Love and Like; Mirrors

Why is it so hard for me to write something honest? So much of what fiction I write rings with insincerity. I used to think perhaps it has to do with my choice of genre which is so often speculative fiction. But all fiction derives its power from the reality it is interpreting. My words just ring hollow sometimes. My style seems so contrived. I have a way with words, yes. But does that amount to me being a writer, much less a good one?

Have you ever watched yourself in a video? I don’t mean a video where you’re acting or reciting something prepared. I mean a video of you just being you, without artifice. Its disturbing. I mean, we all mythologize ourselves. But the size of the gap between what I imagine myself to be on my best days and what I actually am astounds me. I think if I met myself I wouldn’t like myself. I’d be annoyed by myself. And I don’t mean just the big things. I mean the little things, too. I have this really annoying way of pursing my lips. And my smile is lop-sided, in a non adorable way. My stare is disconcertingly smug. I have an air of forced reserve combined with hearty brusqueness and nervous insecurity that is really grating. I could be cute, if I wanted. That is the only kind of attractive I ever could be, if I abandoned those personality traits that cancel out and indeed, make a grotesque joke out of any potential cuteness. Such as that empty intensity. But who the hell wants to be cute? I hate cute. Cute is the thing I never aspired to. I would rather be ugly and loud than cute.

I so often state, to others and myself, that I don’t care what people think. It’s so comforting to think that. Then you don’t have to feel miserable when others judge you and don’t like you, or, worst of all, don’t think much of you. It’s empowering in a way.

But what if all that bravado is built on a lie? If I don’t care what people think it means I don’t think their opinions are worth changing my behaviour for. But what if their opinions are right? What if I’m an annoying, sanctimonious, lazy, uptight, angry little person with little wit and no banter? What if all the things I thought were good about me don’t really exist at all. And what if the rest of my life I have to choose between these two horrible options: either always maintain that facade of being a cute, pleasant, kind, non-confrontational, calm person I’ve actually already perfected until I’m basically everything I hate, or embrace my annoying personality and instincts and be left with a few people who love me and no one who really likes me?

(One thing is certain. Throughout it all, narcissism will prevail.)

Because this is my life right now. This is my big problem. I have people, wonderful people, that love me. But I’m beginning to suspect that no one really likes me anymore. And I love myself — I always have, because I’m an aspiring writer and this grants me vanity if nothing else — but I’m beginning to wonder if I ever liked myself. I keep doing things to ‘improve’ myself. I think I’ve matured and grown and learnt and changed. But then suddenly a mirror pops up, and I have to laugh at how ridiculous I really am.

Ah, well. Maybe a little dose of revelatory self-ridiculousness is good in the long run.


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Home, heat, and happy families

Oh my dragons, I’m back home! It’s extremely weird, unsettling, enjoyable, joyful, and painful.

For one thing, my tumblr feed is full of Community and Sherlock gifs that I don’t get because I’m so behind on my TV because I’ve actually spent the last 10 days like, meeting people and being social.

This is essentially what happens when you get back home after a year or more:

1) you eat like a motherfudger, anything and everything, and your stomach gets motherfudged

2) You constantly meet people you haven’t met for a year, and realize that some people stay exactly the same, while others grow; and old friends are the best and questions about your future are the worst and that if you suck at keeping in touch people WILL hate you a little bit.

3) You learn to appreciate your family and especially your mother and her unconditional love and care a thousand percent more, after the year of eating crap and being sick and mucus-ful ALL BY YOUR LONEZIES.

4) Some things you only get in your home country. For me: the ability to stand on any fucking side of the escalator I want (CHAOS!), affordable food and shopping, really flavourful food, SUNSHINE, Bollywood, auto rickshaws, cheap public transport, and that feeling that you belong.

5) You miss your lonely, stressful, challenging, exciting, scary travels and travails already.

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A journey ends

You know what’s really really really really really hard? Good byes. I can’t deal with them. And this is probably the biggest baddest goodbye I’ve ever had to do.
Edinburgh, you special beautiful wonderful place, I’ll miss you so much I can’t bring myself to even put it down in words right now.
Good bye, and know I’m leaving a good sized piece of my heart here with you.

