point a to point b

wake up so softly that you can’t tell when sleeping ceased and consciousness seeped in. don’t be surprised that you are okay. do be surprised to find a message from him on your phone asking where he can buy kale. realise maybe he needed you more than you needed him. he needed to realise he wanted kale in his life. write back. then let it go. don’t tell him you’re letting him go. don’t tell him it’s not because he’s not worth holding onto. that confessional urge has dissolved. you know that this is part of being a woman. you do not need to prove that you are okay.  tell him without telling him that you’re sorry you’re okay. it’s not him. he is good and beautiful and you could have loved him deeply, but you’ve explored every back alley of the alphabet and you know your way from point a to point z off by heart. you get where you’re going much faster if you know where you’re going and you’ve got no space in your life for someone who doesn’t want you.

you are the sofia. accept it. this is an excruciating role but it is crucial. excruciation is crucial (look at the letters). you are the one that makes them need kale. you are the teacher. you are the one that dies. and this is a gift. you wouldn’t be this person if you couldn’t take it.

GENDER: Feminine
OTHER SCRIPTS: Σοφια (Greek)
PRONOUNCED: so-FEE-ə (English), so-FIE-ə (British English), zo-FEE-ah (German)  
Sofia is a female name derived from σοφία, the Greek word for “Wisdom”. The name was used to represent the personification of wisdom.

this is what happened.

he came and the two of you stayed in bed for twenty-four hours. somewhere near the beginning you started talking and somehow you broke up. but still, you both stayed in bed for the whole twenty-four hours, fused, even when you cried, and when your bodies unravelled in sleep, he grabbed you. you watched a movie that rattled both of you in different ways. you kept saying, i’m the sofia. i’m the one that dies. in the morning he said, i don’t want to stop holding you. and you were confused again because this isn’t the first time a man has held you with one arm and pushed with the other.

you called a friend (those lifelines are unconditional and infinite) because you were wild with hurt and you were worried you’d start weeping on the tram. you said i’m not even tired of this happening. that’s how many times it’s happened. you saidbut i am so tired of falling in love, always soclose but never really in it. always allowed to dip my feet into lakes of love, just enough to remind me what it’s like to be drenched with intimacy, and then i’m back on dry land, alone, with all these holes where people used to be. 

you wanted to have a tantrum. you wanted to say, but you told me i had a reason to stand still! don’t. instead you said, how was your flight? oh you made a new friend? how lovely. you didn’t say, i took a shower but i still smell like you. i brushed my teeth but i can still taste you. i’ve stripped the bed, but making it overwhelms me and the notion of a naked mattress doesn’t horrify me right now (there is almost a perverted pleasure in sinking to such despair).

but maybe he is too young to know about the frenzied kind of grief that has you crying until you throw up. i know you, he said. you will try to find a way to blame yourself for this, the way you’ve done with everything else. but i won’t let you this time. this isn’t happening because of you. you hated him for saying the right thing when you were trying so hard to hate him. you said, i hate you so softly that it sounded like love. you didn’t ask him if he knew what it’s like not to want to exist. you didn’t admit you know why people want to kill themselves and it’s not because they want to die but because they don’t want to exist and you know that dying and not existing are not the same thing. he knows this about you.

you stood in front of the mirror and burst into tears, your eyes bulging slits, your cheeks pink and hard, your mouth bending ugly, saying again and again, i don’t deserve this. later, you wailed under the naked duvet, grateful that tears aren’t countable because the number would scare you.

you didn’t turn off anything, the laptop, the light, because you were afraid of being engulfed by grief in the dark. you tried not to try not to think about it because the trying gets you thinking about it. remember telling him, there is not a single consistent man in my life; only the women stay.

then you reminded yourself to trust the universe. you didn’t hate yourself when that trust didn’t make it hurt any less. you didn’t hate yourself at all. remember him saying, it’s difficult to like someone who doesn’t like themselves, and you were confused (maybe you’re not quite there yet).

the thing is, you do trust that you can handle everything life gives you. trust life. acceptance eases much suffering. yesterday the shock bred pain. but if you trust life, if you trust that every disappointment is a necessary pebble in the mosaic of you life, then you don’t need to suffer. everything that happens to you is for the better. pain is inevitable. accept. let go. flow.

hold on tightly, let go lightly.

obstacles are just pebbles for your mosaic. every x is  pebble. wisdom is seeing someone as a pebble instead of the whole mosaic. you are the mosaic. you are the sofia.

