• B R E A T H E •

Dear Beatrice,

You’re doing the thing again: writing a letter to yourself.

You’ve been doing that a lot this past year: reflecting, asking yourself these big scary questions and finally having some much needed introspection time.

But this letter is doubly special, you see. It’s the start of the New Year and of a new decade. *dramatic pause for that to sink in* And no, we’re not going to be making resolutions in this letter cause we already know how you feel on that matter.

How did you get here, Bea?

2019 was many things and by far the most challenging year of your life but you survived it. It’s like you’ve lived out an entire decade in the span of just one year. That’s how intense it’s been but you fought tooth and nail and you’ve come out of the battle victorious.

2019 was a year of many trials, heartaches and essentially life-changing experiences. You’ve felt ‘stuck’ for a long time now in so many ways; in your career path, in your relationships, with yourself. Like time is slipping away, the whole world is moving forward and leaving you behind.

You need to stop examining your life under such a prejudiced magnifying glass. Do not fret any longer on whether the events of 2019 were for the good or the bad. All things happen for a reason and the one thing you have control over is your attitude, your reactions and how you take life in its stride.

The decade ahead is going to be a life-changing one. You will continue to find yourself as you grow and make choices that will set the foundation for the rest of your journey. You’ve had a rough time and in no way is this an invalidation of your struggles but you should no longer allow the past or the things you cannot control to be an obstacle to you finding happiness.

That happiness you seek? It starts with you.

From the past, present and future Beatrice to the one currently reading this letter at any point in time or space: as you embark upon the grand adventures that life has in store for you, here are some things to keep in mind:

Stop being so hard on yourself.

You need to cut yourself some slack and give yourself more credit. Why are you so forgiving of everyone else but yourself? You think that being hard on yourself brings out the best in you, and it has, but it’s also chipped away, little by little, at your self-esteem and warped your sense of pride.

You don’t own your victories anymore, you just sweep them under the rug and set your sights on a taller mountain to climb when you’ve barely caught your breath from conquering the last one.

Stop. Stop giving unlimited chances to everyone while sparing none for yourself. Show yourself the kindness you reserve for the rest of the world. Believe me when I say: you are far more deserving of it.

Create your own (Bea)utiful.

You’ve taken the road less traveled by. It takes real guts and bravery to choose the path you have and stick to it. And I get it.

It’s hard and very lonely sometimes. You look around and see everyone else going about things a simpler way, having ‘fun’ and enjoying their youth. Never ever give into that thought process. You’re digging yourself a grave there, Bea.

Remember: you have real gumption. You’ve always been ahead of your years and yeah, gaining that maturity so young, so fast came with a price but look at all you’ve gained in the process. Look at the warrior you’ve become.

Creating a meaningful life for yourself and achieving your dreams means challenging not only yourself but the world. People will try to dissuade you when they see you doing something different. You’ve encountered this before and you will again: those who want to take away your special spark. Did you let them? Have you ever?

Surround yourself with positivity.

You’ll soon realize the sacrifices you’ve made by taking the road less traveled by: they’ll get you to exactly where you need to be. What you’ve dreamt of.

And you will no longer fret on giving up simpler pleasures, on trading in the fleeting and short-lived ecstasies for a life of genuine and lasting joy and meaning that you’ve created for yourself.

Celebrate everything.

You are exactly where you’re meant to be right now. Live all your moments, even the tiny ones that seem insignificant because trust me, they’re not.

There might be moments where you feel like you’ve lost yourself and you’re unsure of the things that seemed so unshakeable before. But that’s okay. That’s how life keeps you on your toes.

Believe in yourself and your path, even if it isn’t so clear. Take each day as it comes and don’t project too much onto the future. Give it some space to grow, take shape and unravel from the wonderful mystery that it is on its own.

And while life unravels, delight in every little thing it shows you: the bad and the good.

Let go.

You hold on far too long to the things that hurt you: to the people that don’t deserve your love, to the memories that were of a past you are no longer tied to and to your own self-destructive thoughts that keep you from living in the now.

You live in two worlds and in neither of them do you live for yourself. Stop bleeding yourself dry for the things that are simply not worth it.

And I know what you’ll say. It’s what you always do: you make excuses and keep hoping for a turnaround in the things you can’t control.

