anecdotes, life, stories, words, writing

Nerves

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“I am sorry…I…I….sorry,” she stammered as she scrounged around in her sack of a handbag, digging around to find whatever it was she was going to present to me. One by one she started to take things out of her bag, a pen, two pen, few pencils, a really old motorola phone – I didnt even think these kinds existed anymore – a small opaque plastic bag, which I didnt have to peek inside to know the contents of. The wafting foul smell of beetle nut and lime told me it was doma*, a Bhutanese favorite snack. She paused when she put it out onto my desk, and looked at me for a second like she was going to offer me some, but decided against it to continue her search through the abyss of her magical bag – it was amazing how many things fit in it.

“Ahh….here it is,” she exclaimed and handed me a tiny tiny USB drive. “Can you please open it on your computer?” she mumbled. Some consultant I thought to myself. It was one thing to ask for a favor and help her with her work, it was an entirely different thing to actually carry out the work for her.

“You see, I am running out of time, I am running out of time,” she repeated. Her relatively young round eyes filled with anxiety. “Right,” I nodded back and inserted the USB into my sleek laptop’s USB port. Her mangled key chain of what appeared to be an extremely dirty teddy bear hanging off the USB in stark contrast to the shiny silver of my macbook pro. The file opened to my utter horror of chaotic pdf files, excel sheets, word documents, movies, books, jpegs, neither in order nor appropriately named. My OCD kicked into high gear and if I knew her better than just being introduced through a mutual friend some one hour back, I would have offered to organize her files on the USB. As she looked through her files to look for whatever it was that she was going to show me and ask for my help, I noticed all her paraphernalia still scattered across my desk. Her slightly large tego** sleeves skimming over my desk zen garden. I inhaled a sharp breath of air in panic worrying her lovely purple sleeves would leave an uninvited line across the sand perfectly styled in symmetric curlicues.

“Umm….,” she mumbled and rested her face on her hands and her elbows uncomfortably close to me. “Here,” I said and got out of my chair allowing her to move closer to my laptop so she could look at the screen better, but also for myself because the smell of unsolicited beetle nut and her chaotic hair and slightly running mascara was irritating me, but also garnering some deep level of sympathy because she was everything I tried not to be. I felt guilty I was judging her in that moment. She paused and looked up like she remembered something, picked up her bag and starting digging through it again. She pulled out a notebook, a compact – which has obviously not touched her skin in the least bit today- and then some breath mints. “Here, have some,” she said and offered the mints to me. “Umm, no thanks,” I said and asked if she found the file. “I think its not here,” she said and smiled at me. “Anyway, I will go home and find it and will come back when I have it, if its okay with you,” she half asked and half declared rhetorically. “Okay….?” I responded quizzed by the coolness and ease and chaos with which this woman went about.

She moved across my desk, swiped her entire arm across my desk and literally chucked all her things back into her gunny sack of a hangbag. I handed her the USB, as she got up. “Thank you,” she said. “I really dont have time and now I wasted the last hour getting nothing done,” she said laughing. “Okay, will come back soon, thank you for your help,” she said and walked out of my office. I plonked myself down on my chair, energy drained by that whirlwind of a personality. The speed and chaos with which our interaction ensued confusing the hell out of me.

I never heard back from this woman.

doma* – In Bhutan the areca nut is called doma. The raw areca nut, which is soft and moist is very potent and when chewed can cause palpitation and vasoconstricting. This form is eaten in the lower regions of Bhutan and in North Bengal, where the nut is cut into half and put into a local paan leaf with a generous amount of lime.The fermented doma has a putrid odour, which can be smelled from miles.
tego** – Toego or Tego is a long-sleeved, short jacket-like garment worn over their traditional kira by women in Bhutan.

