Thursday, August 24, 2017

I was looking back

at who I once was, and I felt this ridiculous urge to hold myself close and feel safe and comforted. For a girl who got so lucky, I was quite unaware of my riches and quite miserable.

So, I want to tell her, it's ok. I turned out all right. A little messed up, patched up, cracked up, but I still have my spark somewhere inside me that apparently nothing can douse.

Spark reminds me of an excerpt I once painstakingly typed out from my copy of Lady Chatterley's Lover
“…So they won’t be able to blow out my wanting you, nor the little glow that is between you and me. We’ll be together next year. And though I’m frightened, I believe in your being with me. A man has to fend …for the best, and then trust in something beyond himself. You can’t insure against the future, except by really believing in the best bit of you, and in the power beyond it… So I believe in the little flame between us. For me now, it’s the only thing in the world…Only you. And now the little flame is all I care about in my life. That’s what I abide by, and will abide by…  
“…That’s why I don’t like to start thinking about you actually. It only tortures me, and does you no good. I don’t want you to be away from me. But if I start fretting it wastes something… I stick to my little…flame, and have some peace. And I won’t let the breath of people blow it out… We fucked a flame into being. Even the flowers are fucked into being between the sun and the earth. But it’s a delicate thing, and takes patience and the long pause.  
“So I love chastity now, because it is the peace that comes of fucking. I love being chaste now… when the drawing together comes, then we can fuck the little flame brilliant and yellow, brilliant. But not now, not yet! Now is the time to be chaste, it is so good to be chaste, like a river of cool water in my soul. 
“Well, so many words because I can’t touch you. If I could sleep with my arms around you, the ink could stay in the bottle… But we have to be separate for a while, and I suppose it really is the wiser way. If only one were sure.  
“Never mind, never mind, we won’t get worked up. We really trust in the little flame, and in the unnamed god that shields it from being blown out. There’s so much of you here with me, really, that it’s a pity you aren’t all here.
Sometimes I miss the girl who would be so blown away by the writing that she would sit and type out entire excerpts. Sometimes I wonder if I've forgotten how to be so moved. But I haven't, of course. It's just that time is touching me and I don't yet know how the changes will be.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

I see me.

We went out for dinner on Friday, Ro, Mon and I, and a propos de I forget what, Mon remarked, "When I look into the mirror, I don't see fat, I see me."

Now this is not going to talk about what an absolute inspiration that woman is (because she might read this and get ideas above her station -- hi Mon!) but that sentence has stayed in my head. She captured perfectly the change I found in myself in my late 20s as I gradually learnt to love my body for all its shortcomings.

Of late, I've been struggling with my knee pain, very few days go by without several hours in bed. At times like these, I used to loathe my body. I still occasionally do feel sad when I see myself in the mirror, but it's the exception, not the norm. I've come a long way from the skinny teenager wishing she looked like anything except the way she did.

Now, when I look into the mirror, I see me. I see my eyes, always the most expressive part of me. I see my hair, dark and thick and covering my bottom. I see my arms, strong though not muscular. My breasts that fed two children and won't ever look like they once did. My waist with its sagging skin and plentiful stretch marks, but just right for sarees. Thick thighs that make me sigh but don't somehow stop me from wearing short clothes. An ankle adorned with my Nakhrewali anklet that jingles faintly as I walk. My nose with its little ring, due to be replaced with my customary solitaire. I'm slowly regaining my interest in jewellery and makeup, always a sign of inner happiness in me. I see marks of age, and signs of a life lived, of desires fulfilled and dreams to pursue.

I see, as Mon put it, me.

And today, I like me. For a while I was losing myself and not liking who I was becoming, but not any more.

This makes a difference to me in ways most men will never understand. It gives me the freedom to dress as I want (as sloppily, boringly or colourfully as the mood takes me). It puts a spring in my step, and the confidence to hold my head high. It insulates me from people's opinions. I don't think I've ever cared as little for what others think as I do today. And that's a lot of growing up for a girl who used to go over and over every conversation stressing over nuances she might have missed. I am not unconcerned about people, I just limit their space in my head.

Mon took this photo of me the next day. Now you can see what I see in my mirror.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Appreciation

My head's been processing a LOT of things these last 4-6 weeks. I suddenly want a lot of things, don't feel the need to bend over for many others and all this change is leaving me a little breathless. I'm doing more than my body can handle, and that's leaving me exhausted. Not unhappy, occasionally overwhelmed, but mostly quiet. For somebody who has felt miserably alone for a long time, I find myself now craving time to myself, time to listen to music and think.

One day I found myself thinking of how grateful I was that I found V. I don't often feel this way because for the most part he is a very annoying person to live with. But at this time, when all I want is my space, he has been graceful about finding ways to let me be. Smitadi, on her last visit, remarked with her smile that she knows why I married him: because he gives me the freedom to be myself. Glossing over my irritation at the thought of anybody 'letting me' be anything, I know what she meant. I think, say and do a lot of things that bother him and I am aware would be deal-breakers in many other marriages. Honestly, I am not sure I could have stayed married to most men I know (or they to me, to be fair). While I'm good at adapting to my circumstances, I'm liable to wake up on odd mornings prepared to chuck off all the adaptations and revert to self. I can see how this might be a major disruption in a marriage because it's disrupted mine a few memorable times.

He deals with it. Sometimes he doesn't deal with it very well, but eventually he finds a way to cope. I know that's marriage but I also know it's not easy. I'm grateful that of all the men I might have married, I married this one who may not be able to give me everything and may not even want to, but who does accept what he gets. I mean, there's a lot to be said for a husband who is resigned to his fate!

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Ground Rules

1. Remember that I'm more fragile than I declare myself to be. So if I ask for an affirmation, just give it to me. I only ask if I really need to hear one. 

2. I'm also much stronger than most people realise. So whatever you need to say, just say it directly. It might break me, but I'll survive. 

3. My yes is yes and my no is no. If I say yes, please accept that I have thought it out and made my mind up for myself. 

4. I don't give in to pressure. I give in to the people I love, because giving in makes me happy. Let me do it. 

That's all.