An Invincible Adolescent’s To Do List.

 

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Hi there. If you’re alone in a crowded room somewhere, parting the seas of sweaty, swaying bodies I want you to read this. I want you to inhale the putrid scent of booze and pheromones and ask yourself, “Do I really want to be here?”. Here goes.

  1. Stop drinking. Just….stop it. I know its elixir in a bottle, ambrosia, youth juice, and whatever the fuck it is you call alcohol to coax others into drinking but it isn’t worth it. The objective of life is not to numb the pain but to feel every single thing that comes your way. Stop stopping yourself from feeling things. God knows nobody believes your Ray Of Sunshine act.
  2. I want you to be alive: I want you to laugh in your best friend’s arms. I want you to dye your hair all colours of the rainbow. I want you to stand chest to chest with your lover. I want you to get a degree. I want you to take enough pictures to fill every gallery in this world. What’s day without a little bit of night? Don’t fight it. I want you to live through the pain.
  3. Who are you?I want you to stop lying yo yourself. You know you’re an artist, the family knows you’re an artist, the neighbour’s cat knows you’re an artist. Why do you keep running from it? It makes someone else happy but how long do you think they’ll be around for? They’ll be gone in a flash- like the rest of your life. The ink will have bled through your words, rust will bloom on your favourite camera. Very little of your soul will be left, so stop ripping it out now. I want you to look in the mirror and recognise who you see, for the first time in many years.
  4. Eat. It isn’t that difficult. You know you want to.
  5. Free the nipple: How much longer will you be afraid of what’s underneath? The same hands the held your dad’s when he lay in bed, unable to move. The same hair your mother stroked as you sobbed into your pillow. The same body that has been loved yet pillaged. The same body, with the same heart, with the same mind with memories worth nineteen long years. You aren’t stardust or a deity or on the cover of Vogue. You’re you and for whatever it’s worth, you’re beautiful. Get naked. Free your body, free the soul. You may be hiding but the world still sees.
  6. Seek, don’t settle: You come to seek a Great Perhaps. So do not settle for Maybes and I Don’t Knows. Bukowski said “find what you love and let it kill you.” You are dying either ways, might as well be at the hands of someone you love. So don’t settle. Seek.
  7. Pick your fucking camera up. Pretty self explanatory. You may not be the best. Yet. Art doesn’t compete with art. Art chats with art over a cup of coffee. Art makes love to art, bare naked in the moonlight. Art screams at art in the middle of the street. Art cheers art on from the crowd, teary eyes. So don’t let Instagram steer the course of creativity. You know you love what you’re doing. So, go ahead. Take that shot.

-Adrija Dutta, 30.03.2019, in the midst of exam panic.

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22 minutes

// 12.16 am 

 

Lately, time has been flying

faster than you could ever imagine;

everything that you ever lived for was already a week ago

and you’ve been standing still in a photograph

in which the shutter speed was so long that

life behind is blurrier than a blur.

 

Lately, you’ve been feeling heavy

more often than you want –

a burden on your heart

that you cannot get rid of;

and some days a part of it comes out like a barrage of tears

but never completely.

 

Lately, falling apart is something you do with ease, like its a hobby

and if you blink hard enough

you could cry

and you wouldn’t know why;

maybe it’s because you feel empty,

maybe it’s because you just want to go home to comfort and love.

 

Lately, you’ve been shrugging a lot

and “I don’t know” comes out of your mouth

easier than your name;

An hour ago you sang about being the life of the party

but for the rest of the week, you cried in your bathroom

unsure of how it could possibly get any better.

 

12:38 a.m. //

~Ushashi

 

Second Best

Is there perhaps a word for the fear of people

only slightly more successful than you and

a way to describe only a subtle feeling of worthlessness?

What does it take to accept that there will always be people

smarter, prettier, fitter…better than you,

and how, pray tell me, do I get this point across

without sounding like a selfish prick?

How do I explain the gnawing feeling

hovering on top of my head

with its unkempt nails clawing into the soft skin of my shoulder,

telling me I’m not good enough for this

as my mouse quivers over the Submit Application button?

Or the stone cold whispers that mock me for the bland outfit I put together

telling me I look terrible anyway?

 

Let me paint you a picture –

This feeling that returns every morning, dressed in dread,

with a dark bag slung over her shoulders,

a bag full of promises I made to myself but couldn’t keep:

The promise to accept my grades as part of my minimal intellect,

but also the promise  to continue working hard;

The promise to not stare at my jeans for ten minutes because it has a weird shape,

but also the promise to not care about what I look like;

The promise to be a new person tomorrow

but also the promise to pick up the pieces of my shortcomings and accept them;

and then imagine me under the warmth and approval of my blanket

turning off the alarm at 7:30

in a room colder than the snow that quietly fell last night

begging her “not again, not today.”

~Ushashi

 

 

Go Figure

This year I heard this one phrase

perhaps too many times,

“I’m figuring it out”. Pushed away

Over and over again by people saying

“I’m figuring it out” like they were looking

for a plan, a cheat sheet.