“It’s complicated.” “It’s not that simple.”

Except, Beatrice, it really is.

Stop doing everyone else a kindness and do one for yourself: let. fucking. go.

Have the grace to let go of the things, of the people and of the choices that are not meant for you. Not everything that crosses your path will be there forever. People come and go. Some leave lasting magic, others disappointment. Do not hold animosity against anyone but appreciate the experiences they leave you with. Learn from them.

It will be okay. At the end of the day, you’ve always been standing on your own two feet.

All you are guaranteed is yourself, never forget this.

L I V E

Life is this great, big, beautiful unknown.

You will realize, time and time again, the vulnerabilities you’ve felt in your darkness is not weakness at all in the light of a new day. Reading this letter won’t cut it. You’ll have to live the pain, live the joys, live all the little hurts that make you real.

I see you, Beatrice. Peering into the darkness and uncertainties of the path ahead of you, sporting a grin. You try to hide that your hands are shaking as you fidget to try and turn on the flashlight for illumination, for just a little clue into what you’re walking into. Here’s what I want you to do.

You take that flashlight, turn right around, face the blinding light from the past 22 years that you’ve already lived and throw it as hard as you can. Throw it into the face of certainty, throw it into the chapters of your life that are already done.

Now, turn back, take a deep, steady breath, face your future and start walking.

You don’t need that flashlight, Beatrice.

You are the light.

i am Home.

. hiraeth . 
a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past

@milkyway_tv ✨ ✨ ✨ 📷@8thdamon @jelenapiplica851 ♥️ • • • ✨ ✨ ✨ ✨ ✨ ✨ ✨ ✨ ✨

On a rare star-studded night, I entertained a conversation with a companion that weaved its way between topics of varying degrees of sensitivity. Music hummed in the background as we discussed matters of the heart and my words conjured memories of a past that I believed had faded but demanded to be unearthed once more.

The dull throb of alcohol pounding through my veins induced me into a gentle, trance-like state as we spoke about the purpose of life and finding one’s calling. We talked about the beauty of travel and exploring new places, chuckling over the irony of how throwing ourselves in foreign environments is what helps us makes sense of who we are the most. And he asked me, the baltering nomad, the one question I found I’d attached to the mystery of my identity: ‘what is home to you?’

I don’t know whether I could attribute the moment of enlightenment that followed to my ins-and-outs of momentary consciousness, or perhaps to the soulful strums of a guitar reverberating from the speakers, unlocking rooms that I’d once believed were vacant and uninhabited inside my chest. 

I told him then, with more clarity than I knew I’d ever had for a concept that had haunted me all my life, that ‘home’ to me was not a place but a feeling. How I attached my existence and different fibers of my being to moments, to people, to experiences that, when I’m living in that very time, consume me but then escape, leaving me desolate and reaching for a semblance of home. 

I belong and exist everywhere  and nowhere, all at the same time. Home is fleeting, scattered and stretched over a span of years where I feel I did not wholly exist, spare for those moments in which I was simply everything. Those seconds, though fleeting, held an entire universe of depth to my wandering soul. Seconds that once lived, were lost, and locked away in memory to be nothing more than that: just a memory.

I told him my arms grew tired and my heart drained from constantly reaching for those infinitesimal infinities – so now, I rest, wrapping them around this empty vassal of a body that is both, hopeful and longing to be filled again, and at once, utterly broken in her isolation.

I don’t know how much of that translated into words he could make sense of but that night, I had divulged a part of me that I hadn’t known existed to a trusted friend. 

I didn’t know that night, that in my life’s quest for a home, for that temporary feeling of belonging, I had denied myself the understanding of what was truly being built. The grand masterpiece of my hiraeth that I seek to find is not the end in itself but the journey that continues to unravel through the fragile fabrics of time and space. When these small, meaningful moments, sprinkled across various points of time, come together collectively, it creates the home I’ve been blindly chasing all my life.

Recently, my hiraeth is being fulfilled in ways I never imagined it could; in moments that last longer than a heartbeat which embed themselves in memories I refuse to lock away but cherish, even while I’m living them. Suddenly, everything I felt I’d ever lost is coming back and everything I never knew I’d needed is right here. 