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Holiday rituals

There was a famous (well) philosopher (Barthes, maybe?) who commented on how the ritualistic nature of holidays is actually a part of the capitalistic system to provide the oppressed workers with just enough refueling to keep at their drudgery without rebellion. This grim take on Christmas (and equivalent holidays) rings true, undoubtedly. The true and good thing to do, I suppose would be to break the system and refuse to buy into this manufactured commercialized glitter fest. 
And yet!
It’s all very well to say you agree, but what about the enormous emotional attachment we all have to the holidays? How are you supposed to do away with something that, in the end, does bring so much joy to so many people? 

I don’t know, honestly. I do know that like everybody, I have my own set of rituals I follow every December, a sort of annual refreshment of the soul. Some of it, of course, is food and glitter based — I won’t deny that — but I have a few special things I do that are only for me and from me.

1) Every December, I re-read Wuthering Heights. There is something irresistably haunting about Emily Bronte’s imagination that just does not go with a blazing sun and light breeze. Cooler temperatures required. It’s not my favourite or even in my top 5 (or 10, really) favourite books. So why do I re-read it? Because it makes me mad, but it also makes me think. It’s the one book that every time I read it I still cannot figure out what is going on with those characters, and every time I read it I discover something new. And spiritually, it’s a refreshing take on the concept of a human soul. 

2) I also re-read at least one or more of either the Harry Potter, Narnia or Lord of the Rings books. These were all books I read at a time in my life when I was incandescently happy (because they were so fantastic!) but I didn’t really know it. This is terribly cliche, but it also reminds me of a time when I was so much more innocent. Not in a blooming lily of feminine delicacy kind of way, just in a youthful, naive pre-college level Sociology and T.S. Eliot kind of way. I would never want to be that silly again, but sometimes I like to try and recapture that rare feeling of life being simultaneously safe and full of adventures. December is perfect, because I have time, and it’s the end of the year and world-weariness is at it’s highest. And it puts me in a good mood to interact with people. Which brings me to the next point:
3) I can be a hermit sometimes, it’s true. But come December, I like to open up my social calender. I go out more, I drink more, and I like to look at my life and evaluate the people that are in it, and that aren’t. Figure out who the people are that just drifted away that I actually miss and get in touch with them to see if they might miss me too. 
4) I wear my ugly clothes that I love-hate. They make me look ridiculous. I hate it. But so freakin comfy! God they’re comfy.
5) I eat mince pies and listen to Christmas carols and make my desktop background red and green and candle-ey. This one is conventional, of course. But I honestly only do these things at this time of the year. It doesn’t feel right otherwise.
6) I learn at least one new skill. I know this is more of a January thing, but I do it now because I feel like it. This year, it’s baking. I’ve mastered cookies, and I’m thinking of stopping because really once you’ve mastered cookies, what else do you need in life?

7) I travel. In a small way, in a big way, I like to hit at least one new destination every December.

I’m sure everyone has these strange and not-so-strange little rituals, without which their holiday isn’t complete!

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My favourite month is here!

I love Christmas!

It would be more accurate to say that I love December. The holiday season, though it’s stupid to pretend 90 percent of it isn’t Christmas. Everything about it is magical. The streets glittering with giant electric reindeers and Christmas trees. The real Christmas trees decked out in red and gold and smelling of pine and candle wax. The Christmas markets, with their stalls of food and drink and warmth, selling shiny things for your house and your friends. The chilly air that you combat with mince pies and spiced cider and mulled wine, and the dark nights lit up by house upon house decked out in colourful strings of stars. And if you’re really lucky, the way the snow falls from the sky and carpets the city, turning the whole world into a perfect place for that one moment.

Then, of course, there’s the gifts to be bought and received, the family reunions and fantastic meals, and the forgiving Christmas jumpers we all retreat into till February. The people in woollen mitts and muffs, singing their hearts out in the bitter cold, and somehow making it seem like fantastic fun. Even the way in which all the buses and trains and shops play Christmas carols on loop – I love it! Candy canes and frosted leaves, red scarves and dark green trees, white roads and orange fires, smells of candy, turkey and wines! And everyone’s in a good mood, for a while, despite the bad weather and the 3.30 AM sunsets!

