Serendipity

Was I born a masochist or did society make me this way? I demand unconditional love and complete freedom. That is why I am terrible.

248

That warm feeling in your soul when you’re just beginning to fall in love with someone.

The impatience for you to wake up in the mornings because I’ve missed you after all that sleep. Trivial things like remembering my drink order, watching me struggle to decide between two options and ordering the forfeited one for yourself so I can have both. Reaching your hand behind to grab mine when we cross the road. Kissing me at the intersection while we wait for the lights. Winking at me in the elevator when strangers intrude. Taking me in your arms possessively and declaring: ‘mine‘. I am still in awe at how good it feels to be ‘yours‘.

Digging through the past for stories not skeletons because I’m curious at how you became yourself. Putting up with my childish antics and finding them endearing rather than irritating, promising to let me take advantage of this honeymoon phase for as long as I can. Accidentally calling me ‘darling’ and rushing to defend your mistake, insisting it was meant sarcastically. I let you pretend.

Falling in love to the same song with a different person, because there is cruelty in romance. So this is what it feels like to fall level headed, no butterflies in my stomach but only a calculated passion, reinforcing the suspicion that this is where I belong, what I’ve always wanted. The freedom to let go and fall, trusting you to catch me every time. We’ve made our share of mistakes, the tragedy of meeting the right person at the wrong time. We’ve tasted betrayal before, but it hasn’t left us bitter. I’ve heard of love like this before, lets make it better.

247

There’s a reason I haven’t apologised. There’s a reason I feel entitled, even angry, still. When I loved I left no doors unopened, I was ready, ready, ready for you to come in, to make me a home. The epitome of love is not selfish romance, it’s not two people kissing under the rain in a rose garden. It’s family, it’s beginnings and promises of a lifetime to come, I wanted the sort of love that would ache.

We did not meet so young, we did not have perfect excuses for our failures to be more than what we chose to be. You had no excuses left, I was running out for you. Every day was another day that you refused to change, which in a way was choosing to not be with me. Every day you took another step away from me and I’d run to keep up, I loved your shadows.

I have learned to keep my tongue in cheek, to win less, because small victories are not worth celebrating, especially alone. But I did not know how to let you go. I had forced myself to erase the concept of a life without you. Now I am trying to re-imagine this new life, but it is not as beautiful as my first design. I drew you perfect.

There must be fifty ways to leave your lover, but I know only one. Break your own heart, shatter it to pieces, make them watch. Tell them you still love them, and it’s slowly killing you. Tell them you won’t ever love like that again, no more, no more. I dream of happier endings but I don’t tell you anymore. No more, no more. My heart’s been broken but it doesn’t hurt anymore. No more, no more.

246

There is darkness in all of us, mine is simply louder.

I’ve never been good at taking life or people in small doses. I prefer a more lethal injection, to live recklessly, to love wildly, to be so close to someone that you breathe them in, you forget who you are, you let the good fill you up and the bad consume you whole, every heart break is an evolution, a transfiguration.

I’ve come apart again, crumbling in his hands, falling for pretty words and prettier lies, gentle kisses and dangerous eyes. I watch my own insanity merge into his skin, our infatuations mistaken for passion, every scar and every bite intended to mark his territory, I get lost in a simple word: mine.

I dream of holding your hand. Something about a subtle wave, a small gesture as we navigate through the crowds feels far more intimate than kissing or fucking. I dream of being owned, body and soul, in toxic quantities, I want to forget, I want to let go. I want to be taken, used, beaten, subdued, ravished. I want to feel safe when I come undone. The gentlest touch comes when you’re half asleep but still remember to pull me closer, I feel my head pressed against your chest and your heart beat steadily sends me to slumber. The night is young and full of wonder.

245

Love is…
Socially acceptable insanity
Unsustainable
Unattainable
Little white lies
Broken promises
Drinking alone at 3 am
18 missed calls on a Saturday night
4 deleted voice messages
Waking up to empty vodka bottles

Love is…
A birthday cake with too many candles
Red roses
Box of chocolates
Her favourite perfume
Meaningful silence
A perfectly harmless lethal injection
A beautiful mistake
Breathing next to each other
Drinking tea in the morning

Love is…
A slap to the face
Bloody cheeks
Bruised shoulders and broken bones
A kick to the stomach
Promises to change
The right shade of foundation
A perfectly timed embrace
My missing chapter
Your broken heart

244

I have an overwhelming urge to unplug from this world. Delete everything, disappear for a bit and go on an adventure. Or disappear for a long time and stop caring whether anyone remembers me. It kills me that there is a type of freedom I could never taste.

