Empty Canvass

 

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A sense of dread gradually creeps into my mind,

awakening the fear I have tried to bury deep down in my soul,

forcing me to face the challenge I am not prepared to witness,

urging me to take a leap of faith I am not sure of surviving,

Why does it feel like no matter what I do, it’s never enough?

Why does it feel like I am trapped within this world?

Why am I scared of failure?

Why have I lost the ability to joyfully smile and face life?

Why do I hide my real desires frightened of scorn and ridicule?

Why am I scared of what the world might think of me?

I am like an empty canvass

fearful of being ripped and tainted by the extreme galore of colors?

How will I be anything but an empty canvass if this fear fails to diminish from my life?

 

Single Woman Struggle

 

I often wonder what goes on peoples’ minds when they ask me “Why are you still single?” , “Have you never dated?”, “All women your age are either dating or married”, “When are you planning on settling down?”, “Don’t you know how to attract a man to your side?”. This is the most widely asked question in my life. Not only my family, friends but also acquaintances or any other people I come across. If I had to be paid a dollar for every time I have been asked that question, I believe I would be a billionaire by now.

At times I answer politely making them understand that a woman’s sole purpose in life is not to just get married and have kids. Not every woman is inclined to chop onions and potatoes in the kitchen. Or I simply respond “I am still waiting for my Mr. Right.” But at other times I simply lose my temper and say “I am happy just the way I am. I don’t need a man to run my life. I can take care of myself.”

It’s not that I don’t want to be in a relationship or love someone. It’s just that I have been through relationships so often that it has become a norm for me to get hurt or heart broken, to get bruised beyond repair and to feel suffocated with terror and despair. The amount of time that I dedicate towards the relationship is soon seen as tremendously worthless and could never be turned back. I have devoted hours to helping my partners succeed, providing comfort, shelter, companionship that I have lost myself completely. In giving priority to my so called better half I have often been taken for granted that I hardly gave priority to my needs and desires.

I have been driven to extreme lengths where I held on to beliefs that in reality never make sense. He shouts at me because he is frustrated and stressed out. He is so busy he doesn’t have a second to spare for me. He is trying to change me for my own good. He loves me so much that’s why he tries to teach me the right way to behave with people. He treats me as an equal that’s why he has no hesitation in asking me to pay the bill or ask for money to party. He wants to improve my standard of living that is why he wants me to adapt his way of living. All these remarks have been believed by me with the utmost faith only to realize he loved me not for what I am but for what he could get from me physically and socially. He wanted to change me not because he wanted me to experience a life different from the one I was used to but because I could bear the burden of shouldering his responsibilities as well as mine. He wanted me to remain grateful for all my life for making me see the wealthier side of life.

I have done everything possible under the sun to make relationships work. I have wasted hours watching the seconds tick by hoping to get a call or message from them. I have canceled my appointments to spend time with them only to have them cancel at the last moment. I have shed tears to hide my pain and depression at having to do things I never enjoyed in the first place. I have worked hard to lavish my income on things I was happy to have my beloved experience or possess.

I jumped from one relationship to the next fearful of missing out on having a relationship. I wanted to feel what it means to be a girlfriend or sweetheart so bad I agreed to date and hang out in a jiffy, with any guy that first approached me. I was so touched and blinded by emotions and social norms that I wanted to belong to a gang and party hard. I wanted to let the whole world know I had a boyfriend or lover so much that I hid all the suffering and cracks in my relationships with a perfect smile and fake happiness.

I lied that I was receiving affection and all the love I required from my partners. I purchased gifts for myself and lied that it was a gift from my man. I squandered money without a care just to keep the relationship flowing. I agreed to perform acts that I was not comfortable with just to hold on to someone. I knew I was being lied to or taken for a fool but I gave them the benefit of the doubt. Even after knowing the whole truth I still held fast to the belief that he would come back and that my love as strong enough to win him back.

Amidst all this drama I forgot about myself completely. It was like the real me never existed. It took time and a lot of heartaches later that it dawned on me I was scared of loneliness. I was so afraid of not belonging somewhere or dying alone that I accepted the creepiest bit of affection just to not sleep alone or to prove that I was capable of being loved. I was reluctant to let go because my sense of worth was related to things I had no control over or to persons other than myself. I wanted to achieve and possess things that only left me devoid of emotions since I didn’t want them in the first place. So many times I ignored my gut feeling that this was not working or that I should probably let go.

