The Happiest in the World

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As far as I’m concerned, Ramzan never started this year. Previous years I have tried to conjure up the routine, the rituals, the people even, to get a Ramzan feeling going. This year, with the NY heat, the crazy work and the guest at home, it seems impossible.

Appropriately, HD and I went to a 4th of July party last night. It was actually quite lovely even though I am not so much a fireworks person. Nonetheless, it was indeed quite nice being crammed on to a Manhattan rooftop with a view of Brooklyn Bridge and then to be crammed inside a smaller Manhattan apartment. But what can I say, it transformed unexpectedly to be a dancing hip hop party; the small space lent itself to an intimate vibe and it was perfect. The music, the friends, the cool summer breeze through the balcony, the old-time hip-hop to take us back to our uni days.

I have stopped resisting having to leave this place but as I spend this one last calm weekend here alone, I can’t help but feel that this was the best place ever. I don’t know why I think that because it is certainly wrong and I have had many other moments suspended in time that were wonderful in wonderful homes; but right now it’s this one and people are partying outside with loud music appropriate for a tropical island and it doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t bother me that I slept only 6 hours last night and got back late with the man that I love because I was telling him that I had such a good time with him.

I try to tell him to enjoy what he gets now because I don’t know what lies ahead and maybe the summer will whizz by and we’ll be apart and missing each other and I will swear to myself and God that I had never wanted it to be this way. Unless HD gets a job in DC sooner rather than later, we will learn to be apart. But nothing can change the fact that we will leave the best apartment that we have ever lived in. Looking at the pictures from last night, I can’t help but wonder if I will look back at our youthful and glowing happy faces and think that this was the most wonderful time. I won’t remember the angst and the struggle and the self-doubt and the ‘where am I goings?’. I will think these two people who go to rooftop parties are the happiest in the world and they don’t have a care in the world.

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Walk with me

Why is suffering a part of making decisions and which part of me suffers? I can feel it today, the pain and pleasure cutting through me viscerally. The sun and the spring waking me, I walked the two blocks to my favourite bagel store today. A walk I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do just two months ago and today I made it without a problem. When I walked out, the familiar feeling of being on my feet with somewhere nice to go was so raw and familiar, like an old friend. What is freedom if I can’t run away? What if I don’t live and risk my own dreams?

What of marriage and being one? One goal, one vision, two partners trying to convince each other of the paths to take. So painful to compromise, I had never been one for sacrifices and it turned out I was already making them as soon as I wed without even realizing it. How I had wanted to strike out on my own – I will accept my own selfishness. It has always been about me. It took me three years to fully feel committed to this boy who did the most and the toughest things for me. We proved ourselves to each other over and over again in our triumphs and failures, making our own story. Three years to believe that our lives always better be entwined this way and I will do my best to make that happen. Yet admittedly I duck out from time to time to yearn for myself. What did I want? Am I okay?

We can’t stay suspended here in this spring. Can I carry you with me?

Into your heart I’ll beat again

Have I posted this song before? Dedicated to me by a past boyfriend, I now dedicate it to an old friend. This song has pretty much stood the test of time. Even now, when I am out and about and hear it on some radio somewhere, I always strain to catch it. This crazy stalker song.

That feeling of being wound up and tense and so so alone was back and as much as I racked my brain I couldn’t find a repere or a defined point. And then I got on skype with my friend whom I haven’t spoken to properly in so long and it was just belonging again. As she opened up and described a rough time, I was right there in that world, a part of her tears and mine. I could see the role I played, the tea I made for her, the comforting hug I gave. I could see the comfort it gave me to be there. Through that skype window I saw it all and felt the touch. I didn’t even get to the point of talking about my disconnect because it didn’t exist anymore. The skype picture brought me home.

King of anything

I haven’t posted in ages mainly because I was trying to make this blog a more positive place and each time I felt an urge to write, it was when I was totally down. Now I’ve decided to throw that positive blog idea out the window. I write when I am annoyed and it feels most true when I am being particularly masochistic. Incidentally, the word means that I derive pleasure out of self-infliction, which really isn’t true. If I could choose – I mean really choose – I would never ever give myself a bad day. I would literally never choose the more difficult path I think. That’s just me; all else being equal, I would choose the easier way. I mean what would you do? Which brings me nicely to the subject at hand – i.e. my reactions when I HAVE to take the difficult road. Coz life kinda does that to me. I feel like it’s done that a lot.

