoken to me, but perhaps I’m just being sentimental). you stop time; I soak up the moment, inhale the colors, the vanilla, the erratic pattern of your breath, and then I turn to you – I cannot collect the stars in the sky, but I can have something so close when I look into your eyes.

your lips rarely part, but when they do, your croon beckons confetti storms from the darkest niches of my heart; they bloom with a mysterious magical quality and yet a comfortable familiarity (like how names taste, whispered right after first kisses).

and when you cry, love, the universe holds its breath.
I learned that sounds travel faster through solids than through air, so press your mouth to my skin; tell me stories of the places you were scared to have been. I will try my best to understand, and with all that I am, I will listen. eyes closed, heart open.
half of you and half of me. half of love and half of sparkle. half and half is whole.
yet I do not need you to be complete, for you have taught me to be it on my own.

tell me, honey. can I trust the hands of the clock to protect us?

Lists/ MCQ’s (24/01/18)

*TRIGGER WARNING*(?) A 17-year-old girl makes a mental list of foods she wishes to consume even though her Graduation Day Ceremony is in four days, she has to wear a saree, and she demolished a whole entire Oreo Silk after doing the same to a Twix bar less than 24 hours ago

  1. Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream/  Lemon Cheesecake
  2. Taco Bell’s Cheese Quesadilla
  3. Red Velvet Brownie (a CCN rant is overdue)
  4. Chianti’s White Sauce Spinach and Mushroom Ravioli
  5. Thai Green Curry with Rice
  6. Eliza’s Halloumi Pasties (should maybe stop watching MasterChef)
  7. Honey and Lays Belgian Waffles (yes, Lays chips, the blue packet, with waffles)

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Editor’s Note, Entropy (12 B)

To the family I thought I’d never have,

Hey, you.
Yes, you.

There’s a lot I’ve been meaning to say to you, and for a while now. I would like to apologize for my inability to assign as major a portion of my daily schedule to you as I was able when we were younger. Do you remember playing running-and-catching together in the school grounds? Those blue carpets at the back of our old classrooms? The swing-sets that were and still are the foundation of countless friendships?

I could write a (really, really fat) book (or an entire school-life’s worth of class magazines) just reminding you of the past 12 years in detail. Make a mental repository of those memories. They’re all you’re going to have of school life a year from now, and you will cherish them like nothing else, I guarantee.

Today, I leave the job of recollecting the joyous moments we’ve shared together over the years to you. Today, I’m writing instead to tell you just how much you mean to me.

We met twelve years ago. I’ll admit I was rather apprehensive at first. You were a strange person, in a strange new place, doing your own strange things. Strange. Not a bit like everything I’d known my entire lifetime (all five years of it)! Perhaps it was the almost comforting unfamiliarity we shared that united us.

I’d like to call us sailors. At every point during our school careers, we’ve taken over different duties and steered this ship successfully together, and we’re nearly at the end of our voyage. Every time I’d waver, you’d be my anchor, help me tide over the rough patches each wave brought with it. I trusted you to never let me sink. To this day, we are each other’s safety boats, and are so willingly. We’ve taken turns being Captain, guiding each other, never letting the other lose sight of what’s ahead. You’ve given me the courage to look directly in the face of fear, until it backs down. We’ve hit icebergs head-on, our little navy with a bond stronger than the Titanic could ever have been.

Thank you for the petty fights, and the major ones, and the ones that weren’t really fights at all – just unnecessary drama before vacations because we were afraid of how much the absence of the other would hurt, but also too egoistic to admit it. God, we’re capable of immense immaturity, but some of our exchanges could’ve come straight out of a movie.

Thank you for lending me your sweatshirt when I forgot my name badge, keeping my horrible ID card photo a secret, even switching shoes when I had PT. Thank you for the badge fights, hand cricket, Sudoku and crossword races, basketball and dodge-ball games, PE exam practices, and yam cheese, yam burger, soft potato, chipchipchip. Soft potato, chip chip chip.

Thank you for the field trips, for declaring that we are family through the smallest things – dancing, singing, laughing, crying. Together.

Thank you for the inside jokes. And for laughing with me at jokes our teachers cracked, and maybe for being that one kid who had the audacity to ask out loud, “Why’d everyone suddenly go so quiet?” on the rare occasions we did all at once for no apparent reason during class. As if that wasn’t how we should’ve been for the entire duration of the lesson anyway.

Thank you for always having my back. And for literally standing behind me, beside me, in front of me, as I drew in the sand with my foot and cleaned my black shoes on my socks in/ out of “height order”. And for letting me use your bag as support for mine on half days.

Hey, you.
Yes, you.

I’m going to miss you so, so much (just in case I haven’t made that clear).

– Maithree with Maitreyi
(Editors, among other school-related things, this one last time.)