Alone

photo-1465064154639-bc188708a175.jpeg

It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon here in Singapore. I’m sitting on my bed, waiting for my nails to dry. The third movie of the day just ended and the feeling hit me again. The one where I can feel the emptiness within. It’s like a tiny prick that begins the moment my heart starts racing with anxiety. My heart starts racing the second my distraction ends and I don’t know what to do with myself.

I don’t know how to be alone.

I’ve struggled since I was a kid. Even if I’m by myself, I needed to be surrounded by people. I needed everyone else’s existence to keep mine calm and sane. I’ve annoyed friends and family time and again, taking advantage of their niceness to keep them by my side. I never needed them to talk to me or pay attention to me. Just to be within my line of vision, let me know they’re here.

When I was a teenager, friends were abundant. Never a moment alone, I began to crave it. I wanted the silence of my room, the coziness of a book or the melody of my favorite song. I didn’t enjoy people. I hated the company. In a Myers-Briggs test, I was an introvert – stereotypically so.

But then I hit 20. I developed depression, again. The loneliness that came from being alone was like an icepick being driven deep into my heart. I needed more than just a human in the room. I needed conversation, warmth, attention. I needed to be acknowledged and loved every minute of the day. I dreaded going to the bathroom because I’m in an empty space by myself and the anxiety would drive me insane.

Then came the incredible 23. I met a boy, cute as a button. Loving, affectionate and never stopped paying attention. I’ve been in love with him for almost 3 years now. Every waking minute I’m not busy, I was communicating with him. We mastered long distance. I didn’t need him in the same room. Just his voice, his texts, him. He became my best friend, my partner in the literal sense of it.

But life always happens. Between us, I happened. And because of me, space happened. So, here I am, on a Sunday afternoon, all alone and I don’t know what to do with myself. We sometimes spend so much time in a relationship, we forget what we did before we met them. I’m sure I had empty days quite like this but I can’t remember them. I don’t know who I was before I met him. What did I do? What was my distraction? Who did I talk to?

I fidget. I continue to fidget. I can feel the anxiety build within me and I don’t know how to get through it.

Am I hurting because I’m without him or am I anxious because I’m alone?

So many people do it. In and out of relationships. Sometimes, just alone. They’re occupied. Their brains don’t crash at the idea of coming back to an empty house – and I have flatmates. I have a roommate who sits outside the entire day. But she travels and I come back to an empty room. I won’t have him to talk to. To fill my silence. How will I survive?

How do they? Do they all feel this way?

Is it something you learn to live with?

Does the silence drive you insane like it does me?

Does it make you cry with memories from as far behind as 20 years ago?

Does it make you miss the place that feels like home?

Does it make you miss the voice that gave you joy?

The arms that kept you warm?

Or do you feel nothing at all?

Do you just walk in, drop your keys, pull off your shoes and settle in? No sound but your own footsteps. Your breathing. The distant kid’s screeching laughter.

Do you ever put earphones on?

Do you ever turn to the door wishing someone would walk in?

I sit here sometimes. I have a huge window to my left that’s always shut, the curtains drawn. But I still hear the world go by. Honking cars, screaming kids, music from the apartment above. I hear my flatmate laughing with his girlfriend. The laundry tumbling in the washer.

And I realize the silence that surrounds me that I can now hear things that don’t involve me. It makes me feel more alone. More anxious. More lonely.

I put my earphones on. The happy songs remind me of my good days with him. It reminds me they’re possibly behind us. The sad songs remind me of the choice I’ve made. It is a hint of a future that I have to re-learn to live in.

Every lyric I hear, every joke I laugh at, every scene I watch continues to build slowly, step by step. I can feel it within me. Anxious.

Anxious that it’s so great. Anxious that it’ll end. Anxious that the end will mean a few minutes of quiet before the next one begins.

Anxious of the thoughts that come with the quiet.

Anxious of the memories I don’t want to re-live.

Anxious of the silence.

Anxious of the sounds.

Anxious of the world.

The never-ending reminders.

Anxious that in a world filled with people, here I am.

In this little concrete block that I slave my life away for.

Surrounded by the things that often bring me joy.

Anxious of being alone.

Alone.

Living In Contradiction

photo-1526133066955-2b6a24bfda49.jpeg

I am the girl you’ll see on the streets, smiling at strangers, forever cheery.

