Reflect

 

I no longer recognize the person in my own photos. Am I to believe that a certain assortment of pixels on a screen is an exhibit of my face? I can’t spot the blackened lips, freckled nose and the derisive contempt in the left eye – are you sure that’s me? No, stop pointing a camera in my face, I can’t trust those things any more. Or mirrors, for that matter.

Describe me, will you? I want to know how I reflect in your mind’s eye. Am I only partially visible in your spectrum of light? Do you notice if I turn slightly blue, like a gloomy afternoon in the middle of winter? Do you see me dissolve into a conversation and disappear from within the crowd? Do I turn red when you make me blush? Do you ever open your eyes while kissing me and get the feeling that I’m not there? Are my tears transparent? Am I laughing when the corners of my lips turn up and my eyes wrinkle in mirth?

Dilate your pupils and look at me. Look, and then tell me something that is not merely a reflection on the wall or a puckered face on a screen.

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Brevity and the beast

It was too late by the time they diagnosed me. I never saw it coming; I did not even notice the symptoms.

I guess I first began losing my words a couple of years ago. The big ones were the first to go. Sometimes they disappeared from the tip of my tongue, never to return again. It seemed to be happening to everyone around me, but of course no one realized it. That is, until a famous writer was trolled for using the brief but eloquent word ‘BRB’ in the middle of a live chat. Investigations were carried out, revealing that this was indeed a serious problem that was spreading through the masses like a raging wildfire.

Word Loss Disorder. That was the official name given to this widespread phenomenon. It is now simply called the WLD, since patients at a more advanced stage of the disorder were unable to remember all three words in a continuous string.

The doctors told me I am currently at stage two, and fast progressing to stage three. I hear that people at stage four only communicate through emoticons, gifs, memes and the occasional ‘LOL’. They also post pictures that speak a thousand words each.

Rumoured to have begun with a virus inserted into a popular social media network, WLD sparked off a series of controversies and protest marches. While the writer / journalist / lawyer type people were severely agitated and demanded a cure, teenagers began marching in streets with slogans that declared ‘Brevity is the new slang’ or ‘We don’t need big words, we ain’t a bunch of nerds.’ Apparently, the power to rhyme was untouched by the disorder.

Eventually, WLD claimed almost everyone as its wordless victims. The internet is now bursting with a new language that contains abbreviations which are easier to retain than the shades and nuances of the beastly English language. I still have occasional urges to write a full-length article instead of a tweet, or an entire paragraph instead of a quote for Instagram. But they told me this was only natural, and even established writers all over the globe have already started to adapt to short forms.

I am now trying to memorize the new slang before I lose all my words, lest I end up flailing my arms and making mute sounds while trying to communicate with another human. I can almost picture my English professor weeping in his grave at the victory of… ah, I had the word right here – it begins with a ‘col’, and I’m pretty sure there’s a ‘q’ in there – colloquialism, yes that’s it – at the victory of colloquialism.

A rant about rants and other things

Here’s the funny thing about rants. No one wants to hear them, much less read them on blogs. Rants rarely make sense. They exist purely for our own satisfaction. We rant because we would much rather direct our wrath and scorn at some poor unsuspecting bloke than the ones who caused it. The good thing is, the title of this post makes it clear that this is a rant, so feel free to ignore it. I won’t be mad, I promise.

I have a dash in my bank balance, followed by a three-digit number. That dash represents negative balance. I’ll do the drum roll myself, thanks. The last three months of unemployment have thickened my skin, shriveled my balls (figuratively speaking) and sharpened my pride. But I’m not running for the hills, not yet.

I wrote a short fiction piece and sent it to a few magazines for publication. I am looking forward to being rejected, not because I am a pessimist, but because I know it is not great writing, and I know I can do better.

There are days when self-doubt creeps in and I forget what I am doing this for, I wonder if there is even a purpose. I am tempted to succumb and take up a measly job doing something I hate just so I can enjoy a fat pay check that allows me to eat fancy food, drink alcohol every weekend and travel as an excuse to find myself. However, on most days, this experience exhilarates me because every moment has only made me stronger. I thought I had wasted the whole year sinking into some private hellhole of depression, but I have learnt to love fierce and dream bigger.

