Eyes Open #WorkForHappy

(Or Alternatively, “Turning Twenty And Realizing My Eyes Have Been Shut The Whole Time: A Brief Birthday Reflection”)

Ascending into the two-decade old plane of existence was almost anti-climactic, but to be fair, it had to close a rather turbulent turn of the globe. Since last year, August 31, 2017, I have taken four total double 10+ hour bus rides, snared a dream role at a start-up publication, and even started dating a rather dashing lad who has an affinity for calling me a water buffalo in his free time.

At the same time I have screamed, panicked, had a handful of crises (less in comparison, though), was ghosted, and learned what it’s like to be between jobs about… five times. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the Mercury retrograde – I don’t even believe in that stuff and I still felt it in my bones that something was off in the heavens when I couldn’t even sip tea without burning my tongue.

tanyashatseva
Artwork by Tanya Shatseva

I survived 20 years of life. That’s cause for celebration, even if the sky doesn’t glow for me. The main difference between this year and the year before that is probably just how much I have matured.

Once I turned 20, I was faced with a very real responsibility – growing the fuck up. Being 19 was the last time I could plead being a teenager.

Do I miss this trump card? I thought I would. Do I still reach for it as if it’s still in my pocket? You bet your ass, I do.

The earth didn’t exactly pause in its orbit the moment I was born one humid Monday night in a Lester hospital, and it didn’t twenty years later either. The occasion was marked poignantly by my mother, who not only was celebrating my birthday, but the moment she officially became a mother. Every milestone and accomplishment in my life belongs, in part, to her as well.

My eyes were closed for my teenage years, and my mother had to remind me again that my eyes are hers, and she will not let me screw them shut any longer. I opened my eyes, witnessed everything I chose to ignore about myself, and realized that there’s a marked difference between walking through the dark, and walking with your eyes determinedly shut.

“You are my eyes, and I want you to see the world for me.” My mother never misses an opportunity to tell me this. Any moment I have self-doubt, or feel like a failure, I am reminded to open my eyes for her.

…there’s a marked difference between walking through the dark, and walking with your eyes determinedly shut. [Click to tweet!]

I have survived twenty years of existence, and now I am now en route of my twenty-first, I have decided not only to survive, but thrive. This sounds a bit tired, since everyone has a bit of a resolution when they get older, usually more and more sombre with every passing year.

My resolution, however, isn’t just to sit down and grow up – I want to grow. Perhaps now I am resourceful enough to actually push myself to do so, now, with eyes wide open.

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Siren Song

I remember my first voyage into the eye of a storm.

elesq2
artwork by elesq

It began as an inbred curiosity, the sort of thing you repress until it feels like if you don’t venture out, you might as well shrivel into nothing. I untied myself from the dock, and let the waves carry me out to where I thought I might be meant to be.

I could taste the purple storm building on the horizon with familiar bitterness, clouding around me until I was roped into an inevitable disaster. Continue reading “Siren Song”

Before Him

huigorou
artwork by Dahui Wang

Date a boy who doesn’t love you.

Date a boy whose eyes hold the stars and the moon, a boy whose hands are warm because they hold the sun. Date a boy who looks through you, searching something else in the crowd. Date a boy who makes you realize your own inconsequence, a boy who takes and takes until you are left with nothing but dusty text messages that once made your world spin. Date a boy whom you love, but doesn’t love you back.

Date a boy whom you don’t love. Continue reading “Before Him”

Crappy Poetry

The mind is too beautiful, too phenomenal, and too much of an utter enigma to become a cliche. The window to my mind is closed. The garden rooted in my amygdala has withered, the neurons unconcerned with typical metaphorical ideas. I don’t think, I just happen to exist (I swear I’m not trying to kiss Descartes’ ass), but I am not a slave to the precious aquarian trapped in my skull.

My brain, and therefore my mind (come at me, UofT Professor Vervaeke), is too complex, and I am tired of it becoming just a prefix for crappy poetry.

That being said… I feel like your mind and mine are one and a whole.

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I feel like you have held my mind in your own very two hands, and have tangibly tweaked with the dendrites and axons until they made drawbridges between me and the memory of your smile.

I feel like while my neurons are too lazy to spin serotonin into gold and relinquish too much control to the venus traps in my amygdala, they still get a rush just out of hearing your laugh.