My arms are no longer tired from reaching because my fingers have finally found another’s to lock onto, the tiny perfect spaces between our skin interlacing to fit together somehow amidst this puzzle we call life. My heart is no longer drained but filled to the brim with a sense of beauty and completion. 

By the very fingers that stretched into the ether, in desperation for a home that would fill me, I reach into myself – my heart, my mind and my soul. And I realize –

My hiraeth led me to this wondrous, miraculous soul but I know that he is not the answer nor my purpose. 

I am.

I am home.

| broken daydreams |

♪ listen ♪

delicate black lashes graze my fingertips as i turn
to capture the wonder in his star-studded eyes

“what do you feel?”

he breathes and i smile at his
curious little question

“tell me, please,” he sings a whisper
(does he want to feel it too?)

i wish i could tell you:

how it feels to be blinded
become one with the dream
that i cannot bear to touch right in front of me

how i hear the universe breathe
a wistful serenade
for you and i as we lie
beneath its velveteen skies

how i long for a taste of your soul
as the layers to your broken, bleeding heart unfurl
for me to touch
naked. bare. vulnerable

you.

“what do i feel?”

i am enchanted
by a Miracle

“nothing. nothing at all.”


| come home, darling |

♪ listen ♪

i dream you are out there – some/where
floating in the ether
as lost as i but
towards me
you’d wander

we’d find each other by the tips of our
starkissed fingers
and the universe would shatter
the Gods would weep

i would touch your broken pieces
cut myself on the rough edges of your
pure, glimmering soul
i would bleed, my love
for you, i would

for if to have you, i must dream
dream i shall
enough to fill this wanting little heart
enough to hope
to see

you will return
you will come home to me
and i will wait

for our forever.

Under the Stars - Bodie Lighthouse


| revelation |

listen

you breathe
and i break
as i watch you weave magic in your careless, unfiltered way
that sinful mouth parts and out tumble your tales
and i wish that i could show you that
you’re more than your mistakes

you still can’t see, can you?
how i’m fighting to sit still
and not trace your imperfections
with the tips of my trembling lips.

you can’t see –
how i’m doing everything in my power
to not fall deeper into your laugh
or into the kindness in the pools of your chocolate eyes

you can’t see.
but: i do.

then one day
you turn with this catch in your breath
that stills my own heart
and you ask me, eyes wide,
“what does love look like?”
(i break a little more)
and shrug
“if only i knew”

oh, but i do, my darling:
it looks like you.

Para alcanzar lo que nunca has tenido, tendrás que hacer lo que nunca has hecho.
this is all i ask for.


| y o u |

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

e.e. cummings

listen

too often we find ourselves treading a path
one that puts us in the same place as everyone else in this
broken, mess of a world

and when we try to break the mould, we find ourselves falling back into this
cycle
that humanity has built to justify the means to an end
that society thinks is right

i don’t, and (maybe) you don’t either
and that’s perfectly okay. to not be like the rest of them
rather than be a face in this plastic mass of orphaned identities
choose to be you

so don’t let yourself be corrupted and shaped into what they want you to become
be what you were born to be

wherever that may take you.

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2k18: An Atypical New Year’s

I woke up this morning to a buzzing somewhere near my ear. It went on for a couple seconds then paused before returning with a persistence that forced me to crack an eye open only to wince immediately. My phone screen lit up the darkness of the room and the top corner of the screen read 7:15 a.m. It was too early. But of course the concept of ‘too early’ is lost on New Year’s Day, the first day of the year where several souls promise to start fresh, bright and early. However, this does not apply to me – the queen of procrastination. I simply shut off my phone, rolled over and went back to a blissful sleep.

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Me, pretty much. (Not my work though but you should check out Cassandra Calin’s comics here if you haven’t already seen her work!)

My Instagram and Facebook feed were flooded with updates of people partying their way into the New Year. It was nice seeing everyone having fun but for the remainder of the night, I shut off my phone and lay in bed, binge-watching Gintama and sneaking in some midnight snacks, all the while selectively ignoring the loud shouts and celebratory fireworks from the streets.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against New Year’s and the whole idea of ending one chapter and starting another with a blank page waiting to be filled. Some people dig that and I respect their opinions. But personally, I’ve grown out of the phase of New Year festivities and making resolutions. And here’s why.