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I Will Always Remember this Day

For the first time in months–I don’t know how many days, I don’t count anymore–I looked back at his window. And for the first time ever, he was there. I burst out laughing. Because I saw him exactly as he is to me now. A small man. A distant figure so crouched over his own words that he never truly saw me.

I will always remember this day. I laughed all the way home. Because today, on May 19th 2014, I realised that I do not love this man anymore. He has hurt me too much and not given enough back for me to keep loving him. I know he didn’t mean to, but he made me feel small and weak and needy and undesirable. He made me feel like less of a woman. And I keep coming back to Maya Angelou.

maya angelou how you feel

It doesn’t matter how much I loved him. He didn’t make me feel good.

Everyone has been admitting that they could never understand what I saw in him. And while I understand where they are coming from, I know exactly what I saw. I saw his potential, I saw the man he could be. And maybe that was my mistake. Yesterday I told him that he never failed to disappoint and he suggested I lower my standards. But I refuse to do that. The standards come hand in hand with potential. And if he can’t–or won’t— reach them, then I’m not interested.

I learnt a lot from this relationship. I learnt that love is enough…but only if both of you think so. I learnt that I love fucking deeply. I learnt that I believe physical and verbal affection are the bare minimum, not a luxury. I learnt that I am so much stronger than I thought. And I learnt that sometimes all you can do is let go–and that there is strength in that–but you cannot let go until you are ready.

The break-up itself was amicable, even if it wasn’t mutual. I focused a lot on understanding where he was coming from. Another lesson: I am a giver. It took me a long time to get angry. Other people had to point it out to me. I was so busy trying to understand him that I didn’t have the energy to stand up for myself. Another lesson: giving to others should never take away from taking care of yourself.

The aftermath has made us bitter. I don’t know why he is bitter. And then, maybe he doesn’t care enough to be bitter. For me, every time I saw him, I was so overwhelmed by grief that it was all I could do to keep my shit together. He said he could see how I was feeling just by looking at me. He said this like it was a bad thing. This is another reason why I cannot love this man. I am a vibrant, passionate, deep, raw, emotional, feisty woman and I will not fucking apologise for feeling so intensely. I know I can be ridiculous and irrational and psychotic. I know I have gone to places so dark they still scare me. I’ve felt more loneliness in my twenty-nine years than a lot of people experience in a lifetime. But I would never want to be like him–so capable of controlling emotion, rarely ecstatic, never devastated. That’s not real and it’s not fun. What is the point of feeling if it doesn’t sear you?

It has taken me a long time to admit that I have suffered a lot in my life. Finally, almost thirty, I can show myself the compassion I give to others so easily. Finally, I can appreciate how much I have endured, even if I felt pathetic while I was going through it. And now that I am learning to embrace my pain, learning to see the silver lining while the clouds are still forming, I am grateful that I feel so much. Because he might never be miserable but, shit, I have lived.

And now, as I write this, I can’t stop smiling. I feel fucking triumphant! Because I did it! I was tired when he met me. I was tired a long time before he met me. Tired of fighting my own mind, tired of being positive, tired of having to endure. I was a broken spirit. And then, just as I was getting my shit together, he gave me one more thing to survive. And I did. After five months of agony, I can say this: I pulled through (again). And I’m over it. I’m over him. I am so over him. 

 

This is a Poem

Today she told me that most people are
not poets, just good note-takers
Well, here is a note for you:

There was an edge to the way we loved each other,
the sharp l dug into my ribs. But now
you are the smooth curve of f in forgiveness.
You are the plump belly in the g of goodbye.

