We all need someone with whom we can be one hundred percent us. Somebody that quietly understands us. Someone who we can find shelter in their arms when the world is too much. Someone you can speak with in the language of silences. Someone whose heart is ready to accept you in whatever shape or form you come, bloody or pristine, happy or in tears, a place of peace and renewal. For me, that is you, and it fills me with so much gratitude that I have the miracle that you are to be my own unadulterated self with in the sweet acceptance of your embrace.
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“Poets are romantic”, they say.
I write poetry because I cannot commit
To anything longer than half a page
Before I get sick of it
On my bad days, I even rip apart the paper
After I spill all my pain
So no, I’m not nice, don’t get too close
Unless you want a broken heart,
Unless you turn the tables
Give me a taste of my own drug
And maybe then I'd beg
And scream and pray for you to stay,
Maybe then I'll wake up
And realize I wrote my life away.
~ A. A. Roman
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Things I want to tell women as a woman
I struggled for a long time to consider myself as a woman and not a girl because we just call each other girls despite our age. As if being a woman is old and sad? But boys can't wait to become men. Or you have to shoulder great responsibility like marriage and children to qualify? I don't know what it is that signifies that transition from girl to woman but I think it's important to see that as a beautiful and powerful and desirable change.
You don't become cool if you say you're not a feminist because you like boys. Educate yourself, please. A good starting place is the two Ted talks by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. And also her book 'A feminist manifesto in fifteen suggestions.' It was originally an email she wrote to her friend who had just given birth to a girl and asked Chimamanda how she should raise her as a feminist in this world.
You don't need to be sweet and selfless and pretty and kind and nurturing at all times. I mean at the base of it yes because all humans being should be. But like society and media has always made us think that that is the desirable girl. Lol desirable woman. The good woman. Watch Yi Seo in Itaewon Class. Ko Moon Young in It's Okay To Not Be Okay. Byun Hye Young in My Father's Strange. Learn from them. How to stand your ground. How to not let society place you in a helpless position. How to fight back. How to be rude and fierce when it is to protect yourself or those you care about and not feel one bit guilty.
Money is the way people control you. Have your own money. Save it. Figure out investing at some stage. Don't rely on your parents, partner, brother, whoever to do that for you. You don't need to be good at math or business. It's not about that at all. It's about knowing your value, making sure you're reaping the benefits at work and ensuring that you aren't just spending all your money on stupid shit and making unnecessary decisions. You will learn only by making mistakes. God knows I still am. But money will always mean power. And as a woman you need a lot of that in this world.
Surround yourself with women who have found a way to be who they are. How will you know who they are? They just have that aura. You can't miss it. No, they don't always wear a power suit and hustle. And no, they don't write self help books. They are women in your life. They do whatever they do because it's their decision and thats why they always look so content and joyous. I get that sometimes you don't have that choice. Like irl I really am not able to meet such women. So then I turn to writers and my mom and her friends and the vice president at my company and artists. I don't have to be BFFs with any of them. I just have to observe them and take in the good and learn. Reach out when I need to. And stumble and stumble and stumble.
Don't ever give up your life for a man. That's literally the worst thing you can do as a woman. That's a quote from the kdrama The Package that I can never get out of my head.
Emotional stability is critical. People will play you and they will be shameless and they will do it all again. You cannot seek validation or your worth from their actions and words. You cannot rely on them. It would be nice to but you can't. Even if you lose everything else, don't lose your emotional stability and the belief in yourself.
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i am a hoarder of memories.
i keep the ghosts of how people used to be
and let them wander down the halls for me to see.
dust collects the little notes you wrote,
traces of laughter rang the empty corridors.
what else have you given me?
i keep them all safe,
next to the pictures
pressed with dead flowers.
i’ll leave the side of your bed messy,
untouched as if you’re still with me.
i can never let go, so i hold on,
even if it leaves me empty and hollow.
there's a whole museum of ancient archives,
reminder of what i missed in all these lives.
Hoarder of Memories, Keeper of Ghosts // @a-quietsoul
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A hesitant "I love you" is buried in my lips between the fear that you won't love me back and the hope that you will.