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contentment, embracing yourself, existential crisis, lessons, life, love, ramblings, thoughts, woman, words, writing

Finding My Ways

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I am at once so many different versions of myself. Yesterday I loved the way my hips swayed and the way his fingers pressed into my sides in heat and passion and love. Today I scrub a little harder under the duress-ed pressure of the hot water gushing through the shower head lost in thoughts of reprimanding. I may sometimes question your judgement a little bit, but I promise to be the one sitting across you in my Swiss wool socks ready to consume and comprehend the words you will spill in hatred and anger, or those lighter ones said in joy and pure innocent glee because I will completely understand the need. I will some days willingly guide you through the web of life the best way I can, and some days I will ask that you find in yourself the solutions to your problems you have always known but refuse to accept. Some days I will be angry. Some days I may smile. Other days I will be at once the fiery orange in my curly brown hair, wind-blown and unkempt, and yet press feather light kisses on your cheeks and your forehead in my summer peach lips to let you know I am here, always. Today you may find me voraciously reading guides on how to get ahead in life because I say that the go-getter in me needs to be nourished, forget contentment. And tomorrow I will wake up to prayers in praises to spirituality, to learn and practice compassion, to be simple and want simple, accepting that less really is more. Because, I am at once so many different versions of myself. Tomorrow I will love you fiercely, that overwhelming kind of love that leaves you dizzy like you’ve have one too many mint juleps on a hot summer southern morning. Balmy, dazed and incomprehensible in pleasure. But maybe I will be the ice, the winter gush pushing you back because foolishly I will believe I am no good for anyone. Some days are clear days. Some days I am lost.

Everyone talks about being true to yourself. But we are never just one version of ourselves to be true to. There lies within you and me, many different us, so which one do we choose to be true to. We are all at once givers and takers, of responsibilities, of dreams, of hopes, of support, and of love. Some days we need more than we can give. Other times we are happy being the one giving all we can. Circumstances have over the years created many different versions of myself. Yesterday I promised myself I will try to keep the light burning for them, to be the flicker of hope of what could be because I know what is right, I know what is best. Yet today I find myself committed to yesterday’s goals but frantically searching for the hinge on which I might peg my own being so I do not find myself lost in the same darkness. Because, some days are clear days, and some days I am lost.

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embracing yourself, lessons, life, relationships, thoughts, twenty-somethings

A friend in NEED is a friend indeed. A friend in WANT is whatever.

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I want to talk about this interesting, almost epiphany worthy, talk I had with a dear colleague of mine a few days ago. (On a side note – doesn’t saying “dear colleague” almost make you think I might be a middle aged wise lady with unisex dressing sense and an uncanny liking for elbow patches and cigarette holders/pipes? I like it!). In all my sense of being I have always thought that I have been blessed with the ability to bond with people with ease. I cherish the fact that most people I get to know beyond courtesy salutations always seem to find it easy to come and talk to me about more personal and deeper things that they might be contemplating or dealing with. And while it may not entirely reflect very well on myself, I took a certain level of satisfaction and comfort in knowing that when they did talk to me about their troubles and sought advice (or so I thought) I was doing all that I could in my ability to help them. That the mere fact that I was, at any given point in my life, being confided in by at least a few people was reflective of the effectiveness of the effort I put in to scraping at the bottom of my wisdom, knowledge, and experience barrel to share what I thought were comforting words, advice, and helpful suggestions. It would however appear that I may have been mistaken. I might have even been a bit too presumptuous in thinking I could mean anything more to these people in my life than just a listening ear, a dumping ground of sorts to just let out the one thing they find themselves struggling to hold on to and fearing to admit or talk about.

