The Strange Boy


The Strange Boy

He was a stranger. To be honest both of us two shy passersby. We seemed to cross each other in the same place everyday. I was 16, he 18 years old. Then one day suddenly, he broke our silent pact. He stopped his motorbike and waved. His green moss eyes staring at me, as the wind ruffled his long hair. He never seemed to wear a helmet but who was I to point out the obvious. I pushed my glasses back and stared blankly in confusion. I can’t remember if I replied but I rushed off rather quickly. It could have almost been the beginning of Romeo and Juliet but thankfully boys didn’t interest me even when all everyone talked about was the opposite sex. Gross! It was never going to be on my radar. Study and college my focus- nothing could get in the way of my goals. Boys were an unwelcome distraction. I refused to let them in- including green eyed bikers in leather jackets.


Summer 1995 

Dear Diary,

Hey! Captain Puberty! Whoa! Finally, G.C.S.E’s are over and out! My blood and sweat saved temporarily for a short while. Thankfully, no more revision or exams until College. Amma ji, desperately wants me to be a doctor but since I have no idea what I want, I am going along with it for now. I have to get the grades so who knows what happens next? Until then, I worry not! Happy dance with me, please? I promise thereafter, I won’t bore you with anymore study dramas. Plus, I have more interesting news to catch you up on. I bet you can’t wait right?

I have almost overcome the scary truth about how babies are really made. Allah isn’t dropping them off! They are made by my parents. Oh gross! Eeeew. I can’t believe that one day my body will carry another human. I am going to say it again. One day I will carry a human in my belly. Oh God! I feel sick at the thought. No wonder Amma ji didn’t tell me, she really must hate it too! I can’t decide if I should be grateful to biology classes and those secret library books I’ve been stealing for opening this yucky can of worms or disappointed. I kinda of wish, I didn’t know the truth! What am I supposed to do with this? At least Amma ji didn’t have to indulge in the details. I’d hate to see how that would go. Oh! My poor ears! My poor eyes! Yuck! Yuck! Yuck! I have scary images of my parents, which I wish I could burn away from my overactive imagination. I will save you the torment of finding out how the sperm forces it way to a poor helpless egg to have its wicked way with it. What if the egg doesn’t want the sperm? How ever will she repel? Honestly, I don’t want to know the rest. The poor egg, it has my sympathies. 

So, dear Captain, this is how I was conceived.

Perhaps some secrets are better kept than not. Anyway, moving on from the oldies, I have other questions. I don’t really understand how this actually happens in real life. You know, you have to find a boy that you like and then you have to touch each other. How do you even know what to do? Obviously Amma ji and Abba, were married but who told them how to do these things? Will there be a crash course? I will obviously have to get married first. My head hurts thinking about this. Marriage is so far away. I won’t lie Captain, I won’t. The thing is I am a teeny bit curious but not enough to find out for myself yet. Who wants to get married at 16? That’s crazy talk. I am not getting on that train. Amma ji, did say if I wanted I could marry a cousin in Pakistan. I totally said a big fat NO!

By the way, everyone at school has a crush on either a teacher or a friend. I have no crushes and I am sure no one has one on me either. To be clear, I don’t want to like boys. I don’t like boys. Actually, I don’t know if I like girls. I am not excited by any of this. It all feels contrived like we’re supposed to like someone because other people do. I don’t need a boyfriend. My eggs want to be left alone. It’s uncomplicated in my head. I have to study to get what I want. I want more from my life than a husband, kids and in -laws. The only way to achieve this is EDUCATION. This is the only way, I can have a different life to the one my parents have. I want to live! Plus, I can’t explain it, anyone other than Abba ji makes me queasy. I only like Abba ji. I don’t know why and I don’t feel like finding out.

I don’t exactly know someone who would tell me about the nitty -gritty details of love-making. And I can’t entirely trust the gossip mill so since, I am not exactly bothered, I have left it alone for now. Surely by the time I get married, I will find out but there’s plenty of time for that. There must be some religious explanation for this precise moment in my life.

Oh! Before I forget, you remember my green-eyed silent biker buddy- he’s not silent anymore. One day, out of the blue, he started to talk. Yeah, he spoke to me. ME! I don’t know why. I didn’t ask him either. I pretty much ran. I mean what was I supposed to say? Anyhow, the next time we bumped into each other, he handed me a note. Wait for it- it was a short story. Funny actually so I wrote one back. You now how much I love stories! Now I had a little audience, so I caved into my creative desires. And this was the start of our story telling marathon. It has been going on for awhile. I promise it’s not meant to be a secret but I’ve got no one to tell so its kinda of a secret, I guess. I thought it was innocent fun. No sperm and egg needed. We were storytelling buddies, I actually liked it until a few days ago he ruined it. RUINED it, I say! I blame his sperm, it must have wormed its way into his brain and sucked his sanity away from him.

We don’t actually talk to each other. We exchange notes! In the last one, he ever so dramatically declared his undying love for me! Really, I mean it. He did! He said- he loved me and would do so until the end. I am surprised he didn’t slit his wrist in his desperate pleas. At first I thought it was a joke. It would have been a funny joke. Oh, no no. It was not! Why couldn’t it be simple?

Urgh! What is wrong with boys? I didn’t want his love, I didn’t ask for it. I wanted to share word art not his love. Yuck! I still don’t understand why he would love me? He doesn’t know me- well in reality he doesn’t, he knows my stories. Anyway, truth be told, he’s the least of my worries because guess what? Amma ji found the notes. Drum roll. I really think she was going to have a heart attack or definitely ready to burst a vein. I wasn’t scared, I did nothing wrong. However, she doesn’t believe me. She thinks he’s my boyfriend and I am going to run away or something ridiculous but I will wait until she calms her little fragile self. I was honest- he was a buddy but I didn’t know his name. That’s all there is to it. I don’t know if I will be able to go college now but if I can’t I will never forgive him! This is all his fault. Why couldn’t we just have had a platonic relationship? Why did he have to ruin everything?

Thankfully, the wait wasn’t long. I can go College on the condition I stay away from this green eyed monster. I will happily stay away! You don’t need to convince me. I promise you. I am not sacrificing my future for a boy. However, I am so grateful that Amma ji decided to believe me. I don’t know what would happen if I had to stay at home. I would probably have to get married but I know Amma ji really wants me to study so no more boy trouble. So far, for the time being all my curiosity is sated. Until the day, I get married, I am staying as far away as possible from these good for nothing boys. Captain, this is the only way forward. I am not allowed a boyfriend and I don’t also want one. I just wish Allah doesn’t plant anymore distractions in my path.

Rightio! This is all I have for now. I will of course promise to keep you posted on any developments.

