Bon(n) Appetit!

Well, well, well. Look who the carousel threw up. 🙂

 

Today was the Rosenmontag Karneval in Bonn. Although Karneval is celebrated madly in Germany as a whole (like any legally delineated time frame for public debauchery, drunkenness, dressing up in mad outfits, and drowning yourself in sugary treats would/should be), the North Rhine area takes a special fondness to being as certifiably loony as they can be, this time of the year. And naturally, there I was.

A friend of mine lives directly in the path of the Karneval parade. Since I’d missed it last year (and heard it being mentioned as an event of somewhat mythical proportions all year long), I put on my green sequinned hat (think a North Korean general on RuPaul’s drag race) and got myself an overpriced matching bag to boot. Then we parked ourselves on her window ledge, and spent four hours bellowing KAMELLE! at the floats going past.

And what floats there were! Admittedly, they aren’t anything to the scale of the NYC parade monstrosities, but there is a certain class and charm to things here. Marching band after marching went by in admirably matching outfits, loudly clanging brass bands and baton and flag twirlers, ever so often. Every ear-splitting scream aimed in their direction was answered by fistfuls of candy thrown in our direction. There was one extreeeemely retro moment, too, when an elderly ‘officer’ left the main stream and crossed over to where our friend, a dashing, beautiful pirate with a dashing, beautiful pirate duck strapped onto her head, was waving her plasterboard scimitar around. He dropped three bags of candy on her, and tapped his cheek for a kiss in return. She planted one on him, and dumped the booty in our pirate chest/crate (that we filled to the brim at least thrice. And also spilled stray beer over. At least thrice. Eh.)

The afternoon vanished in a rush of faces and floats. Ships went by, trucks went by. Tractors lugged massive wagons behind them, as did absolutely gorgeous Clydesdale horses, looking far more magnificent as they did, naturally. The booty consisted vastly of candy, candy, candy, but there were also gummy animals of every species, cookies, soft cakes, notepads and magnets, rubber ducks shaped with Beethoven’s head on them, stress balls, rubber balls, little pouches, a tulip float that handed out tulips (oo la laaa), and a singularly impressive procession of witches and vampires, that tossed out monster eye marshmallows from a gigantic cauldron.

During this entire time, I succumbed willingly to my Kryptonite- lollipops. The first wave had tossed a few in the window, and I decided to let myself a go a little. It led to an interesting moment later, when a man float going by yelled at me to take the lollipop out. I was completely sure I’d misheard the bizarre request, so I took it out and shouted back at him, ‘Why??’ To which I received a packet of soft cakes thrown at me, before the float went out of sight. Go figure.

Things were pretty wild west in there, though. Some people handed things to you, others slung in your direction with throws that would do Clayton Kershaw proud. Bees handed out honey-flavored chews, a field of sunflowers on legs went by and threw us sunflower seeds (little seed packets, with flowers painted on them!) and every manner of glucose fueled goodies, till my afternoon halted abruptly- I took a candy bar to the eye.

And that. shit. HURT. I was waving at someone to my right when a bar flew in from the left somewhere and caught me smack bang in my wide open left eye. I had a few moments of blinding pain and my eye felt like it was going to explode out of my head. I spent a  good 2-3 minutes doubled over completely shell-shocked and clutching my eye, going ‘my eye, my eye’ repeatedly. Then I hurried to the kitchen and my friend handed me a cold beer to hold against it. And let me tell you, alcohol *does* numb the pain.

A little while later, we headed out through the body of the parade. The only clear way out was to walk between the successive floats, and it was glorious. People were dancing on the sidewalks and occasionally spilling out onto the street. I saw a group of ballerinas hanging out a second-storey window, with MacGyvered upside down Umbrella candy catchers. 4-5 girls dancing in a circle dressed up as milk cartons, which I could not stop laughing about, and a severely impressive Renley Baratheon and company, who I deeply regret not taking pictures with.