Now I know better. I am stronger and better able to understand myself. Before I love someone else I need to love and accept myself. Before I point out another person’s shortcomings, I need to accept my faults, mistakes, and flaws. I need to be enough for myself. I should do the things I want to do not because someone asked me to or wants me to do but I need to do it for myself. I need to be at peace with myself before I set out to seek tranquility somewhere else.

Before I look for another relationship or seek marriage, I need to accomplish my goals and dreams. I need to be emotionally, mentally and spiritually ready for this new change. I need to re-discover myself, my interests and desires.

I need to educate myself more and fulfill my goal of achieving my Masters. I need to travel and see the places I have always wanted to see. I have to be strong enough to be able to support another person. I need to learn a new language or make new friends. I need to be comfortable with myself and accept myself completely before I set out to accept someone else. I need to tread carefully so I can awaken my inner spirit and redesign a new me.

Until then I am a single woman on the road to self discovery.

I am not perfect and so many times I will fall back and cry to have a partner. I will feel sad when I see my friends happily married or with kids. I will regard this as rubbish but I will always hold true to the fact that I need to love myself before I love someone else. I will always come back to this point until I am sure of myself and my goals. And if it never happens I will have my family and true friends for companionship. I will adopt a child and dedicate my life to that child. I do not need to be married or in a relationship to survive. I just need true love and it doesn’t necessarily have to relate to a man.

I am a single woman and proud to be one.

 

Under a Blanket of Shiny Stars

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What does a human being need to survive in this world? Food? Clothes? Shelter?  Others would say we need love, care, affection, friendship or family. Everyone will have their own opinion but the consensus still remains that the basic needs every person needs to ensure survival is food, clothes, and shelter.

A large number of people receive these needs and take it for granted not realizing there are so many unfortunate individuals out there who have no access or means to get these things. On a larger scale, we have refugees, victims of war or political unrest, victims of natural hazards like floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes. On another scale, we have orphans, street children, beggars.

Every morning on my way to work I pass these few young men sleeping across the trench on the pavement. Sometimes I pass by without any thought minding my business. At other times I think how I would fare if I were in their position. Not having shelter to shield themselves from the cold or rain, Not having a home where I could sit and watch television or read a book, Not having a place I could call my own.Not having a bed to sleep on.

Yet they continue to survive. They pick up discarded boxes and tear them to make a sort of sheet on which they could sleep. They have stones and logs for pillows. The ground is their daily bedroom. How fortunate are we that we have a home, clean bed sheets and a room to spend the night.

They sit under the trees or cover themselves with broken buckets to shield themselves from rain. They cover themselves with used bags of cement or leaves.

They earn a living by washing or cleaning cars as the traffic lights force the drivers to wait in long queues for more than an hour. Everyone has their own specific set of cars to look for. In case someone else approaches a car not belonging to their “client list” chaos and fights usually follow.

Sometimes they are such a nuisance. They tease and harass women or young girls passing by hoping to get a reaction out of them. I have many a time been told how beautiful I am or how nice it would be if they could lay their hands on me (which is quite scary and something they are very much capable of doing).  Sometimes they wait for unwary passengers or tourists and rob them of their belongings. Sometimes they just cause unnecessary mayhem by fighting and beating up each other with stones and bricks or whatever they can get their hands on.

The few coins they get for washing cars is usually spent on food or cigarettes and sometimes drugs. Some use the money for luring girls for their pleasure. It amazes me that these individuals hardly have enough to sustain themselves yet they have more than two or three children of their own who are forced to beg on the streets or turn into  hardened criminals and prostitution to get a single meal for the day. I understand they are human beings just like I am, they have needs and desires just like I do, but why do you have to resort to these behaviors? Why force your own daughter or wife to live a life you are living? Why not go to school? Primary education is free. Why not avoid causing chaos in the streets?

