Unbothered

My fingers smell like chicken. I just finished eating the biggest salad of my life. He was on the phone, but not saying anything (the usual) while I carried on a conversation with a dear coworker I don’t get to see often. He sounded fine, the way he usually does after riling me up for what I think is no reason at all.

No reason at all. That’s the way it usually seems to the other person, doesn’t it? It’s never understood, where “all this” is coming from and what the purpose of it is.

Love. Tina Turner. What does it have to do with anything really?

I was thinking earlier today that maybe my love is just different. Either that or I am incapable of loving others which makes me a cold-hearted or heartless human being, which I am completely fine with. Even without the ability to love, I know what I possess the ability to empathize and to feel compassion for others. I know that I care about people and that is enough for me.

I’m on google now. I’m looking up the word love – who would’ve thought?
n. an intense feeling of deep affection
v. feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone)

I look at all the synonyms: deep affection, fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, endearment. Care very much for, feel deep affection for, hold very dear, adore, think the world of, be devoted to, dote on, idolize, worship.

Scratch the last few off; I don’t have such regard for anyone. Everything else seems just about right though.

Just to make sure, I look up affection.
n. a gentle feeling of fondness or liking

Fondness
n. affection or liking for someone or something

What’s the problem? I have all of these. I care for him, want him to be in good health, to eat and rest well, to he happy and successful. I want this for everyone. The only thing I lack is an emotional high, which one can’t be in for an ongoing period – unless drugs are involved – and those moments do come and go, so again, what’s the problem?

I’m impassive a lot of the time.
n. not feeling or showing emotion

I don’t mind that, at all. It means I can care for you deeply, but won’t fall into a wreck if one day you are not a part of my life anymore. I’m fine with that. I don’t want to think that my sanity or emotional well-being is dependent on any one person outside of myself. I have enough trouble trying not to live off of society’s approval.

The bottom line is that maybe I love you. Maybe I don’t. I’m fine with you in my life and I’m fine with you not in my life. Either way I’m unperturbed.  I think this is a good thing. You know, self-preservation? It will help me to keep going in instances where I might become crippled.

But whatever. What do I know?

 

15 Hours Before Now

Sometimes I remember again.

The thought enters my mind
and I hold on to it
instead of allowing it to pass.

For a second,
maybe three,
time speeds across my eyes.

My heart sinks.
It feels as if someone has tugged hard
on a string attached to it,
the way a truck driver would
sound his horn.

My body follows suit, quickly descending
as if it is being pulled into a well of water,
but just before my nostrils
go beneath the surface

I stop.

I mentally shake my head.
I throw the thought away.
I have to,
otherwise this paralysing fear
will spread through my being.

I release the breath
I had sucked in
three seconds before.

I sit upright.
I take another breath
and release it.

This is unproductive.
It will do me no good.
I will eventually die.
I don’t know when.
I cannot change this.
I will never be able to.

Continue to breathe.
Leave death alone.
It will come in due time.

Do not ask questions.
There is no one to tell you
why you were put here.

For now go home and sleep.
You have a long day tomorrow.

I want to bury
My face in his neck,
To close my eyes
And breathe
Deeply.

I don’t want to smell him;
I just want to hide.
I want to submerge myself
In the refuge
Of that small space –
The darkness
The closeness.

If his arms
Happen to rise up
And envelop me,
I would be
All the more
Thankful.
If he plants
A small kiss
On my temple,
I would fall into the depth
Of the reverberating emotion
That would result
From that slight touch.

Time
And space
Would cease to exist
Until our lower backs
Started aching
From the weight
Of both our bodies.

If only my yearning
Could overcome
The breadth of the sea
Between us.

It’s Okay to Flirt

SKYLARITY

One of the most common questions I was asked during my time as a university lecturer was, “How do I find my passion?” 

My response to that question was the same every semester. And that was, “You flirt.” The students’ quizzical expressions to my response always made me chuckle—it never failed. Here’s the premise behind my response.

People, both young and old, often ask the question, “How do I find my passion” based on the following mindset. First, they do not know and are uncertain of how to get started or where to begin. Secondly, they made an attempt to find their passion, but did not find any fulfillment. 

My response to both groups is to flirt, i.e., to experiment with different ideas until you find the idea that aligns with your person—one that brings you total and complete satisfaction. On the journey to discovering your passion, it is important…

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“While I am telling this man I want to live without him I am waiting for him to text me back…”

My mind is in a similar place now. I forgot that he had said he was going out to bring his cousin to her evening college classes. I have to wait for him to get back home, where there’s internet, so we can talk again. I don’t even have anything to talk about.

This is my problem, or our saviour:  I want to talk to him; I want to tell him things; I want him to hear me thinking out loud. Even though I can’t say the words “I love you”, I want him to hear me speak.

“But can you replace him as my closest friend though if I work up the courage to end it tonight?”

Except it’d be weird to have my closest friend swapped out for someone else. Except I don’t trust you that much yet. Except I don’t want to have to go over everything with you that he already knows. I’m growing rather tired of bearing myself repeatedly to one person after the other.

“Girl you can hit me up anytime.”

Joy and an aftertaste reminiscent of that hole Christians say everyone has that only God can fill.

  *   *   *

Today he gave me a compliment.

“See, and I like you for that.”

“You like me for what?”

I felt something like a 16 year old who had to tell her mother that she in fact didn’t want to be a ballerina, after her mother had invested money, energy and several years to her classes, recitals and shows.

I rationalised the complimented action, made it look like something I would have done anyway. I know it did nothing to alter his perception.

It’s been about an hour and a half; he hasn’t gotten back yet. There’s a student irritating me because she’s talking on her phone even though I told her twice to take the call outside.

Never mind that. This mindfulness thing, or whatever it is I’m doing, seems to be working for me these days. If no one else has disrupted it thus far, she will not be the one to break the chain.

Anything But Strong

Maybe there isn’t anything to say,
But there’s way too much to feel
And it’s too bad there isn’t a dictionary
Embedded inside me
So I could put a name to it all

This conundrum, these convoluted thoughts
That are chasing each other
The way a dog chases after its tail
And the same way it never catches it,
They never reach a conclusion
A solution
Or build a firm resolve to action

It’s a roller coaster –
But a slow one –
Pushing its way through frozen time
And busying yourself
With moving images on screens
And sounds from speakers
Doesn’t make it stop moving
Doesn’t give you an answer

And then you revert
To that old question, thought, whatever:
Who brought you into this
So you could suffer this way?

And you hold your tears in
Because you’re in a public space
And you can’t let the world see you
Being anything but strong.

Afternoon Talks

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“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

I smiled, surprised at how good this exchange made me feel.

I hung up the phone and tried to call my friend back. I had dismissed her call because I was on the phone with him. I had 10 minutes until my shift started and I was curious as to what she had wanted to say.

Earlier I had asked her how many times she had broken up with her boyfriend. She said many; they had even almost broken up the night before. I smiled and asked how they got back together afterwards.

“I just wanted to know if this up and down is a normal thing that all or most couples go through. I find it rather annoying.”

“Yes and no…we go through it more because of the distance. Sometimes it gets to you. You start questioning if it’s worth it. You’re stressed out about it. And then most times you remember why you’re in it and you just kinda get through it.”