Anti-climatic, cacophonous, inconclusive. Life is just bad fiction.
I once had a dance trainer who was kind to me on some days and cruel to me on other days. I’d known him since I was fourteen years old, and we grew apart half a decade later. My memories of those turbulent years are hazy, muddled with gaps in the chronology, perhaps due to my wish to forget.
For the most part, L– was a kind and talented choreographer from South Korea, and while his Thai and English skills left most of his students struggling to communicate with him, I was one of the kids with whom he had no difficulty communicating. Perhaps it was due to the fact that I had never been very great at understanding spoken words anyway. Perhaps I had grown up used to reading the body language of others because I understood early that people don’t usually mean what they say.
Our teacher-student relationship continued for five years. After he left L— D— Studio, I continued to take private lessons from him, sometimes at a rundown studio in T— T—, other times at a more expensive venue. But I’d always remember that cramped, rundown studio and, eventually, the new dance trainer, J–, who came to replace L–.
This year has so far been a blur of out-of-reach ambition, sucky time management and an onslaught of illnesses. I am racing against time to make a name for myself before I graduate — an extremely understated summary of the laundry list of requirements needed to be considered for a Tier 1 Visa. My goal is to be able to stay in the UK without having to forever juggle between academia and career — without having to be treated as a subnormality whose credibility must be accounted for by a Nine-to-Five tyranny. Gods know what morally depraved ‘unforgiveables’ a female mammal from a high risk country might get up to if she’s left to her own devices.
Getting a Tier 1 Visa right now seems like an impossibility. I am required to win awards like BAFTAs or the Man Booker Prize etc. And that’s on top of having to be famous and critically acclaimed in at least two countries. RIP. Continue reading…
Recently I have realised that I do not write much about myself — myself as a physical, living being who is a part of this world. Instead, I talk about the abstract and the vague, ever-changing nature of a ‘self’. I dwell inside my own head to work out what it is that makes me who I am. While I do think about the physicality of life — the bodily pain and traumatically pivotal encounters from my childhood — they are only memories translated to me through hazy illusions of realism and distorted impressions of emotions and images. Sometimes these memories move, but only as glitches of corrupted film reels. More often, my memories are stagnant sun-faded polaroids.
I am seven years old and unsightly: overflowing cheeks and burnt skin from being made to swim everyday. Dad wants me to be a boy. He makes me dress like one, act like one, eat like one and live like one. I am stout and silent from abuse, obedient yet frustrated. I participate in outdoor activities I do not care about.
This is the world I live in.
Dresses and cute things are not for me. They are wrong and I will get scolded for liking them.
“You are ugly,” Mother tells me. “You will never amount to anything.”
I want to go out and play. My mother hits me for wanting this.
She calls me a brat, a perverted girl who will one day grow up to be a whore. She kicks me in the ribs and stomps on my back when I tell her I cannot find my Nintendo.
My dad hits me on my thigh. He just got home from work. He enters the bathroom where I am and hit me after I said something that made him angry. Hot tears fall down my cheeks, and I feel pathetic and dirty. I sit on the toilet half naked.
It is morning and the house maid is braiding my hair. I am clean and content and fat. I am eating a packet of Oreos. Some of the crumbs get on my shirt. I try to wipe them off but my fingers are dirty.
The black crumbs get smudged on the cotton.
My mother catches me. She stalks towards me and screams, “You fucking pig. You filthy dirty brat. What are you doing?”
I meet her eyes. My mother snatches the packet of Oreos out of my hand and slaps me hard across the face. She hits me again on my arm, and again on my thigh. She drags me out of the chair and throws me onto the floor. She brings out a long wooden ruler and sits down on the sofa in front of me.
“Get up, you wretch,” she says and prods me with the ruler.
I get up.
“Strip,” she says.
I cry and take off my clothes. I am standing in front of the house. The door is open and the neighbours are watching.
“Why did you wipe the crumbs on your shirt?” she says.
“It was dirty so I tried to clean it,” I say.
“You brat! Of course it’s dirty. You wiped your filthy hands on it! I am not giving you clothes again. I will make you stay naked, you fat fuck.”
I sob. I am fat and ugly and naked. I want to die.
“I was wiping my shirt because it was dirty,” I cry.
My mother smacks the ruler on the tiles, and I jump at the sound. My skin crawls.
“Why did you wipe it on your shirt?” she says.
I fumble for words and choke. My mother isn’t listening. No matter how many times I try to explain, she doesn’t want to hear the truth. I cry harder and louder because I cannot reason with someone whose only goal is to humiliate her own daughter. I am ugly and hated. I am standing in front of the house naked, and my mother makes sure I know that I am disgusting.
