Saturday, January 28, 2012

Massage Dreams...

Many thoughts have gone through my head when I’ve lain on a massage table. Most of them have revolved around the temperature of the room, whether the airconditioning needed tweaking, if I should or shouldn’t have waxed before the massage, if there were any hidden cameras in the room, if the masseur would get any better looking with dimmer lighting, etc. But never have I thought about how much I miss a person’s touch on my naked body.

As I lay there with melancholic strains of violin music wafting through the inconspicuous speakers, I sensed each goose-bump as it awakened to the almost forgotten sensation of another texture of skin. The masseur’s strong fingers worked on my muscles and sinews oblivious to the fact that his every stroke reminded me of the others who had touched me in exactly the same place entirely differently.

I remembered conversations about tattoos that we would get together that would mean something for the rest of our lives. Forgotten scars from overheated motorcycle exhaust pipes didn’t even tingle but the memory of that evening, the fear as we raced for our lives (we thought) to reach home, was evident in the slight up-tick of my heartbeat even today. The slope where my neck meets my shoulder prickled with awareness of the fact that I had dedicated it to him because only he seemed to know what to do with it…

I closed my eyes and felt my body become a detailed map of my life under the skillful fingers of a stranger. My sore arm muscles took me to our days of playing hooky from work just so we could chase each other around the house playing tag. I remembered how you wrestled me to the floor while I laughed helplessly. And then, how I wasn’t laughing any more. If someone had been recording audio, all they would have heard would have been soft whispers and the rustling of sheets. And the crackle of tin foil as we unwrapped left-over meatloaf that my mother had sent across.

Hands rubbing the soles of my feet brought to mind sloppily applied red nail polish because you were blindfolded and I was bored. My stomach muscles used to ache almost constantly because we laughed uncontrollably about everything. I’ve forgotten what your eyes look like but I remember how you laughed. More than anything, I remember the laughs.

Sitting in the sauna room where I can’t see my fingers in front of my face, I feel the heat as it struggles through my epidermis to start warming my long-frozen insides. I wonder if this is what it will feel like when I let another you walk into my life, when I let another you decode the secrets of my body and let you leave a mark on it as well. I wonder if this is what it will feel like to be… loved again..

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Question of Time

Mommy, what is the Future?
A false promise by Tomorrow
What about the Past?
The only currency of Yesterday
Are they not real mommy?
Did they not live?
They lived my darling
They sang and they danced
And feasted on the Present
Staking their claim on all of Today's plans

Do you miss having a Tomorrow mommy?
Do you want your Yesterday back?
I waited for Tomorrow, but it wasn't what I was promised
And Yesterday has become pale with grief
For what could never have been

The Future scares me mommy
And the Past makes me cry..
They're nothing my sweet baby
Just ghost stories that Today tells
Hoping that someone will notice
In the midst of our crazy game of catch-up
The lone Storyteller at this cozy campfire.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Grown Ups are Talking...

It’s the new year and I’m back to wondering what the hell is going on with me or the people around me. I guess some things don’t (and shouldn’t?) change.
First, there’s some history. Over the last few weeks, I have gotten feedback that I’m overreacting to things, taking them too personally, sometimes even to the extent of friends wondering if I’m secretly crushing on the object of my ire. It was pissing me off because in the process of psychoanalyzing “why” I’m saying something, “what” I was saying was getting lost in communication.
The things I was overreacting to? Just everyday stuff.
Kosta and I and a few other people had made plans to watch a film together. Despite trying to get the few people to commit to a time and a place, it wasn’t working out thanks to everyone’s crazy schedules. The only thing that kept getting cemented stronger, in the face of all our failed attempts (and the fact that by now most other people had already seen the film and weren’t keen to do it again), was that we would see the film together.
And then Kosta went and saw the film alone. He didn’t tell any of us that he had. And when I wanted to make another plan for the same film, he said he wasn’t available – because of work or some such. Now here’s the thing that pissed me off. If I hadn’t found out – from another friend – that he had already seen the film, I would have continued to shelve my plans because I’d have waited for him to be a part of the group.
So the twin-pronged issue was that not only was watching the film more important for him than watching it with me and others, but also the fact that I’d kept my plans on hold meant little to him. As he said, “You’re just pissed because I didn’t give this one plan as much importance as you did.” Yes, that’s exactly right. If someone I consider a friend doesn’t give me as much importance as I give him, then there’s an unflattering readjustment required in the friendship equation. And that’s annoying because it makes me feel stupid about over-committing to a relationship.
Then there was Alex whom the last time I communicated with was at a weird yet fun evening with another friend, Tee. We were all playing mini-snooker and, amidst drinks and laughter, decided to ruin each others’ games by using all possible tricks of distraction. One time, things got a little out of hand and Tee crossed a line (or so I thought) and tried to kiss me. The reason that was strange was because we were just friends, he was married and everyone knew about my weird limbo-relationship with Alex.
In any case, when I backed off and asked Alex, “Tee just tried to kiss me. Should I be worried?” Alex said, “Well, you were trying to make him horny right?” And just like that, I became – not his friend, not his weird-relationship-girl, not the person who needed to be reassured but ‘the girl who asked for it.’
That really hurt. Over the next two weeks, I silently pulled back from him after letting him know that he had said something unforgivable. In the two months since, he hasn’t asked me even once why I’ve disappeared from his life or if there's something that can be done to fix things. He has asked our common friends a few times, to the extent that they’re trying to patch things up between us (like in junior high) – but never once has he attempted to breach the wall. And I’m pissed off about that. I’m pissed that he hasn’t had the balls to ask me a question the answer to which he may not like, but may save a friendship. I’m pissed that he picked passivity over actively fighting for me. And when I discovered that he had “unfriended” me on Facebook, I was pissed (and really amused) to discover that he was in fact a 12 year old girl living inside a 40 year old body.
(As for Tee, he and I had a grown-up conversation about that evening. Turns out that I was probably mistaken and that it was never his intention to strange me out and that he was sorry if he had. He even added me on Facebook. Yay.)

