Monday, 9 April 2012

I've Moved.


I haven't decided what to do with this here blog yet. Every time I reach out to click 'delete', I can't. So while I deal with that sappy mess, if you've liked what you read here, do please meet me at the new address.

Thank you.

Friday, 21 October 2011

I'm Done With My Dying

As I get older, I get braver -
with each year, I have less and less to lose.
Tragedy isn't sad anymore, just comic relief.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Importance of Girlfriends

I consider my natural disposition about as friendly as a doberman’s. I have this unique superpower which lets me, by the sheer act of showing up to a social gathering, cause comfort and conversation to shrivel up and die. Then I proceed to fill this new cavernous void with deep and resonating awkwardness, which I will exponentially worsen by clearing my throat about twenty thousand times. I have literally, without even using my hands, awkwarded people’s relatives into sudden hospitalization and unforeseen donut emergencies on the other side of town, for which they needed to cut our meetings short. I tell you this not because I take some twisted pride in it – even though I kind of do – but to illustrate how I’m really not very skilled at interacting with other humans. So you will understand why then, every couple of days, when I’m going about my business writing a story, tormenting the dog or trying to lick the floor of a Nutella jar, I’ll suddenly stop and think, “I have friends. I have friends? I HAVE FRIENDS.” It has the very same effect as when I eat that first French fry after a long hiatus – tremulous happiness mixed with terrible foreboding. But I digress. The real epiphany here is that when I think this happy thought, I only think of it in terms of my handful of girl friends.

This goes back to my all-girl, convent education perhaps, or maybe it’s just that from a ridiculously early age I was very aware that boys were boys and girls were girls for reasons that are only for my future therapist’s ears. I have often thought of this as one of the many great tragedies of my life (WHY did they cancel Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip?!), but what it meant was I never ended up developing any unselfconscious friendships with boys, while simultaneously forging a number of relationships with women that, if they were romantic, would easily qualify as epic love stories. Actually, you know what, they are epic love stories.

Forget about the big boorish clich├ęs like going to the bathroom in groups, discussing in-growths in unhappy places and how all men are alternately awesome and awful. I’m talking about the ones that don’t make it to sitcoms – the rise in a girlfriend’s voice when she’s viscerally feeling outrage on your behalf. The way she can tell your happy silence from your awkward silence from the silence that is barely holding back your guttural sobs. The way we have defended one another’s honour and indeed, dishonour, alike. The way it’s ‘Us against the World/ Whoever’s Pissing You Off At The Moment’ season all year between me and my girlfriends. The code of ethics we have constructed piecemeal over time, whose nuances we intuitively understand, but can’t explain, especially not to the uncommonly daft boys we like. The way our relationships essay every other kind of relationship at different points in time – I’ve caught myself telling a friend that she is not to do a certain something-something in the very voice my mother used to use to make me drink milk of magnesia. I’ve also exchanged I Love Yous with these women, with the kind of intensity and truth I hitherto thought belonged only between a couple. We have been confident enough in our friendships so that we’ve spat virulent, unedited BS at one another and then begged forgiveness without the slightest cost to our egos. Like I said - I was aware of my ostensible girlness - not girlieness - very early on, but only truly became aware of its gravitas in the enduring company of these women.

At 26, I have managed to accrue a nice lot of meaningful male friendships as well, and I can confess that often I like to escape the girlfriends for their relative simplicity and linearity. I cannot even begin to tell you what an unqualified jock/jerk I’m capable of being around these guys. Until of course one of them offends some ladylike sensibility neither they, nor I, knew I had. Then it’s race-dialing the bestie with “GUESS WHAT HE JUST SAID TO ME…,” fervently hoping she’ll be able to tell me why I’m this mad. And you’d better believe she will.

Sunday, 18 September 2011


It is uncanny how you are every protagonist I've encountered in the books I read before I go to bed. The serious English schoolboy with a club foot, the dirty old islander of many worrying fetishes, a six foot dwarf unequipped for irony, a Brazilian Alpha male who cries at the drop of a hat. Sometimes you're even the women in my books. For years I wondered how you could be all of these people; was I desperately in love with you and just didn't know it yet? Or did I know you so well, I could seek out these kernels of your astronomical personality as unapparent as they were to everybody else. But it isn't either. Quite the opposite, actually. Your face is a blank mask that doesn't twitch, not even when I'm in pain. You are these protagonists in one way and one way alone - you are all creatures cobbled together from imagination, meant to be romanced and then let go of. And when I shut my books, you crumple in a lifeless heap. Reality is no place for your kind.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

S'all right.

For the first time in as long as I've known myself, I've begun to feel something approaching peace. It isn't apparent yet because I'm trying to settle around this strange, alien feeling before I debut it out in the world. My world. Filled with people who've only ever known me as a walking factory of nervous ticks and self-deprecating humour, prone to dramatic outbursts and intimate with illogic.
And I find that these unfamiliar stirrings of self-acceptance, apart from making me beam ridiculously at the most inopportune of times during the day, are putting several of my personal relationships into perspective.

For one, I expect my social currency will plummet drastically, and quite quickly at that, in the months to come. The departure of the Gyuri-shaped disaster that has always been around for an instant ego boost is taking a toll on a few, real pieces of work this lot - I wish cankles upon you.

I realised that just because one looks like a screw-up and talks like a screw-up, doesn't
necessarily mean one is a screw-up. Relatively, speaking. And holy mother of vice versa! Some people are so calm, collected and corkscrew crazy, you just want to reach in and emphatically and purposefully pet their inner, frightened animal before they tedbundy out of control. I'd rather be messy and disheveled of appearance than of heart and soul, I'm clear about this.

As for love, forever it has meant approval. Longing to be physically desired, longing to be acceptable to other people's sensibilities, falling in line wordlessly. I've been virtually Buddhist in previous relationships - no tantrums, no demands, accepting what I got and then walking away silently. "I can't force anyone to feel any less or more than they do" I'd say, ascending slowly heavenward.
And now I'm very, very pissed off.
I don't think I'll ever be successfully mean-spirited because... let me put it like this: If I had my own animal spirit, it would likely be a fluffy, pink marshmallow named Caligula - that's how menacing I am when I've rehearsed a hate speech. But I cannot passively absorb copious amounts of horseshit anymore, either. Love is love is love is love. Love moves your bowels and sometimes, as in one of the most soulful love stories I've ever read, constipates you too. Love makes you stupid, free and strong, delighted and hopeful and compassionate. It waits while you pore laboriously over an interminable list of pros and cons and then points and laughs at you with abandon. The best kind of defibrillator and you're still a goner. Love moves you. And if it does not, it isn't love.
Then there is that which sounds and feels like love to the touch. And this is very enjoyable too, but temporary, and based more on self-indulgent illusion than anything else. It's like stroking yourself to full romantic erection, only to suddenly be accosted by a thought like 'bed sores!'. No happy ending, just a rude awakening and mild nausea.
I try to recognise the difference now.