Love you,

WildFlower

Advertisements

Peeping Tom

From behind a veil

In reality, I didn’t wear a veil in the traditional sense. Well not as a child for sure. The tale of my veil begin with puberty. Here, I was a young girl in England living a double life of a secret veil agent. By evening, I was an ignorant shy girl but by day, I was busy hiding behind my secret veil of invisible silence, whilst I listened to the stories of the childish world around me. This was how I began my secret journey. In this way, I was able to find information without actually having to probe anyone. In truth I was on a quest to gather knowledge for what reason, I no longer can recall. Thus, my inner Peeping Tom born. 

This writing experience has opened up some inner doors that were previously hidden beneath the “useless memories” category. Before I indulge into these reflections, I want to mention that I have been on a journey of self discovery for almost 20 years. I started young. However, I bypassed this part of my past. It feels strange to admit this as I have actively thought about many of my childhood experiences and their influence over my own perceptions of self and others. They appear to have gone unnoticed perhaps as they were so normal. However, now as they float in my awareness, my insides bubble with anxiety.

I was born in the late 70’s to immigrant Pakistani parents living a very orthodox way of life. Initially they neither changed or adapted to their new lives, instead they bought their values into this world- my world. As I write, the more I recognise how much of their unspoken value systems influenced my personal views, which I failed to notice. Interestingly, as I look back, I can recant the exact moment this began. It started with my natural physiological changes, in which most of the messages were projections based on my parents personal histories. Our home operated in a secretive silent code, which was somehow understood without any real depth. These were our norms, which were accepted without questions. I accepted because I knew no other way of life. This was my life. Due to the lack of active, useful information, my journey into self discovery, in fact was born. Honestly, no one offered information about anything substantial. I was just not willing to accept this so I found my own way into the surprisingly hidden world of biological development. I needed to know what my body was doing. My observation became my strongest ally. Thus, my innocent Peeping Tom eagerly came out to play. I can’t speak for others, as these are personal experiences but I am sure others would have similar tales.

I realise that even before the veil became a mandatory request in my Pakistani, Muslim household, we were already wearing one. My interpretation of the veil is a simple one. It was to “cover” up beyond our bodies- to be blinded by perceptions. I believe, we were ‘veiled’ so that we could be moulded into obedient, unquestioning puppets of our cultural value system. The reality depressing, we talked about nothing of real relevance other than Islam. I don’t actually recall much talking about anything to be honest. For some bizarre reason, I cannot still comprehend why no one talked about basic things like our bodies, its changes and its purpose. Unsurprisingly, sex and human relations were off the table too. I mean, I had no idea my parents had sex, all I knew was Allah was gifting me siblings as a reward. I am not even sure I wanted those gifts. Yet, their was no backstory to this generous gifting. Truthfully, I don’t believe it was intended maliciously but pure ignorance on my parents part as I doubt they were given any real information either. However, what I now see, is in fact control in the truest sense. Our ability to gain information restricted. We didn’t own a television or a radio. We had no friends beyond ourselves. We didn’t go anywhere in case we became exposed to the haram way of life. And we dare not piss off the non-existing religious police hanging around dark corners waiting to catch us out. Luckily, I only discovered the Taliban later on in life, my God that would have scared the shit out of my younger self. So, our worlds were insular- only ourselves to rely and trust. And reality came as a shock when I no longer had my childlike body. Of course, I didn’t defy nature as I wasn’t exactly Peter Pan. My childhood shaped by blind adults relying on fear- centric, outdated and constrictive perceptions. This therefore, left an imprint on my innocent understanding of myself and how going forward, I was to interact with the world. Until this moment now, I hadn’t acknowledge how I was shackled to silence all those years ago. I was another clink to the chain that my parents were holding on too, without their own knowledge they continued this shackle.

I can only speculate on why this was the case. At the time, I never felt brave enough to ask. Intuitively, I rather quickly grasped that this was not open to discussion. Instead, my incredible shyness and unpopular status in school became the reason I could begin to lift the veil of my own blindness. This happened innocently through observation. The first sign —my mothers sudden persistence about being appropriately covered, which indicated that something was askew. Bearing in mind, she stitched my clothes since I was young. Naked flesh would no way make a surprise guest appearance at dinner. I never understood why this was so important. I simply covered up- it was what was expected. I didn’t enjoy being nagged, it was easier to do it, especially because it was so cold all the time. Now looking back, I feel irritated that no one had the courage to admit the truth. Did they even know the truth? I feel sceptical about it. It was probably easier to project subliminal meanings to my normal biological changes rather then looking within. In truth, until 18. I was all bones and limbs. I don’t even remember when I got past my bud stage, it was like wearing a target on my back for the cruel kids. Thankfully, I now have breasts- real ones. At the time, for God-sake, at 11 I was a freaking child! I am disgusted that I was manipulated and controlled by values that I didn’t even know existed. The limited information and its access, in reality serving sub-cultural conformity so one cannot be questioned or challenged. But who was in charge of this system? It clearly wasn’t my parents because I think they were also blind. I believe that these were ignorant actions of scared adults from a line of terrified generations breeding ignorance and conformity. I don’t know if the lack of education or awareness was the root problem, however, it was a common factor. No one in my parents extended families or village was educated. Those who were either lived abroad or in the cities in Pakistan. I can’t say if those people also complicated the very simple principles of human life. Although, I feel that communication may not be an overall strength. A slow burning anger simmers, at that knowledge that my perceptions were actually controlled without any direct external influences. I was controlled by my parents and I had failed to see it. It feels absurd to be limited by your own family, community and our collective religious beliefs, where my body was given meanings when it need none. I really do wonder how the youth of today navigate through all their craziness as I was limited without all of this. The struggle evidently real.