I am her, nose in the air, uncaring, uninterested, just a little bit snooty.

 

I am loud, to you, maybe to her. You’ll hear me from the other room, laughing and making jokes.

I am shy and anxious. Timid when I see them. Afraid of my voice, terrified of the crowd.

 

I long to be free. To be rid of the Louis Vuitton dreams.

“Find me a corner and my old computer. I’m in the mood to watch TV.”

To be rid of my wants, focus on the needs,

To buy less clothes, to save fewer links,

To return my credit card, to live debt free.

 

I am the ideal consumer. Have something pretty? Does it smell luxury?

“Bring it to me, won’t you please?”

It’s not for show. It’s not for them to see.

It’s for me. It’s for the way they make me feel.

Powerful. Rich. Just a little bit snooty.

 

I suffered. A childhood that left me broken. Insecure and sceptic.

I’ve had days where food wasn’t real, when home wasn’t existent and life was on hold.

Yet, here I am, spoilt. Like a kid in a candy store who won’t stop crying. 

Not because I’m sad. Because I want what I want when I want it. 

 

I love people. The closer I can keep them, the happier I feel.

I hate company. Leave me alone, don’t want to speak.

 

I long for a partner. For someone’s arm to hold.

To smile, to flirt, to laugh. To hug when I’m cold.

I am his woman, in love, smitten. 

“Where’s my ring? Can’t wait till I marry him!”

 

I imagine a world, my company, I’m Queen.

There’s no king, no man. Just me and my employees.

It’s an empire. It’s mine. It’s hard work, long hours, no sleep,

But when I stand at that window, overlooking a world that I can finally touch and feel…

I would be invincible… but wait, that’s not it.

 

I want more. Out of this life, this world.

To have it better. To fight for more. 

A better job, better salary, better rights, better government, 

Better love, better laughter, better people,

I just want…

 

I want to be content. Happy with what I have. 

Accepting of others. To have the ability to say,

“You are your best version and that’s okay.”

To them, to him, to me…

 

But I just don’t agree.

 

 

I Feel Alive

photo-1467103789230-f91a5ff8048a.jpeg

I’m drawn to pain. I’ve known this forever.

I say this often and people always underestimate how it runs and how real it is.

I’m always the one on the phone listening to everyone’s most depressing sentences. I’m the one my friends come to when they need to cry, when they need to vent or when they need to complain. And I absorb it. For someone who doesn’t know how to care for a human being, I’m always the one listening, ready to comfort.

Lately, I’ve been asking myself why.

Have you seen Eminem ft. Ed Sheeran’s River? The actual video is a flipping nightmare when you look at it in the sense of a relationship. But I’m so drawn to it. I find myself watching the video and listening to the video instead of just the song because I don’t want to just hear the song. I want to hear him say hurtful things to her. I want to hear them fight. And I find comfort in the pain that it gives me.

It’s similar to Love the Way You Lie. When they constantly push each other against walls but they also are attracted to each other and this destructive cycle continues until the house finally burns down and I thought to myself, “My God. That relationship. Wow.”

I fight with him all the time. I don’t intend to start fights and most of the time, I am trying to stop them. But in a way, when I look back at them, I realize how easy it was for me to escalate something insignificant into something so big.  How hurtful words rolled off my tongue like I was asking for an extra shot of espresso. How I did anything I could to ensure he would say the things he’ll regret because it hurts me. But I wanted to hear them.

I remember a phase a few months ago. It was a bad one. We were fighting like the world was crumbling around us. I woke up every morning, exhausted. My fingers would itch to text him an apology but instead, it would build up. I’d begin with, “I’m sorry. But you know what happens…” The text would end with, “But you’re an asshole. It’s your fucking fault.”

In a way, I was the sanest during that time. The constant pain in my chest was a comfort. And there was so much pain. I was hurting emotionally to a point where I could physically feel the pain. But it was perfect.

You know how you dream of a future?

I do, too.

I sit in a room, drink my coffee and imagine a world where I’m finally successful. I’m in the perfect career, look absolutely gorgeous and in love with a man that’s amazing. But we’re not just in love. We’re in love in a way that makes us extremely vulnerable around each other. Like I could drop dead with a heart attack if he said one word wrong because that’s how toxic and unhealthy that relationship was. But it was powerful. Because we were in that relationship knowing we had the power to destroy the other with one word but loved each other so much that we’d never say it. It was like walking at the edge of a cliff. You could fall to your death or on land and live. It was filled with adrenaline. And the idea of that relationship felt so surreal and incredible.