I want to kiss you again. For my own selfish reasons. I want to know if it would still feel good, or will it be muddied by guilt and invite more regret. ‘No one will love you as much as I did’ can also mean ‘no one will hurt you as much as I did’. A narcissist won’t be able to tell the difference.

‘I don’t love you’ can be the best lie you ever tell yourself. The last time she kisses you is a kind of death practice, you will grow to appreciate her absence, solitude brings new perspective after all. Or you kill her for leaving and tell yourself that’s what makes it true. Love is worth protecting. You’ve always been a fighter.

‘I still love you’ is a lie we say because it sounds better. ‘I never loved you at all’ is what we say when it hurts the most. It’s almost always too late for an apology. By the time you need to apologise it’s already too late. These scars will never fade.

You never really lose control though, do you? You’ve always been the master of the room, playing the pieces like puppets, singing your song and watching them dance to your tune. You looked me in the eyes as you twisted the knife, you intended it to hurt. You meant every word. Winning is still everything to you. It kills me that she can’t see it. I refuse to play by your rules.

I break everything I touch. I see the monsters more clearly, I’ve met your kind before. The casual charm, the nonchalance, the steady denial, the cleverly embellished narrative, the lack of remorse, the reluctance to change, the arrogance, the pride. I want to break you in half. I want to throw the first punch. I want to taste your blood.

243

Why do we love the sunset? Do we admire the colours or do we cherish what it represents? Another day, you’ve survived another. There are days that are easy and there are days when you lose the fight. There are days you breathe peace and days that you’re lost to the storm.

I should have kept quiet. I should have seen the signs, known what was coming. I’ve seen love like this before, I’ve tasted the bloody roots, I’ve left a mark or two. He remembers every bit of nightmare I put him through. Our addictions were never as problematic as our affections for each other. In this twisted world you can be proud of specific substance abuse. You could mistake it for achievement, you needed to reach a certain level of success to have these sorts of problems. Only the poor are degenerate alcoholics. When the whiskey is top shelf you can hide behind the facade of good taste.

Whenever I lose a friend I find myself wondering how they would feel if I were to die in an accident the very next day. Would they regret not picking up the phone? What if they never have a chance to speak the truth? Suddenly I find myself filled with a perverse sense of satisfaction at the idea of denying them that opportunity. I fantasize about having the last word.

But I don’t really want the last word. I don’t like to let go of people. I still believe that there is meaning to be found in this world. So I find myself extending the olive branch, time and time again to those who may not deserve it. I let myself get hurt over and over again by those who have let me down before, on the off chance that this time it might be different. Because there is always the perfect possibility that it could be different. I let my crippling depression and my never ending optimism compete for control, and I am accustomed to losing the battle. I have my scars to prove it.

But I love you I love you I love you. I could never let you go. You break me but I can’t walk away. I am shattered and yet I am still. Be the sun, be the stars, be broken but unbent. Be the song, be the wind, be the rose and the thorn. I have loved you, I did my best.

242

I let people affect me too much. I’m terrible at being alone. I detest crowds but loneliness consumes me. I don’t pay attention during conversations but I reminisce the past. There can be such a thing as too much reflection. I am too comfortable with myself, I make others uncomfortable. I say I love you too much, I mean it too often.

I obsess about men the way Chinaski obsessed over women. I can fall in and out of love in the space of three minutes. I can fall in love with a smile, a raised eyebrow, a sly grin, the way he runs his fingers through his hair. It’s been lucky for me, in a way, how much society has liberated women. We’re still judged, viciously sometimes, but we are free to do. Free to suffer the consequences, but no longer burned at the stake. You can be anything as long as you’re willing to pay the price.

I have paid in name, in rumours, in lost friends. I have witnessed undisguised contempt and disdain, up close and personal. I have hurt myself for redemption, but I will never have it. I can laugh away jokes about rape, violence, the darker the better. But I cannot laugh away betrayal. The moment when you realise you were alone all along, they had taken you for a ride, and now it’s time to get off, you’ve reached your destination. You’ve lost all your value, not that there was much to begin with.

It’s a crude wake up call, when you think you’ve finally reached a point of self acceptance, to find one of those closest to you still looks down on you for the very essence of who you are. Everything you represent, what you love and why you love, it’s not good enough. You’re not good enough. You’ll never be good enough for them. But you know love, you have felt it. It runs through you like a river, you breathe it, you are the light. So may the bridges they burn light your way.