 

But what, pray tell me,

Are you trying to figure out?

Is it a destination?

A goal you’re certain of?

A definition you know

like the back of your hand?

 

You stand before me

shuffling your feet

Ready to go and figure it out

but before you leave

Answer me,

What are you figuring out?

 

Who do you think

has it figured out?

Is it everyone in socio-economic status above you?

In a life where every second brings uncertainty

and every day is a tide taking you in its flow,

What are you figuring out?

 

One moment your career is going somewhere

and the next moment it’s not,

one week you have your feelings sorted out,

and the next you’re not so sure anymore;

In a life that’s crazy like that,

What are you trying to figure out?

 

Please, I beg you, tell me what’s there to figure out,

On a speck of dust

floating about in vast nothingness;

On a speck of dust

bound to be annihilated without a trace; tell me

What are you trying to figure out?

 

~Ushashi

 

Love and let go.

I moved out of my home a few months ago and now live in a new city, all by myself. This is a letter to anybody who’s afraid to let go of familiarity as much as I was. Love and light x

I packed three suitcases, each of which was about thrice my size. But it wasn’t enough.

No matter how much clothing, food or memorabilia I packed, a little bit of myself seemed missing. I felt the way you feel when you’re congested- when your voice is the same but it isn’t, when you hear the same but you don’t. I couldn’t bring my mother’s voice, humming a Tagore song. I couldn’t pack the strength of my father’s arms- an image of dependability. I couldn’t pack the little sigh of pleasure my dog lets out every time he settles down to sleep. I couldn’t bring my friends or the symphony of our voices, echoing in the old lanes of Calcutta.

So I just brought myself- an amalgamation of all the above, yet not quite each of them.

I cannot tell you that it has been a journey of ‘self discovery’ and that I have become an individual. Because I have mostly learned about microbial reproduction and organic chemistry. But I have taught myself to distill the pain, to lock my doors at night but to open them at the break of dawn- to let love in, to let hope in. I have built a life out of borrowed clothes and cold food and I am baffled by how much I love it. Funny thing is I began writing this at the beginning of the semester. Today is the 10th of October and I leave for home in six days. I had a meltdown yesterday after I did badly on a test I had actually studied for and then I proceeded to pick up the pieces, do my laundry and put myself to sleep. It feels extraordinary. By no stretch of imagination was I ever independent. I have always been the consolee never the consoler.

I still push myself to the brink of exhaustion. I am too hard on myself. I wallow in the pain I inflict upon myself. My life is a wild goose chase- a long winding corridor of hasty mistakes and subsequent regret. But I forgive myself, every single time. I have only recently mastered the art. I accept my body. I accept my mind. Living alone has allowed me to view myself as a project, as an independent entity- isolated from the cocoon I was raised in.

I have been drunk and sad. I have been happy and thoughtful. I have lived through each of these without needing assistance and so you will you. Your own emotions leave an indelible mark so make sure you stop to feel each of them. And when time comes, make sure you let go.

So here’s to independence and the spirit of adventure.

Here’s to me.

~Adrija Dutta

Extroversion and All That Jazz

Being an extrovert

is not always loud parties,

glitter, and confetti, and

certainly not a

lemon yellow butterfly

flitting from flower to flower.

 

Being an extrovert

is not always fun and games

and constant notifications, and

certainly not

piling invitations and more Sunday brunches

than you can manage.

 

Give me some time

and I’ll take you

to the Dark Side of being

an extrovert,

of being the what they call

“life of the party”. 

 

Being an extrovert

is often trusting too easy,

like you’ve known these people

for 5 years than the mere 5 minutes,

and you don’t know if

they could kill you any second now.

 

Being an extrovert

is spilling all your trauma and secrets

like you never learned when to stop,

and only to have

them used against you

in the court of social obligations.

 

Being an extrovert

is not always about

breaking the ice but sometimes,

being broken and numb inside                                                      tumblr_mi4u2p6E8d1rj3e21o1_500

because your little body

couldn’t contain all that zeal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

~Ushashi

~Picture Source: Tumblr

 

The Profoundly Damaged

 

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When I think of the word “damaged”

I think mangled cardboard boxes,

shattered glass,

and misplaced goods;

I think airplanes in turbulence,

ships in rough seas,

and trucks in a road accident.

 

Only lately have I

synonymised “damaged” with humans

because every

smart, cruel, happy, shrewd

human I know

and have known,

is so profoundly damaged.

 

Some unloved,

some tired. Some abandoned,

some broken, some forgotten.

but every human out there

united by their damage quotient,

damage that transcends

age or gender or wealth.

 

But on the bright side,

since we’re all in this together,

we’re all here to listen to one another

and the sooner you accept

that although this damage is an epidemic

we’re not damaged beyond repair and not alone,

the sooner we all heal.

 

~Ushashi

~Picture – Pinterest