Time

It’s that time of year again.

The time when you – and only you – set the standards (much to my disapproval).

The time when everyone has to be compared to you.

And if I’m completely honest with myself; no one really does compare.

The time when the what-ifs and could-have-beens start setting in and starting wars between my mind and my heart. When my wise mind aches to forget and my pathetic heart aches to remember.

The time when the good memories start to dim out the bad ones. When the longing starts to cover up the anger. When the hopeless desire starts to dig a fast grave for the painful resistance.

It’s that time again.

The time when nostalgia finds a home inside my brain. (It settles and gently furnishes my insides with pictures of our favorite days.)

The time when everything has a deeper meaning – a bigger story. When every single detail of every little thing holds a certain memory; a key to a different world – a past-time kept secret between only you and I.

The time when dressing rooms are no longer just dressing rooms. When red lipstick is a lot more than just make-up. When mango juice is an inside joke. When sushi is more than just a Japanese dish. When showers are no longer just a way to get clean. When writing stories is more than just a passion. When my curly hair is more than just something I was born with and I disliked. When flowery perfumes are no longer just a way to smell nice. When cupcakes are more than just dessert. When notebooks are more than just empty pages stuck together; waiting to be inked. And when eyes are more than just eyes, but portals into a hidden world of masked and eternal happiness.

It’s that time.

When I know you detest the thought of me, and I know I should be hating you, too.

But it’s that time when I remember exactly how your fingers felt intertwined in mine.

And how your lips shied away from saying what your eyes so clearly stated.

And how your affections were always visible regardless of how hard you tried to hide them.

And how you looked at me when there were people around.

And how your breath felt against the back of my neck.

It’s that time again. When I start to wonder if I’m ever going to have that all again. If I’m ever going to possibly feel that way about another living being.

It’s that time – once again – when I start to think about what would have been.

© Copyright 7ala Abdullah

Nostalgia by 7ala Abdullah

It’s all about getting used to change.

Being strong enough to stay unaffected by it if it’s bad, being wise enough to be thankful for it if it’s good. Being indifferent if you realize it doesn’t affect you in any way.

But I was never strong, wise, or indifferent. I have a weak heart, a vulnerable mind, and I dwell on the littlest of details; hence proving that I could never be indifferent. Change has always caused mind-quakes in my head – and instead of buildings and houses breaking down it was always I that fell to the ground. I shook and shivered and clutched to familiarity till it cut me off from our umbilical chord and I was left there to fend for my own self. I always felt betrayed by the old and invaded by the new. I refused to believe that anything else would compare to what I had back in my beloved comfort zone. I cried and scratched and held on with all my might until all I was left with was my scars and bruises in all-new territory. I gave up on coping before I even started trying to. I longed for the past and ignored the blessings of the change that the present brought me.

Then you came like a beautiful storm of devastating unfamiliarity and robbed me of all I’d come to know. At the time, I didn’t see all that had changed because your light had blinded me to everything else around me. I was too lost in you to realize that I was just lost. Too focused on you to realize that everything around me was disappearing.

And then you, too, disappeared.

And everything I’d gotten used to and depended on to survive was gone in a second. You turned my whole life upside down and just left me there to put the pieces back together.  And I laid there helplessly with something that felt very much like pride holding me down. I convinced myself that it’ll all come back. I told myself that everything will change back if I just lay here and wait.

Stillness took over and I still refused to move. Ironically, what had changed around me had started to settle and I was the one who was starting to change inside.

And here I am after what felt like endless decades of resistance. A changed woman; I now disacknowledge predictability. I’ve molded myself into a different species of being, one that is indifferent to its surroundings. I’ve made myself into a warrior whose past is her greatest enemy. I’ve taught myself that it is the only way to survive. Come what way, I’ve turned into someone who can weather all storms without doubt or regret. In this ever-changing world, sticking with the old and known only meant that you’d get stomped on by everyone running towards the new and undiscovered. And I’d been stomped too many times to allow it to happen again.