241

I need constant reminders that this is meaningless. It doesn’t matter how important you think you are, how real all of it is, there will come a day when we’re all gone and none of this will matter to anyone. It will be like we never existed at all. Billions of years will feel like a split second to the creator of this madness, if there even is a creator.

You could mean the world to someone and then in the blink of an eye mean nothing at all. I had watched her fade into a ghost of who she used to be, buried under his shadows. I let her convince me that she was happy and I believed her, I thought love came in different shapes and sizes. Some were always more volatile than others. I sat by idly as our values fell out of sync and I let her slip away. The nausea you feel when your entire world is crumbling but you can only watch it burn. I let the smoke swallow me.

Don’t you remember? He is not your king, your maker; he is fire, he burns. But you are the sun, you are the sun. Don’t you remember? How it was to be carefree, to not feel the weight of his world on your shoulders. He breathes lies. Now you are the one. You are the one. Don’t you remember? When we laughed under the stars, when our hearts beat as one. But life goes on. Life goes on.

Now I have loved you and failed you. I have found you and lost you. He followed your heart and there was no space for two. He will break you then save you. He will hurt you then mend you. He will crush you then raise you. He will love you and kill you.

240

I get lost inside people. I spend so much time trying to understand them, I forget who I am in the process. I’d do anything to get inside your head, to be someone else for a moment, to imagine how you’re feeling, if only because the narcissist in me wants to know how I make you feel. I want to know if being with me can change you, as being with you has changed me.

I need something more than time or effort or feeling. I need chemistry that can’t be manufactured by words or actions. Some inexplicable connection, something intangible that grabs you by the throat and makes your heart pound against your chest so fast that you forget how to breathe. The first kiss feels like a punch. I leave marks on his chest so his other lovers would know that I was here.

His palm strikes my cheek and I’m awake for the first time in weeks. I feel the weight of his body closing in on me, and I kiss him like I was afraid to say “I missed you.” I wear my bruises with twisted pride and he admires his handiwork with childlike glee. We are bad for each other, we know how to bring out the worst in each other. I can see cruelty in his eyes, no hint of remorse. I adore the cold, calculated sadist. I crave the satisfaction of making him lose control. I smile innocently at his rage, I become his worst addiction.

I understand obsession, I have a perverted desire for the absurd. He’ll never love me the way that I need to be loved, so I’ll never grow tired of chasing his approval. I’d rather be heartbroken than submit to a mediocre love affair. I’d rather be hurt than feel nothing at all. I kiss him like he’s my favourite mistake.

239

I feel always on the run. Always fleeing from the past, away from old horrors, ready to let cobwebs conceal the skeletons long ago buried. Running away from old lovers who terrify me to my core, knowing full well what they are capable of now. They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but they did not see the wildness in his eyes, the venom, the urge to wound. His desire to see me suffer far outweighed any affection he ever felt for me.

I want to be honest with you, but I know some stories are not meant to be told. I want to be truthful, but I know lies can sound better. I want to be close to you, but my affections can be exhausting. I crave intimacy but I have trouble maintaining eye contact when we’re speaking. I want to know your hopes and dreams but I’m afraid you’ll laugh at mine. I want to fall in love again but I don’t think I have any heart left over. These days I am more sick of pleasure than you are sick of pain.

I used to think that I was addicted to earthly pleasures, to tangled bodies and messy ecstasy, fleeting but gratifying. I glorified hedonistic living. I was always too afraid to admit that I desperately yearned for intimacy, for closeness, for the brief respite of being understood. Love was never simply unbridled lust or delicate fantasies, love was your kiss good morning, the feel of chapped lips on my skin, and indecent whispers that tickled my ears.

But maybe I have to lose myself in the darkness before I can recover the light. Maybe I have to taste death before I can appreciate every breath. Maybe this absence is supposed to teach us a lesson and no matter how harsh the truth may seem now, we can be forever changed for the better.

 

i used to think love was a tragedy in waiting

i had watched it drain the life out of people

leave them blue, bruises painted on their wrists,

their lovers held them so tight and never let go

i thought that was how the stories are told

i never knew love could fill you up

make your heart beat in sync and the joy of your laughter could

send me to sleep

and i could wake up in the morning missing you

after hours of not kissing you

i could yearn for the taste of your lips and

i never knew love could exist without hurting

until i met you

 

238

I am constantly torn between wanting to stay true to myself and wanting to fit into the category that would make those around me more comfortable. Frequently battling the urge to pursue my own happiness against the habit of pleasing everyone around me. I spent so many years of my life pretending to be someone else that becoming myself felt like I was being ripped apart somehow, as if I was losing the last bit of good that society had hammered into me.