The point of this particular rant, ladies and gentleman, is this – I don’t think I’ve hit rock bottom yet. I am not done sinking, but I think I’ll survive. And here’s a comforting thought to leave you with – after rock bottom, the only way out is up.

Queens of Instagram

Instagram is depressing me.

I overheard a couple at a café the other day. The girl wanted to travel the world and take pictures everywhere. So the man painted her a beautiful picture of all the trips they would take together. In the end, he promised, “Baby, I will make you the queen of Instagram if that’s what you want.” Now, isn’t that just lovely?

Instagram is now the countryside home with a white picket fence, the Everest for the aesthetics and an unsolicited portfolio of kids and booty.

I get it, people. You want to strut your stuff and share tidbits of your fascinating lives with the world. Just… don’t share every minute of it. Save some of the most important moments for you and you alone.

I was moved to tears today, listening to Maxim Vengerov performing Sibelius. I was lost in the music and I shut the world out. Such moments come rarely to me and they mean a lot, because they remind me that I can feel. This is the link if anyone wants to check it out.

Stupor

In a daze I stumbled back to my dorm, stoned on some of the best hash the country had to offer. I crept inside my blanket and began tripping to the breathing of seven men into the silence of the wind. I had surrendered to the daydream delusions and fantasies of my drug-addled brain, when I heard a sob from the bunk above mine. One, then another, until great heaving wails rocked the entire bed, yet the others continued breathing and snoring, as if I was the only one alive or sane enough to hear the sound of grief. Listening to the drunk little boy shaking with tears, I froze within my stupor, unwilling and unable to reach out. I pretended to be asleep, and he continued sobbing into muffled pillows. These are tears of self pity, I thought with disdain. These are not tears where you feel sorry for a three-legged dog or a poor beggar kid; these aren’t tears of losing someone dear or missing someone who is far, far away. These tears were because he felt sorry for himself, sorry for the way he is, sorry for those that were no more in his life, and because he never knew the love of a mother. I knew, and I understood, but I was hardened and he was weak; I despised his tears, I hated a man who could cry unabashed for the man he could not become.

Obscure

I’m surrounded by people, but I am alone. As always, alone. I wish the smoke from my cigarette could obfuscate some of the thoughts floating around in my head, the ones that are too clear, too sharp for this particular moment. They worry about me. They think I am turning dark. They think I am letting myself go. Well, go where? I am right here, letting empty days stretch out lazily before me like a long winding road – their favorite metaphor for life. I may not laugh as much as I did, there are definite dark circles under my eyes, and I may be writing about death and sex and the darkness that shall fall when that last cigarette falls from your limp hand. I may be tempted by Death as a mysterious seducer, the she-Devil, a Scheherazade of the netherworld. But no, I am not ‘turning’ dark; maybe it was you who chose to only see the light. And no, I am not suicidal, I have always been strong enough to ride the wave. Let me reconcile with my darkness; I cannot shove such bile back down my throat like you did, only to have it erupt when you least expect it.

Unapologetic

It rarely happens that one has sex and death on their mind at the same time. As I lay abusing myself until darkness fell, I thought about committing suicide. I wondered why people mourn the deaths of those who had willingly tipped themselves over the edge and six feet under. I composed my note as my fingers slipped once again inside my panties, working of their own accord. “Don’t mourn me”, my note would say. “I lived well enough – I ate, I breathed, I fucked to my heart’s content. I loved somewhat, I was loved rather more. Don’t let me drain your strength and zest for life.” I would try not to sound condescending; I wanted to praise everyone for surviving me but also to let them know that I wanted this. But I always stopped myself before I began thinking of ways to die. As fascinatingly morbid as death is, one finds reasons to keep on living… I think I have more shudders left in me, as my fingers fall limp and my eyes close in sudden ecstasy.