What I Learned from the Little Prince

Once I was done reading the book, I was left with a bittersweet feeling. It was beautiful, so beautiful that it made me wish I’d written it. They say our thoughts tend to sound better in books we didn’t write and songs we didn’t sing. Even then, sometimes there is no song, no work of art, and no piece of literature that can really explain how we feel. And there’s a mysterious comfort in knowing that nobody really knows.

Well, The Little Prince shook my walls a bit. He knew.

Grown-ups love figures… When you tell them you’ve made a new friend they never ask you any questions about essential matters. They never say to you “What does his voice sound like? What games does he love best? Does he collect butterflies?”
Instead they demand “How old is he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?”
Only from these figures do they think they have learned anything about him.

How true it is, in the world today. I judge you by your academic qualifications and your monthly income. I stereotype you by the shape of your eyes or the color of your skin. I rank you by your ability to add value to my social image.
What happened to the days I would befriend you because we liked the same music, or because your responses seemed to be in tandem with my thoughts. When I would love you because my crazy didn’t seem crazy around you, it felt like home.
Sometimes I feel I don’t belong to people. You know, all the leap days that didn’t happen? Those moments when you leave your physical self for what seems like a lifetime and only when you return do you realize you were away for just a minute or two. Those times when you walk in to a room and forget why. I feel like that’s where I belong. That’s my time and space. And there are others there too. So many others. Our hearts hum the same tune and our eyes crave the same color, and yet I’ll never meet them because of these socio-economic cages that bind me.
It’s been a while since I jumped into a puddle with someone. Or shared a cream filled biscuit after licking the cream off it first.  I wish I could.

All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.

“Act your age” they always say. Why? Why would something that brings a smile upon my face change with age? I’m twenty two years old and I’ve painted over twenty canvases that I’m crazy proud of, yet when I sit down with a coloring book and wax pastels and manage to color the entire picture in a homogeneous stroke within the lines, my glee knows no bounds.
Acting one’s age has somehow become synonymous with the behavior society would deem acceptable for that age. Sometimes one doesn’t change with age; people don’t always want to conform to society. Sometimes we want to express how we feel without wondering what the world has to say. Sometimes, when all you have is old words, all you can do is put them together and hope they say something new.

Words are the source of misunderstandings.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel so much for so many people, and sooner or later I realize that my limited vocabulary cannot convey things I have to say. So I look at them for a second longer, smile with my eyes; feel, really feel what I’m feeling, hoping I’ll reach out to them in some sort of positive energy, because words say so much yet say so little. When you count on cosmic vibes to pour love on someone, you have less of a chance of being misunderstood. People everywhere are so scared of that word these days.

Love.

‘ You’re in love with me? But I barely know you.’
‘I can’t love you when you love someone else.’
‘Do you believe in love?’

It’s just love, people. It’s a feeling you have no control over. It’s not Santa Claus and it’s not rocket science. And thanks to all this American sitcom propaganda, it’s on its way to becoming a word people don’t use.
But then there are us few, who belong to the leap days that didn’t happen, who crave to hear that word. What about us?

You’re beautiful, but you’re empty…One couldn’t die for you. Of course, an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you. But my rose, all on her own, is more important than all of you together, since she’s the one I’ve watered. Since she’s the one I put under glass, since she’s the one I sheltered behind the screen. Since she’s the one for whom I killed the caterpillars. Since she’s the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing at all. Since she’s my rose.

And yet, even with the billions of beautiful, fractal thoughts that crossed my mind as I read the simple yet powerfully illustrated pages of the Little Prince, this one particular idea just blew the wind out of me. I’ve lived my life trying to get the best deals for myself everywhere. At the grocery store, at the parlour, hell, even in relationships. It comes back to society, full circle, it really does. If I’m with a man who’s fun and gorgeous, I need stimulating conversation. If he’s smart and funny, I need him to be sophisticated. If he has a great personality I need him to have a wonderful career. For so long it was about finding the perfect guy, and not about finding the perfect guy for me. That’s where we fall short these days. That’s why happiness is getting tougher to come by.

I remember as a little girl I had a bunch of Barbie dolls. I was little in the 90’s, when a Barbie doll was an acceptable and appreciated gift for all little girls all over the world. As a result, I had quite the bevy of them on display in my room, in neat pink little boxes with their extra set of clothes or their Ken doll in the background. Some even came with a complementary tub or hair-do set. And I kept them in their neat pink little boxes, on display, for years and years. I never played with them, never. Not even when I had friends over. My grandmother had made a cloth doll when I was 6, with jute hair and stitched on dimples. There was way too much cotton in the stomach area, now that I think back. But she was cute, soft and over the years, I’d sat with grammy and stitched different pairs of clothes for her. I did find the other dolls lovely, with their long lean legs and fancy eyes, but I never cared for them. And yet, because of the time and effort I’d put into the cloth doll, I loved her with all my heart. The best deal didn’t matter.

Love is really as simple as that.