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It's a scary thought how someone can live perfectly well for months without once speaking to you when they said 'I love you' to you for years. No goodbye. No reason. No explanation. One day they just decide 'yeah no. This person doesn't exist anymore' and then literally pretend like you don't exist. Like a damn sociopath. What other justification could there be? Especially when you're the kind of person who'd spend hours thinking how you can make it better if someone let's you know you're making them feel something negative like uncomfortable or hurt or angry. Because you're someone who takes other people's feelings sincerely, and because they already know that, surely they didn't have many feelings for or about you to begin with. How do people deceive and manipulate someone for so long and so damn well? And what do they really get out of it? What did you get out of it?
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tell me you crave me. kiss me like the sea. suck the breath out of my lungs. sink your teeth into me. pull the flesh from my bones. bury me in a garden just outside your window. don't let anyone else find me. before you, doors often led me to nowhere - now every room is filled with you.. and now that you’ve let me in, I’m going to love you from the inside out. you scatter my heartbeats. these are not just butterflies anymore, they’re entire galaxies swirling in my chest, and though I’ve forgiven winter for breaking and entering, I don’t believe in love without you. in your eyes , I’m whole. In your arms, I’m unbreakable. In your heart, I’m home.
are you going to read these words and miss me when I’m gone?
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I rue my past,
for it is filled with hues of you.
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love me from where you are, no matter the time or place. i’ll love you from where i am; i’ll think of you and wish i could love you face to face.
Face to Face. // aumirah
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"After you are gone, joy lingers in the air much like a rainbow lits the sky after the rain."
Image source: Pinterest
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The smell of rain,
the blooming of June flowers–
never have I been aware of this,
to enter the shadow of your laughter,
to collapse in those eyes,
but what I have enjoyed the most,
is the silence of the night– thick silence,
just you and I,
exceeding in the quiet solitude,
Chuck Akot, from Waterline and Other Poems, Fiori di giugno
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I admit to being capable of an astounding level of selfishness, caprice, and cruelty. Many storms I weathered were those that I summoned. But even on my worst days, did I deserve the pain you inflicted or the nightmares you inspired?
tara love / what did i do to deserve this
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With each new day, I seek to find love in the little pieces of life. I fall in love with my morning coffee, as I sip it slow and quiet. I search for a speck of hope in the passing pedestrians, as I walk through the known streets. I search for a smile, in the glowing eyes of my friends and acquaintances. I'm in love with the leisure noons, as I cuddle with my book and pup. With the descend of dark, I let myself disappear into it's aura, becoming one. I search for love in all the little pieces of life, maybe one day I'll learn to love it whole........
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Sometimes I miss you so much it is a knot in my throat, an endless emptiness in my chest, a tear in my eyes that threatens to fall.
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What 2020 has taught me
1. Those things that seem like content for sci fi or pure fiction are actually things that can happen. To the entire world. Like a pandemic. And to you. Like a seizure.
2. Everyone is sad. Everyone is struggling. In different ways and in different measures. Makes no one special. But you still get to feel sad for yourself and be compassionate towards others. But it's also okay to draw boundaries because you're everyone too. Remember, not special? You're sad and trying to deal with it too.
3. Every job you have will not add value to your life. It will not teach you new things or give you people you'll want to stay in touch with. Sometimes some jobs will only be a season of your life. Even if the season lasts for over a year. It's okay.
4. You know how you thought picking a college and picking a major and picking your first job and picking a specific industry were all the career decisions you had to make? Yeah, no. It's never a one time thing. You could have a job as a marketing strategist for two years and then want nothing to do with it. And then you'll have to make another decision and work towards it. So I'd like to call it moves. It's like chess. You always have to make a move. And it always has to be strategic, yes. But the truth is in your 20s it probably won't. Even if you try. And as long as you're trying, you'll be fine.
5. You may have different sorts of friends like the one you only talk to about kdrama with or the one you met when you went book shopping alone and the friendship is all about books really. That's normal. But irrespective of why and how you became friends with them, if you consider them a friend then there has to be this basic sense of care, respect and empathy for each other. I don't care what people want to say. If you're faced with the worst trauma of your life, the least your friends can do is check up on you regularly. On text. And if they don't even do that then guess what? They aren't friends. They are acquaintances. Social media and quick promises make everyone seem like your friend. But they are not. They are just nice people who will be nice to you for specific periods and then wander away like you are a speck of dust floating in their journey.
