Saturday, April 30, 2016

Documenting My Life | April

I was excited for April yet the day it started I wanted it to end. I had a really bad feeling, wherever feelings reside, that it's going to be a bad month. I found myself always on edge ready to receive any bad news to somehow ease my mind. April is over and I'm glad nothing bad happened.

Life is all about trying new things, and although I wasn't really fully myself this month, I tried a few new things. I went to my first Holi Festival and I enjoyed spreading colours all over. I loved seeing my clothes turn from white to a mix of bright colours. It was a nice way to get ready for the hopefully colourful Spring. The Indians surely know how to celebrate.

Mowgli was one of my favourite cartoon characters as a child. I had family members calling me after him because of my haircut and constant movement. I managed to watch The Jungle Book this month and with it came a rush of memories of a childhood I greatly miss. I've got the bear necessities the simple bear necessities!

I have a theory about why we feel happier and lighter at airports. I believe that our worries tag along, linking past and present worries and sometimes even future ones. And as they link, they form a chain that eventually takes off with the next scheduled flight. And once your link of worries is hundreds of kilometres above ground, they get stuck to a cloud and angels cut them and make swings out of them. Swings that takes them to heaven.

I'm writing this post from Bertinoro, Italy. A little town at the top of a hill with mesmerising views. The town is made up of every shade of green, cobbled streets and brick walls. The perfect place for a retirement plan or to go and die. I'm here for a Genetic Counselling course and I must say I'm surprised I haven't given up on the field yet despite the constant failing to get into the masters program. Yet I'm aware that the past year has shaped me to a form I never knew I could be. Change is good yet I miss my comfort zone. I still have to visit 4 new countries before I turn 25. I need to live.

And as I sit trying to allow my eyes to adjust to the shades of green, I'll think about a greener future. I'll get myself ready for a new month with less worries. May it be easy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Pillow Talk

The darker it gets, the louder it seems to get. Like the darkness stands echoing all the voices that were meant to be hidden. The earlier it gets, the stuffier the room gets. The deeper the breaths and the bigger the monsters get. But sometimes, the darker it gets, the more easy it is to suppress your worries. It requires a lot of courage, but you eventually speak a little bit and suddenly a lot. Like there is no self restrain. And during this time, you feel like you're free yet very vulnerable.

There is something special about those talks that happen in the midst of darkness. When you're not sure if you should be scared or worried. But somehow the darkness is able to slowly mask all those confusing feelings. The thing about pillow talks is that they're pure. Straight from the centre of all worries, whether the mind or heart. Those talks are neither sugar coated nor artificial. They are as raw as anything could be. And as you start speaking, the darkness somehow becomes the light that brightens the route of your thoughts. And that same light sparks a bond like no other, one thats caring and comforting. A bond only those who stay up late could understand.

And although you're exhausted from the vulnerability and all the energy and courage needed to start the first sentence, you keep fighting sleep. You keep fighting because you're worried the next pillow talk wont be anytime soon. Then the guilt of keeping someone up somehow wakes up, despite the darkness covering it with a duvet of soft talking. And when guilt wakes up, that special bond slowly fades away to a normal conversation without you understanding how it woke up in the first place.

And then it ends.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Dear 26

Dear 26,

I apologise for my recent lack of enthusiasm to reach you. It's just that with every tick and tock of the clock, time passes. And with the passing of time I find myself more anxious rather than at ease to reach you. It's getting closer to my 24th birthday, and with that comes a lot of worrying about what I may lose rather than gain. Despite the hardships of the real world as a result of growing up and having different responsibilities and expectations from the surrounding, I'm at a happy and grateful place in my life. I'm grateful for the presence of both my parents, my siblings, my aunts and uncles. For my ability to continue my higher education without worrying about any financial burden. And being in contact with those I care about.