I am an unabashed subscriber to the spirit of Christmas, including all the consumer driven excessive spending cliché bits I’m supposed to be so cynical about. I love it, all of it, and I intend to enjoy every second of my last Christmas in Britain (they really do it well here in Edinburgh!). I’m not going to be sad about leaving, because Chris-MAS is all around me, and so:


Merry December times to you and yours!

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An elegy in prose to the man I will love forever

I mean, he looked exactly like Ryan Gosling. it was uncanny. He even had the hipster glasses and the disarming smile and those eyes (those eyes) shining with purity of heart and sexiness of soul. It was so very difficult to swallow my perfectly cooked meal. It was breakfast, my favourite kind of breakfast, cooked to perfection, and all I could do was choke and blush and wonder if he was watching. He probably thinks I’m silly, inconsequential, an easy tipper. I am though. Money? All I want to do is fall to my knees and declare that his eyes make the world a better place, his smile makes the violins play, and how he can only ever be a lord in a castle and what is he doing, here, in a cafe, serving breakfast? He could be a model, an actor, a God. My god.

It’s been so long since I’ve been in love and it sucks that it was at breakfast in a strange city with a man whom I will never see again. But I will love you forever, Lithuanian breakfast server/Ryan Gosling doppleganger god of beauty. You are perfect.

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Once upon a Liz Lemon

NOTE: (I promised my self I wasn’t going to be gimmicky and catch-liney and epic-speechy with this one, because I’m genuinely sad and wanted an honest post to express that. OH WELL. Honesty lies in the eyes of the beholder.)

I just saw the final season of 30 Rock, after avoiding the end of the show for months, in a strategy inspired by the exotic Australian bird, the Ostrich (IF I WATCH ENOUGH EPISODES OF DOCTOR WHO, 30 ROCK WILL NEVER END SCREW YOU ALEC BALDWIN).




Emotions. So many emotions.

My first reaction is, of course, to hate time. WHY IS TIME IN EXISTENCE. Like, if time didn’t exist, we could always live in 2008 when it was season 3 (the best season, except maybe the brilliant last one) and Jack-Liz could squabble forever without the quality dipping or it seeming forced. So I hate time. Future sucks. That’s right. Go back to the blackhole you came from, bitch. You think you’re in a continuum with space? Space is CHEATING ON YOU with your mother.

It’s not just time though. Its motherfucking television. All of television. I hate TV. Honestly, why do these bastards make us so fucking invested in their STUPID stories with their STUPID relatable yet inspirational characters and their STUPID super catchy opening theme songs that brilliant transition into sad goodbye background scores. Every time, every TIME I get invested in a show and it just becomes my whole life and then, before I know it, it ends and there is this hole in my heart where these characters used to be. (Yup, gonna put that one on TV).

– but also, I love TV. Even when they turn awesome shows into cash cows and its so painful to watch the characters become sad, cartoon versions of their previous selves, or they rehash the same story line over and over and everything seems tired, you can still watch the first few brilliant seasons and love it more than you did the first time, because this time you GOT the joke about Conan O’Brien.

And then I love it EVEN MORE when they find the perfect time to end, and they end it in the perfect way, with a series of perfect episodes leading up to it. When the characters grow, but also remain the same at heart and Tina Fey is such an awesome feminist subversive witty LOLhilarious hot momma you know I’m talking about 30 Rock can we not even –

Basically, this last episode, down to that amazing last moment with Kenneth the immortal TV Exec and Liz Lemon part IV, made me laughcry like a crazy person and also depressed-angry like an actual crazy person. Because it was so good, it was harder to say goodbye, but ultimately, easier. 

Thank you, Tina Fey, for creating Liz Lemon. Let me add my prayer of thanks to the thousands of blog-erapy odes to your show already out there. Yes, it comes with a side of wildly mixed metaphors that would make Liz Lemon cringe. You made me just objectively cackle out loud with your funny, funny jokes, and touched my heart with the real friendships on the show, and most of all, really hammered in the importance of the rule of threes. 

Peace out, dummies.





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