It’s not that I’d gotten used to change. It’s that I found a way to remain oblivious to it. I’ve built a tiny little box around myself that shielded me from all things human and worldly. Things like emotions, feelings, hardships, problems, truth, lies, and what-not.

It’s working for me so far.

I’ve learned how to be content with being alone.

I’ve learned how to be strong, wise, and indifferent.

I’ve learned how it feels to be unaffected by change.

But all it takes is a little whiff of your perfume for the nostalgia to creep under my skin and undo all the work I’ve done.

© Copyright 7ala Abdullah

Blessed

There are times when I stop and think about my approach towards life and I’m saddened by my inexcusable ignorance. I’m reminded of all the times I’ve dwelled on my past mistakes; the valuable time I’ve wasted drowning in regret over things that were clearly unchangeable. Precious, non-refundable moments I’ve thrown away pining for the unattainable and imaginary. It takes a tiny second for me to realize how ungrateful I’ve been for not appreciating the blessings I’ve had by my side all along. In a moment of immense appreciation, I am duly obliged to point out the things I am most thankful for at this time of my life.

I’m blessed to have an amazing family.

My father; whose genuine smile can light up a whole room. Whose kind heart and rare moments of vulnerability have sparked in me a love so endless and infinite for this man who gives his all and only asks for appreciation in return. A man with pride and dignity; the strongest man I’ve ever come to know. My father’s fighting spirit will forever motivate me to be a better person and not be let down by any life-changing catastrophe that comes my way.

My mother; whose challenging personality I’ve only just learnt to love. Granted, my bad experiences with her greatly outnumber my good ones, but it is only in these recent months have I realized the faith she holds in me. I might still be slightly intimidated by her sneaky ways and dishonesty, but I am still glad that she understands me in some ways that most mothers would not. I will forever be thankful for the writing genes I’ve inherited from her and – more importantly – her endless support and faith in my talents and skills.

My sisters; whose mere existence makes my life a million times better. I don’t know where I’d be without these amazing human beings. Having such supportive, understanding, caring, kind-hearted, shoulder-lending sisters is the reason I am the person I am today. I’m thankful for every second I spend with them, and I know that I am more than lucky to have them in my life. If I was asked right now what I was most thankful for in my life; I’d have to go with them. They’re irreplaceable and breathtaking women, and I know for a fact that not everyone can say they’re blessed with such understanding siblings. We might fight and argue on occasion, but in the end there’s no one in the world I’d trade them for. I’m blessed to have sisters I can speak to about anything and everything that’s bothering me without being judged or looked down upon for it. I appreciate your sisterhood with all my heart.

My brothers; whose continuous light-hearted banter never ceases to make me smile on the inside and out. Whose kindness and understanding surprises me every single time, and whose jokes never cease to make my days. I appreciate all you’ve done for me – all the shit you’ve had to go through at my expense. I’m thankful for your discretion and persistence at handling my personal affairs, I’m thankful for days you’ve helped chase my monsters away. I’m thankful for the days I had to play your mother, little one, and I’m even more thankful for the days you called me that. I’m thankful for the joy you bring me by just smiling or making that silly face you always make. I’m blessed to have such amazing men in my life to prove to me that good men do exist.

I’m blessed to have such amazing friends.

You’ve been with me through my many ups and downs and happiness and heartbreaks. You’ve seen me through my good days and bad, through my endless smiles, frowns, laughs and tears. I could never have asked for friends more loving and caring than you, friends who for some reason haven’t yet run the other way. I know I can be a lot to handle sometimes, I get angry at the silliest things and I pull away when something is wrong and never care to speak about it, and the fact that you’re still by my side only proves to me that your friendship is worth more than I can imagine. I’m blessed to have your everlasting support and backing in all the silly decisions I keep making and all the irrational paths I keep taking. Your presence makes all the difference in my life. I’m blessed to call you my friends.

For the sake of not blowing this out of proportion, I will stop here. Maybe I’ll continue this list on another day when I’m feeling thankful again.

P.S. Everything I’ve said here has come straight from my heart. If you are in either of these categories, I love you endlessly.

© Copyright 7ala Abdullah