Anyhoo, two days of sleeping off the alcohol poisoning from later that night and a bruised eye later, the Karneval has come to a close. I finally had the chance to witness a nationwide descent into madness, and added my own humble, licorice-flavored vodka insult to the liver contribution at the end. And although the binge cost me a day spent recovering in bed, I would not have missed it for the world. Dressed as a black cat and elbow deep in gummy bear treats (with a kick) is the only socially acceptable way to say goodbye and good riddance to the Karneval. So naturally, that’s what I did. When in Germany, do as the Germans do. 😉

 

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Floodgates

I want to open my mouth

and have only rainbows pour out

with that same breathless quality

with which nightmares tear the ground

Flowing from my ears at night

Wild-maned terrors, champing to bite,

Iron shod hooves tossing restlessly

while my own twisted feet make no sound

except their untangling, in bedsheets strangling

slowly, insidiously, ‘round my neck snaking

Fingers cold as death on my own shaking

straining for the nearest light, to put down

the shutters, the shudders of whatever horrors

metallic-tasting dreams and bruised lip murmurs

rustling threateningly, behind creaking floodgates

Cracked fingernails leaking ink, insistently loud

But because I will,

I open my mouth

and have only rainbows pour out

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Floodgates | Yusra

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What are you not telling anyone? .

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I feel as though I am frequently guilty of this. Of simply rolling over and falling asleep, and ignoring some nagging unwellness that has been pestering me. But it scratches at you, making you increasingly restless, till it starts spilling over into the part of your life that you only ‘portray’. When the person you are is unwell, it’s only a matter or time before it starts leaking into the person you’re supposed to be.

For the sake of metaphor and stunted humor, let me say: we’re nothing more than giant bathtubs. If you don’t deal with how much is swirling in there, pretty soon it’ll be sweeping out from under the door and reaching the guests in the living room.

But it’s not about the guests at all. People who visit you don’t live with you- you live with you. We none of us take the time to recognize our existence as a little, self-contained biome that needs a little tending to flourish- and a little pruning. If the diseased parts and chipping fingernails don’t get trimmed regularly, you’re not going to be growing.

And that’s already too many house- and body part analogies, but I’m going to leave you (and myself) with one last one: this body and mind house each other. And in levels of intensity, each one of them needs your care.

Open those floodgates now and then, okay? I promise you, there will be a rainbow over all that you’ve bottled in, flowing out. ♥️

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Look at how far you’ve come.

 

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Dear A,

it’s been a while since we’ve spoken at any decent length. Sure, we’ve been having our fluff conversations and Band aid-on-stab-wound repair sessions, but the time is definitely nigh that we put some sutures there. As you love to tell your patients, better to heal the right way, the first time around. Have you been taking your advice? Not so much, not so much.

You’ve been keeping busy. One might add to that, with a little snark, you’ve been doing nothing at all. In the grand scheme of things, you’re still on your way in a journey you started eight months ago. Why have you not reached a destination? Why have you been crossing milestones on crossroads, instead of having picked one direction already? These are absolutes. These are absolute parameters of time and opportunity that you’ve lost. You need to hold yourself accountable for these lapses. Even though you know, as well as I do, that you’ve deserved this soft corner between the years. These few months of ‘the journey is the destination’ have done you so much good. It’s hard, to not begrudge yourself this space for a few well deserved breaths between pants.

It’s not a race, but you’ve had your breather. We have to run in place. Time to speed up now again, don’t you agree?

Look at how far you’ve come. So many life lessons, so many discoveries. Who would have thought that you, that ludicrously social person, would revel in this enjoyment of your own company? Who would have thought that you would endanger yourself to the extent that you did, to try to help someone who did not at all deserve it? That a month would teach you such a lesson on your father not being the only monster out there. That not everyone could be saved. And that your job never was to save anyone except yourself. Would you have imagined that you would find yourself in this situation? I couldn’t have. I’d never realized that you were capable of being this selfless- and this stupid. Your safety takes priority. No man has the right to touch you. And no amount of disease or illness, can be accepted as excuse for trespassing your boundaries. And I’m sorry that you’ve had to learn it this way, As I am grateful, that you’ve learned it at all. You need to choose your friends more wisely. You need to give yourself to people who prove themselves deserving of it. You’ve been confusing giving love with sacrificing self respect for too long. The chronic hemorrhage over the years had dulled your senses to how much you were losing. But that acute fall, that was the one you needed. Even you were not immune to recognizing the meaning of all that blood. You will not forget the bruises. That nightmarish sequence of events. That shift in tunnel vision from wanting to end it all, to end that moment. to wanting to change it all, to end that moment. It was a hard earned lesson. One that all those bruises and all these nightmares have been a price for. But I hope that you won’t forget it ever again. You’re slow to see things, but quick to learn. Don’t forget this one.