I feel like while my precious dopamine has lost its way through my mesolimbic labyrinth and my old coping mechanisms have thus turned to dust, my whole brain still lights up when you say my name.

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don’t be fooled, this is actually brocolli

The mind is too beautiful, too phenomenal, and certainly too delicate to be handled like a cliche. My mind may have become black, cavities and caves of endless temptation, but you make it come to full potential again… but your mind is too singularly captivating to be rendered nothing more than a crutch to mine.

That being said…

You are too special just to become a prefix to my crappy poetry.

Satisfy

Beauty is about satisfaction. Its like food – everyone has different tastes, and everyone can only take so much of it before feeling sick to the stomach. Can you compare apples and oranges? Not really, even though it’s now an age old question.

121clicks.com5 Mistakes to avoid being a Photographer - 121Clicks.com:
Photo by alexstoddard on Flickr

The thing about you is that you aren’t quite beautiful, you’re strange. Interesting. Odd. Confusingly – exclusively – intriguing. And because you’re so strange, people don’t know what to make of you. Looking at you, I can never get enough; you’re just one of those people I can look at forever and never be satisfied, not get sick to the stomach. Because what the hell am I looking at? Who are you? Why can’t I stop experiencing you? Why can’t I tear my eyes away from your face without wanting to get one more taste? One more bite? One more, one more, one more.

Beauty is about satisfaction. But you – you are about somethin’ else completely.

You’re about to change me forever.

 

1M&1

“Hold my hand,” he said to me.

“Be the granite foundation on which I can lie and stare at the sparkled sky,

The dark lines like ribbons across my thighs that give me such release.

Be the return of a distraction from a life spent under the thistly wing of a vampire bat.”

We are standing in the flickering gas lights on a park path, chilled by the green moonlight which mask him like the desolate Phantom.

“Hold my hand,” he told me.

“Engulf me like the dead sea

Salt, cling to my skin like the desperate claws of a child

Suffocate me in the hydrogen peroxide of your breath.”

I am twelve, a couple months. He, sixteen and light years ahead with long hairs on his forearms and dark freckles that splash like acid across his wolfish, effeminate complexion.

“Take my hand,” he demanded.

“Tell me you will devote every particle of your essence to my philosophies,

And carry me home tonight when I become the full bottle of whisky I had drained;

Trade saliva with me for the first time like the burning kiss of the alcohol which has left me so goddamn empty.”

I can smell his spit from here, I can trace the hazy outline of his ginger stubble from here, I can breathe in the sharp smell of his cologne so that it splices my unquenched throat, so pieces of glass pile at the bottom of my gut.

“Take my hand, take my hand, just take my hand, just take it!” he snarled,

“Or my eyes will ooze something like that of the man who makes up a half of you.

You’ll smell the ozone electrodes of my desire for your purified body

Like you could sense a storm rolling over the hills. Looming, bristling.”

I am trembling, my knees knocking, my teeth chattering, whispering words that this is a true man, this is the only man, he’s all I will ever have and he loves me too.

I am wearing nothing much more than knee high socks and plaid dress, ribbons in my hair caught in the naked branches of the pine trees that guard him on either side.

In determined silence, I take his hand,

My lips are sealed, sticky with the grey honey of his words

And in this instant, this moment which dictates the most horrible of first,

I don’t know

That the zeal of his tongue picking out my teeth isn’t a justice, a privilege granted onto me, the grateful citizen of his metaphysical propaganda

But rather

It is the taste

The taste

The taste

The taste of a million girls before me.

Their shrill screams and defeated grunts and silent pleas –

As they all hold each other, linked at the pinkies, quivering,

Dragging Lucifer out from the pit

A million young girls, a million Eves, a million brown dotted does, sacrificed to his cause.

A million girls.

A million girls and one.

(x)

Perspective of Love, Perspective of Hate

 

The prince is not a hero. I am half man, half beast. I navigate dim lit streets like a nocturnal creature, the eyes shimmering like rough cut diamonds as I float down the steps, farther and deeper into my own tangled mind. I find myself in a tight black box. I can’t breathe here, I can’t think here, I am forever trapped in eternal freefall here. I am secured only by the tethers of my own mistakes, their ropes wrapped around my throat. I can bite them away and swallow them whole, so they coil at the pit of my stomach like cobras. The enormous thorns which erupt from my chest are the color of night, the color of rot, the color of blood on snow. I am obscure, I am desperate. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, after all.

