Myrtle-Green Butterfly

One day, she realized that the

myrtle-green butterfly 

she was holding onto for dear life

belonged to the air.

She’d held onto it  

longer than was necessary.

Not wanting to hurt 

its myrtle wings

she had come to love,

not wanting to see it struggle

to break loose,

she set it free.

It was a butterfly unlike the 

counterparts of its species –

the dust of its wings never left

the ridges of her fingers. 

Thenceforth she sat

on the blue-gray cobblestones

flanked by withered patches 

of pink carnations

and strewn with dead leaves.

Dragonflies, aphids, grasshoppers

like mocking winged missiles 

would slowly approach and hastily retreat.

They’d whisper loudly,

Don’t get too close, it’s dangerous,

for the butterfly-catcher to hear.

Searching, sometimes for hours,

she watched slow-beating wings

draw from the bosoms of 

slow-dancing flowers,

but the pairs of wings she saw 

were either too gaudy as

a gypsy’s motley patch-dress,

or too unremarkably plain as

a scullery maid’s aged apron. 

At long last, one evening 

when the dusk was robbing 

the last colors of the day,

she spotted it – her myrtle-green butterfly –

hovering alone 

near the golden-hearted purple irises. 

With the caution of

a person crossing a field

sown with landmines,

the febrile franticness of

a lone soul crossing 

a fraying drawbridge,

she made her painstaking way thither. 

Like a sinner, going down 

on bended knees,

the butterfly-catcher whispered

her apology:

I’ve been waiting to see you

just to say

I’m sorry for catching you

the other day.

Though it wasn’t eternity,

I held onto you too long,

but then I let you go because 

it’s not where you belong. 

It made me so happy when I held you,

But happiness isn’t happiness

if the other’s not happy too. 

Myrtle-green butterfly, you were 

special to me,

but you were never mine for the keeping

so I set you free. 

Getting Accustomed to Living with the Past

Every single soul to ever live on and roam this planet has carried that weighty anchor on his back- the past. It rightly serves its purpose of dragging a person down the suffocating ocean of bitter memories when they break more than just a sweat in the attempt to resurface.

Just because one puts the past behind oneself, it doesn’t mean that the past isn’t following one around. It’s always there like an invisible ghost to haunt the mind and resurrect deadened memories.

It is a misconception that one can run away from one’s past. The past is a fragment of one’s life that one can only learn to accept and live with- much like conditioning oneself to living with a person one knows is never going to change.

And if people can never change, the past can never alter itself. It can be likened to an uncensored film with no facilities to format or modify situations, actions or words.

Coming back to the metaphor of the ocean, a skilled swimmer was once someone who sank in the water in his first attempt to float, but as his mind and body became accustomed to the feel and the smell of the chlorinated water, the fear of sinking in it was soon dispelled and now, he is able to glide in a lissom manner across the water without allowing it to suck him in. Instead, he propels his whole form forward, conquering the demanding water with his buoyancy.

At first, the notion of the water would have conjured up in his mind, the ghost of fear, but as he enhances his aquatic prowess, a wave of realization will sweep over him, following which, he would know that it was the fear of sinking in that water that made him want to resurface.

It might have taken time, but in the end, it paid off. The water remained the same, but the boy who went into it like a sinker came out of it a full-fledged swimmer.

Likewise, the past will always remain the same. The person bearing it like a burden can decide whether to succumb to it or whether to overcome it.

From Myself To Myself

Dear Me,

There are different types of people and there are different roles they have in your life and different reasons as to why they do what they do and why they affect you the way they do. Some are meant to hurt, others are meant to heal. Some are meant to break, others are meant to repair. Some are meant to stay, others are meant to leave. The list of possible scenarios goes on and on.

But out of the myriad people in the world, there are only a few you get to know, and fewer still whom you learn to trust, but what if that person’s relationship with you soon dissolves into nothing? What happened to all the secrets shared, all the time spent, all the hurt repaired and all the scars bandaged and the wounds healed? It’s just pulverizing to think that you gave that person such an important place in your life and in the chamber of your heart for them to decide to leave all of a sudden.

You know that both of you went wrong somewhere, somehow, but ironically, you just shoulder the whole blame while the other goes scot free, laden with no worry about what she left broken.

Reopening a scar is tormenting because it takes you back to why it was there to begin with, and to think it has yet another new beginning? Wow.

When someone you love hurts you so deeply, it’s like walking around with a knife plunged deep and lodged in your core. You’re bleeding, you’re hurting, you’re dying- but just not dead enough to give in or give up.