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Sepia-toned Reflections

“It’s somewhere I can taste the salty sea
There’s a kite blowing out of control on the breeze
I wonder what’s gonna happen to you
You wonder what has happened to me”

The voice inside speaks up. No way, you will not snooze the alarm clock again. Out of bed. Now.

NOW!

No, wait, he looked rather cute in that scene of my dream. Two quick minutes. Two, I promise.

And then she cosies up once again, with her many pink pillows and the blanket that looks like it OD-ed on fluff, and gets back to her wool-gather.
That’s the best part about dreaming – you rule the world, all its physics and geography and background music.

It’s hot, really really hot. And still. No wind. Every leaf, every feather, lifeless.

“But I want to learn how to fly it!” she squeals, throwing her kite up in the air and running,  praying this time it will stay up, till it crash lands into the grass for the forty second time that morning.

His voice is like it always it, strong, masculine, and effortlessly confident.

“There, there”. He runs, picks up the kite, and stares at it. She’d finally torn it. After all the attacks, the pink background paper of the kite he’d picked for her finally gave way to the outline of the heart pasted on it.

“Want to go to the football field?  There are a lot of people flying kites there.”

“No, you teach me here first”

She’d never make a fool of herself in front of the world. He, however, was her personal space. He was allowed to watch her kooky moments. He might have even loved her for them.
She’d never know.

She didn’t realise when it happened. One moment, she was counting the colours in his eyes as he held her hand, the next, she was holding the kite, flying it, for real, as he held her spool and cheered her on. It might have been a bird in the sky, or a plane.

Too many people, kite flying was a sport for them. She tugs hard to save her kite from being cut.

Ouuuuuch! Damn that glass thread!

But they cut it, her kite, and she watches it as it flies higher up into the sky, getting smaller by the second.

Sigh.
He comes and gives her a bear hug. She didn’t lose her kite, after all, because nobody caught it once it had been cut. Were those the rules?

It’s somewhere I can taste the salty sea
There’s a kite blowing out of control on the breeze
I wonder what’s gonna happen to you
You wonder what has happened to me

She couldn’t see it anymore, but the thought of it flying high, far far away, coupled with the bear hug, was brilliant. He looked at her in his arms.

Click.

And like a sepia toned love note, that image will stay with her forever.

“Shall we?” he says, and smiles his gorgeous smile.

She looks at the boy, whose voice is the soundtrack of her life.

This wasn’t a dream. But it may as well have been one.  Reality wasn’t allowed to be so beautiful.

Personal Morsels

Ever look at a familiar word for so long that it starts to look, and sound, completely strange? That feeling’s called jamais vu. It’s kind of like the oppsosite of a deja vu, only a bit more terrifying I guess. Familiarity is comfort, isn’t it? For most people anyway.

Jamais vu. Happens when you’re in love sometimes. You wake up to the same face everyday, the same voice, you complete each others sentences and you find yourself at home and then one day, all of a sudden, you’re not the same person any more. It may be just you, it may be both you and him, it may be the entire world, but something changes. Something you’re not in control of. And the same universe that seemed to be conspiring to set you guys up for life now just seems to want to pull you apart.

And somewhere along the road you realise, you still know him as you once knew him and he changes and you change and now it’s just a mess because the new you knows the old him and that’s hardly of any use. But that’s if you knew him at all, in the first place.

And what is love?

Billion dollar question, that one. People have spent their lives writing pages and pages, trying to put it in words, creating music with the wildest assortment of instruments to convey their interpretation of love, painted a thousand canvases to recreate the imagery, and somehow, somewhere down the line, when they didn’t find the right answer, they just stopped looking. It’s sad, it truly is, but the fact of the matter is, you can’t live your life trying to pixelate a fractal idea.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know what love is. There’s been a few times in my life I thought I did, but I don’t. I know Math, I really know my mom, I know the peach blouse goes with the mint jeans if I accessorise right. Love, I don’t know.

It’s unfamiliar territory. Even if it’s just from jamais vu.

 

 

Mechanics of Dreams

There’s a ship that set sail really long back. It’s loaded with food and wine and promises of a better future. It’s well lit and pretty, the entertainment on board is a little dull, but hey, it promises of a better future. It’s got a mighty anchor. No matter how far out at see you may be, no matter how bad the storm may get, that anchor will keep the ship safe. So they never leave the ship un-anchored. In time, the lovely feasts begin to feel mundane and the music ceases to soothe the ears. The ship is still sailing, content; safe. You dream of life on the port you set out to reach and it keeps you going, with its promises of a better future.

But one day, you get tired. You creep out in the middle of the night when everybody’s asleep and remove the anchor. Out on the deck, you feel the cool sea breeze slap your face, reprimanding you playfully for the naughty deed. The waves climb onto you, wetting your clothes as you enjoy the chill of the night.

But the ship is now in random motion, going its own way. You see land, and get a little excited. But no, that’s not the land you set out to reach. It does not promise a better future. So the people in charge sail the ship back to where it lost its way, anchor it once more, so it’s safe, and wait for it to drift to the port they set out to reach.

