I Can’t See.

It’s strange, to look at yourself in a mirror, and not know what you look like.

I’d like to think that I understand. Of all days, of all times, now when I know better, when I’m better. But I wonder, if there’s some things you never know about yourself. Ever. If you spend your life burning through your time, trying to get where you’ll be ready, for understanding or realization. And it never happens- does it ever happen? Do we ever simply open our eyes one day, and just know?

Will I?

I go days without looking at myself closely in the mirror. These are the same days that I sit in front of my old fashioned dresser and comb my hair for minutes together. It’s hip length, and tangles easy, so I used a fine toothed comb. Always over the left shoulder, and then half that time over the right, to get that one fluffy spot I can’t reach otherwise. It shines when I comb it. I take care of it.

I use three different lotions, for my face, body, and hands. I moisturize every morning and night, and always put lotion on my skin while watching a movie on Sundays. I try not to think of Silence of the Lambs when I do that. I always end up doing exactly that. The same, repetitive, calming motions every night. I stand in front of the mirror and moisturize my face, before I leave my ponytail loose, strip in front of the mirror, and get into bed.

I have three mirrors in my room.

And I have no fucking idea, what I look like.

I want to know. I fucking want, to fucking know, what I fucking look like. I’ve spent the first half of my life convinced that I was ugly, because that’s what I was taught, so earnestly, so utterly without a lack of certainty that I was ugly, ugly, ugly, that I’d never be loved. My version of rebellion was shouting at myself inside my head that I wasn’t. I wasn’t ugly, even if I wasn’t beautiful, and I was good enough. I wasn’t, I wasn’t, I wasn’t ugly. I told myself enough times to make up for every time that I was told the other.

And then I outgrew both. Those sets of understandings, of different halves of my lives. Because people came into my life who convinced me that I was both. That I was one, because I was the other. I was beautiful, because I was ugly. I was a good girl, I’m a good girl, because I can’t afford not to be. _She’s not pretty but she’s so nice!_ _I fell for you because you were sweeter than the other girls I knew. I thought that’d be enough. I’m sorry, I thought it’d be._ _My friend thinks I can do better. So I told him how intelligent you are_. _I Love you. I just can’t be with you. It’s just how things are._

And I don’t fucking blame you, any of you. Who didn’t see me any more clearly than I ever did. I don’t blame you because I don’t care anymore. You didn’t. You cared about your conveniences and your images and not about what it’d leave me with, when you trampled through my self image with your big muddy feet and out the same way. I didn’t know where I was going before, but I’m still more lost now.

I have no reason to be, now more than ever. I’m the closest to my ideal size I’ve ever been, have a good job, and a life ahead of me, with the chance to finally close a chapter of horrors I’d given up on leaving behind. But I’ve been so engrossed with eyeing what I want to escape, and that that walked away from me, that I never stopped to realize I had no idea who I was walking with. The face in the mirror that I wash with water, cleanse with Neutrogena, and pat dry, not rub, is a stranger, a stranger I can’t objectively decide is beautiful or ugly or completely nondescript, nothing at all. You’re too familiar for me to judge you one way or the other. You’re too alien to me for me to accept you, one way or the other. Who even are you? And when people call you beautiful, or ugly, or simply let their glances slide off your face… which one of them is lying? Do you even know?

Can you even know?

Why did you spend so much time working on your scars? You spent so much time on your arms to make up for cutting them open, hugging the scars close to compensate for making them, and then learning to love them, and all the time, you forgot to pay attention to your eyes, or your nose, or your lips, or anything people look at you, when they look at you. If they look at you.

Who the fuck are you?

Who are you?

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The Adventures of Two Mice Being Experimented Upon in a Glass Box

fireflies

 

 

I’ve never been afflicted by Writer’s Block. I never woke up and had a day that I couldn’t write a little more. A day where nothing happened that could provoke me to write. But all the same, my writing habits became disjointed and slowly, crippled to the point where I didn’t even want to think about writing. I’d mentally shove the idea or the inspiration along. Tomorrow, I’ll chronicle this tomorrow. And Tomorrow never comes. Because there’s no today that has ever stopped itself in time for the day before it.