The problem is – my needs don’t match my reactions in reality.

I’m someone that will put up with a lot. But when my boyfriend said something that hurt me deeply, I didn’t run towards him. I didn’t say, “More please.” I took a step back. I called less. I spoke less. I hated him with a passion because he’d hurt me and it wasn’t okay.

And I told myself, “Maybe I’m over it. Maybe I’m not that person anymore. Maybe I’m not drawn to pain.” But every time we fight, every argument we ever have, I want more. Like an addict who found the best version of a drug, I can’t stop until it’s all done and I’ve finally heard it and felt it. Then I stop and breathe. Then I go, “Cool. Now we can fix this.”

Are you like that?

We sit together as a family. I find myself disconnecting. Like an outsider looking in. The happiness that they feel doesn’t exist in me. I’m laughing with them while thinking to myself, “Fuck. This feels so fake.”

But when they’re screaming…

When we’re all screaming… it’s so bloody painful. But I’m in that moment. I’m not detached from my reality. I’m present and alive.

I live everyday believing he and I will break up someday. I love him. The idea of a world without him scares me to death. But I think of it everyday. I think of why it’ll happen – because I’d choose to end it, of course. I think of that conversation. The panic and the pain set in and I pick up my phone and text him how much I love him. He writes back and I smile with a little blush.

The back of my mind goes, “Imagine a day when that doesn’t happen…”

And I’m alive again.

Laugh Like Her

screen-shot-2019-02-01-at-11.00.57-pm-e1549033311631.png

I’m a 26-year-old living in Singapore working a job that takes me to different countries and a boyfriend who adores me. I buy clothes every weekend and complain about how many nights of wine and cheese my colleagues throw in lieu of a party.

I post pictures of me with large groups, great food and brilliant surroundings. I spent an evening in Paris at an apartment one street away from the Eiffel Tower with women who are so strong and brave, it’s unrealistic. You saw the champagne, you saw the image, you never saw the truth.

Welcome to the facade of us happy working women.

“I met the CEO of a fancy company. He introduced himself to me.” – I saw the CEO of a fancy company. I stood around awkwardly while he spoke to my boss because I was too embarrassed to introduce myself and so I just stared for a half-hour and he ended up being really nice and introduced himself to me.

“I went to Paris. My office sent me.” – I went to a small town that’s a one hour drive away from Paris where I didn’t realize things shut down on Sundays and has very limited vegetarian options all 7 days of the week. I lost a lot of weight and developed severe ulcers when I came back.

“Oh my God! I feel so bad. Are you okay?” – I don’t know how to care. Sometimes, I think it’s a flaw. Sometimes, I think it’s normal and we’re all like that.

Because, come on…

When someone falls down, do you actually care? Do you rush out of reflex because society has taught you to ask how they are, let them know you can help and pretend you give a fuck about anyone but yourself or is it because your heart actually hurts when you see someone fall?

I don’t. Not unless I really truly care. Which is so fucking rare. Because I’m in constant competition with everyone I know since I was in first grade. “I have to be better. I have to score higher. I have to look hotter.” You know what? Fuck that shit. Here’s the truth.

I have high-functioning depression. I see a therapist once a month. I fight with my boyfriend every other day. I’m jealous of girls and their laughter even though I know it’s all fake, just like mine.

I spend endless hours staring at blank pages. I travel one hour in two trains to reach eight hours of work before I travel one hour in two trains to come back home and cook. I haven’t slept for 8 whole hours in a very long time. I don’t think I’m drinking enough water anymore. I don’t know if I’m eating the right things. I think I’m weak. I’m scared to check. My eyes are tired. My body is sore. My heart has been breaking in pieces for months. I’ve been staring at a draft of a second book that I can’t bring myself to edit.

I want to get married. I can’t admit it. Because it’s weak. Women don’t need men in their lives. Women are strong. Women can survive alone. But holy fuck, how desperately I want to live under one roof and play house. Sometimes, I think it’s just the sex. Sometimes, I think it’s the companionship. Sometimes, it’s because, fuck you strong and independent, I want to be his wife.