I wish I had this awareness earlier and maybe I could have done something different at the time. Perhaps, I could have broken the pattern. However, I realise I am here because this is how I was supposed to reach these conclusions. Today, I wouldn’t say I follow fundamental principles of faith or culture, which will always be a point of contention with my family but this wasn’t unexpected. I now have my own perception about how I see the world and the kind of world I want to live in. My awareness, has bought me to a place, where I can acknowledge that faith influenced our family in a really intimate way. Like many other naive children, morality was grounded in religion without any exploration of values outside of that. I was taught that Islam demanded ‘good Muslims’ to cover their bodies from everyone including my father and brothers but no one explained the reasons behind it. For my younger self, it wasn’t unusual. I was surrounded by women who dressed in a certain way. Those who didn’t — simply were outsiders and they did not matter. And as my own knowledge grew, I realised that there was something more to ‘covering up’ then the act alone. It didn’t go unnoticed that mother was always dressed in layers, even today, I have only seen her hands, feet and face. On rare occasions I get a peek of her snow white hair. Other than that, her body has been hidden behind layers of beautifully soft fabric. Sadly, she is a slave to her upbringing but her veil also doesn’t end there. My mother has been hiding behind our generational expectations without question. Her vision narrow, especially when it comes to her understanding of her own body and its role— it is one of obligation and fulfilling her duty. In my mothers case, every girl child believed that Islam expected women to ‘cover up’ from the ‘male gaze’ so Satan didn’t repeat the history of Adam and Eve with his naive helpless young victims seducing them into premarital sex. She would have never challenged this. This was normal in fact no one would question it. It wasn’t only the word of God but also her mothers, her extended family’s, her villages. Everyone followed these rules and if they didn’t, well shame on them. Since, no one actively communicated, who would she have asked anyway? The fact my mother had no voice of her own, doesn’t come as a shock. She was a puppet on a very tight string. This is the ugly truth of how their silent witness continued to play a part in my young life. There is no denying, culturally and historically the responsibility of protecting men falls upon girls. Although men are also warned about the ‘female gaze’, this appears to get less attention. Girls are the guardians of this galaxy even before they become women. Young girls subconsciously made to feel as the weight of men’s desires their sole responsibility. I hadn’t understood this before. As a teenager, all I was privy to was if I didn’t cover myself I would go to hell for disobeying God. The veil of shame and fear that I carried secretly for years, never found a voice until this moment, where I accept this is what had happened. I had been playing hide and seek because that was all I had ever known. I didn’t even know I felt shame until I started writing this.

This pitiful cycle of body shame didn’t end with silent messages and the lack of communication, it was further apparent in our social exchanges. The hierarchy of our family structure reinforcing dependency and strongly rooted attachments to one another. The one key area, I found this to be prevalent was in the way financial responsibility played a critical part in maintaining the carefully structured system. As a girl it was my father and eldest brothers responsibility to meet my needs regardless of what they were. From education to marriage, they were the ones straddled with this burden. There after it would be my husbands. You see, I didn’t also realise that this further tied me to the chains of cultural, familial, and communal expectations. This was the norm too. Who was I to question this? So this cycle of silence was predestined to continue into my unseen future. For years my mother bought my clothes, I am not sure when she should have stopped but I don’t know what propelled me to change my financial dependency but at 18 I started a part time cashier job whilst at college. Without any real awareness, I took responsibility for my own needs, which luckily changed the course of my life. It paid well and I enjoyed meeting people even though I didn’t need the money. This I believe was the welcome door to freedom that I never anticipated opening. But somehow, I did. I think deep down, I hated following rules so this was my subconscious way of undoing childhood conditioning. My small part-time job, was the chance to explore a world outside our insular one. With this financial freedom, I also had the desire to discover myself through the new world of clothes. To my mothers disapproval, I stopped wearing traditional shalwar suits. I couldn’t comprehend the reasons for wearing these clothes in the cold, wet climate of England. More so, these outdated principles didn’t align with my evolving purpose. The process of change was in motion and I was not prepared to remain stagnant in her attachments to history. I couldn’t simply accept that I should be defined by my body or the clothes I chose to wear. I wanted to be warm, clothes meant nothing more than that. It was then, I realised I had freed myself from labelling my body and the functions of practicalities such as clothes. Before then, my mother was the one with the power to decide what was appropriate. So in honesty, I was never given the chance to find my own voice or identity as someone else was always choosing what was best for me. I fell into resistance, without knowledge, however, I am grateful I did. When I decided to own my personal power, I never really fully understood how far I would have to go to hold on it.

This is the sad truth about my childhood where a time of joy and innocent fun was hidden behind secret meanings of unaware adults. In the end, I did learn the facts about our physiological changes but I did it without support and effective resources. I don’t regret my path or the things I have uncovered. Without the same access to information that younger people have today, I still found my own place in the world. Nothing could deter me. I think I was not ever going to accept the ‘way of the world’ without finding out for myself. I am accountable for my actions today. Although I hold none of these views or expectations, writing this piece bought to my attention, that it would have been easy to be ashamed and afraid of owning my own personal power. Yet, I did not believe it was the right thing to do. I never could fully accept that we were supposed to live our lives behind these veils. I am grateful for my young Peeping Tom, without her, I would still be asleep behind historical layers of ugly secrecy, which only serves to confine us to limited existences.

I want to close with the request that — please do not accept others perceptions of you no matter what you were told, you can find yourself in your own way. I believe that access to respectful, honest and age appropriate information is essential to our development in different areas. And those who are responsible for the care of children, please step outside of your own fears and perceptions to gently guide them into the murky world of adulthood. In this way, we will be able to together build a future of well adjusted adults who are capable of fighting old school ideologies. Ignorance and lack of education is no excuse in a time where we are saturated with information. Our bodies do not need labels or emotional attachments, they serve one purpose. They are the homes, where our souls reside. They require love, respect and kindness. Nothing more or less than that. We have nothing to be ashamed about, after all for us God fearing ones- he gave us this gift to enjoy. So, why not relish in our blessings? 

To my parents, I love you for all you could do. For what you didn’t I forgive you. 

With love,

WildFlower.

The WildFlower Chronicles

 The adventure continues.

kid-2529907__480

 

After my very first period, many had passed. It was now nearly 10 months, I hadn’t become accustomed to this new change. However, as I stand in the sweaty changing rooms of high school chatter, I stare at myself in renewed awe. Something had changed my body without my knowledge. I was going to find out what. No matter what, there would be no more hiding from this.

 

 

November1992

 

Dear Diary,

Hi! Captain Puberty, it’s been an eventful day like the many others of late! Alas, I am armed with updates. I finally got the courage to find out information that no one else was willing to disclose. Since, Amma ji, banned all sex education related topics, I did my best to develop my new skill- eavesdropping. We have no television or radio. This has always been haram, but I’m not complaining, I can’t see Satan being a fun dude so I’m not getting on the wrong-side of Allah. Hell, isn’t really a playground for naughty children. Well that’s what mother says.

Instead of trying to illicit any possible reactions from Amma ji, I’ve began my own investigations in our schools gym changing room. It is the best place to find out more. Everyone loves to talk! About someone or something, so I have my own juicy monologues. Of course, no one speaks to me, I’m like the kid with leprosy, thus with ease I blend into the walls. Invisibility is fine for now.

