When romance doesn’t save you

This tropical little town of where my father was born and raised , has me taking cold showers and wearing cotton shirts all year round. It’s December and I wake up to the sun streaming through and a skin that is drenched. But it’s always sweet smelling , our house. My mother’s carefully planted flowers , fragrant and blooming like no other sits right outside my balcony, with the occasional breeze comes the sweet scents of the morning. I enjoy waking up to this, in my heart I know I would always be a creature of the city, but it helps me enjoy these moments more and keep them close to my heart. This earth, this wetness, my mother’s flowers on my father’s land. This is where I  write from today. Today, after what feels like an eternity of not being able to find something to say, I have nothing spectacular but, sipping my muddy espresso, watching the hibiscus flowers bathe itself in the early morning dew, I can’t help myself.

When I entered my twenties with a heavy and beaten heart, I had thought to myself that I would never experience pain greater than this, pain of love is the greatest, I had declared. I was convinced romantic love, was the worst kind of tragedy to happen to a woman like me. Ofcourse I was wrong, there are worse things to happen to a woman like me, love was just one of them.

As I turned 21, I was in more pain than I could’ve imagined, and it was nothing romantic, which troubled me even more. “How was I to ever survive or fight something that had no romance” I asked myself mid-sobbing , “I don’t know anything outside of it, don’t you know I have been raised this way, I am all heart and no brain”. I spent a lot of my time romanticizing what was being thrown at me, ofcourse what I realised is that you cannot romanticise your own failures , at least I couldn’t. I was forced to face my failure, inadequacy, creative and artistic blocks with a straight head and it broke my heart like no other lover. I had lived 21 years convinced my romance is my art and my talent and my self. And then it no longer was. Everything I had learned, everything I knew of the world ceased to exist. All the colours I recognized and knew of the world and carried from my childhood no longer existed. It was all black and white and grey. Without it, I no longer recognized joy, or even sadness or love, couldn’t remember the child I used to be or the heart I used to have.

No one ever talks about how truly lonely these days of growing up are, or youth is. My mother if she was reading would tell me I am being a child, that true loneliness of a woman is when her children grow up, your husband is aloof, and you no longer feel that you are part of the life you help created. But I think loneliness is a different world to each, and none of it can be equated or quantified. For me loneliness has been something that I have always been familiar with, but I thought when my heart was breaking, I would reach out to someone , or someone I loved would reach out to me. I wasn’t brave enough for either. I didn’t know how I would explain how everything in the world , every passing moment , pressed up against my heart and would leave its impression like on wet clay, and how my heart pressed against my ribs from the inside from the enormity of everything I felt,  how I prayed for it to be taken away. But people would look at you and envy your childlike optimism , your eyes full of dreams and tell you that you are the luckiest little thing to have your whole life infront of you , yet to be made and lived. How do you feel lucky when all your life you’ve seen in colours and then you don’t , and this world you are stepping into no longer excites you , that without colours you no longer recognize your family, your friends, your art, your dreams and even yourself. How do I tell them I’m scared and I’m lonely in this. Like the first time your parents lost you in an amusement park or a crowded place, and everything you walked past amused and gleaming holding your father’s hands had suddenly become unrecognizable, scary and monstrous. The world had gone from light to dark in the split of a second you let go of your father’s hand and it would stay that way until you saw his familiar face again, and from the corner of your vision, light seeps through and the world would be ordinary again.

I spend my days looking for that familiar light or warmth of something I recognize from the world I knew. I spend my time reading old poetry and journals , waiting around in the corner of my memories, hoping something will hold my hand and make my world light filled and ordinary again.

Journal; When Romance Doesn’t Save You by Thamanna Razak

Evening Conversation Series; An Interview with my lover.

Do you love her?
I need my lawyer [both laughs]
[long pause] yes, very much.
What do you think about you loving her?
I think it’s a great feeling.  It’s surprising.
 
Choose three things that you love the most about her
Her sensuality about everything in life, her smartness, her undeniable wittiness.
 
What is your best memory of her?
The first day I met her. [Interviewer] That’s the best memory of her? yes it was nice, it’s a very warm memory. It’s something I remember always , when I saw her for the first time. And how much she could eat [ both laughs ]
 
How did you fall in love with her?
I think she’s very different in how she sees life, and I like that, especially related to her relationships with people and how she sees them and understands them, how strange they are , it’s different. I loved that. And also she is very easy going when she’s good, not so much now, because she has gotten alot more difficult but she can be good and kind and when she loves sweetly, it’s hard not to love her.
 
