Empty jars and open minds

I tune into the white noise

Hoping to see what I’m sure I’ll find

Open doors like a parachute

Wipe my feet on the place-mat of my mind.

 

I dare to hope as my sight wanders

I look around trying to find my way

I see rows and rows of jars labelled this way and that

All labelled with care in the gray.

 

Reflecting onto my path from the jars

Colors split through the seams

The hues capture my attention

to behold them as all that I could ever mean.

 

On looking closer I discover

that they are labelled with unimaginable care

Every feeling that I could ever feel

Had made an appearance caged in glass in this lair.

 

Curiosity takes over as I sift through the jars

‘Anger’, ‘Fear’, ‘Disgust’ and ‘Hate’

Threaded significantly through others

Like  ‘Compassion’, ‘Truth’, ‘Contentedness’ and ‘Hope’.

 

My feet slip on the sands of time

As I try to quickly make my way through

I’m searching for what everyone wants most

And the Jar of Happiness stares down at me from the last pew.

 

I’m out of breath as my eyes follow it down a chasm

I begin to run, but it drifts farther and farther away

I watch it float, light as it is

My hope makes no difference in it wanting to stay.

 

Assuming that I have nothing to lose, I follow

And am barely able to catch it as we fall mid-air

I hug it close to my chest as we hit the ground

There is no way I’ve ever held anything this rare.

 

I eagerly unscrew the top

Not even registering the concrete that broke my fall

I discern the sound of baby’s laughter and dancing in the rain

Milk mustaches and warm fires, and a mother’s call.

 

Confusion litters my features as I peer longingly

Into the insignificant significance that makes up all our lives

A combination of the brightness of all the different jars

Perceive the desperation in my eyes.

 

The jar dissipates into the air

And I can’t help but cry out

All the answers that I’ve been searching for

Was it all for naught?

 

When I find myself back where I started

Anger at the world claws in like fire at sea

But to my surprise an empty jar

Seemed to have found its way back with me

 

The vacancy is rather unsettling

As I dubiously I open it again until

I am hit by the icy dawn of realization

And I finally fathom that the jar is mine to fill.

 

The delicate glass casts back my reflection

And my mind eventually accepts

I can choose to either fill it to the brim

Or to wallow in its emptiness.

 

So the next time you feel less purposeful than usual

And a little beat down

It’s nice to keep in mind

That you’ve always got a jar of your own.

 

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Cuckoos and Candles

Icarus: *cue dramatic music*

Iris: Right. We’d like to introduce you to our other partner in crime, aka the most extra person in existence, Felix.

Icarus: Ah yes. So it was only fair that on his birthday this year, planned or otherwise, something completely cuckoo was on the agenda.

Iris: Not that we have anything against cuckoos…

Icarus: …and other birds that we may or may not have seen in our sorry short lives.

Iris: Right. Starting from the beginning. Take it away, Icarus.

Icarus: Alright then. I was sitting in the car, impatiently fidgeting with my hands, cursing every time the traffic made it impossible to move. I had an exam that day, unlike Felix and Iris, who’d started their summer vacations earlier.

Iris: *sympathetic nod*

Icarus: As luck would definitely not have it, the one day I was in a hurry to get home was the day I got stuck waiting at every traffic signal we crossed.  Hey, you can’t blame me for being a little frustrated, it was my best friend’s birthday and the one day I got to meet his friends. Our plan was for me to pick up Iris and then we’d meet Felix together.

And I was so late.

By the time I reached the turning to my apartment complex, saying I was annoyed was an understatement. Especially since there was a line of cars to the gate which would delay me further. That is how I ended up flinging the car door open and sprinting the distance to Iris’s house, my mother questioning my sanity and shouting at me to return early.

Iris: Ha.
Anyways, I was in my room listening to music. When I heard a loud knock (even through my headphones) I raced to open the door, but my mum beat me to it. I looked over her shoulder and saw Icarus standing there in her school uniform, slightly out of breath.

Icarus: Now, one thing that is very essential to this story is the fact that I don’t have anything that resembles a stamina. I promise you that that’s not an exaggeration of a dramatic teenage girl with self esteem problems. So after 100 metres and two flights of stairs filled with wild running made complete with flailing hands, when I’m standing at Iris’s doorstep, I am exhausted and panting.

Her mother opens the door, voicing her concern at my apparently disturbed face, leaving me very confused as to what was going on. I mutter a puzzled “I’m good” then ask if Iris was at home.
Just as I say this I see her walk out of her room, letting her hair loose from a ponytail. We grin at each other like we usually do when we see each other. When she’s done brushing her hair, telling her mother our destination and halfheartedly saying that she’d be back in a while, we’re out the door and walking to Felix’s house.

Iris: We were also screeching even before we reached the ground floor.

Pretty normal for us, to be honest.