Obviously, since you and I only recently started to confide in each other, dear friend, I want to catch you up on the past. Before, the dreaded bloodshed, my body had started its own small invasion. Over the last few years, unexpected changes began popping up here and there. My grand discovery- unruly hair in certain places, there placement rather random. It really wasn’t a sight pleasant. I didn’t like this awkward surprise because hiding it from others became a battle of its own kind. Since, I had no idea about others hair status, I dared not to bare all. No more sleeveless t-shirts for the timing being.

Normality it seems, evolves at it’s on mercy. I didn’t know if this was something unusual or I was supposed to sprout wicked hair clusters. It only dawned, when other unsuspecting girls were buried in their own hair stories and their experimental shaving sagas. So, they were also invaded by the hairy fairy.

It was during these intense moments that weirdly, some random girl pointed at my legs and asked if they had been freshly shaved. My glistening tanned legs, unsure of the right way to answer. To which, I proceeded with aloofness that I hadn’t needed too. I still remember their collective giggles. She thought it was hilarious and spread my news to the rest of the hair factory. So, I took my hairless legs and covered them up with tights. So more hair to look forward too. When who knows? Excellent news, not! Now, we both know that it’s not over Captain! Why though? What will this achieve? Other than being mocked for being too hairy or not hairy at all?

I’ve had to sneak around a lot. Luckily, I’m good at being invisible. It’s taking me a few attempts but I have the full picture. Whoopee! At first I didn’t notice that my tops no longer lay flat. Suddenly two blobs grew. And these were my breasts. Mind you they were on the slow trained compared to others but it was enough for Amma ji to go all Hitler-esque on me. From nowhere, my wardrobe become looser. Amma ji, subtly started to force me to cover up with heavy jumpers and scarves. She never actually said why though. I only realised when I noticed other girls didn’t wear vests like me. They wore shorter ones because they had bigger breasts, which I hadn’t got yet. Whilst others were busy shoving tissue down there so they werent in the baby club. Crop vests, were the in thing. I wasn’t in that club. Apparently, it’s what boys liked. However I don’t care for boys much. I have 3 brothers and they’re no fun.

I don’t know what this means yet. It all seems a bit like a dream. My body is no longer one I recognise. It feels as an alien stepped into my life and completely took over my feelings, thoughts and appearance. My other Pakistani friends don’t say much about their bodies, only that they cover up too. Even when it’s hot, I’m now no longer allowed to wear dressers or shorts. I think it’s because my body has changed and it’s something that isn’t meant to be public. But I don’t really know the truth because no one has directly told me. In my speculation, I’d say this new body has no place in the world. It’s an awkward outsider trying to find a home and acceptance, which seems so hard to find. I really don’t know why it can’t be simple.

For now, I have a hair family, two tiny breasts and one special place, which isn’t to be displayed- ever. My wildflower. All with some purpose, one I am not privy too. I don’t like this new body because I am not allowed to know it. I don’t want to like it because it means my mother treats me differently. And dresses are no longer allowed on sunny days. Instead, I’m supposed to behave like a woman, which is no fun at all. To be fair, my mother is always covered up so I don’t know if our bodies look the same. Although mine is more or less similar to the other girls of my age. I’m not that abnormal then.

Captain. Thus far, I have managed to discover, I have a period because my body is ready for a baby! I don’t want to have a baby. Yuck! And for now I have a body, which has limits for reasons beyond my grasp. I don’t hope I’ll get my answers in the typical ways… We will find our own.

Thank you for your patience on this. I can’t wait to tell you more.

 

1_jHZqoB96Q9oxXkzvFw06gg@2x

 

Toodles.

 

WildFlower

 

 

 

 

Photography credit to the original artists. 

 

The WildFlower Chronicles

The WildFlower Chronicles

The inner workings if a world unexplored

The bitter sting of the early February breeze serves as a reminder that we aren’t past the terrible winter of this year. I yank the frail handle of the creaking ugly mustard window. The flowery pinks of the curtain slapping against my cheek. Sitting in front of my pale blue secondhand type writer, I sigh. Today, was long. Grateful for the time alone in my shoe box sized room, I begin processing my bizarre day.

I press my stubby fingers hard into sticky keys resisting my invasion.

3rd February 1992

Dear Diary,

Where to start?

Today was a day of surprises of the horrible kind. Let me begin at the very beginning. Firstly, Rashida isn’t talking to me- why would she do this to her own best friend? Why? I don’t know. However, I didn’t get a chance to find out, rudely I was interrupted by this gut wrenching pain that felt like my insides where being unscrewed to where ever they’re supposed to be attached. With this sudden internal battle raging on inside, I rush to the toilet to find myself bleeding to death. Yes! You heard me right! My tummy was pouring out from my pee hole! It was soooooo scary!!!! My first thought- “oh my god, I’m dying!” But a little voice in my head, told me to steady on. Instead of reading my final prayers, I ended up stuffing tissue into my underwear and roughly yanking up my yellow shalwar and ran to tell Amma ji. Amma ji, without any words, burst into a floodgate of tears. She then just simply vanished! Well not literally vanish, you know what I mean. I won’t lie, her little disappearance act really freaked me out. With some serious intensity, I started to recite my prayers. Of course, my time on earth was up. Why else would mother cry? After all, here I was 12 years old, standing in our heavily patterned hallway bleeding the contents of my body out. Eventually, a sniffling Amma ji returned with a mysterious package, which she shoved in my trembling hands. Suddenly, I was alone in the hallway.

It turned out that this was normal yet no one explained the intricacies of it to me. So, I carried on — relieved that for now, I would live. This is how my very first period was introduced . A tentative step into womanhood. I was no longer an innocent, sweet child. I now had responsibilities, ones which no one bothered to tell me about but expected me to fulfil nonetheless. Nothing more was said. Amma ji never bought it up again and well Abba isn’t allowed to get involved in girly matters.

I am all alone in this confusing child-woman world. One foot in cheery childishness and the other in becoming a serious mature woman. I didn’t want this life. I really wish someone had asked for my consent.

I cannot share this scary journey with anyone. I am embarrassed to admit that I am scared of my new found status as a young woman. The biological choice is beyond my power but I can choose how to deal with it. So, after much deliberation, I have decided that you my secretive friend, win a special prize. You are my very own Captain Puberty. Together, we will solve this mystery of life and carve our own path to great womanhood. Please? I need you.

I want to thank you for being my companion on this journey. Being the kooky Pakistani weirdo isn’t much fun alone. So here is my invitation into an unknown world of discovery. Please join me.

Until the next time Captain.

WildFlower.