6. You speak a lot and write and you express yourself and you’re emotionally mature but oh my god. You still hold in so much. You’ve known that at a subconscious level and over the last year people - experts - have told you that. You have also realized that you make your pain and sadness about pettier things because dealing with them, admitting about them, sharing that with your friends, is easier. You do that so that you don’t have to deal with the real stuff. Because it’s so damn painful. And you don’t know how to do it. Yet. Acknowledging is the first step anyway right? I know you’re confused about how exactly to let go of all this pain and sadness and feel lighter, and you know that talking to people really isn’t the solution, but I also know you’re smart enough to figure it out.
7. Talking about being smart...you know you’re different than others. Better. Special. Smarter. None of these are the right words. And you never voiced this out until this year because you knew it would make you come across as narcissistic. Some would say it’s because you’re an INFJ. But my mother once said that this may be the first time we are consciously living life but our souls are old and so our instinct and the things we know but can’t explain are because this isn’t the first time for our souls. The connections we feel with certain people, the reason we are so different from our siblings who grew up in the exact same environment with the exact same opportunities, our sense of right and wrong...it’s all because our souls learn and grow with each time and that’s why we are who we are. I think that’s probably how I can explain what I have always felt. That I am living in a different universe than everybody but I have to pretend to be in this one and dumb my emotions and thoughts down. Maybe that’s because my soul has lived through thousands of years while most around me are living their 100th life. Or maybe I’m just narcissistic, who knows?
8. You shift between talking in first person and second person but that’s because that’s how you think in your head and talk to yourself and live your life. You ask yourself things and you accuse yourself of things and you apologize to yourself and you comfort yourself. I think that seeps into your writing and the changing of the voices.
9. You always genuinely thought that you’d not be afraid of dying. And then what happened this October proved you shockingly wrong. I know it’s not so much being afraid of dying but the unbearable pain of knowing what that would mean to your family. So you have to be more prudent and less reckless with your life and the choices you make.
10. Regret is not something that plagued you but this year the realisation and pain of giving away your favourite books from your own personal collection to people you care about as a show of affection and them turning out to be ass holes or losers has hit you so hard. So, yes. No more of that shit. I really fucking want my copy of The Perks Of Being A Wallflower back. UGH. With the childhood picture of me inside it!
11. Sleeping at 5 am in the morning stops being fun or romanticised when you realise just how much harm it does to your body and mind. Literally every single disease and disorder can be traced back to a shitty fucking sleep schedule. It’s not just the hours you sleep but also the quality of sleep and the time you sleep at. So yes sleeping for 8 hours is healthy but not if that 8 hours is from 5 am to 12 pm. ‘Not a morning person’ is just another construct of capitalism and you don’t realise how many industries profit from having you believe that and staying up late or all night. Entertainment. Food. Alcohol. Pharma. Biologically and naturally you are a bloody morning person. And you don’t need 3 cups of coffee to begin your day or your phone notifications to get you to open your eyes and brain to wake up.
12. Sometimes you really have to stop taking people so seriously. I know the idea of treating people as casual friends or entertainment makes you want to fight that concept but you know what? Some people like Pineapple are ever only going to be good for that. No matter how much they ‘grow and change’. So keep them in the background for whenever you want some entertainment or drama. But please don’t clear up your busy schedule to meet them or send them gifts on their birthday.
13. If you don’t have the fruit juice or green juice within half an hour of making it then you are losing out on its most optimum health benefits. Or when you remove the white stringy stuff from oranges. That’s where all the actual nutrients are.
14. I am privileged and so are most of the people I interact with. The global pandemic has been hell for a lot of people around the world. Health wise. Financially. Losing people they care about. But I was blessed enough to be safe at home and have a job that I could smoothly do from home and not have a pay cut or 4-hour long Zoom meetings. So honestly when my friends tell me 2020 has been bad I have to stop and ask them why? Yes, the crippling uncertainty and anxiety is not something that can be undermined. But most people I know had very great positive life-changing milestones this year like moving away to another country for college or taking their first solo trip or getting married. So I have to ask them. Because I am not going to agree that everybody’s 2020 and pandemic narrative is the same.