I’ve been studying GMAT. For months. I suck at it. I want so badly to get good at it. So I pick up the book and my phone rings and I try to spend time with human beings in actual conversation but my emails go off and I want to be a good employee who responds to my boss past midnight and I remember my book that I would really really like to edit but then it’s past 1am and I have to be up at 6am and I want so desperately to sleep.

So I do none of it. I turn music on and slowly cry.

Sometimes I stare at my Instagram. Sometimes I stare at hers. I don’t know whose smile is fake. Whole laughter is painful. I don’t know whose life is a lie.

But we all want to say, “Mine.” Because I cried when I went home but I bet she laughed and loved.

I sobbed alone into my pillow but I bet he shares hers.

I broke down every night but I bet she partied forever.

Her life. Her travel. Her hair. Her nails. Her boyfriend fiancé. Because didn’t you see that ring? Didn’t you see his proposal? I did. They’re meant to be together. Maybe we’re not. They never fight. Oh, you should hear us growl.

So here we go. I’ll try this again.

I’m a 26-year-old living 3000 miles away from the people I love on a routine that leaves no time for me. I work a job that takes me to countries I can’t explore because I’m always broke and a boyfriend who loves me, maybe not. I buy clothes I can’t afford, credit card bills ceiling to floor and that free wine? It’s my one true lifeline.

I love my job. It’s the only thing that keeps me going.

But that’s the only thing you’ll ever hear me complain about.

Because, that’s the new normal, right? We’re supposed to have perfect lives and shitty jobs but it pays for the perfect life and so it’ll be yet another thing I continue to lie about?

I have a messy life.

I have shitty interpersonal relationship skills.

I have one best friend.

I don’t really know if my relationship will last.

I’m worried sick about my aging dogs that live with my aging parents.

I’m worried sick about my aging parents.

I want to be rich through my capabilities as a creative thinker in the world of writing and advertising and marketing. I also just want to be married to someone rich but not really but maybe. We’ll see.

I don’t really know what I’m supposed to be doing.

I’m anxious 90% of my existence and you know what I do when I am?

I log on to Instagram. To look at lives I am not living. To look at lies we’re both saying.

I follow a lot of happy looking women on Instagram. Because my inspiration is not their clothes or their face or their bodies. It’s that laughter.

And so I go…

In a crowded train, early Monday morning. Staring at my phone. I find myself wonder…

What an incredible life it will be… if only I could laugh like her.

And I post yet another fake picture.

Welcome to my lie.

A Year That Was

Untitled design-12.png

I wrapped up my 2018 on an emotional note. I said, “Until next time,” yet again to a love who lives far away. I am struggling with the resurfacing of suppressed emotions. I’m grieving a loss eight months after it happened. Or maybe, it’s just the feeling of such an overwhelming year coming to an end. But I’ve been emotional and always two minutes from tears.

This year has been all over the place. When I thought it couldn’t get worse, it did. When I thought it couldn’t get better, it did. Sometimes, I can’t believe it all happened in 365 days. But it was filled with lessons for a lifetime.

I started my year with a job offer. The people around me looked excited, but I knew it wasn’t the right one. I knew there was something better waiting for me. I still took it. I traveled 3000 miles for it. I sat in a hotel room with my mother who was there to help me settle in and I knew in my gut I wasn’t supposed to be there. I cried, sobbed and came back home like a kid on the first day of kindergarten. With that, I learnt to trust my instincts and tune out other voices because I was right.

But making that choice meant living off of my father’s money again. I know a lot of people who don’t mind this part. But I do. I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY do. My need to live on my money is high. And so I sank. Deeper and deeper into depression. The kind I haven’t known before. The kind where I volunteered to get help against the wishes of the ones near and dear to me. I was prescribed medication. Yet, on a dull afternoon, I picked up a pencil and started to draw anything that made sense. When I finally put the pencil down, a weight had lifted off of me. I was free. I can’t express why. I can’t tell you how. But it was like my emotions had poured itself out and a light had found me. With that, I learnt the importance of art for my mental wellbeing.

And I thought to myself, Well, the worst is behind me. Life sat in a corner and laughed knowingly.