The problem, I think, is Deja vu. And I don’t mean a flash of disconcerting recognition, that I’ve been in this very combination of place and time, that glitch in the matrix, so to speak. I think that the same things have been happening to me over and over again, with very little variation. And that’s slowly ingrained this indifference. Why should I write about this now? What purpose will it serve? It’s only going to happen again. It does, it always does. I go back home to the same house. I’m serving my sentence out bonded to the same slaver. The names and covers of books and authors change, but six hours a day, I sit at the same table I’ve been sitting at since I was eight. I wear the same clothes in nondescript succession, tie my hair the same way, mechanical movements and systematized behavior.

This is the pit. The pit of all things lost and forgotten, never to be rescued. I walk in circles. The same words are thrown in my direction, and I respond to them, because when I don’t, something worse will follow. I sit on the dining table, and eat – eat – subserviently. That means that you eat in intervals. You are not on that table to eat, but to serve food, serve water, run errands to and from the dining room, listen to an hour and half’s worth of sermonizing, and god help you if  you don’t acquiesce to whatever is being discussed and whoever is being maligned. You listen to a steady stream of minutely honed observations, a calculation of all your short comings, all your perceived and apparent flaws and defects. You collect a list of things-to-do for till the next meal, where you’ll invariably be held accountable for them. You take all the abuse and all the anger and all the narcissism-tipped barbs thrown your way- and the food, that you have to be grateful for- and you swallow.

Three times a day, every day. When he’s not home, he calls home to make sure you don’t miss a dose. Venom needs to be administered just as carefully as medicine. You swallow it all.

And  you become sick. The days and the nights become repetitive milestones on a road going nowhere. Some hours you have the patience to analyse what you’re seeing. Other times, you barely have the energy to keep your head out of the mire you’re sinking in. Occasionally you get enough time to indulge in a little philosophising, about the state of life, the meaning of it, the whys and hows of the tangible and perceived world that exists outside your cage/bubble. You experience it as though through a semi-permeable membrane. But you can’t swim through. Or even look in that direction too long. You’re not allowed to.

At a certain point, a life like that is little more than a lab record. The Adventures of Two Mice Being Experimented Upon in a Glass Box. Running on a fixed wheel, eventually the most stalwart of your dreams begin to gasp for air. You slow down, reserve your energy for the barest of essential tasks that you must do. You account for every iota of mental and emotional energy, and bury the rest deep inside, for when you can afford to feel, without consequence.

You stop hoping for things to change. You stop dreaming.

You stop writing.

That’s why  I stopped writing. It began to feel like a lie I was telling myself. Lies of love and lies of better days to come, even though good things were happening to me, they washed off the minute I set foot back into my pit. It has a gravity of its own and I fight it, but the words escape it with more difficulty these days. Just as I do.

I hope to get out with the rest of my sanity. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve given up on all possibilities of justice here, for karma or the law or the fucking Flying Spaghetti Monster to teach the keepers of the pit a lesson. I don’t care, I just want to get out with what’s left of me, and what I can still write.

And even if I don’t make it, I’m going to keep pushing my words out with my back to the last wall. Or I’ll try, anyway.

 

Here’s hoping, for some form of escape.

 

 

Love,

Cookie ❤

Tonight is hard.

It’s been a bad day, and it’s been a difficult night.

 

Dad’s home again, and given his new ‘injured’ status, the mood swings have been worse than ever. He couldn’t find any other reason to, so he made me read a document out loud to him eight times. Then he screamed at me because I don’t walk straight, I do my laundry twice a week, because my sister didn’t take his call, and because my brother was up till two last night. Neither of which I knew, but he says that apparently I should bear the brunt of his wrath because he doesn’t want to disturb them. Apparently I’ve made thirty years worth of bad decisions and ruined my life. Which I don’t understand, because I’m not thirty years old, and everything in my life, including where I was born, has been his decision  every single of the significant number of citizenship and monetary problems I face today are direct consequences of his decisions. In addition to everything else, i am also convenient to blame

 

And while this yelling match was happening, I kept calm. I kept my cool, I didn’t cry, I didn’t break down, I kept my temper under control, and mom kept needling to shut my mouth throughout. She can’t stop, she can’t control herself from hovering in the middle, and I can’t. I can’t handle two so unstable people at the same time. I can’t handle all of her emotional needs and support her and console her, and handle this bastard at the same time. She didn’t let me breathe for two minutes after the fight before following me to my room and starting her nagging about rewriting an application because of some completely nonsensical reason. And the minute she left my room, the wretched cocksucker came back inside to yell at me some more. And then like a switch going off, the minute he’d vented his spleen, he started joking around again

 

And now when I’ve finally finished the chores, locked everything and turned the lights out, mom comes back into the room and switches the light on to check if I’m crying.