How does she hurt you?
When she is particularly difficult when I’m under pressure and she’s only thinking about herself  [ long pause] because she needs me.
 
How do you hurt her?
By not being available for her.
 
Choose three things ugly about her
She is too stubborn in emotions, non diplomatic , she needs to always understand everything , she cannot let go. [Interviewer]And that’s bad? When you don’t know when to stop, yes. So for example, she goes “but why, why is that , but why” to everything and endlessly.
 
Have you had moments where you hated her?
No, never.
 
Is she the love of your life or your soul mate?
Neither, I don’t have a love of my life or a soul mate. If she was the love of my life, I would marry her and live on an island but I cannot.[The interviewer disagrees with the definition of the love of life and decides to discuss it later ] I love her deeply and it’s very very special but  [ Later adds] age gives you a very different perspective on life. So no, she isn’t either but there is no one else and there will be not and that says alot about how special she is for me.
 
What’s the wildest thing you’ve done for her?
Travelling for her, going through alot to spend little time together. I haven’t ever done this before for anyone.
What’s the wildest thing she has done for you?
[The Interviewer decides not to share the answer ]
 
When is she the easiest to love?
In intimate moments like these, when she is relaxed and calm.
 
When is she  the hardest to love?
When I’m not with her and she starts to need attention and is very difficult and demanding.
 
Does she love you?
Yes, I think she does.
-Evening Conversation Series; An Interview with my lover.

 

A Year Ago in Womanhood

You finally feel like a woman, complete. You are 21, oh so sweet and young and tender in all the places you want to be. your 16 would be angry at you, how can you love yourself more than you love him, you wanted to die for him. You hold her hand , kiss her forehead and you tell her everything about the glorious woman you have found inside yourself. She is angrier and calls you a narcissist. You laugh because you are. You are beyond everything you ever taught your younger self, you are more romantic than you are human and you do not hide it anymore. You’re screaming and yelling and spitting love on the streets , you have become a wild one, but you are not running. You stopped running now, you do not run from love anymore , not from heart wrenching romances. You are staying and seething and drowning in love, but this time you are fearless and you are in control. Men look at you and want you in their bedrooms and in their kitchen, bearing their children, but mostly they desire for you to be in their hearts , be the Queen of their lovedom and you aren’t afraid anymore, you love them back, you have turned soft but you are oh so full of yourself you know not to lose yourself. You have finally learned to give all of the love you have without giving yourself.

A Year Ago In Womanhood, by Thamanna Razak

Two Ends of A Moment

I lay under the noise of a ceiling fan in a borrowed cotton kurta, staring at the timber ceiling of my father’s ancestral house. Windows open to the side of me, with occasional chirping of birds, sweat tries to calm the hotness lingering behind my neck, baby hairs around my face stick to my forehead. I’m flustered and uneasy, but I lay there remembering Neruda’s warm poetry, stroking my own locks, pulling strands and letting them fall through my fingers that still have a lingering scent of mangoes I opened raw with my hands earlier. And there isn’t a thought that isn’t about the coolness of the night, or chilled soda pop or the cold heart of my lover. I’m thirsty in the throat but the moment eludes me, time has painfully slowed down this afternoon, almost dreamy , almost embalmed in the oil and sweat of  this sweet tropical summer. Out the window, in a slow course , the sky is shifting. I can feel the weight of the storm in the distance, a wind , a slow breeze carrying its calm and I lay patiently. My body cools down in the sight of a sodden cloud , and all my longings are for the rain as I hear a distant thunder. When the storm finally arrives, it is forgiving to all. The smell of earth and wood is everywhere and it unshackles me from my own hot liquid ache . Leaves grow heavier, not out of pain but only out of the heaviness of memory. In the eye of a pouring rain, birds find temporary roofs and call it home, quiet and almost desolate, the earth takes a long deep breath in and I find time and everything in its grip coming to a still, rooted. Behind me my grandmother tells me it’s the first rain of monsoon, the heat will no longer tug at you she jokes. On the brim of a season change,  I already fall into my nostalgia for summer .  I feel my entire life I only live longing for moments like these, in the desire to experience such heightened moments of raw and mostly unattainable pleasure that only comes from earth and its bringing of calm to both my melancholy and joy, sometimes both in the expanse of one moment.
journal; Two Ends of A Moment by Thamanna Razak

