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

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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 ❤

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Day Twelve : The Smell of Sunset

The grey canal empties
sluggishly into the backwaters
meandering beyond the third balcony
on the seventh floor. The wind
smells like forgotten fish
and sometimes like jasmine
My neighbour smells like that, too.

Voices carry from the parking lot. Sharp
tones cut through the general clamour of
traffic and jackdaws. My father is flirting
with the cook. She’s repulsed, but she
needs this job. We watch till we can’t.

The ocean is very close, the salt taste
lingers in my room, I can’t resist the urge
to let the ocean into my room
when I’m so close. Every evening I let it
roll onto my tongue.

The water stays murky.

The sky doesn’t care
Colours wash over my face
They smell of sunset

©️Yusra

12.04.2018

I forget sometimes, that there is no end to hate.

I don’t like that word. Hate. It implies weight. It is a burden. It is a two-edged sword that you cut yourself on, when you hold it. Like a snake that’s poisonous from the non-bitey butt end too.

Hate is important. It gives you reason. At the very blind white hot rage edges of sanity, when anger consumes you and your nerves are spitting fire trying to hold your composure, it’s Hate that sustains you, not love. Love comes later, to be sure. But in that moment, hate is very, very important.

My father was talking to a person who’d visited our house for the very first time today. By means of introducing me, he said, “This is my oldest daughter. I’m going to hire a driver for her soon, to take her to a park so that she can run. Look at how fat she is.” The man stared at the ground, embarassed and mumbling that I wasn’t all thaaat fat. I stared at my beast of a father, beyond a boiling fury and yet, completely still. In that moment, I realised that I was always find reason to hate him more. Hate. With a singularity and purity that I only have for one other thing in my life: Love.

I love me. I love this whole utterly fucked, unspeakably glorious and splendid world I live in. I love the sunsets in the third balcony on the seventh floor, even if they reflect prism-like over a brackish and smelly stream. I love my friends who forget me, I love my friends who don’t, I love my battered family units, I love that wonder who holds my heart, I love books and words and music and -me. I love me. Madly so, because they and we and he and I deserve it.

And I hate him. He deserves it.

Day Twelve of NaPoWriMo. I’ve written a Haibun for the prompt, with prose, followed by a Haiku, that briefest of forms I seem to shake hands with only every NaPoWriMo.

Did I forget to say, I love you all too?

And man, do you deserve it!

Calliope S. Lyre- the Facebook page is here!

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After months of prevaricating and weeks of procrastination, it’s finally up! Click on the picture and head over to Facebook and show me some Cookie love, you guys. ❤

 

-Your ever lovin’ Cookie Monster 😀

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.

The View From Where I Stand

The View From Where I Stand

Today was not supposed to be a ‘writing’ day. But something quite phenomenal happened, and I really want to put every single word down before I lose it. I want to have these words on hand for every time I’m stuck looking down on myself- that I need to look up to myself.

It’s been a rather unpleasant few days at home. Le Demented Dad has been more demented than usua, the assignments have been piling up, work has been piling up, and as the piles of things to do and unresolved anger grew, I was steadily pushing myself lower and lower.

I didn’t want to deal with anything, I couldn’t find it in myself to deal with the same old shit, yet again. The absolute wall of no-way-out was standing in front of my face and I simply couldn’t find the will to look beyond it, as I always do. The minute my sleepless weekend got done with, I dragged my backside to a local bar to grab a couple of drinks, sit in solitude and finally get the thinking over with. And I did just that for an hour or so, and then randomly called a friend to join me. And that’s where everything changed.

I haven’t really had a lot of time alone with this friend before. I mean we’ve spoken, many times and about a lot of things, but always topics that skimmed the surface of who we are as people. Nothing like the bare all conversation we had today. Nothing as honest, nothing as illuminating, and god, was it illuminating.

And it was just a few simple words from him that changed everything I was feeling, everything I was looking at. Rather, the things are exactly the same. My house, my hellhole, my hellion of a dad, everythng is EXACTLY the same it was when I walked out the door in the morning. But the way I was looking at everything was completely different.

His exact words to me were- Let it go.

Let it go. Your father’s a mad man and you wake up into the same suffocating atmosphere every day. Let it go. You feel right now like you don’t have a way out of this mess. Let that go too. You’re feeling despondent, you feeel stifled, you’re refusing to face the things that you have to face- let it all go.

Because life is beautiful. Life is the biggest gift the universe can give, and we have been given it. We are ALIVE. We wake up each morning with our limbs intact and a roof over our heads, that’s something to be grateful for. We have destructive fathers, but mothers who have to have been made from the purest earth by the very hand of God- that’s something to be grateful for. We are intelligent, we are educated, we are honest people. We have been given the opportunity to help others, in small or large ways, and that’s something to be thankful for.

It’s difficult to move past mental blocks sometimes, and it gets difficult to look beyond that barrier in front of your eyes sometimes, so don’t. Let the barrier exist where it does, smile and grateful for something to lean on, and keep tunneling around it. At no point should you ever let yourself feel anything but loved. Because at no point is our situation so bad, that there’s nothing to be grateful for- and there is so much, so much to be grateful for.

And I feel like a changed person. I walked into my house and I looked, I really looked at my mother. I really looked at my house, my room. For every corner I’ve been beaten in, for every room I’ve been locked in, there’s another memory to overwrite with. As bad as my childhood was, I grew up here. There’s height notches (where they stopped anyway, hehe) and Harry Potter on the walls. I can cover the bloodstains with that. For every thing that has gone wrong, I know of something that has gone right. It’s all a matter of what we choose to see, what we choose to focus on, and I’m glad I’ve been set right. It’s one more thing to be grateful for.

We are a speck of a planet in the middle of infinity on all sides. And we are a speck on the surface of the planet. If I think about that for one minute, the ‘magnitude’ of my problems gets instantly dwarfed by the very miracle of my existence. For that I am grateful. I have been given a life that’s tougher than some people have it, but I know, a lot easier than a lot of people have it. For that I am grateful.

I have to live with a man who’s purpose of existence is to spread misery in the name of religion, ‘training’ his children, and life lessons. And in doing so, he’s taught me exactly what NOT to be as a person. For that, I am grateful.

I have been given love. I have been given so much love that it’s downright insane. And I have been given the opportunity, a person to love with everything that I am. That is a miracle as of itself. I have been given a partner with compassion, understanding, and possibly the world’s largest serving of common sense. For all of that, I am grateful.

I have been given the ability to speak, a platform where I can stand up on the internet and spread my arms out to the world. For that I am grateful.

I have been given perspective by a wise, wise friend. For that, I am very grateful.

The world is beautiful.

Life is beautiful.

We are broken. We are whole. We are beautiful.