Conforming yourself to the bitter cup of reality is demanding. It’s agonizing to come to terms with the probable verity that you never meant as much to her as she did to you. Maybe you just weren’t important enough for her to care anymore.

To love someone and know that you will never be loved back the same way is one of the most crushing feelings and to know that your love meant little or nothing is hurtful beyond words. Your love was stigmatizing to her, it was a blemish in her perfect life, a constant factor or degradation, irritation and aggravation.

If only you could have done something differently, or not at all, would that have saved you the hurt of betrayal, rejection and isolation? Or was it better that it came painfully but sooner?

The truth always hurts because it contradicts everything you made it out to be. You mapped out a whole loving fantasy just to have it erased in the blink of an eye. The sting of knowing that you’ve been replaced is more incurable than terminal cancer.

It was just a competition for attention and flattery which fools played and fools won, but you weren’t a fool, so you didn’t know how to play the game. Fools don’t have any rules- they just play by fair means or foul. The latter is predominant.

But today will fly by on the wings of an eagle as will all the hurt it flung you. Tomorrow’s waiting.

With love,

Yourself

Stories Minus Words

“Everyone has a story, but not all are told with words.” — This 15 year old

Many-a-time, I have walked in crowds, bumped shoulders, met a few eyes and exchanged fewer words- with strangers. I’m not an analyst, but I have always been an observer of people. It’s funny how we think we know a thing or two about them before we even know their names.

Look at people and you see them as they are, but try looking closer and you’ll discover that there’s more to them than what meets the eye. Everyone likes to appear normal in the public eye, but beneath fine raiment, jewels that rival the stars, satin-smooth faces, million dollar smiles and the like, there is something that lies buried beneath the superficiality.

Have you ever stopped to consider that the prettiest girl you saw on the bus today might not feel the same way inside? Or the person with the most entrancing smile hides undisclosed sorrow beneath it?

Maybe the person who jocularly socializes with friends and aliens alike on the sidewalk is actually lost and lonely when she presses her head to the pillow each night. The so-called “nerd” who graces the library with his presence might wear thick glasses and an unkempt hairstyle not to fit into the pigeonhole, but to ward off companions for the fear of later desertion.

The man who frequents the local coffee shop, sipping from a much used plastic tumbler, might be branded as a pariah, but he is probably someone who ekes out a living for a meager wage just to relish the taste and the feel of hot coffee on his lips and taste buds.

The girl just around the corner wearing the stone studded bracelet on her wrist might not be ostentatious, but rather, someone who is trying to hide the indelible scar of a miserable existence.

A million faces with a million stories, each with their own settings, unexpected plot twists and moments on cloud nine. And maybe from now, I’ll try to see more than just the exterior shell because some stories are best told without words.

Resolutions Experiencing Untimely Dissolution?

It is only verity that resolutions, promises, relationships and eggs have one thing in common- they can all be broken. And now that we’ve bidden farewell to the yesteryear, we have, perhaps, made none/one/a handful of resolutions; but resolutions are easy to make and easy to break and there’s no two ways about that.

If your resolutions are experiencing premature dissolution, you might get dispirited and cynical of yourself. Then, you might toss all your pledges for the nascent year into the trash can along with your other wasted hopes and futile endeavors.

But, on a more practical note, why do we await the transition of one year into another in order to ameliorate and restructure ourselves? Let me put it out there that I’m not big on the whole “New Year, New Me” notion.

You ask me why?

Here’s why- it’s because I believe that you don’t require the years/months/days/hours/seasons and so forth to change in order for you to do so. Why wait for some distant, propitious day to dawn when every moment of your life is a chance to become someone you should be or someone you never thought you could be?

Every second that turns one moment into another is just as special and magical as the second that changes one year into another. That second- that brief instant at any point of time- is an opportune time to change yourself from the person you are to the person you seek to be.

Never defer resolutions to a later date, because, that date isn’t guaranteed to you just on account of it being on the calendar.

I’ll wrap it up with a rousing statement by Robert J. Braathe: “I don’t believe in New Year Resolutions. I believe in new day or new hour resolutions.”

Doing Away with the Debris of Self-Loathing

Hatred is a potent emotion. It is horrible when you’ve reserved it for others and terrible when you’ve reserved it for yourself. I know those clauses are synonymous, but let’s focus on the latter half of that sentence.

Self-loathing.

It’s a disease with the same causative and curative factor. Interesting, huh? This blog post explores the reasons and the means to clear your system of the debris of spite for yourself. And let me tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth: you can’t genuinely love another if you don’t love yourself.