Then there was Aztec, the boy-turned-man with whom I've been friends for the better part of six years. During this time, I've gotten to know him as a sensitive person whose personality has been tempered by facing gruesome life realities at a very young age. Dealing with a chronic weight problem, watching his father die, living with a mom who's an extremely accomplished thespian have had an impact. After a recent brief and confused period of transition between us, where we both grappled with the "Could we be lovers?" question and came up empty, things have fortunately gone back to normal.

Except for one detail.

Every now and then, I find him to be unnecessarily sarcastic or patronizing to me. It's usually among others, even among friends, and often unprovoked. The other day, he went on about how people (some of them are my friends) are offering him unpaid jobs and how he goes for meetings and spends hours with them knowing that nothing is going to come of it. He was extremely irritable about it and I told him to just say no, and to certainly not factor in my friendships with these people into his decisions. His response: "Right, and you know everything right? Why don't you tell me what this is really about."

Erm... I thought I just did..

And amidst all the nonsense with friends, I have a showdown with Mom at the end of a week-long holiday. The crux of the issue? I recently discovered that she is a control freak who tries to control how I behave by emotionally blackmailing me with the possibility that she will have hurt feelings. Okay, I get it.. all mothers do that. It's a required lesson in the mom handbook. But the thing is - because I see this happening, I have developed a strange immunity to it. Earlier when she would burst into tears while yelling at me for some reason, my heart would break and I would be determined to do anything that prevents tears. Today, I see it as something she does whenever she is faced with a direct emotional confrontation. And boom! the hold of emotional blackmail hold gone.

But now, given that I'm bored by the tears and wait for her to finish (10 seconds) before I continue with my point, my mother's next strategy is to dismiss everything I'm saying because "You're being so immature!" or "you're clearly dealing with a lot of unresolved issues and taking it out on me" or "what is all this really about?"

And I feel like screaming, "Can't you hear me? I'm telling you what this is all about!" I'm exhausted.

I'm tired of dealing with grown-ups who think that being adult means they have to be right. I'm tired of armchair psychoanalysts who believe they've read / heard / seen enough to deal with the "real problem" and how my spoken words are merely a foil for deeper issues. And I'm particularly tired of friends taking those calls because it's disrespectful, patronizing and reveals more lack of trust in the fact that I could really be an adult who does know what she wants. They're better than that and it's disappointing when they don't act it.

But right now, I want a hug from someone who gets it... and isn't trying to repair me.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

On This Last Night...

I want to spend this last post of this year doing something different.

I don’t want to think about how well or badly this year has gone, which of my dreams have been fulfilled, which ones have been modified, I don’t want to imagine what the next year will look like, and whether I’m on the right path…

I don’t want to do any of that.

Instead, I want to think about why it is that I’ve become the kind of person who’s very happy spending the annual countdown solo.

For many years, I’ve harbored the secret suspicion that I’m somewhat of a high-functioning sociopath. The truth is, more often than not, I prefer my own company. I don’t need make up to impress me, no cute but sexy dress, I don’t need to be the bright yet confused cutie who laughs easily, I don’t need to be the girl who fakes a connection or tap-dances around the fact that you’re crushing on her… I can just be the girl who likes her glass of wine, enjoys watching action films and isn’t always funny or profound.

Sitting here on my couch, watching the Mission Impossible series on mute, while sending new year messages to the maybe 12 people whom I do give a damn about, I’m shocked to discover that I don’t miss having them around right now. This night used to be so important for me; I was among the millions who believed that how I spent this evening would cast its glow on the rest of the year. And that is why I used to insist on spending it with friends, in a loud boisterous party with plenty of food and drink. Looking at my life I realize that my normal days are filled with the warm fuzzy feelings one gets from friendships, lived around tables littered with the remnants of delicious meals, interesting cocktails and fun gossip.

My year, it seems, is a lot more than what I end up doing on its last night.

I don’t feel the need to kiss someone at the stroke of 12. This year there is someone in the wings, waiting for even the tiniest hint of encouragement for him to take the plunge. I’m flattered because he’s genuinely nice, truly interesting and interested… But I’m not there yet, and probably won’t be (who knows?) but I don’t feel the need to sink my hook in deeper by making him think otherwise. I’m happy to know that he’s having a good time wherever he is and that I can sleep when I want to.

Will a real person to dance with be better than dancing solo to my own tune? Certainly. I think. It’s been so long since that happened that I’m no longer sure what the big deal is. Is the dream of ‘meeting new and interesting people’ and having the ‘start of a beautiful relationship’ still an attractive one? Oh yes. But is it supposed to happen only on a magical new year’s eve and no other night of the year? I don’t necessarily buy THAT anymore.

And one major lesson of this year? That it’s all really going to be okay. Families will grow and rebuild, broken hearts will mend, friends will increase, work will be enjoyed and bank balances will somehow always have enough to take care of travel and shopping needs.

What else can you possibly want?