15. Money gets spent really quickly. When I left my job earlier this year because of personal issues, I thought I had enough savings to last me a year. Full disclosure - I mean to last my personal expenses because I live with my parents. But it didn’t even last me 3 months. And so to use money wisely and buy things that provide utility than instant gratification is something to follow. Also buying one pair of really expensive but quality shoes is better than buying 5 pairs of affordable but low quality shoes that will have a very short life and force you to buy more. I know that higher price doesn’t always mean better quality but sometimes it does. And as an adult now I want to do the whole quality > quantity thing even with things and not just people.
16. Everyone in their 20s went through a crisis of what they should do with their lives and their careers and it’s not unique to the 21st century and the challenges of today. Whether it was Vincent Van Gogh in the 19th century or Sylvia Plath in the 20th, every single person, as brilliant as them went through the torture of making these decisions and living with their consequences. You may think I picked wrong examples for they both killed themselves but you know what? They were the people who really want to live more than anyone. They knew what life meant. And maybe if mental health help was more accessible back then their lives would be longer and more peaceful.
17. Telling people everything is overrated. You don’t have to talk about every single thing that’s on your mind or that’s going on in your life. The good and the bad and the mediocre. You have to be mindful about how much of yourself you’re giving away.
18. Re-watch Suits when people at work feel intimidating because the confidence + negotiation tactics that they show can actually work irl cos at the end of the day no matter in what position you’re dealing with people who have emotions and fears and insecurities and desires. You understand how to leverage that nobody can get the better of you.
19. You belong to yourself. No matter how much you love someone or how much they have done for you or how much you owe them - you belong to yourself. You can’t live your life for someone else. Everyone belongs to themselves first. No relationship, no promise, no circumstance should make you feel like you have to give up your life and make it all about them. If and when the time comes to die for them, go ahead. Take a bullet. Donate that kidney. Write them in your will. But live your life for yourself. And let them live theirs.
20. Twenty three was a challenging year. When it started you claimed the age 23 sounds boring and insignificant. Guess it proved you wrong. It hurt so much now. But that only means you’ll look back on it later and see how it added so much wisdom and resilience to your being. It doesn’t mean that it makes all the bad things that happened to you okay. Or that you should be grateful to them. Fuck no. It means that you should be kinder to yourself because at the end of the day, your mind and body find it in themselves to deal with whatever is thrown their way. They have your back. It’s time you learn to sit straight.
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People tend to piece the most extreme bits of you together in ways that make sense to them. Maybe you don't know yourself very well and maybe you believe that it truly is you. It really isn't. It's a character that colours rumours and thickens the plot of a story that curious people will pore over years later perhaps, but it isn't the you that loves the strange little things you don't tell others about. It isn't the you that your lover sees, or that your friends laugh with, or the you that feeds your cat. It isn't the you in all your curious and tangled up pieces of fascinating personality. It's you in 2D, so don't take it to heart.
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A night of full moon illustrated tranquility,
with the sea, there was a certain serendipity,
perhaps a mediocre calm before the storm,
or an apparently chaotic mind left forlorn,
and yet the seemingly quiet waves were hissing,
that there was indeed something missing,
but amid the uncertainties lying within our way,
the moon was still beautiful, wouldn't you say?
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Perhaps you weren't my other half, and I was indeed half empty because when you walked away, nothing felt missing, yet nothing felt whole.
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Sometimes I have no words to tell you how much I miss you. Sometimes I only have tears.
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The sugar cane crops
are ready for harvest,
when the old diesel
locomotive rumbles by
& sulphur-crested cockatoos
disturbed from their feast,
wing their way
across the autumn sky.
Down the track from
Freshwater Station—they linger
guarding hidden treasure
while consuming their fill.
A dreamlike journey
captures dappled scenes
from a moving train;
of sylphlike clouds crowning
at the base of shimmering,
sun-spotted, blue velvet hills.
RhymingTherapy—June 2021 (my photos taken of sugar cane fields from a carriage of the Kuranda Scenic Railway in May 2021)
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