Please note: photography credit to original artists

Blood Money

 

Blood Money

My mother a Kashmiri beauty, with fair skin and golden brown tresses born in 1944 in an Indian territory now known as Pakistan. 3 years before the war broke, she a blissful only child. 1979, during the bitter winter in England her first child is born. I am her tanned, curly haired daughter. We are two worlds apart but orbit in one reality for now. Until, we choose our own brave paths. Women hanging onto a fine thread , where traditional battles to survive over the other. I am the one caught in between modernity and parts of a heritage I cannot accept. 

I would have thought our natural passages into the different stages of life were a time meant for celebration and joy. From menstruation to menopause, we would be celebrated, respected and acknowledged for all we have achieved. Yet, looking back from my almost 40 year old woman’s perspective- all that remains obvious are the religious and cultural sensitivities. The blatant ignorance, lack of emotional awareness and otherwise outdated attachment to expectations and roles of gender. I sit here wondering what would my journey into adulthood look like if this mirror had a different preset.

It possibly does sound ridiculously petty and immature that at 12, I had lived in oblivion about the exciting adventures of puberty or in the ways my body was about to evolve. This is no lie – that was my life outside today’s internet savvy youth. I really was an innocent child of a time breeding cultural conformity and silence. Where one physiological change had many multiple meanings and labels attached to it. In my own humble understanding- my body was changing because that was the grand design. The purpose served. It meant nothing more than that I was shedding lining. Then why suddenly was my old body a matter of shame and secrecy?

On a monthly basis the uterus lining gets thicker to prepare for a fertilised egg if the woman becomes pregnant. If the egg doesn’t get fertilised, that lining is released from the body as blood through the vagina. This monthly process is called menstruation or a period.

Absurdly, this was the point where this simple action became a complicated mess of mixed up interpretations. I can’t say for anyone else but my own personal experiences of growing up in a Pakistani, Muslim family with migrant parents was a unique one. There were so many factors in play at the same time, no one really taking presidency over the other. In reflection, I cannot say what impacted the most.

red-roses-on-dark-recycled-wood-background-milleflore-images

Let’s begin with the cultural symbolism first. My mother was from a rural village, where she became a woman at 11. She was from a generation of women who were conditioned to believe that womanhood was in fact shameful. Once, she had started her period, she was now ready to be accountable to an adult world. Their lower existences of less importance compared to others, particularly men. They weren’t nurtured or respected for their feminine powers– they were simply put “property” of their fathers, brothers, husband and sons in exchange for the “female-laden” services and silence. Not only were the women conditioned but so were the men. No one really challenging the status quo because they didn’t have the skills as such. Inadvertently, thus normalising this experience of “womanhood”. Menstruation – carrying the heavy burden of gender division and thus birthing a new generation of submissive heroines. My early experience of this, “predisposed labelling” never really felt right. At the time, perhaps I didn’t have words, whereas as the woman today, I do. I don’t blame my ancestors, they were trapped in a system. However, how do we undo the old?

There were two choices. I could either be the symbol of femininity which was controlled by her menses or I could choose to see it as it was. A biological process. I chose the latter. Today the association with my period and responsibility seems just so silly. In fact though, it was actually the cultural shifting of roles, where the mother handed the baton to her daughter. Now placing all her values and expectations on her fragile shoulders. Why would you want that for a child? It makes no logical sense.

Yet, we culturally it appears continue to place a name tag with supposed expectations of “social currency” on it. Religion also playing a central role in the language and assumptions attached to this innocent stage of life. It doesn’t end with “property” being exchanged for one singular “currency”. It is a price we are forever paying with our mind, body and soul but it is then further restricted with the limits of faith. Behind the veil of Islamic ideologies and cultural conditioning, the menses are a time of impurity, where women aren’t allowed to pray, or be intimate with their husbands. Not because they choose too but more so because now for this short period they become impure. Yet these same women hold the power to birth life. No other has this magnificent power. However, behind closed doors, she is in fact another dirty secret which no one talks about. Trapped in the subliminal layers of generational hypocrisies.

I cannot decide if it’s just my family or there are others who found themselves interwoven into a historical pattern that they have no idea about. You know, like belonging to a club you never really wanted to join but had no choice because your parents honour and social status relied heavily on your dutiful acceptance and conformity to it. At 12, I had no idea. All I knew was I wanted to play and be sure my parents were never upset due to my childish disobedience. Writing this, I realise that this appears to attach so many intensely complex meanings to growing up which I had accepted without my own consent. It now makes me rather sad that I was unwillingly a part of the historical chain of crazy ideologies.

I believe beyond the religious and cultural burdens, I unfortunately got caught between my parents adjusting to a completely alien society. They arrived in the late 60’s without ever really being fully prepared for what awaited them. I was their eldest daughter, perhaps my mother never thought that far ahead but she also was never emotionally or mentally equipped to express her feelings or thoughts. She was always emotionally sensitive- or she swung between anger and sadness. She didn’t really jive with anything else. It’s not surprising that she cried. Obviously, I never understood at the time but in fact she cried at the loss of her own child. She cried at my loss. She cried because she knew what became of Pakistani girls. What she didn’t cry for was that her daughter wasn’t one to follow. That on hold until a future not so distant. I think her “emotional outburst” was an instinctive, limited history playing itself out in our present reality. One I had no control in. I didn’t know what was happening and I had no idea what it meant. Without adding anymore meanings to it, I feel it shaped my understanding of a biological change that others were also experiencing at some point. It’s like attaching emotional context to experiences that perhaps would feel more pain or sadness in the physical body because they were being processed as “negative” ones based on someone else’s misguided interpretations. I can’t say for sure but I believe if my mother had reacted differently, I would have had a different relationship with my body and it’s evolution.

Men. Men. Men.

The elusive mystery, wasn’t so elusive in my limited world compared to others. I have always had a better relationship with my father, which was uncommon amongst other Pakistani children of similar age. Their father’s weren’t their friends. My father, though intuitively knew I wasn’t the run of the mill kind of kid. However, hell would have to freeze before he bought up “women’s business”. The divide stark. This was mother territory. He would never question how she would handle this because it was her job to keep us in line. Do I regret not having open, communicative parents? I don’t. I think they only did what they were able too. And I am not one to pedal the victim mentality or play blame games– I believe I have the choice to change my life, my beliefs, my perceptions. I am not a powerless victim of a historical cycle. In fairness, I got the brunt of being the eldest daughter. However, when the typical traditional way to Pakistani Muslim womanhood failed with me, they ended up loosening up with my sisters. Even today, we have polarised views, however, I no longer fight them. I am the change. The difference is that we now have dialogue. I can’t change them. I gave up years ago. My 12 year old self didn’t bother saying much because he had no voice or power. However, I refused the labels of gendered puberty by skipping an arranged marriage at 17. I studied way into post graduate hysteria. I travelled. I worked abroad. I remained unmarried until 38. By which point I’m past any sell by date, even the oldies shrug in disgust. Yet, I didn’t conform.

