Friday shots: a person

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What makes a person special?

Is it the way the unique molecules collect together to form the individuality?

Or is it the reflection of us in them we see?

Or perhaps the way the person’s life intersects with our own?

If it is anything real, specialness is often unquantifiable. It walks into another’s life and the whole atmosphere reconstructs. And what used to be impossible emerges into the real.

A person can bring you back. Back to the place where you function from the whole. Back to the beginning and the end. Back to God. A person can pull the strings back for you, gathering all the parts of you and handing them back to you. With everything afar and inbetween, the person stays and loves you through the hard bits. The person brings you back.

This, is a special person.

Friday shots: treasures

trinkets

I love the way you look at me. As though there is something magical behind my big, brown eyes that only you can see.

You search deep down. Reaching for the furthest place your hands can touch. And you pull it out.

You pull out treasures. In gold shimmerings and richness of history. Each soaked in a story so thick it drips to the page.

How could I have known I was a home to these beautiful of old and new things – treasures of gold and silver linings?

You reach inside of me and pull them out.

You know the beauty that lives in every part of me.

This is friendship. And you, my dear, a true friend.

Love is…a renewable resource

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It is our most desired experience. We salivate and drink wine for it. And its pulp in our veins makes us do heroic things or convinces us that we can spread our wings and fly. But for the most part, our understanding of love is complicated. We tie so many things to it, a stranglehold that redefines it in our minds and alters what proceeds from our fingertips in its name. We believe love ends. Finishes. Dies. And we all have the evidence to prove it. We can trace relationships where love simply gave up its life; where love was not enough to save that connection. Separation was inevitable and the only way to peace. We know these stories oh so well. We all have them. They live on our skins.

Mine are written in red ink. Splattered all-over my life. Blots of pain here, regret there, and disappointment. They are reminders of the sheer difficulty of life and the hardness that lives in human relationships. I had reached a place where I believed real relationships were impossible. How could they not be? How could they not be when we are all just so imperfect? And love is never quite enough?

These are the questions I burrowed my whole being into for the last eleven years. I sat with them, ate with them, obsessed over them, had fights with them and wrote them down – looking for the colour, volume and texture that would finally explain their mystery to me. And I rewrote them, just incase I missed a syllable or letter; rephrasing and restructuring. Perhaps everything I have ever written before has been about trying to understand love and what humans do with it. And the truth of that is I simply wanted to know why my heart breaks so easily when it comes to people and love, and why these leave an indelible imprint on my canvass.

It turns out heartbreaks tell us something about how we are made to live and move through this world. Heartbreak, like any other pain, means something has not worked right. It means something is wrong; a malfunction. And this something is often, love. Or more accurately, our wielding of it. How we hold it in our hands and use it to express our unique souls to others.

In relationships, there is more coming to love than love coming to us. The act of walking towards love is a choice we make. This, in practice, means love is always there, holding its own and unending. An abundant resource that can be harnessed in the same way water runs through the whole earth in its cycle or the manner of grains coming out of the ground, again and again. Love is always there. What changes is us…our understanding of it and how it proceeds from our fingertips

Relationships get their structure from their core and their core is love. Because we are human we project our failings onto this core and when those failings cause a rupture in the skin of relationships we tell ourselves stories about how love ended, mainly to assuage ourselves. But love was always there. It just became too hard for us to use. From the depths of our being we could not reconcile our thoughts and feelings into the space love hedges. We do things to one another and in the process we forget to walk to love. And when it is just too hard, and sometimes situations indeed are, we walk away.

And this is why the heart breaks – because love doesn’t do its work.

I used to believe the world’s declaration of doom on real relationships, friendships and love. Until I met people who wanted to have this realness with me. My whole world changed with just one friend who is willing to love the way I love; fiercely and with sheer abandon to the requirements of love. And this is what happens when love is used, it changes people.

I am finally learning that love was created to be renewed, everyday.

Like the oxygen we breathe that is never used up but only rearranged, love is renewable because it is never depreciated but instead gets restored and replenished through a process of actions and commitments. Renewing love means constantly choosing it and going back to its beginning. This takes work, of course, but our misconception of love dying is precisely built around the belief that love is responsible for working out relationships, and therefore, when relationships fail, we believe it is because love was simply not strong enough.

Here is a fact: people are responsible for working out relationships, not love. Love is a resource, given to us to bind, grow and sweeten the beauty that is born out of people connecting. Love is the thing that makes relationships work the way they were designed to work. But the CATCH is, love has to be used BY people who are working out their relationships.

Human relationships are hard but love, when used well and full, is the hedge that keeps us from spilling out. Instead of saying love ended, let us be truthful that relationships end because we fail. And we fail to use love for its purpose

It has been many years since I first walked into the arena of the world, naïve and crazy pumped to love human beings with my little heart. Many years since my first heart break. Now, I have profound respect for the work of committed people that rise at dawn with the intention to love better than they did yesterday, people that take each day as another gift to love anew.

 

Intimacy 101

Tea drinking girl

I am a sucker for coziness. The leave-no-space-between-us kind.  Of fire-place warmth. Feet wrapped in thick, woolen socks. & fingertips curled around a generous mug of hot cocoa. My mother’s favourite. & feeling the sweet heat of the beverage sip through my fingers into my blood.

Radiating. spreading the warmth to all parts of me. nourishing.

Coziness is what you get when you un-bridle me. in conversations with me. When everybody else was learning how to do small talk, I was getting stuck in the reasons behind the small talk. In the deep & heavy. the nitty & gritty.