 

 

I can’t cry in this house anymore. I can’t think or breathe in this house anymore. They are eating me alive, bit by bit. I can’t live here, I can’t get away, there’s no escape from these monsters, they won’t leave me alone they won’t leave me be. I’m going to go completely deranged, completely unhinged, I can’t, I can’t do this anymore, I don’t know what to do.

 

There’s no help. I have nowhere to go.

To Kill The Sun 

It falls, like unwanted feathers, like sweat. Restless and stifling, the promise of rain like salt on my tongue. Luckily, I know how to wash away the salt. 
They’re kissing, god knows which number they’re on, getting more bodily, the couple in the balcony across my window. He fists his hand in her hair, and they push with the reckless of people who know no one is watching. I shift, to dangle my foot more freely across the window I’m straddling. I ash, and keep smoking. She sees me first, in one of her twisting glances. They slow down, glancing at me with obvious unease. She whispers something into his shirt, and he shakes his head. He goes on kissing her, and I keep watching. 
I light another cigarette. I turn back and he’s waiting for me to look. He blows me a kiss, with a cocky grin. She doesn’t like that at all. She fidgets against him, while he waits for a sign of approval or encouragement from me. I give him none, and stare back at his deadened eyes with my own leaden stare. He will carry me to the ground. For now, we tread the air. The girl is going back inside. I pour another drink. 
He comes back out, a bottle later. He’s buck ass naked, and evidently dissatisfied. There’s a splinter in my thumb, and I worry it with my teeth. He’s the one watching with unconcealed interest now. He rests his hip against his railing, and lights up, nodding at me. I stare, and slosh two fingers into my glass, and raise it to him. He smiles half heartedly, and turns fully towards me, watching. We watch each other. The sky dies. 
Poor bastard. Guess we’re both staying lonely tonight.

I really don’t know…

Some days, I am a hundred percent sure that I won’t make it out of this hell hole. Other days, I bristle with enough rebelliousness to want to walk out right this moment, no heed to sense or money. Some days- most days- I retreat to my corner and lick my wounds.

We had a party yesterday. Twenty five people came over for lunch, two of whom I know at all. Just more people to show off for. My aunt brought the entire troop of her in-laws with her, each woman wearing at least four gold chains per flabby neck, and four fat gold rings per stubby fingered hand. And I truly hold them no grudge. It’s not like they showed up, we invited them formally. They were nice enough and simple enough, in fact some of them were downright sweet. The husbands, who I spoke to while serving the food and seating everyone around, were so normal that it threw me for a loop. I’ve literally forgotten how normal people can be, how normal families can be together. They kept insisting that we join them for lunch too, instead of scurrying around and serving. Because they don’t know the ground rules of our existence in this shithole. We serve. We clean. We usually dress up and keep the paper thin illusions alive. Usually.

Except facades tend to tear, as they are wont to. Two girls, one of whom isn’t twenty yet, can only fake so much after they’ve been forced to get up at 5.30 am to go for driving lessons (because if not at 5.30, then you don’t have enough dedication to drive a car, and so don’t need to learn anyway). After that you have to come home and pretend that the lessons were life-changing and/or you had the time of your life, because otherwise you too ungrateful to take them again, or study anything else, really. And if it’s just one or two things every day, you still manage. But things, in this godforsaken house, they tend to keep coming.

We wanted to shower and get presentable enough before the guests came, because between the house cleaning and helping the maids with the cooking, we’d gotten pretty dishevelled and food streaked. Obviously, we’d have to take turns, because we share one bathroom. We got our clothes ready and were putting the last touches to the living room, when the Decree came. Go to the Supermarket and buy soda. Okay, fine. That’d take half an hour but okay. Since Dad is always ‘busy’ on Facebook and Skype, we’d obviously have to. He can’t have us getting ready for a party now, can he. So we took the car and went.