For the first time in my life, I learnt loss. I learnt how to know and love someone and have them be taken away. I learnt pain like nobody can ever teach you. I watched as the light went out from my fur baby’s eyes. The young one. The sweet one. The one I didn’t fear losing because I had another four years older. And I never understood how to process that pain. I never truly felt that loss wash over me. I find myself unable to say her name without breaking inside today. The therapist tells me it’s because I didn’t grieve. But I don’t know how to. I’m so used to not letting myself feel this pain, I don’t know how to just let it take over. This year, I learnt to love and lose, never to see again. I learnt the importance of grieving as I continue to struggle today.

They said she took the evil away. That worse things needed to happen but she took it so we could have it better. I don’t find myself enjoying the better when someone adds that spin to it. Because if I had to be at home depressed out of my mind to still have her with me, I’d do it in a heartbeat. And that is how I learnt that I’m not going to be the hard-ass, heartless and cold entrepreneur that I hoped to be. Because I can’t walk over people I love to get what I want. I need the ones I love around me, always.

It’s clingy but I’m lucky to have found someone who understands. Someone who stood by me as I went from sad to depressed to questioning the purpose of my existence to finding hope and passion again. A few weeks after my fur baby passed away, I landed the job I knew I would get. The one that feels like a dream. I’d kept the man I love in the dark about it until I got it. I took the job and went to him, “I got a job. It’s far away. We’ll be long distance until you’re able to move. But I took it anyway.” I didn’t ask questions. I didn’t ask how he felt. I did what I wanted to and let him know. Imagine my shock when he went, “OhmyGod! Congratulations! I’m so happy for you!” I count my blessings with that one everyday.

And so began the better part of the year. We adopted a stray dog. I identified my real friends. I announced my second book. I wrote the first draft of the second book. I ticked off two new countries on my list. I met global leaders, I shook hands with people I hope to one day be and most importantly, I found myself surrounded by women doing all the things the world I came from told me was absolutely impossible. I found myself inspired everyday and after endless months of not knowing why I’m here, I found my reason again. I found the need to move forward. And for the first time in a long time, I found hope.

My job makes me travel. And in October, I went to Paris. I saw the Eiffel Tower in shivering cold! It was magical. I remember standing there with four women who were way high up on the food chain at work laughing with me and teasing me. It was… perfect. Life laughed again. I spent two weeks in France unable to really experience my surrounding, faking laughter and fighting tears. Wanting to leave, knowing I should stay. I can’t ever explain what happened. But those two weeks taught me – I’m stronger than I think I am.

Because now I know. I know how tangible happiness is. How fleeting perfection is. And no, I won’t hide. I won’t be afraid to take bold and bright steps forward. But I’m going to be prepared. I have the ability to say, “I’ll make my plans, you do your worst. I’ll find my way again. I promise.” That was the biggest lesson 2018 taught me.

We all slip and fall. A number change in the date doesn’t change that. Sometimes, we fall harder than ever before. It doesn’t matter as long as you find the courage to rise again.

In 2018, I learnt the meaning of the words, “This too shall pass.” Because the good and the bad, they pass. And every morning is a fresh start. Every minute is a new one. Ride the waves as they come but be prepared to fall off the board. You’re the only one who can get back on it again.

I spent my last week of 2018 in Dubai. With people I love, doing things I enjoy. I created, I worked, I toured and of course, I fell more in love.

2019 will change many things for me. Personally and professionally. For better or for worse. I’m going to tell myself what I hope you’ll tell yourself, too, when life gets the better of you – Keep moving. Life doesn’t stagnate, you shouldn’t either.

Have a fantastic 2019! Happy New Year from me and mine to you and yours!!

With lots of love, bright smiles and bear hugs,

Poornima

 

In memory of Mika (2016 – 2018)
Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 12.03.23 PM.png

My 26-Year-Old Life in a Blog

Screen Shot 2018-11-24 at 3.56.48 PM.png

I don’t think this is the life I imagined for myself as a girl heading towards 30. I did say, girl. I don’t feel quite like a woman yet. I often compared my life to the overly successful 26-something ladies and wondered if I’d get there. I often compared my life to the horrible 26-something ladies and wondered if I’d wind up there. But somehow, I’ve gotten to neither.

I set an alarm for 6 every morning. I wake up at 8:10 when I’m supposed to be at work before 9. Did I mention work is 30 minutes away? Yep. I get through my day with 80% work and 20% chit-chat. I enjoy it. That’s something I was afraid I wouldn’t. I never wanted to be in my “prime” years, hating what I was doing. So I’m glad.