We were laughing as we reached his block and I pressed the up button on the lift.

Now Icarus has this vow according to which she takes the stairs all the time-

Icarus: -no matter how inconvenient it may be for the rest of you, or me.

*shrugs*

Vows are vows, man.

Iris: *rolls eyes*

Soulmate or not, I downright refused to climb four flights of stairs with her.

Icarus: The only exception to not keeping the vow, is any time I have a heavy bag with me. Unfortunately, I was sorely lacking in bags to weigh me down leading to me ignoring Iris and her exclamation of “Icarus, just use the lift!” and proceeded to kill myself running up the stairs so that I’d reach at the same time as her.

I’m a masochist, I know.

I ring the doorbell and lean against the wall, trying to regain my breath. A few minutes later when the door still remained firmly shut, I whip out my phone and call him, cursing everything that was not advancing according to plan. Honestly, I ran to make it somewhat on time, I was going to meet Felix if it was the last thing I did.

I realize that I might be a little extra.

He answers the call and updates us on the situation. They were at a restaurant, Zephyr, a few minutes walk away from the apartment. Now that I think about it, we should have figured that they’d go out for a celebratory lunch. But then again, I’ve never claimed to be smart.

Belting out swear words every other sentence, I tell him we’re showing up at the restaurant.

Iris: I couldn’t stop laughing at how dramatic she was being. I could hear Felix on the other end trying to make her see reason.

“It’s going to be pointless if you come now, Icarus, my friends are staying for longer, so I’ll call you when we’re back. Go home, eat lunch and I’ll see you then.”

She wasn’t having any of it.

Icarus: Duh.
I understood his reasoning very well, of course I did. However going home now would mean that all the sprinting, all the stressing that I wouldn’t make it on time, all the dirty looks I’d got for shouting fuck in front of multiple adults, would be for nothing. Nothing.
Like fuck, I was allowing that to happen.
I may have mentioned this before, but I was going to meet Felix if it was the last thing I did.
“Sorry honey, you’re stuck with us. Iris is with me. And we’re coming. Bye!” I disconnected the call before I could hear any rebuttals.

Iris: I meekly followed her down the stairs again. Storming into a restaurant at this point was hilarious in itself, but I knew that the ten faces staring at us in utter shock would be even better.

I was not disappointed to say the least. But more about that later. 

Icarus was in a mood definitely. We both are known for our anxiety usually when people are involved, but I knew today that wasn’t going to be a problem at all. She was pissed enough to march her uniformed self, Identity card and all, in there with no cares. A small part of me tried to draw strength from her courage, but most of me was dying off laughter at how ridiculous this was. 

We never seem to realize how loud we can be, and today was no exception. We were crazily half walking half running to the restaurant, completely aware that if our parents found out that we left the apartment we were actually dead. When I listed this concern to her, she merely said, “So they don’t find out. Simple.” 

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you our friendship in a nutshell. 

Icarus: And yes, that’s why it’s a great idea to publicly blog this.

Iris: The entrance to Zephyr loomed up ahead, and my throat clogged up on seeing the security and the door and the men in suits and ties ahead.

“They probably won’t let us in-” 

She didn’t even look at me. 

Icarus barged right in, throwing open the door dramatically, completely ignoring the momentarily stunned guard and my fears. 

And me? I did the most logical thing I could have in that moment. 

I bolted right after her. 

Lucky for us, they were seated right near the door, in the middle of the place. 

And if we naively expected only  ten mouths to drop in shock as we walked in, we were wrong. So very wrong.

As we breathlessly waltzed in, I could see Felix audibly sigh and nine faces look up from their menus.

I froze, and the entire restaurant halted all movement for a terrifying three seconds.

I gulped. 

I’m positive a waiter almost dropped his tray. 

Heck, I’ve never felt more like a deer in the headlights as I did then. 

My partner in crime, on the other hand, did not give a single shit. 

By this time, Felix had gotten to us and was a little speechless, unable to say much to our flair for theatre. 

“Happy birthday!” she said sagely.

I sighed.

Icarus: Ha. Our job here was done.

“Call me.”

“Call me,” she’d say, when she was wheeled along the downtrodden path as her family watched on from the gates teary-eyed

“Call me,” she’d mutter again as the glass doors opened

as if sealing the true longing behind the previous time

but the only ones who heard it were the receptionist at the counter with the plastic smile

and the watchman who tipped his hat regardless of whether those who he met could see or remember his reverence.