Except ten minutes in, at the Supermarket, I turned a corner walked into my father. He’d followed us to the supermarket and spent the entire time eavesdropping on what we were talking about (specifically, whether or not we’d been talking about him). He jumped when I spotted him- clearly, he’d not thought that we’d spot him so soon. He babbled some nonsense about having forgotten to tell us to get chips, threw literally the first bag in front of him into my cart, and walked out again. When we came back home, mom told me that he was concerned we might be discussing him being unfair or something, and decided to go watch us.

And since guests had already shown up, there was no time to get dressed. In fact one of the grandma types even told us to go freshen up, but dad quickly interjected with a ‘my girls like to stay simple’. Or bedraggled, I suppose. We didn’t have a moment of peace till the guests left, the extra food was all packed and frozen for him just in case he has to leave soon, and the house scrubbed down to remove all traces of a party. Even then, even though I was dog tired and ready to pass out the minute I lay down, I couldn’t sleep.

I cannot tell you how disturbed I’ve been since yesterday afternoon. I keep replaying the exact moment I spotted him over and over again. It is just so viscerally disturbing, so bizarre. Even with the absolutely fucked up household I live in, it’s still way off the radar. When will this fucking nightmare end? I already double bolt the doors to my room before I sleep. I don’t shower or change when he’s in the house because I just can’t be sure. How am I supposed to spend every moment even away from home looking over my shoulder, to see if he’s come to spy again? Because now that he’s done this once, he will do it again, for sure. This man has a pattern. Once he loses his inhibition for something, it becomes open season on that front. And for the life of me, I cannot imagine more rules and restrictions that I already live by.

I barely have time for Facebook anymore, or for writing. I’m working the whole goddamn day doing nothing of consequence and everything of obsequience. I’m working like a slave, rinsing out bowls that are ‘still damp’ turning sofas upside down because my dad suspected ‘there might be some food under the cushions’. The three meals we sit down to eat are piles of food that would do a restaurant proud, but we can barely swallow down, because we have to ‘serve’ him while we eat and listen to him criticise everything from our faces to our personalities, the rest of the time. As if none of this were enough, he keeps clamping down tighter and tighter because he’s so sure, we’re trying to rebel on some front.

I.. don’t know. I’m twenty seven years old. I’m a doctor, and have an IQ that sits in the genius spectrum. I have love and friends and family but more than anything, I cannot breathe here anymore, and I’m afraid.

Letters To No One

Dear Spence,

I’ve been meaning to talk to you for a while. Only it’s been twelve years and I don’t know where you are, anymore. The last time I looked for you, I saw that you’d done a live performance at a bar near your house that got a huge turn out and blitzed everywhere on Facebook. That made me so happy. That you were still pursuing your dream. Some dreams shouldn’t ever die.

 

Things have been strange for me. Recently my boyfriend got very drunk and said a lot of things, hurtful things, that have made me think, nonetheless. One of those things is that I’m an ’emotion hag’. I’m not sure if you know what one of those is. It’s like fag-hag, a gay man’s female best friend, only according to him, my area of expertise is people who want to talk about their emotions, not gay men.

 

And he meant it in an insulting way, because he was drunk and hurting and trying to be as hurtful to me as he could. It’s just one of the things he said, and one of the things that stayed with me, but I’m not sure it’s a bad thing at all. I tried explaining to him when he was sober that he’s right, it is a pattern of my behavior. I do ‘listen’ too much, and let people vent to me, but that’s because that’s all I can do for them. These are people who are hurting, and the least I can do is to listen to them. I don’t have the finances to help them and I don’t have any way of changing their situation- Hell, I can’t even change my own. All I can do is listen, give them someone to bounce thoughts off, so I do that. It makes him uncomfortable because he doesn’t like my ‘range of emotion’, or at least, the amount of emotion I fluctuate through on a daily basis. It’s not that he doesn’t feel the same. He does, he just doesn’t believe in acknowledging it.