I want to wrap up at 5:30 every day. I end up staying there past 6 EVERY DAY. I make plans for coffee. For a quick dinner. For a drink, maybe. That sounds ridiculously old. “I catch up with friends for a drink after work.” That’s the new normal now.

I make plans and I always show up late. I was never late. I’m now always late. I smile, I laugh and I make eye contact as I say, “Cheers,” while I text fight with the one constant in my life not tied to me by blood.

I sigh through Thursday nights wishing it was Friday. I get so much done on Friday because I wish I could get to bed fast. I’m still out at 1am on Saturday morning wishing I’d worked on that ONE LAST THING so I didn’t have to work the weekend. I wake up past noon wishing I’d woken up sooner. I Netflix all day wishing I could turn it off and get some chores done. I start doing chores wishing I was Netflixing instead.

I skype. I text. I watch as my calendar fills up and my bank account empties. It’s the last four days of the month and I’m counting pennies until the salary kicks in. But payday isn’t what I imagined it to be.

Because now, you’re right. I do get a lot more money than my parents gave me for pocket money. But my expenses are sky high, too. Did they tell you about this magically horrible thing called BILLS? No, they didn’t. Because learning about subatomic particles was more important than bills. I don’t even know what subatomic particles are anymore. But here’s what I do know. I pay bills. Every first day of the month. And then my bank account reduces by half. And then I pay this incredibly crazy thing they call, “Taxes and Pension Fund.” I know taxes help keep my city safe and working. I know it. I wish they’d all had other ways of income so I can afford to do some retail therapy after that texting fight I mentioned before. But no. I pay it. I mean, I also need to have money when I’m 60, right? RIGHT? No, I’m not right. I don’t want a pension fund. I want money. To eat out. To have one extra drink. Why is there no rule that you don’t pay pension fund in your 20’s so you can have a life and then you start saving at 30 for your 60’s? There should be, right?

But there isn’t. So I live on 1/4 of the money I make after one month of waking up at 8:10 and staying at work till 6:30. And I repeat this every day, every month, all year long.

And I spend my Saturdays feeling like I have all the time in the world to do chores and Sundays wondering why I slept through Saturday. I get to work on Monday wishing my boss hasn’t reached yet and smiling while scared when I realize she is. CAN SOMEONE TELL ME HOW BOSSES HAVE THE ABILITY TO WAKE UP AND GET TO WORK ON TIME? LIKE HOW? I MEAN THEY HAVE FAMILIES. THEY WAKE UP, THEY DEAL WITH FAMILY AND STILL GET TO WORK ON TIME! I only have to deal with me. I don’t even eat breakfast. I wake up, shower and show up. But I’m still late.

And this repeats. Over and over and over again. I meet with friends from college. We can now stay out past 10pm! WHAT A REVELATION! My boyfriend and I can travel! – That’s not really approved though. I’m just pissing some people off in the process. Do I also have to mention the many people I piss off by not texting back because I was in a meeting, then I was working, then I had plans and I totally thought I did!!?

I deal with, “You’re old enough to be married,” and “Are you dating someone? We can get you married to him.” I find myself repeating, “Yes, I am. I’m not into the idea of marriage.” Then the elderly continue to tell me why it is important to secure a relationship with marriage. I dream of a weekend in Bali with him and tune the other voices out. Sometimes, I also dream of pizza. I mean, come on. It’s PIZZA! It’s the poor man’s Michelin food.

I fight with my boyfriend. I show up at work sulking. We fix our fight. I work late trying to make up the time that I spent texting him during the day fixing our fight. I go out  saying, “I’m not drinking.” I come back stumbling. “Which way does this key go in again?” I hate myself the next morning as I get through four cups of coffee. I tell myself, “I’m never going out again,” as my phone rings and my next plan is made. If you’re wondering, no. I can’t afford this. But we do it. Because if I wasn’t drowning in credit card debt in my 20’s, am I really alive?

And so this continues. I pay the bills. I spend the money again. I pay it again. I spend it again. I love him. I don’t love him. I love him like crazy. “He’s totally crazy!” I drink. I swear to never drink. I drink again. I set alarms I sleep through. I buy shoes I’ll never walk in. I buy clothes I don’t have time for. Don’t even get me started on make-up and self-care products. I’m not awake long enough to be self-caring. BUT OMG! Did you see the new face serum?