Some of the reasons for self-loathing are:

  • Lack of self-knowledge

Knowledge and understanding are interdependent. They walk hand in hand. Misunderstandings amongst people arise on account of lack of knowledge of the other’s reasons and needs. When it comes to one’s own self, it is as vital as oxygen that one should carry out a thorough self-analysis in order to deepen the insight of his/her capabilities, drawbacks etc., and thus obtain a vivid image of one’s state of affairs.

  • Over-embellishing faults

Let’s face it, shall we? We’re all imperfectly perfect human beings who (as a matter of incontrovertible fact) learn much from success and much more from failure and mistakes. People sometimes see themselves mentally the way they would appear were they to look into a mirror with a busted glass. Faults don’t make you any less a human being. They should bring us closer to who we are as they show us what we need to repair in our lives. They should not be utilized as fuel for the fire of self-loathing.

  • Envy of others

Ralph Waldo Emerson, in all his perspicacity, stated, “Envy is ignorance and imitation is suicide.”

People often view others as idyllic and as epitomes of perfection. They are so engrossed in the imprudence of admiration and imitation that they forget that their eyes are not x-ray machines. The meaning? They are not capable of seeing what’s beneath a pearly smile and dazzling attire. The amount of appreciation you have for yourself starts becoming inversely proportional to the amount of admiration you have for another.

Now that we’ve explored the territory of knotty reasons, let’s move on to the one with some solutions.

  • Enhance your fortes and eliminate your faults

You don’t need to be a Chemistry geek to know that in an atom, for every proton (positive charge), there is an electron (negative charge). The purpose of this configuration is stability. So, there cannot be a person who is wholly and solely full of endowments or who is constantly overflowing with errors. Assess your positive abilities and augment them. Address your slipups and alleviate them as progressively as possible.

  • Spend quality time with yourself

As I mentioned in one of my prior posts, you’re not a waste of your own time. A child who experiences emotional neglect by its parents undergoes an arduous stage following which, a conceptualization of the parents forms as people who are indifferent. Similarly, when you neglect yourself, it ought to summon the spirit of loneliness and emptiness. So, you can cultivate a healthy friendship with yourself and if this doesn’t sound zany, you could leave yourself a little love letter whenever you’re down in the dumps, because, who doesn’t like a little compliment/booster now and then?

  • Don’t overestimate or underestimate yourself

Painting a fake picture of yourself is as stupid as trying to cover a freshly healing lesion in the skin with a tattoo. Pose not as someone who knows all things or who can do all things impeccably. Similarly, do not debase yourself as someone who is fit to only stand in the shadow of another. Do not brim with overconfidence because it is one of your truest faux amis. Exude a mannerism that is natural and not ostentatious.

It’s quite apparent that you don’t need a sickle to weed out hatred for yourself and plant the seed of love. Water with attention and you’ll see love for yourself blossoming sooner than you think.

Wilting World

If, by some stroke of good fortune, you obtain the chance to overcome the earth’s orbital velocity in a satellite, you’d have a remarkable panorama. You might see The Great Wall of China like a bulging vein on our blue orb, or Seattle’s Space Needle puncturing a cloud, or the pinnacles of the Great Himalayas like outsized spines of a porcupine shrouded in a garment of snow.

But, come a little closer and you might want to perceive the state of affairs on Planet Earth and you will infer that while your home has much to boast of with all the splendor it has to offer, it also has a downside.

Frankly, you don’t have to be in space; you don’t even need a visual aid to have a handle on what this is all about. Look around. What do you see? Dissension here, robbery a few feet away, a conspiracy down the avenue, a murder in the next block, a rotten politician behind it, a hitman in the window above you, poverty in shanty adjacent to your dwelling zone, a mountain of debris next to an overflowing trash can… I could add to this list and ramble on forever. (But I can’t and I won’t unless I intend to bore you stiff, dear readers.)

Patriotism and national integrity have been reduced to mere words in the dictionary and concepts in textbooks. Every country nominates secularism, religious tolerance and a multitude of other such principles as the values they stand for, but there has always been this incongruous instinct of a handful of the populace of this world to adulterate a pure reputation and stain the face of the earth red with blood, black with underhand money with the flesh market thrown in, and brown with grime.

It is a natural tendency for the dwellers of a country- especially those in high places- to boast of their country’s achievements in various sectors, but on digging a little deeper, one can find that there is more to it than what meets the eye or what enters the auditory canal. Veiled beneath the mantle of praises and superficiality is grim reality which can only provoke one question: What has this world come to?

With a pair of eyes and a functional mind, I can see this world wilting under the sun of vice due to the shortage of the distilling waters of virtue. If there are people who serve the purpose of social, national and global contamination, there are indisputably others who are capable of being agents of purification.