He likes to think he’s above such base human tendencies such as feeling. Only he refuses to see, and I’d never point it out, but every time he gets that drunk, he does just the same thing we all do. We feel. We let ourselves feel.
I thought of you that day. It was not the first time I’d seen an angry drunk, but the frustration, the desperation to lash out at someone, to see them hurt the same way he was hurting… It made me think of you. You got just as furious every Friday, when you could drink without having to worry about work the next day. The odd beers in the week days would just leave you dour, and sometimes surly, but never full blown bitter. That was reserved for weekends, when you could drink yourself blind and blame me for being sixteen when you were forty already. For being young when you weren’t anymore, for having a future when you hated your job, for being smart, and for not moving to UK to be with you, or for having guy friends were closer to my age.

I think a lot of that went over my head at the time. I was just a girl, even though I won’t deny I was perceptive even for my age. But that only helped me handle your bad moods. It didn’t help me understand them, or understand that that the relationship was fundamentally wrong. I was not your muse. That sounds a little silly, said out loud. I was not your partner or your lover. I was a damaged young girl who was unbelievably grateful for even having anyone around me who said they loved me, or gave me any respect. Because what you gave me was not respect by anyone else’s standards, but compared to what I got from the ‘real’ people in my life, it was still one of the best things to be happening to me.

 

I got scared, though. Over time, I couldn’t keep blaming the beer believably enough, and I couldn’t justify your resentment of my not being there with you. And somewhere during that period I started growing a spine in secret. Still battered emotionally and physically, but a spine nonetheless. And I’m sorry. The entire situation had veered off from being a place of comfort to a place where more hurt stemmed from. I was an adult at sixteen, like I was an adult at twelve, but even adults are slow to learn their lessons sometimes. And I was afraid of you, you gave me reason to be. I should have been more afraid of you, in retrospect. But I knew then as I know now, you were never a bad man. You are a good man. You were just troubled. And a sixteen year old girl an ocean away was not the answer to anything. Except more pain. And I regret causing you that pain.

I heard the recordings of your live performance. You still brush the hair off your forehead exactly the same way. And you still smoke incessantly. Although I can’t look at you scoldingly for that anymore, given that I’ve started smoking too ( I know, right? Who would’ve thought?) And you smile more fully. And no matter what happened between us, it is so heartwarmingly, gloriously wonderful to see you smile that way.

 

One day, I will too.

 

 

 

Your friend,
Cookie

Fall

Why did He make me from clay?
What did He do to me?
What sort of vessel am I shaped into
To contain these fallacies?
Blinded, blinded, I don’t know my face
The mirror shows me a stranger
But ask me yours, where your smile lies and
I will know all the answers
Who are you, who gave you this
Power, over me, over my sense
Of reality, how did you change
My touch to thought, to impermanence
The sky is raw and the earth bleeding
How did you construct this bent
world, did God destroy me, or did you
-Did you both?

And what was my offence?

I loved you too much by any measure
I knew there was a gaping void
I promised myself, I’d fill the indifference
I’d push hard enough from my side-
and I did, see-
I’m already crazy
A drunk girl laughing at the edge of a cliff
Inching closer to the precipice, and
The howling promises of the wind- If
Only, if only, I could step away
If I could tell myself I mattered, you’ll miss
The scattered moments in your life
where I appear, where I exist
Inside my head, it’s a nice illusion
A sweet lie to say, if only
If only I could step away

Oh, that fall beckons too much, today

(c)CM
09.10.2016

Some days, nothing makes sense. Nothing you do makes sense. The rain stops  your sky and the walls won’t let you breathe and you want, you want someone to love, someone who will sit with you when you’re trying to make sense of what’s even fucking happening. In a corner of your mind you know you’re raving, but the other corners drown that tiny one out, and the day passes in a bewildered blur.

Maybe you want more. Maybe you want one sign, one small fucking sign that this altar you sit by isn’t where you’re going to starve and die, but grow, bloom, flourish. Maybe you resent everything in the world today because none of it is fucking yours and you have no one to call your own except you- and you don’t love yourself anyway, so fat lot of help that is. And the self pity and bitterness steadily simmers and gains momentum, and you find yourself staring off the side of the building, wondering if today’s the day.

But today is horrible. Today was horrible, which means it can’t be the day. Life cannot fall like this. Today can’t be the day, so let’s sit at the edge and breathe.

Let’s wait for tomorrow.