For Unhappy Girls Who like Sitting in the Sun

  • it’s another end of the week , isn’t it?  your longings are swelling up in your throat , and your hands need to touch something meaningful. It’s okay it’s alright. Only the coffee cup knows you’re holding it as you would hold another human , gently, sweaty and with love.
  • soft warm pillows, from the drapes you forgot to close, the sunlight that rushed in without your permission, suddenly there’s uninvited light, terrible terrible warmth , but also the soft haloed picture of your room surprises you.
  • nights are always the hardest, there isn’t a ray to help you forget your grief and that’s okay I think, sometimes you are needed to take the blow heart first , on your knees , but you’ll know woman, you’ll know you can take it and that’s glorious and fucking courageous.
  • even if you’re sad and wants to die everyday, your opinions still matter? did you know that? people try and tell you all sorts of things like, ” you shouldn’t feel like that if you are feeling like this ” ” it’s not like that, you’re just in a phase of your life where everything feels negative” “it’s all in your head” well guess what? guess fucking what? it is all in your head and that is why it’s real and important. that’s why when you feel the crippling fear of existence , it’s a fear instilled in you by your
    ancestors and years of making you feel crazy, it’s all real baby
  • you don’t always have to sound poetic to make your point, I realised that very recently . but your voice , just you breathing is a blessing to this world and it’s all poetry in itself , it’s a point, it’s a statement of God itself, He said I created woman and that is the point .
  • get angry , get fucking angry
  • your femininity is not tied to your gentleness , or your soft, or your curves
  • but woman, love is one thing you die for, you’re greedy for, all your yearnings are for love and you do not celebrate it. the whole world is falling apart from the absence of it, and you go ahead and try to quiet your large heart, tell yourself you don’t need it , you can live a life in its absence. the earth cannot bear the absence of your love , love. so let it brim, and fall and flow.
  • this is the most honest, heartful thing I’ve written in a while
 
– For Unhappy Girls Who Like Sitting in The Sun by Thamanna Razak

Without You

Everywhere, everyone talks like they know I broke your heart. In my lecture they talk about kitchens and how they’re essentially meant for two. That’s my heart wrapping around you for the day, how I’m supposed to sit on our counter and trace your spine with my toes while you cook over the other. The long summer days, you’d open all the windows of our home while I complain about the heat, I eat pomegranate seeds and kiss you with that mouth. The music and sunlight, the sound of us laughing , our sticky bodies, our eyes on each other. The days when heat gets to my head, I’m furious and bickering about everything and you’re joking about having to move to Antarctica. We’ll fight like little children, I’ll drive you crazy and we’ll make love reckless. Another day I’m at a restaurant alone, the waiter asks if anybody will ever join me and I stare outside the window for so long, aching at all the places you should be and the waiter doesn’t come back. I think I’d have my feet up on your lap under the table while we talk about our days, I’d wipe the crumbs off your chin, ”pay the bill tomorrow” ”collect that parcel will you” ”we need to get our light fixed in the bathroom” ”here , I wrote a letter to you while I was at work” . We are childish in our longings, always touching after a long day apart. When I realise I’m small without you for the first time, I’m in a crowded bus, I find it so hard to breathe and I wish for you. How terrifying is that, the entire world shrinking into a smaller one, all that space of you emptying, growing a new heart of without. We tested our fate with our ‘ours’ yeah? Didn’t tremble when throwing ‘we’ like it has been all along. Now the whole of universe is taking its entire time to show me how reckless I’ve been with loving you.

Your Woman Who Fell from Heaven

You thought love was sacramental,
would let you cross over to the heavens,
make you worthy enough to meet God,
and this time
you wouldn’t pick the apple that fell
That’s why you said yes after all
marriage looked like a door to you
to be able to sit cross legged with God
to the universe you would understand
to the verses that believe in you
and to the holy that will soften
all your bends and wounds.
But love, isn’t always a door
it’s a goddamn pit
it’s a prayer you chant in the pit
it’s not hell but it’s paradise on fire,
so you slit your wrists
try and save where you came from
with your own blood
But love, has you bend down
on your knees, mad woman
wishing for the apple
and its poison
so that you can
finally
          fall
               out.
– Your Woman Who Fell From Heaven by Thamanna Razak