As my dear colleague so plainly put it, no one really needs someone there to just listen to what they have to say. People NEED tangible help, they WANT every other kind of help. At first I was a little shocked, how can the figure of speech such as ‘a shoulder to lean on’ or ‘lending an ear’ be so easily dismissed I thought. Being there doesn’t only ever have to be at the rate of material or physical help I argued in my mind. But as my quickly deflating sense of satisfaction from knowing I am a trustworthy person calmed down I realized he may be onto something. Well basically he might be right. Or, he is right. My advice, or my lending ear, or even my uncomfortable shoulders, don’t add up to jack at the end. I sometimes go out of my way just to be there for people…..in intangible ways. I have an important presentation tomorrow but my friend in Australia needs to skype so she can vent about the horrible break-up till 4am? I am there! Its my own birthday dinner party that I am already late to but my friend’s parents have thrown him an ultimatum which led to a big fight so he needs to talk? I will hear him out and give advice on how to deal with it! Sometimes always being there is exhausting. And maybe its this exhaustion that’s finally catching up that makes me believe my colleague when he says, in the end people will do what they want to do no matter what you tell them. So even if I spend hours every week hearing them out, handing them tissues, and putting in my two cents, should the day come when everything is okay, we may or may not still stay in touch and they will probably be okay with it. When I am not around, I apparently will not be leaving a large vacuum space…a black hole….like my narcissistic self assumed. They will find other ways to deal with it and move on.

I guess in the end, its really about finding balance. Balance between being there for others and being there for myself. It is also putting (what I now guess is) my high sense of self in check because I might think the fact that people want to come to me to talk about their personal lives makes me a little bit more important than the rest when in actuality, it may be that I am one of five other people they bounce their stories off of. Hear that?……..Yup! that’s the sound of my ‘amour propre’ deflating un petit peu.

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Creativity

Image via Etsy

Image via Etsy

An excerpt from something I read, that now sits above my desk scribbled on a fluorescent pink post-it:

“Creativity always comes as a surprise to us, therefore we can never count on it and we dare not believe in it until it has happened. In other words, we would not consciously engage upon tasks whose success clearly requires that creativity be forth coming. Hence, the only way in which we can bring our creative recourse fully into play is by misjudging the nature of the task by persecuting it to ourselves as a more routine, simple, undemanding of genuine creativity than it will turn out to be.” – Hirschmann

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Coffee with a Flibbertigibbet

Source: weheartit.com

Source: weheartit.com

The mall, well more specifically, THIS! mall was what a consumerist like myself would call HEAVEN!!! The shiny ornamental lights and floral decor lining up the center of the building, from ground floor to fifth floor of the perfumed, glitz and glamour structure was everything my little shopper heart could hope for. Still, when the hard kneading hands crept up the small of my back to the back of my neck, gently massaging, gently caressing, I snapped out of my shoppers coma awestruck at the beauty that were the designer shops and the perfumery and what appeared to be an overly decorated organic health foods store to glance at the man holding all my shopping bags. A knowing feeling of love and dread simultaneously rushing down through the center of my being to the tip of my toes as we got onto the escalator going up. “Uncomplicate this! Uncomplicate this!” I mutter to myself, disguising my mumbling behind a heavy sigh. “Do you need to get anything else?” he asks, but I am already distracted by the handsome man on the other escalator going down. We make eye contact and we hold it for longer than what is presumably polite. He smiles a half grin like he knows what I am thinking and that I am thinking particular thoughts about him. I smile back knowing that he thinks I am thinking those things which I am actually not. A kiss meets my left shoulder and I glance at the man beside me. “Handsome right?” he says. A statement but somewhat a question. “He is. Looks like a baby though,” I add softening the impact any partner creates by complimenting those of the opposite sex in front of them. “Hmm…” he replies. “Should we look around or head back?” he asks. I look at his face. Both a feeling of deep caring and partial fright course through my chest. How does one person bring forward such contradicting emotions I wonder.