Are we talking about the weather & UFOs because we are uncomfortable, nervous or because it truly is interesting both of us?

What is going on with your heart?

How are you feeling?

See, some of us were born with this need for intimacy weaved into the very fabrics of our being. all mixed up with bone, tissue & nerve. Impossible to tell where it begins & where it ends.

It is a curse & a blessing. When it is met & satisfied, it is nourishing soul food. the foundation for any real & robust relationship. But the lack of it impoverishes the soul. drinks it up dry.

We are all wired differently. Some of us do intimacy like the back of our hand. & some of us struggle to even glance at it, immobilised by the fear of what it entails.

When I was little, my siblings & I would sit at the feet of my Dad listening to his mesmerizing voice as he weaved story after story. There was intimacy there, at his feet, in his voice & in his stories. With Mom, it was the way she held each one of us & made everything better. the way she gave expression to inarticulate things.

I didn’t stand a chance. Intimacy won me over. Thoroughly invading every crevice in me.

We all crave it.Some more than others but we still want to experience it with lovers, friends & families. It is the silky, luxurious spice that makes relationships deliciously magical. But the thing about being a human being in any relationship is that we show up with our fears & insecurities. & one of the most general fears we have is that of being found out – as inadequate or not good enough.

Intimacy cuts through that crap. & it compels us to fall in love with the us that our loved ones so willingly embrace. We come as we are even as we grow & become better versions of ourselves. Intimacy has room enough for this expansion of self & togetherness.

Movies & films have no capacity to capture or represent intimacy in its entirety so they try to convince us that it’s all in the kissing & cuddling & their all-time favourite, the hot, steamy sex scenes. This upsets my stomach.

But even without much help from the movies we all seem to share a general misconception – that intimacy is like chemistry. It just happens. How else can we explain our closeness to certain people & not others?

Intimacy & chemistry are two different things. One may have aspects of the other but that is where the similarity begins & ends.

It makes logical sense that intimacy be influenced, shaped or grounded in shared history, interests, backgrounds, culture or race. It makes sense, right?

Well, it doesn’t entirely work like that on the ground.

Here is your fundamental lesson in intimacy – your intimacy 101;

It is about intention. Pure & simple.

Psychologist Kristen Howeton captures it so fully & so eloquently: “intimacy is about shared vulnerability and a commitment to grow – the best friendships are birthed from a desire to engage at a deeper level…to challenge one another, to grow individually and collectively and to be willing to learn from another.”

There is nothing about this that suggests easy or safe because intimacy takes work, vulnerability & courage. It doesn’t just show up on your doorstep. You have to open the door, walk out with your heart & soul in their undergarments. To be seen & to see. This is scary stuff but it brings back into your life a beauty that is out of this world.

In an age where true & raw friendship is becoming a rarity, we need to do our part in preserving intimacy, by doing it right ourselves. We have to work on our relationships because they will not suddenly become deep & meaningful. There is no magic-wand waving here, baby. This ball is the one in our court. We do the work. & we get to decide if intimacy is in or out.

I hope you choose in. I know intimacy is dying to love your face off with relationships that will rock your world.

Who in their right mind wouldn’t want that?

The sisterhood of the traveling pants

I cry every time I watch this movie. 

I tend to forget just how much it moves me. But then those who know me would argue that I’m a softie and I cry at anything. This is true. What can I say? I wear my heart on my sleeve 🙂 

Anyway, the movie was playing on one of the channels this past weekend, and so I and my box of tissues had some time to commune.

The story particularly resonated more this time around because this year I struggled a lot with this concept of friendship.  I experienced one of those times when I kept going back and forth between my past and present; reminiscing of friends lost, closeness suspended, intimacies severed and the emotions and pain that accompany these disruptions.

When you lose so many friends along the way, you can’t help but wonder if there is something wrong with you as a person. That’s the space I was in for most of this year. It took so much out of me to face my weaknesses and to also really understand that a friendship is a two-way contract, and that I cannot hold myself responsible for what the other person brings into the relationship. I had to let go of a few things and that truly hurt.  

One of the things that I love about The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is the characterisation. The characters are so different yet so real and the emotions they show are so raw. The closeness and sisterhood between Tibby, Lena, Carmen and Bridget is beautiful because it’s honest, open, realistic and committed. This is what I try to take into most of my friendships. But as I have learned this year, sometimes even this is not enough to save or sustain a friendship. 

This is mostly because we cannot be accountable for things that are not ours to give. If someone cannot give you honesty, realness or love, there is little you can do to make them give you those things. Yes, you could try and make them see their lack or force their hand but to have to resort to these measures means there is no willingness in them to freely give in the first place. Thus, sometimes there comes a point where things, people and expectations have to be let go.

These are hard lessons to learn…especially for someone like me who supposedly suffers from a saviour complex 🙂 I tend to take on other people’s burdens as though they were my very own which is a lovely trait to have but it can also be very destructive. 

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is about intimacy in friendships and how you maintain that intimacy within the happenings of life. I feel one of the ways to do this is by capitalising on the good times. When everything is going well, use that time to draw closer to your friend (s). Learn about them. Love. Give. Share. Share time, emotions and everything in-between. The intimacy you develop during that time will act as a buffer in the difficult times. It might not entirely stop the pain that comes with the trials of friendships but it will definitely soften the impact.  This is one of the gems I’m taking with me into the future. 

And as MARC eloquently reminded me – “making a thousand friends is not a miracle. A miracle is making one friend who will stand by your side when thousands are against you.”