By adding meanings, emotive language, expectations and our own experiences, we are shaping how we perceive our natural experiences. Do we really need to be sad about becoming a woman? Of course not, it is a gift that we should be allowed to enjoy. Sadly, at present we are paying a price for the ways in which “socialisation and norms” predefines our understandings. Thus forcing our future generations to compensate for these misrepresentations. I can’t say you must do this, but I’d like to leave you with this. For how long will we collectively pay the cost of others mistakes? This may seem trivial to you. “It’s only a freaking period so what your mother cried and didn’t talk to you about it”. I say to you, please look beyond the action into the intention, mentality and the application of her ways. Then ask yourself- is it really as black and white as that? A child is a just that- a child. Not a blackboard for the fallout of your adult inadequacies. It is time to find yourself another toxic dumping ground. Your generations may have not known better, you do though. Remember, we can’t build thriving futures on poisonous soil. It is your responsibility, not a child’s.

I am not paying blood money for your blindness.

Until the next time, we can see beyond layers superficial have a beautiful day.

WildFlower 

Photography credit to the original artist.

Are you enough?

Real-men-dont-cry...-655x353

 

Softly tangled curls bounce against a tan forehead, the early manifestation of unspoken rebellion forging its path. Behind oversized purple spectacles, brown eyes spectating a world unfold before her. The silent witness never fully able to comprehend untruths sold as obvious wolves in sheep’s clothes. Yet, at this tender age of innocence knowing fully how innately wrong these stories were. Yes, utterly wrong.

She was 8. 

And she certainly was never really conventionally cool enough to fit in this strangely constructed paradigm, they called reality.

But did she really care? 

Yes, of course she cared- wouldn’t you? I am sure, like every other child anywhere, all she wanted was love and acceptance. To happily belong to the beautiful family of kind humanity. However, majestically strong doors to this kingdom, where sealed shut. Her soul did not live in this lively world of awoken fellow kin. Her world instead was etched in the darkness of deeply misguided labels, imprinting cruelly on her youthful skin. A sin, of the highest order, yet no one willing enough to start the cycle over. 

Girl. Pakistani. Muslim. Friend. Sister. Daughter. Wife and Motherone day, in a future not so distant. 

Beyond, these cultural complexities, the stench of anxious ancestors clung to her bones. Something was wrong. Unfortunately, more was to come. And oh boy, these new labels did not fail. These pesky ones were a proud brand, sparkling in the magnificent glory of societal normalisation and unwavering acceptance. These were a powerful enemy hungry to devour anyone daring to stand against them. This was the undesired status quo– no one messed with these bad boys, especially not curious young Asian girls. 

Derailed by the crazy sandstorm of hetero-normalisation, gendered identity, cultural conformity, patriarchy and many more unnamed prisoners of ‘isms’ and ‘ideologies’. She trembled in unknown territory of scary unfamiliarity. Unaware of her pending doom. Soon begrudgingly, she would drown under the heavy burden of regretful shame and fear. The foul smell of rotting flesh stinging her fragile nostrils. A smell she would never forget. The ugly death of humanity sinking beneath a malignant pregnancy terminal in its branded lies subtly being fed to a curiously sensitive, emphatic child. Perhaps, like many other children, she was not alone in being unknowingly manipulated by this dark seed of a corrupt system. 

Intuitively unwilling she was to digest this truth. Her soul could not relent. It waited for something more. This could not be the way of the world.  You see, she wasn’t entirely wrong. It was not all of the world.

 

image2Stereotypes-620x359

 

One day, in the future, the very same curly haired spirited soul matured into her authentic adult self. Finally able to denounce all forms of labels, it wasn’t merely driven by rebellion. It was the understanding that all of it was simply nonsense.  It was one way of ensuring our silent subjugation to the system that claimed to be the almighty moral and ethical compass. Where once, she had no comprehension or language to express her inner awareness, she now was able to express freely if to no one else but to herself. She did not need labels or a predefined identity because in her heart, she believed that our souls were not limited by  attachments or perceptions of self, ego, identity and need. Intellect, finally caught up. Life was not a neat line of labels, where conformity was able to dictate our understandings of self or our existence. Beyond the stories, we were fed as children, the stark truth danced in eager anticipation.  We could change the stories but why did we not? Were we just sleep walking cowards, inhibited by our histories? 

Upon this very search, rather clumsy she stumbled upon – Why I’m done trying to be ‘man enough?’ The giant, sparkling copper penny of reality crashed loudly against the thin walls of her mind. 

 

For a brief moment, she had forgotten the harsh realities of the contrived world around her. It was shackled in ancient chains of fabrications, manipulations and outright lies. You see, as she crossed the threshold of her stifling upbringing by rejecting the generational stories of her angry gendered cultured world, she also closed a solid iron gate to that suffocating life. Behind that gate, the festering memories of outdated traditions, stereotypes, honour and shame, decomposed at a slow rate whilst others lived to revive them in a world that really should happily let them die. Suddenly, she was reminded that victory was far from here. Her curious eyes, saddened by this ugly truth. 

“I am done being man enough’, was a bittersweet slap in her optimistic opium of sub-realities. In her reality, a humanity deeply ingrained in kind evolution and inner beauty had already awoken. Where we were all free from the traps of ‘macho-isms, feminism, gender-isms, racism’s, socialism’s and all-isms’. None of which dared to exist. The disgraceful seeds of corruption torn from beneath our feet. We were no longer egoistic maniacs fighting to survive behind the tainted veil of generational lies. Hate did not fester in our hearts. Our minds willingly able to trust the beauty of our hearts, souls and intuitions. Finally, our true-self was able to celebrate its existence because we were not inherently divided by our differences. Alive authenticity, stripped us from our desperate need to wear masks so we could co-exist with other vibrant, lively, intoxicating souls . We were a human family. Bright, bold, beautiful. Full of love and hope. Hope-ium. 

However, ‘being man enough’ stirred something in her gut. The real world, she recognised was not there yet. She was living in two worlds. The one, she had forged, included like minded, sensitive, conscious, spiritual souls. Together, they hung amongst the stars and cosmos, contemplating the gift of life. Men included. She could not remember the last time she met an insensitive, macho type anything.