I was blessed to have an education, a safe home,and a good job. I do not have to beg for money or resort to harmful and illegal activities to get a few slices of bread. yet how many of us realize how privileged we are? We often look at these youth as a menace to society? As unneeded vermins? As criminals? Does not having a life we are accustomed to make them less of a human? Does not have a stable upbringing make them less deserving of life? Does our attitude towards them help to find a solution to these issues?

They are seen wearing rags and filthy clothes, using shoe strings as belts. Most of their clothes are hardly fit to be used as dressing attires. Sometimes they pick throw aways from garbage cans and alter them to their liking. Yet we have wardrobes full of dresses we will never wear and still continue adding up to our collection.

They have nothing yet they make the most of everything. We have everything yet we feel  we have nothing? We have homes, beds, chairs, tv and music systems, phones, delicious cuisines and so many things we hardly give any thought to how lucky we are.

They have a blanket of stars and the dark sky above their heads. They have the grasses and ground to lay for the night. They have trees for houses and the passersby for entertainment. They have rags to wear. They have broken heels or plastic bags for slippers.

All they are proud of possessing is a blanket of shiny stars which can never be snatched or stolen and for which no claim can ever be laid.

 

Plethora of emotions

Sometimes I feel the whole world is out there to get me. No matter what I do or say, the people around me always interpret the situation in accordance to their preference. No matter what I feel or say, they always judge me as being the worst human being on earth. No matter what  the challenge, they always have their own version of how I should have reacted.

No matter what the solution entails, they always have some counter mechanism to fire on how I should have acted. No matter what the scenario is, they always amaze me with the interpretations they come up with to explain my behavior.

No matter what the scenario is, they always amaze me with the interpretations they come up with to explain my behavior.

Whether it’s what I wear, what I say, how I act, sit or walk there is always something wrong with it.

Without any thought or understanding, they use up their precious time to analyze my action and provide their criticism.

I have been through a lot of controversial situations by now to realize that one can never satisfy or please the world. The more you attempt to confirm to the standards the world expects of you, the more you end up emotionally drained and dissatisfied. There is always an extra mark you are yet to achieve with the world. I quit being a people pleaser long time ago when it dawned on me how I focused on making everyone else happy, how I pushed my needs and wants aside for others’, how I continued to hang on to relationships where I gained nothing except emptiness and sorrow.

Yet the wonders of the world never cease.

When I keep quiet enduring all the crap they throw at me I am weak and need to stand up for myself. :Why didn’t you tell us? Why didn’t you talk to me? These sentences are constantly echoed till I block them out.

When I stand up for myself, I am rude and very insensitive. I am selfish and self-centered. I never think of how my words can hurt others and I am ungrateful.

When I dress casually I am old-fashioned and should have been born in the medieval era.

When I dress up with high clanking heels I am seeking attention and wearing provocative attire.

When I am reading I am trying to show off how smart I am.

When I am not reading I am stupid and good for nothing.

When I am dating, I am in love with the wrong guy or I don’t deserve to have such a guy in my life.

If I am not dating, there must be something wrong with me.

At times I have a hilarious moment laughing at the rumors and the stupidity surrounding these situations. It’s like every person has a different scene played out in their minds regarding my life, none of which is correct. At times I learn things about myself that I never knew I was capable.

At other times it hurts me to the extent that I roll up on bed and cry as if the world has come tumbling down on my feet.

I have so much going on in my life – I have work related stress, deadlines to meet, bills to pay. I have dreams and goals set for myself which need my attention. I have family issues I need to attend to. I have pangs of loneliness and fear. I have no room for any additional drama.

I come to a point when I block out all the negativity. I block people on my what’s app, Facebook so I am at peace. I avoid confrontations and seclude myself till I have healed and recovered.

I feel a plethora of emotions at one time and I need a break. It’s how I cope with stress and tension. It’s how I protect myself from getting hurt and depressed.  It’s’ how I deal with negativity. I would rather be alone than with people who only bring me down and make me sad.

Before you make a judgment about me, try taking a walk in my shoes.

Before you make fun of me, try understanding how much it hurts me.

Before you provide unrealistic solutions and explanations for my behavior, try living my life for a few seconds.

And before you unleash curses and demons on my way, try fighting the darkness I already have I my life.

And if you cannot bring a positive feeling in my life at least don’t drive your negativity into my life.

I have neither the luxury nor time to entertain you.