The Weight.

She caught a bout of depression, and her body wasted away with it.

“You’ve become SO skinny,” a friend, who hadn’t seen her in a month said. “I didn’t know you had weight to lose to begin with, what the fuck. Are you OKAY??”

“Yes, jesus, yes.”

“Are you SURE?”

She looked at herself in the mirror that evening, and she saw what her friend saw. Her face, that had finally begun to blossom when she met him, over wine and high-carb snacks, had wilted again.

She stuffed her face with mac n’ cheese, and beer, rice and potatoes that week. Anything to make those cheeks come back, to bring that glow back. Where was the face she’d grown to dislike less?

She checked her weight that weekend, and she’d LOST an extra kilogram.

“I have been through what you’ve been through, except with gaining weight,” her therapist told her.

“I’ve been through what you’ve been through, except with gaining weight, and I grew to accept it and cherish it as another part of myself,” another friend texted her.

She added protein shakes to her breakfast routine, she checked her weight again that weekend. Her weight stayed the same. She took off her jacket. Her weight dropped by .8 kg.

“I want to lose three kgs before my wedding,” a glowing bride-to-be said, and she looked at the girl’s glowing, fucking radiant face in astonishment.

“GIVE me those three kgs,” she cried.

When people ignored her, or it seemed like they were making fun of her, she felt like the skinny seventh grader she’d been all over again – just there, that sweet, skinny, harmless girl, hardly a force to be reckoned with or bothered about.

“TAKE my four kgs,” another woman, on keto for the past month, said in a fit of despair over the phone to her. “For godssake it’s not that hard to gain weight, just eat a lot of cake.”

She stocked up her fridge with almond pudding and a birthday cake. Her weight stayed the same, except her dislike for shoveling food into her mouth was increasing by the day. Which amazed her, she used to love food.

“I feel like if I were a little thinner, I’d be okay, you know?” another girl, a girl she idolized, said to her. “I just feel like I’d be happier as it’s been a goal for so long.”

She left her phone behind at work one weekend. The buzz of plans, faces, texts, camera on portrait mode paused – for two days that felt like eternity.

Her brain breathed. Her body rested. She did not hyperfocus on hitting 2000 calories, on making it to every meal. She cooked turmeric and chick peas pasta with avocados, cheese, alfredo sauce, walnuts and honey. She did not think about a text from him that she’d never get, or view her life through his lens, or any one else’s lens. She wrote. She read. She deep-conditioned her hair.

She breathed. Her mind and body felt massaged.

She skipped dessert. She forgot to swear. She slept like a baby.

She just was. And everything felt okay.

 

 

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getting our shit together.

2018 was a hard year. There’s no other way of saying it, or thinking about it.

I lost SO much, yet gained so much, only to lose it all again.

I learned:

  • to own my mistakes. not taking/ acknowledging an action taken in no way made it invisible, or in no way made me some bystanding victim (besides, being a bystander is still responsibility). there’s also so much more control in accepting that you messed up and will now proceed through steps 0-5 to getting your shit together.
  • to accept/ see reality. again, I could choose not to see/ laugh past my obvious discomfort in certain areas of my life and it might be photoshopped out of my narrative that way in the years to come but that doesn’t obscure it from my everyday life – and only ensures that the same patterns repeat.
  • trust my instincts. I know what I want to do, most of the time and need to go with my gut – even if it involves leaving a gathering early or saying something mildly uncomfortable.
  • time is precious. for the most part, every second wasted on something i’m “committed” to (by means of salary/ label/ ongoing means of validation/ whatever else) but not necessarily invested in, at the expense of things I really want to do leaves me exhausted and disgruntled in the long run.
  • be grateful. look at all the people and things cushioning my fall every fucking second of the day.
  • be kind. to myself, and everyone around me. what they’re saying isn’t always about me. they’re going through a shit ton too.

happy 2019. let’s get our shit together and keep fighting, please.

another moment of silence.

I looked for what you gave me in the warmth that comes from reading tween fiction, in the heated group flow of a pop concert, in the adrenaline rush of an afternoon hike, in the stillness of a forced detox from social-media (ignoring the waves of fomo-ridden anxiety until it is no more) and in the welcome in-betweenness of vacations. And yet, the warmth, the rush, and the striving toward balance was nothing compared to the readiness with which I was able to open up to you, and accept all of you.

I remember forcibly discussing loss with you one random evening, and you saying, with exasperation, that you had never really felt loss. I envy you for that, as nothing has resounded in me as loudly, and as painfully, as your absence. It is not just a void. A void is what I feel post break-up with someone or the other who grew into my routine, towards whom I’d feel phantom-urges to text message until it would go away and I’d realize being alone gave me more space towards my priorities anyway. Your absence is realizing what I’d mistook as “alone” for a year and a half, the “alone” that felt so right, so right I assumed I was destined to be alone forever, was the me that was immersed in your silent, supportive taken-for-granted company. I wish I could stay appreciative of the vivid ease of those moments with you without clinging onto them. Then maybe, I’d realize that in many ways, you’re still with me. Affection and consideration that open and that far-reaching can’t really leave, can it?

the sun rises twice

The first time, I am asleep. I do not see it until I am up, squinting as the light from between the blinds streams into my line of vision.

The second time, it is late evening, and I am getting ready to clock out from work. My phone buzzes once, then twice, then a couple of times. The people I love from the other side of the world are waking up and I am connected to them again; I feel part of their hazy, rushed morning routine.

the to-do list

I made this amazing, color-coded to-do list for what was left of my final semester submissions during spring break, a few days before you went off the grid.

I look at it now, and it feels prehistoric. I’ve struck through a bunch of paper submissions, but so what? It did not change anything.

You came back, and then you left. And it changed the way I look at everything. I lost, and now nothing else will hit me as precisely, and sharply — right at the heart of it all. Everything I thought life was all about struck out, in one fell swoop.

an elegy

I never had to make time for you. Your presence was simultaneous to everything I was, and everything I was doing.

The day we started talking, it was the start of a 1.5478 year 565-day long conversation: an unparalleled streak of willful mockery, giggles, idle rants, pseudo-existential awakenings, morbid, lazy theorizing, pictures of food, gossip, book recommendations substituting for life advice, hope amidst a harsh, tearful reawakening, unconditional love and support. You sent me emoticon flowers the Monday after the Sunday a person whose last name I barely remember broke my heart (or was it my ego?), because everyone needs Monday morning flowers, you said, and they cost nothing. You showed up repeatedly, when I needed to know I was needed, and when I needed to know I was loved (and deserved more than I thought I did) and I would not fall through the cracks. You made me want to show up and be just as discerning yet giving with my time and energy. Your words, your presence and your actions were timeless. I will spend a lifetime catching up to it.