Where next? Well, firstly she refuses to give up on Hope-ium. I know, she wont because I am that 8 year old. I refuse to give up on collective healing and the power of humanity

I guess in the end, it boils down to the fact that, some of us are open enough to re-write our narratives, primarily because we don’t believe in limits. Limits are the reason progress can not flourish. We are our own limits. Our silence and lack of challenge, is why we suffer, today in 2018. Our souls are not meant to reside in coffins that one day, will shudder in horror at atrocities they stood by and silently watched. Our graves, tormented by this simple thought. We are active participants of humanity who are accountable for our actions and in-actions. So, why are we still a sleep? Will we ever see the strength in emotional intelligence? I really believe so.

Today, as I write this, I accept that the world will only change, if we collectively wake up and seek beyond our stories. One soul, then another. Eventually, we will all be awake. Our voices united in harmony. In honesty, admit it. No one really needs or wants attachments to labels. After all, they serve only self centred ego’s hungry for power and control. Those are the ego’s that need to be confronted, stripped and re-formed. Then, ask yourself why you cling to them? Like Justin, you can also be bold enough to unlock those inner doors that will free you from a life stifling. Choose another way. Listen to the voices, you run from the most. Ask yourself, why do I run so much? Who am I afraid to be? And one day, throw caution to the wind, to be ‘enough’ for all. You will see, others will embrace not shame you. Love is really all that should be on offer here. In the end, all we truthfully want is acceptance and belonging. Let’s together normalise a healthy relationship with self and other so that our future generations can be free from toxic narratives. 

The true essence of human.

I was born ready for this rebellion. 

Are you with me?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

I would like to thank you for your patience with this piece. Thank you for the amazing photography- credit to the artist. And a massive thank you for Ted Talks for making this enlightening talk possible. 

Thank you, Justin Baldoni for being the example of evolved humanity, beyond words, the actions will always be remembered. 

 

With love. 

 

14466137504_1905e80fd0_o

The Valentine Curse

59772-Angels-In-Love

 

LOCATION: Home Manchester, UNITED KINGDOM

AGENT: CUPID LOVE-JOY

REPORT DATE: 15.02.2018

TIME: 00:10 AM

MATCH RATE: 45%

RANK: 267

STATUS: DELIVERED

Finally, after having submitted my annual report for Valentine 2018, I rest on the plush carpet, a soft pink against my midnight curls. This love business, now fully a paper churning machine evil. Every year, a new nightmare rising. The steady influx of unwelcome yet beautifully ambitious young Cupids, slowly ebbing the rest of us old dogs out. I sigh. My emotions, a whirling mess of uncertain waves, crashing against my heart. The dance erratic. Dread charges proudly through my blood. Something was strangely off. What was it? I couldn’t place the feeling but something clung to my soul like a rag wet. Dragging myself from the comforting floor, my blurry eyes burn as I stifle a mammoth yawn. In my serene bedroom of silvery ink, I yank off my stubborn t-shirt. Thoughts scream in my ears. I had never felt this way after any other Valentine. So why this one? In mock jest my plump belly grins up at me with wicked mischievousness. Shrugging, I promise myself that by next year, I will have lost this new-found weight, greedily cuddling my midriff. Yep! no more belly grinning. But right now, I had to turn down this rave, depriving my mind of any peaceful harmony.  My insides willing to explode all over the wall. I really doubt that the next tenants would appreciate the art of merry guts hanging over their sleeping heads. With a loud yawn, I crawl under my silk silver sheets, a warm light welcomes.

 

6decc962ec6a69864e0a5cb915c63973--broken-heart-drawings-cool-heart-drawings

 

LOCATION: CupidCo Headquarters, London UNITED KINGDOM 

LOVE-MATE: LM17

RELATIONSHIP STATUS: SINGLE

RELATIONSHIP OVERVIEW: SUCCESSFULLY MATCHED 14.02.2017 

RELATIONSHIP TERMINATION: 6 MONTHS AND 14 DAYS

ASSIGNED CUPID: LOVE-JOY

CUPID INVESTIGATOR: SENIOR CUPID HARTLESS

She twitches ever so slightly, her nerves contagious. I clear my throat intentionally loud. Every single detail, a precise act of deliberate sabotage. I knew my purpose, I would not fail, no matter what presented itself.

“Ms. LM17, thank you for bringing this to my attention. I truly empathise and offer you my sincerest apologies. Please in your own words tell me what exactly has happened during your CupidCo journey. I assure you, I will do my best to rectify the situation.”

Her fidgeting stirring a small annoyance in my usually calm demeanour. I remain silently still. Her sigh, a loud echo in the sterile room. I couldn’t stand the whole Valentine fever. This was my clinical haven and she was pulling on a vortex of emotional energy, I really cared not for. I was ready to shut this down.

“I don’t know what to say. I am still rather flustered. This year, Valentine creeps up on me, filling my heart with a strange ache. I realised I was single, again. Another year, another date. I had already decided, I was not dating anymore this was final in my mind. But, I saw all the usual Valentine fuss and snapped. I had no intention to send any feedback yet there it was in my inbox, teasing me. So I just unleashed my upset on it. It’s not as if anyone particular was bothering me or the company itself. It’s all this love business, I can not make sense of it and I don’t understand why Love-Joy would set me up with such people.”

She stammers, then nervously chews on her lower lip. I smile softly trying to ease her panic. I nod reassuringly for her to continue but inside my head begins to explode in tiny painful sparks.

“I don’t want to complain or get Cupid Love-Joy into any trouble. Will this cause problems?”

I cut her off, I wanted clean endings not pitiful woes.

“Please Madam, answer the questions. At the end there will be opportunity for you to ask your own. This way it will be much easier for you.”

“Of course, of course. I am sorry. Where to begin?”

Her face pensive.

“I hated that another Valentine was here and I was this pathetic, sad loser. Waiting for my one true love. There was no way, I was going on this date. Mind you, I didn’t. I have so many painful memories. I finally decided that I wouldn’t force myself to do it anymore. My heart hurts too much, I can’t fix it. The last relationship broke me. Honestly, it was great, until he was just gone. Then nothing. I never heard from him again. I am so desperately tired of sharing my mind, body, soul and heart with someone for it to inevitably end. I don’t think I have had a single relationship, which has lasted more than 6 months. I mean in the last 7 years, I have had no successful long-term! How pathetic is that? 38 years old, yet still single. What the hell is going on? It’s not as if I am not trying to make my relationships work. I swear, no one would try harder than I do. They simply don’t. I guess, this year when Cupid Love-Joy appeared with my supposed Perfect Match, I smiled and thanked him but on the inside I wanted to vomit. In my heart, I knew it was over. I filled the feedback whilst in reflection about my terrible love experiences. I wanted to vent. This is all I have. Just questions with no one to answer them because clearly I wasn’t even worth that much. I gave it all to my last love. Now, I am empty and tired.”