The prince is not a royal. I sit at a table with quiet countenance, the feast of my victims spread out before me; the flesh of myth, the drink of elderflower, a table shrouded in white cloth. I bite into people’s trust in me and keep it caged behind my teeth, so that my grin remains crooked. I am the fly in the ointment, the chink in the armor. I am an eyeball, bloody and shriveled but forever unblinking. I sit amongst the romantics. The gamers, the lovers. The goddamn haters. My lips are thin, drawn, and pale. My hair is sleek and twisted. My nose is curved like the beak of a predatory eagle. My brain is sheltered from the maggots whizzing around my head, but they are nothing compared to the monstrosities that I keep safe in a bomb shelter. My ribs are a cage to a wild hairy animal. It is savage, relentless, wicked. No one wiped my tears away except dead men. So I decided: a dead man I will be.

The prince is not a martyr. I did it because I could. Behind me there is only a jagged cliff, steep and sharp and insistent and appealing. My wrists smell faintly of iron, my breath reeks of red wine, and my tongue is sleek and smooth and silver. I direct bodies because they’re cargo, my sadistic nature is what renders me a double edged sword. My voice is baritone, deeper than the gashes in my torso, more piercing than the toxic knock off words I use to trick the shadows onto my side. I keep quiet and sneer instead, my dirty hands shake, my conviction wavers, my kneecaps knock together. The knock, knock, knock will haunt me forever, echoing in the ant hill of my mind: I am a coward, I am a coward, I am a coward. The ants eat me alive.

The prince is not lenient. I am a master of strings. I manipulate children and old men alike, and my grudges become tools I use to hack away at the ice that has enveloped my secrets for so long. I am paranoid, angry, deserving. I am determined to be the better one. I am determined to win this boxing match to the stabbing sound of the bell. I am determined to make sure that my grave is unmarked, that the memories that seep like ethereal pearls down my sallow cheeks are gifted. They are presented with the bravado I always sought.


He’s a silly little man. He lives freely in glittering caves infested with the roaches of desire, so he immunized himself from germs with a vodka shot of vengeance. He cracked open his rib bones between his fists and built a bridge across the universe to find an oasis of silence, of peace, of sleep. One can finally tell him that his enduring pain and his tarnished legacy is worth the glory he stole from the demon who murdered them.

He’s a naïve man. He loved with all his heart. His spirit is a delicate doe, skipping ahead over icy lakes and tilted mountains that stretch around him, encompassing him like the arms of the companion he never had the chance to cherish.

He’s a poor man. He is bruised black and blue by the fists of a pure blooded father, he has scars left over by the screams of his mother that drilled into his head like five inch screws; and yet, he tries. He lost the path in a big bad forest, just a child himself, pink faced and innocent and alone, preyed on by a pack of unrelenting wolves. He became a feral child. He didn’t mean to become a grey miser, a fool with an irrevocably stubborn heart.

He is a lonely man. He is the sad sod sitting on a city park bench at two in the morning, twiddling his thumbs and watching yellow and orange passersby, hoping someone, anyone, would approach and understand the weight of his red sacrifices that shine in the endless pits of his eyes. He’s a trained monkey, a neglected member of the A-team, an undeniably sharp mind rusted by his exposure to doomed destiny. The yolk of his innate being spilled out the multiple rough cut holes in his body, which were poked and ripped by the pins and needles he stuck into his once sun kissed skin, hoping it would be enough.

He’s a fighting man. He’s a sympathiser for the clueless and the loveless, the wide eyed and the grappling; he was one of them. And yet, he sees light in the potential in those he detests, and he spins misfortune into gold with skilled craftsmanship. He knows that under layers and layers of security protocols and brick walls fortified by steel, he cares. He cares. He cares.

Make your magic, pretty man. Smell the incense of funeral candles, embrace the comforting freeze of wintery cold that trails you in your wake, and feel the harsh wind of your broken promises ravaging your face until you ascend clean faced and ready. Baptise yourself in the purity of mercy, and immerse yourself in the smothering aroma of lily flowers that are melted in the hot spring running through your veins.