You’re the post-it that wouldn’t stick
And I’m the fountain pen you never use
And together we make one shitty rhyme.

I’m sorry I’ll never write you the perfect lovepoem
I’m sorry you memorised me only to get stagefright
I’m sorry I’m not dignified enough not to hate your damn guts

Never Like a Question Mark

When he says he’s been thinking about it for the past two weeks, I understand the seeds of my recent insomnia. It doesn’t matter how far our eyes blow like leaves in the wind, how our arms branch out for others, whose kisses we let pollinate our lips, because my roots are still entwined with his.

I love him like the point where the ocean meets the horizon. God, I don’t know why, but I love him in such an unflinching way. Without fireworks or roller-coasters. No fairy-floss expectations or prize-winning promises. There are popcorn fights and elephantine fears, but no ring-master gestures or somersaulting consistency.

I love him quietly. The way rain kisses a window. Like a lost ribbon in the breeze. The way tea keeps spinning after the spoon. I love him opaquely, the way I love ice-cream or avocados. I love him like a full-stop (sometimes like an exclamation point, but never like a question mark).

God, I don’t know why, but I love him. Even though it’s been 109 days. Even though he’s broken my heart twice. Even if he doesn’t love me anymore. I love his stupid, noble soul and I’m scared of how long it will take me until I don’t.

 

“They go to bed with Gilda; they wake up with me.” or Fuck you

And so what? Yes, more men have fallen in love with me that I can count on two hands but I don’t need thirteen lovers and I didn’t want most of them. I am the wave that keeps going back to sea, and they are the shore that can’t make me stay. But I don’t want their clammy eyes and sandy promises, the way their eyes dance like coral underwater when they listen to me speak. I don’t want random Brazilian men to ask me out at traffic lights. I don’t want men I met a couple of times a couple of years ago to message me when they’re bored. I don’t want to be given a wreath of shells on our first date; I’m not a fucking nymph. I don’t want a lover I could love that could love me back in Berlin. I don’t want a lover I love that I think loves me back but refuses to be with me down the street. I don’t want an intense, crazy lover that tells me he loves me after six days and then disappears. I don’t want a lover that falls in love with me before he meets me and has sent me enough messages for each hour we’ve known each other. Yes, I am lucky that men fall in love with me. Oh, it does wonders for the ego. Love is a wonderful gift and I must be grateful. Men have been infatuated with me since I was seventeen oh there’s something about you oh you’re different oh i don’t understand how he had gold in his hands and let it go oh if you were mine oh oh oh I’ve heard it all so many times and it makes me want to scream. The only fucking difference between the men I left and the ones that left me is opportunityMen fucking adore me as long as I’m always rushing back to the ocean. Fuck you and your pedestal. Fuck you for making me feel like a bitch because I don’t love you back. Fuck you for choosing the idea of me over the real me. And fuck you, Irony.

 

time

88 days ago 
was the last time you
let me stamp a letter 
to your lips with my lips. 
it said only       i love you
and it says it even now without
the envelop of you. without
the cursive of your smile. without
your inky eyes and your 
eyelashes that i wrote poem
about. without the sugar alphabet
i used to spell out our names that one
time. 

9 days ago
was the last time we
made tiny talk, protecting
every stranger around us from
the gravity of our history. 
i chant it all the time:
we are something that was
we are something that was
but when i see you, there is no we,
only non. 

4 minutes ago
i remembered that i am magnificent.
you are just the boy that thought my darkness was opaque,
just the boy
that is more scared of love than loss.
you are just the boy that stopped
telling me i’m beautiful long before you
broke my heart for the second time.
you are just the boy.

sometimes i imagine running into you
without the stirrups of etiquette propaganda.
i’ll cry as usual, and you’ll put your eyes to the floor, muttering,
“i’ve got to go” and then i,
with eyes heavy as teabags,
will say, “honey, you’re already gone.”