I stare out of the window, her voice a dull hum in the background. My mind many memories away.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

LOCATION: LONDON UNDERGROUND

AGENT: CUPID LOVE-JOY

DATE: 16.02.2018

TIME: 9.07 am

 

The last 24 hours had been a whirlwind of madness. I should have guessed from the surprise phone call that good news was not going to follow. But in my insanely hopeful optimism, I cancelled my vacation to Bali to come to London as requested. We were not one to disobey orders. Here, I was. Of course, a promotion wasn’t on the cards. Who was I trying to fool? I blink back my tears salty. My entire life commitment shattered in three small words -“you are fired.” Obviously, it was much more of an eloquent fanfare, filled with nonsensical lies. But it was all over. In a flash, my dreams crushed. No farewells. No party. No speeches. I was out on my cold ass, with no shoulder to cry on. The icy wind freezing my tears. I sniffle loudly. And as I reach for my briefcase to find a handkerchief, a strange hissing stirs inside it. Hastily I snap it wide open, to my shock, a rose gold embossed envelope hiccups sprinkling gold glitter everywhere. Where did that come from? I had definitely not put it here. All CupidCo files were highly confidential, I certainly hadn’t seen this mystery before. With trembling fingers, I flick it open. A file flops lazily on to my bemused legs. To my great surprise it was my exit evidence file. I read it quickly. Then read it again. The shameful lies! Fury clings to my skin. How dare they? Just like that, the file randomly floats in the air and sets alight. An ash waterfall crumbles on my clean grey pants.

“LM17.” I mutter under my breath. “Who is LM17?”

Sifting through memory after memory, it eventually dawns on me. LM17 was someone I would never forget. In an instant, I am on restless feet, ready to take charge of this utter mess.

 

maxresdefault

 

LOCATION: LEEDS YORKSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM

DATE: 16,02.2018

TIME: 1.30 pm

 

Whilst, I wait patiently, I watch as anxious patients watch the stubborn clock tick by. They were yet to be called. I know it seems drastic, perhaps even rash. I am not trying to excuse my actions, I just knew this was the right thing to do. I wasn’t angry.  I wasn’t even sure what exactly I was going to say. But, I had to be here. Before, I could get a chance to think of something, the door buzzes open.

“LJ?!” She gasps in utter shock.

I smile showing her my sparkly clean teeth and say in loud cheer.

“Hey! Surprise! I was …”

She gently takes my arm and ushers me behind swinging green doors. I follow her into her office, I presume.

“What are you doing here? This isn’t allowed! I am at work! I have clients! You can’t turn up here without any notice.”

Her voice a pitch high, scratches my poor ears.

“I am sorry, I didn’t mean to barge in here. I needed to talk to you”.

I stop. My breathing laboured suddenly.

“Talk about what? We don’t talk. It is not part of the contract. Please leave. I have appointments, I do not want to do this.”

I hear her irritation, even though she appears superficially composed.

“Sure as hell you don’t want to do this. You saw me two days ago. You could have chosen to tell me the truth about how you felt. But hey ho, you decided not too. Instead you filed a complaint.”

Blood rushes to my face, warming it. She shrinks as if I had struck her. Her body shaking slowly.

“I am sorry. I didn’t intend for that to happen. I can’t explain it.”

Calming myself, I reach out and place a hand on her shoulder.

“Please look at me. I didn’t come here to upset you. I came so I could help you. If you had the courage to speak your truth, I would have helped you. I do not want you to suffer needlessly”

Moist brown eyes meet mossy green ones.

“We are ordered to not advise or counsel our charges. Our job is to offer you a match and then proceed to set your magical encounter up. Nothing more, nothing less. But you, you have always stayed with me. It is not because something is wrong with your matches or that you are unlucky in love.”

Her voice soft, she whispers,

“Great! Absolutely great. So I am cursed. A love failure that you can’t seem to forget, even when you’re fired because of me.”

“This isn’t about anyone else but yourself. You are not a failure. You have been chasing beyond yourself for 7 years. I came today to tell you that, you will not find long-lasting true love until you look within.”

“Oh! It’s all my fault? Nothing to do with jerks who fuck off and never bother to mention they’re just not coming back?”

She snaps, her glare burning holes in my flesh.

“Actually, yes. Yes, yes it is your own fault. You refuse to look at what’s in front of you. Instead you cling to possibilities beyond your control. When they don’t work, you spend unnecessary energy trying to understand why it didn’t work. When the reality is that it didn’t work because you are your own problem. The matches can see that. I am not justifying their actions, not at all. All I am saying, you must heal yourself before you can find a meaningful relationship with depth and substance. Everyone eventually sees the cracks, unfortunately, you can’t. Broken dolls don’t mend on their own. You have to care for them, love them, nourish them. Treat them with the highest respect and kindness. YOU need to do that. No one else will do it. You can say you’re cursed all you want but we both know it’s a lie. You’re scared to face the truth. No one beyond ourselves has the power to heal us.”

She opens her mouth to speak but quickly closes it. Turning on her heel, she steely orders;

“Get out! Do not come back. Ever!”

I let out a heavy sigh.

“You are your own love story. Be your own lover first and foremost. Only then you can command pure love from another. Valentines will come and go. You will be never alone with the most authentic version of yourself. Love will find you, when the moment is right.”

I quietly close the door behind myself.

 

shutterstock_139276682-1000x550

 

LOCATION: BALI

DATE: 10.12.2018

MESSAGE FROM LM17:

 

“Dear Love-Joy,

Firstly, I want to apologies for my behaviour and secondly for pestering your CupidCo associate for your details. Thank you for your honesty, you didn’t have to find me but you made the effort to do so. I know initially, I wasn’t having any of it. However, in time I came to understand that you were right. Only, I can write my own love story. I am the centre of it. Yes, Valentines will come and it will go. So will the wrong lover but I will remain the constant. I haven’t got it yet, I am sure in time I will be fine. I hope you are enjoying your new-found freedom although granted you may not have wanted it. I wish you all the very best in your new adventure.

Praying that everyone will learn to love themselves instead of seeking a love outside.

Thank you for the reminder.

Blessings.

LM17

 

Now my life is a wonderful adventure that I had forgotten it once was. The magic pooling in. When it became a slug at CupidCo, I have no idea. All, I know is that I was sleep waking into mundane monotony without even noticing. Slavery. I was a slave. I refuse to be a slave to systems. Love is more than this. Deep down I always knew, yet I was afraid to let go. And if it wasn’t for my chance encounter with LM17, I would be sinking in a rotting hell of capitalistic greed.

However, here I am, beginning my own love story.

Please join me in embracing yourself and finding your own magic.

Love you before me, only then you will love me.

 

Thank you.