I’ve never had anyone explain sex to me. Not the logistics of it nor the emotional ramifications. Everything came from messy uneducated research and a lot of trial and error. My introduction to porn was a disturbing video of a Japanese “schoolgirl” being groped in an empty classroom by an older unattractive man. I wasn’t sure what he was doing to her but she didn’t sound like she was enjoying any of it. It didn’t look “sexy” to me and I couldn’t understand why the boy who sent it to me would enjoy it. I filed it away as “something weird and icky and unpleasant and I don’t need to try that ever because she sounded like she was dying a slow painful death”. If sixteen year old me had a sneak preview of my internet history now she’d probably pass out from the shock.

Being from a conservative family and surrounded by judgemental peers during my university years meant I spent most of my sexually active years feeling ashamed of all my explicit desires. Nothing that I was doing felt good and nothing that I wanted to do felt right. I had a string of vanilla boyfriends who were either horrified or unenthusiastic, either obvious in their disgust or proclaimed they ‘did not want to hurt me’. The backlash was me diving head first into anyone who did share my sinful interests, the results were just as disappointing. Boys who would feign interest for a good fuck, boys who didn’t know what they were doing, or even better, sadists who simply wanted to beat me to tears and had zero interest in my pleasure.

On a very primal level I have always been obsessed with kink. I’ve always had such a fleeting attention span that vanilla sex would cause my mind to wander and I’d find myself lost in thought about something I’d read on the news that day. The pain and the discipline forced me to focus and remain present. The pleasure always followed.

But the lonelier parts of me have always craved for a deeper connection, believed in some naive fantasy that being naked could sometimes lead to real intimacy. The desire to relinquish control in a way that said: I trust you to hurt me just enough. To be broken and then made whole again. To be loved so fiercely that it left bruises. The transgression, the control, the chaos and the surrender triggered a reaction in me that was more addictive than any sort of drug. I was addicted to the illusion of being understood. To being laid out bare, scars and all, battered and defeated, but loved and kissed, over and over, till I was no longer hurting. Just for a few moments, it would all stop hurting.

237

There’s a part of me that believes depression isn’t real. It’s all in your head, he said, and I believed him. Those pills don’t really work, it’s all just a placebo effect, and the side effects outweigh the benefits. Depression is cowardly, it’s laziness, it’s an unwillingness to take action to remedy an unwanted situation. It’s selfish, self indulgent, childish procrastination, a reluctance to move into adulthood, to deal with the real world, a crippling tormenting fear of reality and responsibility.

There’s a part of me that knows depression is real. The part of me that equates depression with a time in my life when I was cutting so much that I ran out of skin. The part of me still covering up scars from 7 years past and dodging questions about the ghastly wound on my thigh. “Oh, I don’t really know… I was stupid back then.”

I never wanted to blame my bad behaviour on depression because depression was me. I was desperately unhappy but I smiled at everyone. I was lonely but I refused company. My grades were falling so I cut more classes. I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning and I became increasingly unpleasant to be around. It’s funny how something invisible can be felt with such gravity. It was like I could dampen the spirit of a room just by walking in.

I recall lying in the hospital bed, my leg bleeding, freshly stitched up, and my mother looking down at me with a confused mixture of anger and disappointment. She demanded to know “what the fuck do you have to be depressed about, I’m the one who should be depressed to have you for a daughter”, while the Doctor looked at me apologetically, having finally understood why I didn’t want to call my parents.

There’s a part of me that believes it was my fault, because depression is only debilitating if you let it be. Depression makes you feel like you made the choice. You chose to stop seeing your friends. You chose to not hand in that assignment. You chose to pick up the knife. You chose to let your boyfriend cheat on you. You pushed him away in the first place. What was he supposed to do, not sleep with the doe-eyed 21 year old who could actually hold a conversation?

Depression doesn’t just make you forget what happiness feels like, it makes you forget you are capable of happiness at all. It was never a low hum or simply background noise for me. It was deafening, it demanded all of my attention. It would start from the moment I woke up groggy and tired and continue until 3 am, as I lay in the dark, counting down the hours I had left to recuperate, growing ever more desperate as time ran out and I was still unable to trick my body into sleeping. Depression never let me rest, it wanted to be heard. It took precedent over my friends, my family, my dreams, my future. It became the only thing that held me together while I fell apart. It was the scapegoat for my mistakes. It was my enemy and my salvation. It was something I could fight, something that could be fought, and that made all the difference.