What always escaped them

and would continue to

was that her voice would always be too loud

her personality unable to be contained within the aged skin of her existence

like a burst of sunshine on a cloudy day

to someone hoping for rain

“Call me,” would ring out with more exuberance than those white walls could ever understand

to the doctors and nurses

who constantly wore their hearts in their mouths and words on their sleeve

“Call me,” she’d whisper to the girl in pigtails from the next ward over

before she ran back again

who opened her heart again with an orange crayon

a burst of color among a sea of grays

and a smile with teeth as crooked as hers

“Call me,” she sounded sadder as somebody’s son left flowers on her bedside table

kissed her on the cheek and asked if she remembered the boy with the blue eyes and dress shirt

who visited his mother everyday

“Call me,” she’d said every day until recently

to a man with the same blue eyes and a dress shirt as he left for work

who made her feel

just feel

but not anymore.

For a while they were just more words that could not match her grief

and she couldn’t recollect his scent or his smile when she felt low

the years had taken those memories away

perhaps for good

as recently there was a step in her soul, a shine

in eyes that had seen all, and was seeing all again

with childlike mirth and wonder

and the nurse with the kind smile agreed that nothing should taint it

she also eyed the peace that had made its way over into her

“Call me,” she had began to murmur to the cross on her bedside table

next to the diminishing white pills and a worn out photograph of a beautiful family

She used to urge her mind to conjure up some semblance to her life in vain

but now when she prayed it didn’t matter

“Call me,” became a ritual.

To her and to him.

So it wasn’t much of a shock when soon enough

He did.

And it was the only one she remembered.

 

 

 

Sky dive from walls we built.

Dimples make you 30% more attractive.

It’s a fact.

Another fact…

It’s also an actual deformity of the facial structure.

A lesser known fact that we ignore though, is that we see no other deformity in the same manner.

Ever wondered why?

The human brain has been forced to adapt to civility through discipline of the mind throughout the ages, and for the sake of uniformity, also been forced into the illusory concept of normalcy.

The human brain is also stupid and gets carried away often.

Yeah, we easily say stuff like, ‘No one’s normal,’ or ‘Everyone’s made differently,’ but the minute our brain finds something out of the ordinary that we know of, it goes into protection mode as though another person has no right to challenge our familiarity whatsoever.

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t seem too right to me.

And because I’m a rebellious teen with too much on her mind, I’m about to tell you why.

What we all fail to acknowledge is that lack of acceptance is a whole other issue, when its fear halting us in the first place. I agree, judgement is supremely easy, I’m no stranger to it. So are you, if you live as a part of society and care about what people think.

(To all the people who rolled their eyes at that, I don’t know who you fooling.)

Just like how that doesn’t make you a bad person per se, it doesn’t make these so-called ‘abnormal’ people bad either.

I’ll wait while you process that. Take your time.

“What?! So they’re not going to hurt my super sensitive ego just by existing? WOW!1!!”

Sigh. Yep.

I wish it was that easy though, and it’s not for lack of trying. It’s more of a battle within and outside ourselves. We’re caught between doing the right thing and fear of judgement ourselves, and possible rejection when we do try.

The truth would be easier to swallow if I was talking about just one group of people, but in some twisted way I’m talking about…well everyone. ‘Cos its not just dimples, it’s also cold hands and shaky breaths before having to speak in front of a crowd. It’s keeping your opinion to yourself because of a stammer that you could never control. It’s avoiding any sort of outdoor activity because of the possibility of being lonely. It’s hiding behind layers of make up to seem less conspicuous. It’s just…everywhere. Manifesting its way into the solace of daily life, creeping past walls carefully built.

There’s no flawless perfection, and no one’s free from the clutches of fear. Whether its your mind or your body that makes you stand out, we can always share qualities of basic respect, compassion and want for peace and happiness. Putting others down is the last way to go about it.

If we can accept that we have differences, and have that fact as what makes us similar, then maybe, just maybe we can put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and just be nice. It won’t kill you, and it most definitely doesn’t hurt anyone, unlike comments on bodies and minds that aren’t even yours to begin with.

“Respect my existence or expect my resistance,” holds true now, and has always held true.

You say that don’t need an angst filled sixteen year old, or anyone for that matter, telling you what to do, but your actions speak otherwise. I really don’t know when we began competing against each other regarding things we can’t control or shouldn’t rather, but imagine the amount of beauty we’d see and appreciate if we encouraged each other rather instead of putting ourselves down.

Seems like it’s simpler for me to type my thoughts out at one in the morning than for some people to care, so I guess I’ll continue to do it. Keeping my gaze focused on that tiny ray of hope that one day everyone can see through the deformities that make us human, never hindering, like a dent on the side of a cheek designed by a smile.

But what do I know right?

-Iris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home.

When I think of home

What should come to mind are shoes at the doorstep and steaming cups of coffee,

Foggy smiles through cold window panes looking over greenery like no other,

But I know deep down

That home is not where you come from, grew up or end up

You create it, no matter where you travel

For home is not a place, it’s a people.

Who said we needed the stars to guide us home

When we found ourselves underneath them instead?

Home is just another feeling, just another time we try and convince ourselves that we can make something last, some eternal concept of feeling safe that we can’t let go of.