Most of the time I feel like there is something inherently wrong with me. I give in to self-doubt and anxiety and the nausea of the very thought of life. It is not that life is specially hard, it’s just the idea of it, the tasks expected from you and the way you are supposed to behave and the very notion of existing. Existence pains me. I am not even depressed anymore, at least not clinically. I do not wish to ever return to that state after having endured it for half a decade. It’s just that I am always completely lost. I have forgotten how to live like a competent human being, or at least society’s notion of competency. I keep looking for ways to modify my own head to fly by each day unscathed and productive. I do a lot of thinking about things, of never knowing when the chaos will end or if I would ever be able to grasp the notion of life on earth at all. I do not feel human. I am afraid of myself. I am afraid of my own thoughts.
Knowledge is such a dangerous thing. The more I seem to know about the world, the more I try to understand its people, the more dangerous I become.
Hello, my name is Boo, and I plan to save humanity from itself.
During the twenty years of my life, I suffered from four different mental illnesses, was handed from doctors to doctors. My life was littered with hospitals, stalkers, physical assaults, more hospitals, media play, and a couple of suicide attempts.
I used to dance and sing, having been misled to believe that to succeed in life, I’d have to beat my way into the limelight. “You’re a fast learner but you are lagging behind!” they said. “Pathetic. Focus.” That was what life was like for years. And school was (“You psycho!”) just as great…
Reality’s more tragic a story than any greek mythology, and I wish I had known that, that somebody had told me something, but instead what did I get?Disney cartoons and fairy tales with princes in shining armours.
The subject I avoid to speak of is ‘love’. I always label it as an anchor that sinks a ship. It is difficult to speak of, for I am filled with dubiousness and uncertainties. I detested the idea of heartaches, hopelessness, attachments and all of love’s aftermath.
Evidently, I am full of uncertainties—anything is possible. Love is not just a commitment, love is a contract. Love: conditions that are like vines that bind you and your soul to a certain… very human being. Therefore, it is never eternal. How would you know that when a heart meets another heart—the moment the connection is made—it isn’t a star-crossed path? What if in that nanosecond, that connection is only a cosmic malfunction of two lives that are meant to be forever parallel?
Then the universe straightens out nicely again, and your heart is the only thing that is holding on.
It’s like squinting for happiness where there is none. The only solution is to know that it is not the place for happiness, that it is elsewhere, but love makes you hold onto that person anyway because of emotional attachments.
The key, I suppose, is to try to understand. All in all, do not dwell too deep, for you may not ever make it out.
Try to piece the puzzle of your heart together, meander once in a while, but always find a way back.
(you think, “how am i worth anything when even my mother says i am nothing?”) i could tell you to never listen, to not take it to heart, but that’d be the pot calling the kettle black. truth is, you won’t get anywhere in life if you listen. mothers have that effect on you; you can’t ever get used to the punctures she leaves behind when she carves toxic into the back of your skull every time you fall, every hiss of breath. and facts like these are impossible to forget. it’s a defect on your skin that makes your existence anything but easier. and if you do not understand any of this then i am immensely happy for your wellbeing. the simplest way i can lay it out for you is: nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors.
“As Venus within Eros does not really aim at pleasure, so Eros does not aim at happiness. We may think he does, but when he is brought to the test it proves otherwise… For it is the very mark of Eros that when he is in us we had rather share unhappiness with the Beloved than be happy on any other terms.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
Not sure what to think of this, really. How do you feel? Because I feel fine. I’d rather write about things I know well, anyway. If I am not well-rounded on the idea of Happiness then why should I discuss it? I’d rather not make a fool out of myself, like the rest of the population, talking about things I have no knowledge of. It isn’t that I dislike discussing Happiness but what is that? Besides, I have thought about it, conceptually, and it had not struck me as essential—but of course, that does wholly depends on a person’s idea of purpose. Because, if one upholds a Purposeless Mantra, with the only motivation to return to an inorganic state, then—shrugs.
I’m going to give and give and give until the day I cease to exist. That will be my only obligation. To become a tree, even though at the moment, I am nothing but water and river and everything just slips through. Nobody can hold me, nobody can save me—and I’m fine with that. It isn’t about me anyway, and no matter what everybody says, I will continue to make sure it can never be about me. I’m going to save the entire world, shed a comforting light until the day I diminish. I may not be able to save everyone, because the world is on its way down, but at least I’ll be one of the first ones to try—for its own sake, not for mine.