236

What happens when love runs out?

I will kiss your lips for the last time and confess that I was convinced you were an angel sent to save me, and even with my heart bruised and battered, I’m still grateful to have met you. Darling you saved me, you saved me, and just because the love ran out doesn’t change that.

What happens after that?

I would kiss you once more and tell you love is not so fickle and nor is it weak. Love starts from before we meet, love is written in the stars, love is out of our hands, and it burns and burns ever so brightly, we are merely the embers.

From flames to dust, from lovers to friends. 

I wish you so much more than happiness. You’ll find a dark haired girl with a dimple like mine but a prettier smile and baby blues that remind you of the ocean.She tickles you with her doll like lashes and you crush over the wild innocence in her eyes. She falls asleep in your arms feeling as safe as I once did. You kiss her good morning every morning and you mean it. You kiss her until you forget my name.

I’ll still love you. I just won’t tell you anymore.

235

When you love someone, what is it that you love about them? Is it the way they make your heart flutter? The way your body aches after they touch you the right way? The way their hands move on your skin, sinking into all the spots that make you shiver? The way their eyes catches the light and sparkles when they smile? The way they hold you to their chest and breathe you in, the beauty, the softness, the sadness, breath it in, breath it in.

When I love someone, I break my heart trying. I get lost in their infinite potential, I pave the way to their betrayal, I hand them the knife. I fall in love with the endless possibilities, with the kindness and sweetness it evokes from us both. I fall in love with all the wrong people. Because it’s the wrong kind of love that makes your heart race, that makes it skip a beat, that makes you feel the right kind of ache. It’s the wrong kind of love that makes you feel alive as you struggle to breathe, that bites at the hand which feeds it.

I have this very real fear of falling in love. Not the usual fear of the unknown, but the much more threatening fear of the familiar, of a phantom ache. I share an unwillingness to hurt people’s feelings, not due to compassion, but out of self preservation, a natural preference for avoiding responsibility.

For a year of my life I have felt like a visitor. Always packing, always leaving, always making sure never to overstay my welcome. I wondered if that’s how all women felt eventually, living in a house that you didn’t pay for, existing temporarily in someone else’s life, in a role that could be taken away if you weren’t paying attention.

For two years of my life I have fought for you, tooth and nail, clawing at the slightest implications that this was meant to last. Reaching for the stars only to find dust, falling for beautiful promises that only turned to empty words, making me emptier still. Yet I stand here waiting with my heart wide open again, refusing to turn my back on love, convinced that this connection means something so inexplicable that losing it could destroy us both. I hold you to my chest and breathe you in, my fighter,  my angel, my darling, let it be, let it be.

234

Nothing could have prepared our generation for becoming so acutely aware of the successes and failures of everyone around us. Never before have we been so transparent in our disguises. Our lives on display in our social media prisons, this nightmarish system that consumes your time and leaves you feeling empty. None of us are half as happy as our status updates would like to pretend.

Perhaps the most difficult part is coming to terms with just how ordinary we are as individuals. To be reminded daily that you won’t be remembered, that history has no space for you, that none of us as as special as our teachers and parents led us to believe. We were not born extraordinarily beautiful, or outlandishly intelligent. We do not possess the charisma to charm love out of strangers nor the talent that attracts the attention we so desperately crave. Yet deep down we all yearn for affection, for love, for all the good in life that we were promised as children. From the moment we know that such joys exist we are doomed to never be content, never be satisfied with the present. Nothing will ever be enough.

Yet there are moments when the lights are shut and the stars are bright, and we are young and beautiful and alive. I’m laying next to you, I can hear your heartbeat and I am grateful to be breathing. There were moments when we kissed that I felt almost immortal.

Now I feel as if I am deteriorating. As if I have lost an integral part of myself and there are no clues on how to reclaim that part of my soul. It is not as dramatic as it sounds. There is no spectacle to behold. My heart has not been ripped in two yet I can feel it bleeding still. Know that I have bled for you.

There is not a cell in my body that does not miss you, though the conscious mind does what it can to soothe the pain. You’ve driven me to madness so effortlessly, caused me to abandon all logic, forced me to reevaluate my preconceptions of this life that I was living. I had become so consumed by being with you that I have forgotten how to exist on my own. It is not loneliness from the outside world that wounds me, but rather the loneliness from within that threatens to take control. There is a fine line between romanticism and foolishness and I tether on the edge, swaying by your breath. I am lost without you.