The sound of the piano concerto beginning over the department store microphone startles me. I realize I am jumpy and distracted. As we walk around the last time on the 2nd floor to find a coffee shop I notice the handsome young man from the escalator walking towards us. I look up at the man holding my hands and see that he is distracted by the need to locate a “Damn coffee shop!” as he puts it. We walk closer, that other man and us and for a second my imagination runs wild as I imagine what his story might be. Every person you cross has a story, and sometimes I wonder what it might be like to walk in their shoes. He is probably a cocky bastard living off his parents money I judge shamelessly. We walk closer, he holds eye contact, raises his eyebrows and passes us. I hold myself back from turning around to look at him. I half wonder if he glanced back at me.

We find the coffee shop “Do you want something to drink as well?” I am asked. Five minutes later, dead silence, two cups of steaming hot Americanos between us. I look up at him and we make eye contact. I could swim in his doting looks. He keeps staring and I blush. I remember why a part of me will never be able to deny him. I remember the first time we held hands some eleven years ago and just how nervous he used to make me. I remember handwritten letters and bad grammar when we were international students at an American boarding school together. And just as quickly as the unsure feelings I have of him comes, out it goes to be replaced by my fondness and familiarity of his otherwise kind heart. I pick up my coffee and take a sip maintaining eye contact, I smile at him and he smiles back a knowing smile. I blush at the fact that can be so finicky with my feelings. That I will always be so flighty about everything in life, especially romance. I set my cup of coffee down and feel a little bad. It seems I will always be, a silly flighty person. Every single coffee had between us will always be coffee with a flibbertigibbet.

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Existential Questions from a Twenty-Something

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Alright fine, I am not so much a mere twenty-something but a late-twenties lady. Twenty-something makes the possibility endless, like I could be twenty-one, or twenty-four, or twenty-four and a three quarters. There are infinite numbers between twenty and twenty-nine. I could have been any one of those. But no, I am in late twenties, practically thirty in 2-3 years (give or take). Sigh* You see, existential quarter-life crisis at full throttle.

Anyway, questions…..

1. How far along in life am I suppose to be now? By now, should I be a Senior Manager? Or is just Manager at my company good enough? Should I be taking marriage and children more seriously? Should I be concerned that those are never the thoughts that keep me up at night?

2. Its been two years since I began my manuscript. I still only have a little over 10,000 words, am I incapable of ever finishing up the book? Did I really just overestimate my writing abilities? Will just the little bit of my writing that I had hoped would be my little mark upon the world when Im gone never come to fruition? Was I stupid to think I am even capable of leaving a little mark upon the world, no matter how minuscule?

3. Why all of a sudden have I developed a sudden need/desire to seek out the one true thing that will make me happy. Why didnt I take my “whims and fancy” more seriously when I was younger and could afford to try new things, make mistakes, and then figure my shit out?

4. Who decided that life has to have all these milestones to measure by? Why are most of us, despite knowing better, so inherently concerned about meeting these milestones?

5. Why must everyone be expected to work extremely hard so you can be a “true success?” And when you do meet society’s standard of being that successful and that powerful, why must you down play the working extremely hard part to make it seem like everything brilliant comes so effortlessly to you? No one has the midas touch, NO ONE!

6. When did we begin to value a person’s worth only by looking at how many other people know about what they have accomplished? Why must the value of one persons life be inextricably linked to how many other people know about the said person’s life? Like, why does it feel like the world cares a little bit more about Snooki (of the Jersey Shore fame) than the nonprofit worker in my neighborhood whose built so many libraries for children in rural Bhutan?

7. And even when I realize that I often have the answers to all these nonsense existential questions I ask myself constantly, why is it that I choose to hide behind the “confusion” than to pull myself up by my bootstraps and make the leap to live the life I truly want instead of teetering precariously on the verge of contentment and confinement.

I read all these articles in women’s magazines where famous ladies write short pieces titled, ‘advice to my younger self,’ or ‘things i’d tell my twenty-something self,’ etc. and I often wonder too, if time travel really existed, what would my thirty-something self tell my twenty-something bemused self right now? Also, where did my thirty-something self get those fabulous boots and how in the world did I afford them? But I digress….

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