When I started writing those letters, I was eager to leave a time in my life and just zoom to the future without having to deal with everything in between. I found comfort in an age I thought was far off and linked it with stability and a safe haven. Now, the closer I get the more worried I am. I'm worried because despite my continuous rants about hating "expectation" I actually set a really high one for you. I guess there is nothing wrong with that high expectation, I just have to work double as hard to get everything the way I want it to be. I have to keep up with all the stress and possible disappointments to then finally see a unicorn galloping over that rainbow I drew.

Since that first letter in October 2014 and I still find myself waiting for a letter in any form from you. I don't know how you do letters in 2018 but I desperately need some kind of hint as to how things will be. I constantly find myself torn between not wanting to know anything about the future and wanting to know everything. Will I be happy? Will I be successful? Will I have a library, a bookshop or a coffee shop? Will I travel the entire world? Will I get my PhD? Will I have a pet unicorn? I have so many questions that no longer have a place in my brain and I end up writing them down in different places hoping one day I'll get answers.

There is nothing wrong with believing in miracles,
Maria

Friday, April 01, 2016

Lemons

Recently I've been reminiscing the past. I try recreating memories and senses I've enjoyed as a child but I don't find them appealing anymore. I'm worried that as I age, my youthful soul drifts away being replaced by a more grown up and boring one.

Lemons were a big part of my childhood. I loved eating them with salt despite my mother's threats that I'll lose my memory. I used to sit on the stairs' rail or our house wall and enjoy the sourness of it all. It's funny how sour is not my go-to taste these day.

When I'm in a hurry, I'll cut a lemon in half add the salt and have a salty lemonade. When I have more time, I'd peel it and slice it like an orange, add salt and maybe red chilli powder and eat it as quick as I can. Those snacks usually took place when mom was out of the house. I reached a point where I had to stop my snacks around the age of 14 because of an allergy/rash I got that they never knew what caused it. I wasn't able to go back to my lemons the same way again.

A couple of days ago I found one lemon left in my fridge. I peeled it, sliced it and added a lot of salt just like I usually have it. But I didn't feel anything. I didn't remember the good days spent on the rail eating my lemon and pretending I forgot how to spell my name or what day it was. Neither did I remember the satisfaction of, once again, having lemons without my mom's knowledge. It didn't feel the same, it no longer tasted the same.

I miss the days when, ironically, sourness was the taste of victory. It seems that I took things the way they are without giving them more energy and attention than they required. I loved the simplicity of it all and focused my attention towards enjoying the moment.
It seems that as I grew older I longed for a foreign taste. Something that required more attention and energy, more precision and complexity. I longed for sweetness and avoided sourness. I've become less tolerant to simple tastes. I grew up, became an adult.

And now, as life continues to throw lemons, I find myself confused whether I should make sweet lemonade or salty lemonade. Whether I should make lemon muffins or a lemon salad dressing. Or maybe throw them back, refusing that type of treatment. And as I sit there trying to decided what to do with the lemons, time passes and they go soft and eventually mouldy. I end up not enjoying them at all.

I reminisce the simplicity of the past, when I had my lemons one way and the most difficult part was whether I should have them cut in half or peeled and sliced.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Documenting My Life | March

While March started off a bit stressful being in the middle of my exam week it ended on a more relaxing way. March was the month I appreciated my surroundings more. It probably has to do with the longer days and the change in weather, making London less gloomy and more vibrant. To be honest, it worries me a lot, the sudden start of attachment to the city I once couldn't stand. London is a beautiful city once you realise the amount of things you could do.

This month, I started my research project on primary lymphoedema at St George's. My daily commutes to the lab has given me time to catch up with some greatly missed reading time. I work with a group that's full of energy and always willing to help out. It's the little things like catching up after a weekend, not having lunch until everyone is around and offering help at any given time makes them just the more special. So far, I'm satisfied with my progress in the lab. I have proved to myself the ability to work hard and efficiently. I might be pushing myself a lot in some days but it feels good at the end of the day when mostly everything works according to the plan.