And then, as the month draws to an end, and I sit at home broke on a Saturday evening that feels like morning because I just woke up, I write a post after quite a few months to tell you all, “Here’s my 26-year-old life in a blog!”

Is yours the same?

“My wife”

photo-1523523262500-ec13396518c6.jpeg“We talked about this. We decided. And you want to go back and revisit all our conversations?”

We stared at each other, my hands itching to fidget. He thinks I’m doing it on purpose. I’m going back and altering everything I agreed to, everything we shook hands on. I’m changing my mind and it’s not fair! But I didn’t know how to explain it to him.

“I stood in a room today. I saw two women. One who chose herself. She chose to be independent. She walked away from her marriage, choosing herself and her emotions above it. She’s lonely, of course. I see it in her eyes. But there’s also clarity. There’s a sense of satisfaction and she knows her life is her own. Opposite her sat another. A woman dependent since the day she was born and will be until she dies. On her parents, on her brothers, on her husband. Romance or rage, she had nowhere to run. She was always at the mercy of another. Her tears could not turn into motivation. Her intelligence never became her strength. And she exists. By reflex, not with excitement. She survives because her mind knows the routine. She’s not throwing her head back and laughing. She’s not stating her opinions with courage. She’s not living. She exists.

I’m the daughter of the latter. And in that weird way that science seems to work, I am almost exactly like her. I am weak where I know I can be strong. I am dependent with a need to break free from it. I am a reflection of who she is, constantly desiring to be different. And in some ways I am different. I’ve found my voice. But it’s not loud enough.

When we spoke about marriage, when we discussed the rules, I could see it. I could see you and me. A wonderful man and a woman in love. But then we established it. It’s going to happen. It’s reality. And suddenly, it wasn’t so clear. I was so confused. Not about us but about me. About my identity. So, let’s say we do it. We get married. Then what happens to me?

The woman by your side, you grin and introduce, “Oh! Have you met my wife?” ?

Is that who I become? I become your wife?

I worked so hard. I studied when I didn’t feel like it. I crammed when everyone around me partied. I worked 16 hour days to ensure I’ll be noticed as me. For what? To become someone’s ‘wife’? If that’s not it, then who am I?

You come to tell me about this big new thing you’re doing. I smile as I process how I feel about it. If I tell you I hate it and you listen, I become boss. If I tell you I hate it and you ignore it, I become irrelevant. So which one am I? How many times in my life will I have to ask myself this question? How many times will you disagree with me? On how many things?

Why didn’t I ever ask you that? Why didn’t I ask you what happens when we disagree on your life choices? Why didn’t I acknowledge how selfish it sounds when I say I don’t want your opinions on mine? That I want the freedom to make my choices and live my life outside of you and our little family, even when I’m 60 because I need to always remind myself that I am still an individual outside of your existence? But who lives like that? Who lives like they’re single and married at the same time? Who raises a family by showering them with absence? I won’t. I’m not that mother. I won’t leave my children with nannies. Never. But that leaves me tied to them. Every day for the rest of my life. A mother. A wife. Is that it? Is that my life?

It is so many other women’s. And that’s great for them. But I want more. I’ve always wanted more. I want to be that woman who stands there, smiling, her feet planted to the ground, her head held high for her accomplishments outside her family. I want to feel success. My success. Outside of us. To live a life that’s big. To walk into a room and not have to be introduced. And I want that for myself every moment for as long as I live. But is that okay?

They said you’ll be stubborn. I knew you were. My father is, too. A man who believes he can never be wrong. I see that in you. I see so many other things about him in you. In that creepy way they say a woman’s choice of husband almost always bears resemblance to the first man she knew. But that’s the scary part. If I am my mother and you are him, will our be marriage be theirs?

Will you be the man and I’ll just be there? Why didn’t we talk about that? Why was that never a conversation?

So I come up with alternatives that will never work. “We should live together,” like it’s a possibility without risking being disowned. But isn’t that the same? I’m still in a house. I’m still with you. I’m still making plans that revolve around us. So where’s me in all of that?

Who am I? As you wrap your arm around my waist and smile politely, will you say, “Meet the author, writer, artist and a human being with her own amazing life?”

Or pull me close, smile so gentle and go, “Have you met my wife?”