But sometimes, sometimes, somewhere down the road you realise that you’re intended destination isn’t where you want to go any more. Or that even if it still is your dream, you aren’t enthusiastic about it anymore. They say it’s the journey that matters. Well, they’re right. Pull out that anchor and once in a while, let the waves take control.

Nothing promises of a better future like a heady journey.

The Numb Ones Are Missing Out

Feelings are simple. We cry, we laugh, we get angry and we get scared. We get upset and we get sad. And that’s okay, because we’re wired that way. People keep saying, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. What is the journey, really, but an emotional rollercoaster? What is happiness when you don’t know what sorrow is? You need to experience the black and the white to really appreciate the beauty of both.

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It’s simple. When you’re going through a phase in life that overwhelms you with emotion and you take a nap just to take a break from it all, is it really a break? You dream. Your desires show up there too. Your disappointments. Everything you need and want and cannot have. And then you wake up and all those over whelming emotions are back again. All at once, like a tsunami hitting land for the very first time. It all comes back the very second you wake up, the dream first, the realization of your emotions in the dream, and then the happiness causing agent or the feeling of impending doom that lies ahead on the road you’re taking.

Okay, so, it’s a little difficult. Life isn’t supposed to be hard. Or complicated. It’s supposed to be easy. And it is. We just complicate it a lot in our heads to end up feeling what we’re feeling. We have grown to become a breed of over analysing over contemplating thinkers, just because it’s in our capacity to. The lucky ones just switch off. That’s mighty convenient, because they claim that they stop feeling anything and I’m not really sure how that works. You ever hear these lines? ‘I can’t let anyone in’ or ‘I’m emotionally numb’. It’s all in the head. And yet, that’s enough to protect them from the big bad world. It’s like saying, yeah I want to live, but I don’t want to live a lot. I want the experience of the journey but not the emotions that go with it. When you say you don’t want a trough in life you automatically cancel out the possibility of a crest as well. And so you stop feeling the black and white and live in grey for the rest of your days.

And that’s just too bad. Because you’re wired that way. And it makes you miss out on pretty much everything life is really about.

 

 

You’re the only one for you

Do you remember being a kid? Dressing up Barbie dolls and colouring within the outlines, feeling like a rebel for changing the colour of Barney the Dinosaur’s outer coat of fur to black. He did look pretty badass compared to the regular purple.
Do you remember being happy?

It was a long time ago. When you had it all in your hands; the food you ate and the clothes you wore and the people you spoke to and the ones you ignored. You didn’t do it to keep anyone else happy, to keep up appearances or to get anything done. You did it because it felt right.
What happened to rational thinking?
It’s a fact of life people choose to forget when they’re in love. You’re alone. You may have someone to stand by you, but how can you tell if they’re all there? Physically, mentally, emotionally? You can’t.

And trusting them blindly comes with its pitfalls. Would you be there for them when they need you, and ignore everything in your life so you could give them your hundred percent? It’s easy to say yes, but would you, really?

You would, you say to yourself again. That’s the reason you expect it in return.

And then you realise, you’ve questioned trust and brought up expectations and just like that, the magic’s gone.
It’s not a bad thing. It just makes you realise something you should never have forgotten – You’re the only one who gives you a hundred percent.

 

Numbing Myself

It’s cold. I’m not sure why. The weather predictions are useless these days, I tell you. They promised it wouldn’t rain. They promised it would be a sunny afternoon and a still evening. They promised you wouldn’t need your umbrella. Or a jacket. Liars.

It’s cold. I’m sitting in my jeans and t-shirt and as I type I can see the little hairs on my arms rise and stand tall. The waxing lady’s done a terrible job. Incompetent fools, everywhere.

I search ‘emotionally blocked’. I get search results of PTSD patients, how they survived the trauma, how they put their lives back together. They dealt with anorexia, death, war. How they learned to feel again. Ugh.

I refine my search. ‘How to become emotionally blocked’. The same results pop up. It looks like nobody searches for things like this. Happy fools.

I go back to my phone. No new messages. I re-read the last one he sent. “I’m sorry. I just can’t let anyone in yet. I’m emotionally blocked.”

It’s freezing. I put my phone aside and smirk. In my head I stand up, walk to my mirror, fix my hair and say out loud, ‘Alright bro. Whatever.’

But I’m still lying on my bed. And it’s getting colder. And something inside of me is changing. I feel  bricks. A boundary wall. Barbed wires. With the electricity and all that jazz running through them. My heart is cowering inside the wall. ‘Boundaries don’t keep others out, they fence you in’, it tells my brain.

This time I actually sit up. Smirk. Pat my heart and hear my brain say ‘That’s kind of like the point of it.’

Outside my room, my friend giggles in her boyfriend’s arms. It’s funny how a while back I’d have given anything to be in that position with the guy I liked. But now, thankfully, it’s cold.

Really really cold.

And I smile to myself. Because I don’t feel a thing.

 

Lost daydreams, interwoven with quotes from Sylvia Plath and Haruki Murakami and a million others who touch my mind.