Don’t forget this one.

Look at how your life is changing. Look at the sheer number of people you’re meeting who like you, who seek you out to talk to, to spend time with even when they don’t have an emotional vent to open in your direction. (Look at the number of guys who find you attractive. Who the heck saw that one coming. You’re almost starting to believe them!). This business of responding to ‘I like you, you’re amazing’ with ‘I like me too. I *am*, indeed!’ is a bit of genius, by the way. Sure, you might come across as stuck up or full of yourself, but screw that. It’s a polite way of letting someone know that their compliment is accepted, while simultaneously not giving them too many green lights. And screw that, too. You need to say that a few times. You have spent far too many years with a mutilated self image.

(By the way, good on you for turning guys down. It wasn’t your style to begin with, but I’m still so proud of you of not saying yes to people simply because they seemed interested in you. Look at how far your sense of self has come, from being that little girl who just wanted to be loved. I won’t tell you to be proud of yourself. But I do think that you should be happy with this change).

(Oh, and good on you for saying yes when you did. He’s practically teaching you how well men can treat women. You deserve this. And more. Good on you for making this chance possible for yourself).

You are not an airhead for loving art. You are not cold or calculating, for being this good at dealing with death. You are more emotionally stable than people who have only been touched by trauma as it flew them by, instead of being dragged through in in a choke-hold, kicking and screaming. You survived that. You begin every process of healing reminding yourself of how. fucking. unbelievable. much. you’ve survived. You’ve practically already received professional confirmation of how strong you are. Don’t forget this. Don’t forget this.  You are capable of giving of giving so much love that it ASTOUNDS people. You are rare in that. (You’ve learned from the best. It’s in your blood). And you deserve the same love. If not in the same quantity, then in the same effort. Don’t forget this.

At the same time, you need to move your feet faster, too. You’ve come through far too much already to not know the uniqueness of your situation and opportunity. This window is closing far. Already sticking your foot in going to cause a little pain. But do that. You know what happens when the window closes. When you miss this train. When this ship sails. When this dragon flies. Take any metaphor, take them all. You know what’s on this side, when you’re locked out. You know better than to stay. Recognize that fear in you, of being back in that cage? Remember that.

This letter was only intended as a reminder. The Universe falls in love with a stubborn heart. And you know, how stubborn yours is. It refused to die. It refused to stop loving. It refused to give up. Remind yourself, what it did all that for.

 

All my love. All my love.
You.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day Seven: Some Mornings

They fall from the trees like

gold coins, these beams

filtering down

settling like dust with a whisper

on the ground

and the jackdaws voice their protest

outraged, shrilly

quarreling

Somewhere

in this patch of sunlight

there is the warmth

of your arms around me

The softest kiss

a trace of heat

and all the hope,

the undeniable hope,

of every morning

I sit, cross legged

and let the light

set my hair on fire

All bronze knives and steel glints

red hot edges

being quenched in running water.

I sit, and I must think of you

Some Mornings

07.04.2019

Day Seven of NaPoWriMo. 🙂 Tag me in your work! 😍

Day 3: Leviathans dans le ciel

Monsters, even in the skies. That white whale defeats me yet. .

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Day 3 of NaPoWriMo. Oh, we’re doing this! ☀️

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Your Cookie has been traveling. Spring greetings from Bonn, Germany. Who’s in the neighborhood? 🙃