Firstly, my ideas on being a woman and my role, capabilities and what I want out of my life, differ a lot from those around me. And here I don’t mean to say the regular tra la la about women being great and having their rights etc and being educated and allowed to work bullshit. I mean those things are a given. I mean acknowledging that I am totally selfish and I have no desire to play second fiddle to anyone. I do not put my career second to my husband’s, I do not put my money-earnings capability second to anyone’s and I do not think my financial responsibilities are any less than his. I enjoyed single life too, just as much as he did. I liked living on my own and doing practically everything myself. It was liberating and empowering to figure out ways of doing things I hadn’t done before like painting my room and moving my own furniture. I really enjoy travelling alone especially in trains. The thoughts in my own head are best when alone and my brain works particularly well when it knows it has to fend for itself. I used to carry my own suitcase.

I have never been in such a long-term relationship before, and as an adult, I have never let someone else be responsible for so much of my life. It does go both ways of course and there’s nothing wrong with it, but sometimes I do wonder where the old me is. You see, I am really bad at moving on. The person I am right now I don’t recognize and I have a hard time accepting her. I don’t have the same friends, and I don’t have the same relationship with new friends. My daily activities are different and my social activities are different. My body has pretty much protested in any way possible. For almost a year now, I have lived like a somewhat disabled person who doesn’t look disabled. It’s embarrassing because people expect me to keep up with them and help them, and there I am making excuses. Taking a big breath and telling them what’s wrong with my feet. Going gluten-free has been another hassle, but what feels worse is that people just don’t understand.  The looks they give me, and saying things like, ‘have a little’ makes me feel like they think I’m making shit up.

I moved looking for fun and adventure but I didn’t really find it. The completely selfish me is thinking, why am I not having that great time? Where is the fun and glory in all of this? Why is job-hunting so hard? Why is making it on one person’s salary so hard? I love that HD pursues his passion and makes a living out of it rather than being a typical doctor-engineer type of guy. But the reality of it is that we live in the middle of nowhere and I feel like we’re going nowhere. Why is dealing with this reality rather than the romantic notions so hard? Why is moving so lonely? I thought the space away from family would be liberating but it’s lonely.

The worst part is that it’s coming up two years now and I feel like a giant failure because I haven’t done the one thing that would make all the difference. I haven’t accepted the changes. I haven’t accepted this place, I haven’t accepted my body and I haven’t accepted my life here. I know I have a tendency to do that and I know that I always want the easy way out. I want the quickest solution. It might just be time to buckle down and work hard. Suck it up selfish me because in the hedonistic pursuit of happiness, there will be some unhappiness. Sure sages say the rocky road has its benefits, character building and emotional growth and some other stuff that you really would never choose to happen to you. But it does. So deal with it.

Memories mar my mind, love is a fate resigned

This letter is long overdue. But I don’t write directly to you for a number of reasons. The main seems to your anger that is in a constant ebb and flow underneath the surface. The one that erupted when I mentioned that maybe you were irritated. The one that causes you to make snarky comments and think that they will be taken well. The one that fuels your jealousy and your insecurity. You never offerred me the same honesty in expression that you did yourself. You more than made up for the lack of emotion I showed. It’s easy to blame me but I say it’s all you.

You lied and you talked behind my back and then you made me feel like you didn’t want me around. When I left, you came back crying wondering why I’d left. I often felt insulted or slighted, unsure of what you wanted from me. Give it another try? Sure, let’s see. But your arms aren’t as open as they were before. I never relied on you for anything after that, never trusted you in anyway. You may flatter yourself that I used you but I only threw you scraps of my life to make you feel like you were still needed and included, lest you get upset again. I never needed what you gave and often real friends had to undo the harm your ‘kindness’ did. Like the time we met at Globus in Geneva so I could update you on wedding news and you told me I had seasonal depression.  When I doubted myself my friends reassured me that I really did not have those symptoms.

Mostly, I grinned and bore it. And you wonder why I feel uncomfortable around you? It’s because you have all the reliability of a snake and the melodrama of a coked up pop princess. Kind of like Amy Winehouse except she was awesome and had talent.

Maybe I don’t tell you this directly out of kindness because the truth hurts and you already seem so raw. Or maybe we are matching in our hurt except that you shout your pain from the rooftops and I lick my wounds in silence.

