From ship to shore. Day four. 🌿
From ship to shore. Day four. 🌿
Do you ever feel exhausted at the idea of having to explain yourself to yet another stranger, all over again? I know I do. I feel as though…. my capacity for sharing myself from the beginning, has long been overrun.
I’m content to sit gathered and contained, roiling within myself, not at all inclined to open windows showing what’s inside to people passing me by. There have been enough people who’ve lived in me, at this point. I have made a home out of this body and heart. I’ve come to appreciate the silence in the rooms, without the empty chatter of strangers who need to explained the novelty of it all. It feels as though I’ve come years from needing to be understood, the fierce impulse to lay myself open for roughly probing fingers and minds to turn over and see.
I’m done, trying to sell myself to vaguely fascinated drifters in the day, taking a bite out of me and tossing me back into the tray. I’m nobody’s sample, nobody’s trial period- nobody gets to walk their calculating gaze through me. Now I’m a puzzle I’m working over inside my own head. And should there be someone interested enough, truly intrigued enough, I’m not impossible to find- Should they be sincerely invested enough to come find me. 🌙 .
I overheard something amusing earlier today. A patient’s attender had apparently asked for me, but she didn’t know my name. She asked the nurse on duty where that ‘fair, brown haired’ doctor was. The nurses conveyed the message across in the exact same terms, and it amused me to no end, because I’ve never been referred to as ‘fair’. What made me chuckle louder internally was that if my father ever heard anyone calling me ‘fair’ within earshot, he’d probably have a coronary.
I’m a mix of colors. I suppose I was a standard fat white baby when I was born, but a lifetime of playing too much in the sun, horse riding, a fair smattering of assorted sports and swimming, and the ever present tropical sun, have ensured that I never went back to the baby’s pink bottom thing I was back in the toothless days. Which has always been a particular thorn in my father’s side, him of the bone white complexion. He always had issues enough that my mother wasn’t as white as him. Add to that the shame of a daughter who was clearly headed to the other end of the skin spectrum, and it was one blow too many for his fragile ego. My entire childhood was peppered with a steady upkeep of comments about how dark I was, and naturally in succession, how ugly. There was this one particular incident, an Eid party when I was twelve, where he called me out to say hello to his friends. They all asked the standard ‘how is school’ questions, and my father answered for me, saying, ”Oh, she’s just an average student. Everything about her is average. At least if she’d inherited my looks or color, she’d have something good about her.” The comment was met with laughter from some of his friends, and awkward smiles from the others. And I stood there, in all my twelve year old offended pride, and announced, ”What’s wrong with my color? I like my color!” This time, all of them laughed. My father pulled me out to stand in the middle of the room, and said something from his usual repertoire of back-in-his-modelling-days, if-only-you-had-my-color-you’d-be-worth-something- spiel. Followed up with his standard ”See, what you look like right now, nobody likes that. Nobody’s ever going to want that.” But I was properly worked up at this point, and I informed him that I happened to be a very nice color. There were tons of white people who went to the beach trying to get to my precise color. And I still remember the faces of each and every one of his friends chortling at that statement. Including my uncle, who’d had enough of my embarrassment, and goodnaturedly told my father to shut up and leave me alone.
I guess it’s more than a little strange that I’ve made a full, full circle from that point, and come back to where I was then. I was only allowed clothes in certain shades of beige, brown, and gray, because I couldn’t ‘pull other colors off’. I think I was sixteen, when my aunt, exasperated with the contents of my suitcase, tossed half my clothes in the Salvation Army bin and replaced every one with popping reds and pinks and purples. ”You dress her like a medieval widow!”, she told my parents, to which my father replied calmly, ”it’s what she can wear, with her coloring.” And then confiscated the brightly colored clothes, when we flew back home.
I remember coveting red, and blue. I wanted blues so much. The first time I bought my own clothes, I bought four dresses in the same shade of blue, because I loved that cerulean so much. Overkill, I know, but it made sense. And unsurprisingly enough, the same shades still peekaboo in my closet now. Only more normally interspersed with other, more taboo colors. Maroons and emeralds and royal purples, lots and lots of glossy black, some pink (even though I loathe it), and even the occasional bumblebee-butt yellow.
But more than anything, I’ve settled into a peaceful coexistence with my own color. My father, I think, never will. He went off last month and bought me a ‘designer’ dress worth a comfortable $300, in the same drab beige as the curtains in my house, the same tired color I wore almost as a uniform at home. But at some point, we stop being the broken children of broken parents, and start repairing ourselves, because we cannot repair them. His logic is still the same. His daughter’s too dark for actual colors to look anywhere good on her. By someone else’s reckoning, I am, amusingly enough, ‘that fair doctor’. And somewhere in the middle, I am my own spotty, tan-armed and pale-legged, dark circled and healthily scarred color.
Just that I like my version of it. Because I’m more than my color. And I happen to like that.
Until next rant,
Your ever lovin’ Cookie ❤
I’m still here.
Only this time, downwind.
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.
Strip away every known.
Clean off the bone
Past the skin but
leave the poetry
wash the words away
Dull the clarity
Take the lessons
-spare the sins
They have no meaning.
that knife edge balance
of what I have and
what it takes
Snip, snip, all the habits
Remove the wings
Bind the fingers
Stitch the lips into closing,
I take every bit of I from me
But who am I then?