March made me appreciate one of my friends more. I have always enjoyed her presence and spending time with her, but in March I feel like we have spent more time and I got to know her on a more personal level. She has constantly proven that good looks and brains could exist in the same person. Always there to add a bit more to my knowledge whether through books or general knowledge. I don't give a lot of people the chance to be good friends just because I'm happy with the ones I have and I'm glad I've stayed in touch with her after school. Celebrating Nowruz with my friend and her family, having delicious food and playing board games is just an addition to the endless list of why I appreciate her a lot. Mariam, if you're reading this, thank you!

I'd say the hilight of my month is going to the London Zoo. I sound like an excited child but there is something exciting about watching animals. The main reason for going there was to see the Gorilla Kingdom. Primates fascinate me and their behaviour interests me a lot. If I could get a pet monkey I'd be the happiest person alive.

I usually find myself in a slump more often than I like just because I tend to constantly worry about the unknown future. March with it's sunny days and good news made me more cheerful and full of hope. Made me appreciate my present and worry less.

I'm looking forward for April to start!

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Documenting My Life | February

To my surprise, February was a blur. If you asked me in January to describe what I think February will be in one word, I would have said "slow". I was dreading February so much, with exams lurking around the corner and my constant worried state of mind. February was a real blur, like being inside a speeding car; the only sounds you hear are the beating of your heart and the only focused thing you see is what's right in front of your eyes.

This month, the 4th floor of the central library was my second home. Spending more hours in it than my flat. The atmosphere just forces you to stay productive, stay focused and keep working. I managed to finish so much work with the amount of hours I've spent here and my awesome organisation skills with my study schedule. I managed to go through my material twice yet still don't feel like I learned anything. But as Einstein says "the more I learn, the more I realise how much I don't know".  I had my first exam on the last day of the month, the only reason I realised it's a leap year.

With all the hard work I've been putting towards my studying I thought I deserved a break and booked myself an appointment at a spa for a massage. I realised how badly knotted my shoulders because of all the heavy bags I carry and all the sitting with the wrong posture. But who has time to go to the spa regularly to get their shoulders fixed? Definitely not me.

February was yellow, we had a few sunny days where I soaked some much needed vitamin D. I had fun looking for yellow things during my day, from Cadbury's mini eggs to the view of my table at the library.

The most exciting thing I would say is deciding to write down a list of 25 by 25 and I hope I'll be able to tick off everything before May 2017. I love lists, it make me feel like my life is under control.

And February Marched in with all the strength we need,
Maria

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dear 26

Dear 26,

I envy those who could just pack and leave. Those who come from a culture that encourages self discovery. Those who don't need their parents' or society's approval to just leave. Those who don't mask the need to leave by using a degree as an excuse.

I don't want to be one of those people who settle for a boring life because it's comfortable. I don't want to stay in a place just for the sake of financial security. I don't want to be a tree that can't move because her roots are stuck to the ground. I don't want to stay because I'm expected to do so. The irony, exactly a month ago I answered the question "are you seeking security or adventure?" with security. My reasoning was because getting to security is an adventure on it's own.

Whenever I'm stressed I get the same idea, running away to a mountain. It's funny that the same idea has been there for more than 6 years now. The need to run away to a place no one knows about me. For me to be able to live between people who don't know me and never judged me yet. For my stay there to be a journey of self discovery and learning to let go of everything that previously held me back. To start fresh.

I don't want to be completely shut off from the rest of the world, though. I want to communicate my new endeavours to an unknown audience. To be able to say what I really think about my life without hiding it behind metaphors hoping for it to not really be understood. To communicate raw, unfiltered thoughts.

I want to spend my mornings between reading to kids and caring for the elderly. To have a routine that's not boring. I want to spend my nights in the solace of a starry night. To write and document the mundane things in a day. In general, I want to appreciate the simplicity of life away from a stressed mind.

Keep all this in mind 26, for you might need to leave and I promise your old self will be proud.

London
23/2/2016