It’s in sleep laden eyes late at night as you try and stay awake to get one more word in edgewise, ‘cos a lifetime of conversation ain’t enough.

It’s in a hug that makes you feel like you aren’t as broken as you thought you were.

It’s in that comfort when you realize that you want nothing more than to see someone happy, and your happiness in their existence alone.

It’s pulling each other back from the brink of insanity, laughing and shouting.

It’s in saying with conviction that I’m not perfect, but we definitely could be.

So when I think of home,

I think of three misfits on a park bench, surrounded by the unmistakable sound of laughter

A sort of calm descending upon me

Happy and aware, of how lucky I truly am

To be able to say, “There’s no place like home,” and mean it,

Without the silly red shoes.

 

 

Reaching Cloud Nine: Part 1

I found cloud nine three years ago.

And sifted through yellowed pages and soft toys I don’t play with anymore,

broken pencils and laughter on swings along with a park bench

and then I fell.

I fell hard on guitar riffs and broken dreams

dusting meaningless words off my shoulders

but it seems like it wasn’t enough,

Because I jumped again.

Into an abyss of worthless feelings and shards of glass from a shattered hourglass.

I contemplated jumping further.

I heard a laugh and as I turned to look

I felt a push.

and just like that I was falling all over again

arms flailing and control spiraling out of reach.

I land with a thud and the wind knocked out of me.

I see flames that don’t dry the tears I don’t remember shedding

I can’t hear the songs stuck in my head anymore

and just when I feel like I couldn’t go any deeper

I hear that damned laugh again

“You don’t deserve any better.”

So worse is where I go, I guess.

This time I fall on grass

slipping on tear drops and brushing my hair out of my face

ignoring bloodstained veils and fake smiles.

Hope is even further away than clarity

and tragedy more prominent than remedy

Wolfish eyes threaten me all over again

“I can’t do this anymore,” I stutter.

Did I lose my voice along the ride too?

“Who asked you to jump?” he smirked.

I gulped down my fear as he advanced towards me, green eyes gleaming.

I was walking backwards stumbling right into the pit of despair,

but I stop.

“I think I’m done.” I mutter.

He disappears.

Reaching Cloud Nine: Part 2

Blank.

I look up to see darkness.

One twinkling star. Another. One more.

They littered the sky spelling out the hope I’d lost

and I see a ladder drop out of seemingly nowhere.

A thud as she falls clumsily on the dried grass.

I frown as she dusts herself off.

“What you doing here?” I ask puzzled.

“Ready to go home?” she asks me.

I scoff. “Where’s that supposed to be?”

She shrugs and adds, “Out of here at the very least.”

I look up again. and then down at my feet.

“I’m fine here.”

She rolls her eyes. “I did not climb down three fricken’ stories to go back empty-handed.”

I refuse to meet her eyes.

I realize I don’t wanna leave. I’m too tired to.

“Well I brought this,” she holds up the headphones I probably dropped in cloud nine like some sort of a trophy.

Tears spring to my eyes and before I know it I’ve snatched it from her and run my fingertips over the once smooth edges.

Familiar chords and beats decorate the air above me.

“Come with me,” she whispers. “I kinda miss you.”

I swallow my trepidation but it cuts through me like a dagger.

“I’m better off here.” I whisper back.

Right then the music flows through me.

Familiarity surges through me faster than panic ever could.

I take in a breath and my hand moves to the ladder with a mind of its own.

I hear a sigh of relief from behind me.

My hands clench around the splintered wood.

I shut my eyes tightly.

I don’t know if I should even bother…

A tap on my shoulder snaps me out of my reverie.

“There’s no end, you know that right?” she says.

“Please keep chasing me,”I sang, wondering if she’d remember the song lyric. I let go of the wood.

“Your southern constellations got me so dizzy,” she said without missing a beat.

“Heights do that to a person.” I said stupidly.

“I don’t really care. I’d rather not leave you.” she said with conviction,

“No.” I said, my voice haggard, unlike my own.

She shrugged again, like it didn’t matter all of a sudden. She continued walking towards the ladder.

My heart sank further when she didn’t look back.

She climbed the first rung.

I couldn’t hear myself think.

Sirens screaming with the lie I told.

Eyes wide I screamed at my legs to move, go after her.

I couldn’t.

I couldn’t move.

My chest constricted, as if water had filled my lungs.

I’d have preferred it to be honest.

I’d at least have known what was going on.

She turned to look at me and the sirens halted.

One breath. Two. Three.

Four steps.

When did that happen?

Her eyes bore into me, urging, pleading, as she slowly extended her hand to me.

I looked up again at the sky.

“Fuck it.”

She laughed and grabbed my hand.

“We’ll be fine you’ll see.”

Just this once, I let myself believe her.