Whatever it was, it’s over. I cannot be treated like that anymore and you are no longer coming into my life. Don’t try anymore, not in a few years, not ever. I don’t want you to come back crying. Don’t look at me if we’re in the same gathering, don’t say hello. Don’t invite me to your wedding. Don’t look at my profile on linkedin, don’t google me. Don’t keep tabs on my family, my career, my pictures, my friends, my happiness or sadness.

Turning Tables

I know Adele is awesome. I know she has been on the radio a lot and some people get tired of that and I probably would too if I listened to the radio. But I don’t and I am still awed every time I hear her. If I’d heard her back in the day when I was still in school and used to borrow friends’ CDs to record them on my tapes, I’d have done that to her albums. I’d have listened obsessively and known the sequence of the songs and all of the lyrics. Now I am far too lazy and busy to obsess in this way over albums and artists but I feel like Adele should inspire me to hunt down all her albums, or at least buy them all on itunes. Here’s the song I want you to listen to before reading the rest of the post, and if you’ve already heard it, play it whilst reading the post.

It didn’t remind me of an old love or flame or whatever, it just reminded me of a once best friend who has remained a part of my life like a shoe full of pebbles that I just can’t take off. After yet another strange meeting with her where I got the feeling that she just didn’t like my very much, I got on the plane back home to wonder why I bothered. Should I stop seeing her and make some excuse every time she tries? Or just tell her she’s too much of a bitch for me and leave it at that? It’s not like I’ve haven’t tried before, but each time, some time passes and someone makes a move forward and somehow some stuff is forgotten and some more stuff is remembered. And we play our little game again making sure we are a part of each other’s lives that diverged 7 years ago.

Ever since that year of university when we both got our hearts broken (by two different guys of course) we’ve struggled with our relationship. Like a couple that no one else understands, we continue to be together on and off. This is my masochistic relationship, the one where I can’t let go even though I know I should. Just like those soap operas, our timings have always been off. When she was ready to be open, she came to my Camden apartment and cried and told me that I had disappeared. I just wasn’t ready. All I understood was that she did want me around but I didn’t know to tell her that I had left because I wasn’t being treated well and I wasn’t sure if I was still welcome. I didn’t tell her that I had felt so betrayed by those actions that she considered unimportant, I couldn’t bring myself to trust her again. I acted like it was all ok again but in my head I may well just have been singing, “I won’t let you close enough to hurt me“.

Yet I hold on to the image of a much nicer different girl, the one who cleaned my new apartment with me, who taught me to cook rice, who shared cigarettes in the park with me, whose little room I would walk into some evenings to drink tea and talk about that hugely important future, and all my ideas and feelings. The friend who gave such damn good advice when I was down, she could sort out me out in a jiffy, and I would leave with a neat little to do list. The one who wrote very important notes to me on pink paper that I still have stashed somewhere recounting all the things that we had done that meant so much. God I miss her.

The thing about married life though is there is no more this urgent need to show up at your friend’s house and demand they take you back. There is no pressing need to call urgently, no need or time to spend hours on the phone arguing or working out your issues. Instead here I am trying not to rock the boat as usual. Well rocking the boat be damned, I’m going in again. I really have nothing to lose.

I remember when I was newly in uni and had a very bitchy older friend showing me the ropes. She used to remark on how the weirdest girls ended up having boyfriends and how she was still single. Snarkiness aside, I do remember sometimes thinking what in the world one person saw in the other, or how they could put up with certain traits that were the complete opposite of what they were. I guess it’s an animal called marriage or committed relationship. I am still surprised when HD bends over backwards when I am being a complete party-pooper, have a headache or don’t feel like I can do something or go somewhere. Instead of getting frustrated with me as anybody else as energetic as him would, he agrees to forgo the movie, that restaurant or that trip for me. I am still amazed at why he would want to hang out with the person with the no-fun attitude sometimes as opposed to going ahead with the other friends. I’m still surprised to find somebody on my side even when I’m being unreasonable. I guess there’s something about marriage that makes you throw your lot in with that person and stick through it even when it makes no sense. Which in this case works for me!

I have also discovered what it’s like to be less than impressed with friends’ partners. Their random flings and temporary partners was one thing. Now we’re talking marriage and some of these people just don’t seem good enough for a lifetime of hanging out with us. I just met one boyfriend who seems to be ridiculously immature and annoying and clearly I can’t tell her to dump his sorry ass. I guess we’re even since my friend can’t say anything about HD. We’ll go along this way, hoping to grow on one another eventually. Sigh.