New Year’s often goes hand in hand with starting another 365 days of your life with a blank slate. I’m all in for that but time and time again, I’ve seen friends and people around me misinterpret the idea of a ‘new beginning’ and in the place of fresh starts, create ‘new excuses’ to run away from their problems. Heck, I’ve done it myself.

Yes. It is a new year and yes, it is an opportunity. But yesterday’s demons aren’t going to vanish overnight and rather than try to get rid of them or forget them all together, why not try to find new ways to handle them instead?

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Leave behind the past in a healthy manner, the things that don’t make you happy. Leave behind the negativity, the things that aren’t worth your time, the relationships that have taken more of you away than given you what you deserve. Leave behind the doubts, the hate, the jealousy. Throw out all the bad and in its place, make space for a renewed sense of hope.

Yet never forget the person you are today is because of all those experiences.  Wear ’em like armor and march forward into the future, shouldering the memories of what has already passed but carrying the confidence of someone ready to face just about anything  life can throw their way.

As for resolutions, I think they’re utter hogwash. You can yell at me but nothing you say will change my mind. Why wait an entire year to make a change in your life when you could start any day? Anyone committed to actually making a difference in their life would start pronto. Yes, January 1st is the symbolic start of a new chapter but the journey of change doesn’t follow the same calendar. It has its own clock: your clock. 

People get so pumped up about their New Year’s resolutions and it’s all fun and good for a while before it fizzes out after a week or two, a month at the most, the reasons often being: ‘life happened’ or ‘who am I kidding? I set the bar too high!’

‘Resolution’…the word carries weight. Let’s not make it lose it’s meaning. It shouldn’t just be a temporary, 24-hour buzz that simmers away with the mind-numbing effect of the alcohol from the New Year’s party-bash. It should be a fire, fueled by determination, that burns through the entire 365 days of the next year. And for the people that actually set resolutions and follow them through, kudos to you.

tip-hat

In a nutshell, I believe that I don’t have to wait an entire year for a new beginning. Every single day is a new beginning and anyone who wants to really change something about their life would see it as such. My yearly resolution is usually “become a better version of yourself”. To improve. But this year, I’ve decided to scrap that one off too.

I want to have 365 New Year’s celebrations packed into 2018. I want to soldier through the hardships and win the tough battles. But I also want to lose from time to time so I don’t forget what it means to pick myself off the ground and learn to fight again. I will remember the thorns of the past year but not let it scare me from healing, if only to have my heart bleed once more. Every single day will be a new beginning and I simply wish to live each one.

So let’s all raise our glasses (or in my case, mug of hot cocoa) to the year that’s ended; here’s to all the tears of both joy and sadness, to the nights we’ll never forget, to the companions that have stuck by our side and to the ones that may have strayed. Here’s to the dreams we conquered and the ones we didn’t, to the madness we created; to the stolen kisses, the broken hearts and to the people that we’ve become. It doesn’t matter if it’s the 31st of December or the 18th of April.

Yesterday’s ending will always be today’s beginning – but the journey and how we decide to get there lays in our hands.

Start it right.

An Abundance of Tea (#munnardiaries)

Our last day in Munnar was spent exploring the very essence (in a both figurative and literal sense) of what the popular hill-station stood for: tea.

I had spent the entirety of my stay surrounded and awed by the beautiful landscapes, my awe rocketing when I had come to the realisation that it was made up of tea plantations. It seemed like almost every turn around the corner sported a chaiwala or tiny stores selling varieties of tea leaves for excited tourists and locals alike.

I’ve been an avid consumer of tea since I was a kid. It started off with my obsession for Lipton in third grade, when afternoon snacks constituted of the famous Yellow Label bag and Rich Tea biscuits. I started exploring new flavors with ginger, cardamom and peppermint before settling on my constant go-to concoction of classic green tea now; healthy and soul nourishing.

But never had I stopped to question how the steaming cup of goodness actually came to be. Not until our last-day visit to the TATA Tea Museum at Munnar, that is.

The Tea Museum gave me a glimpse into just how much work goes into producing tea for us to happily consume. Machines of different kinds were spread out across the room, all serving their own purpose in the bigger process.

The first thing that greeted us in the room was a line of inter-connected machines with boards on each one reading ‘1st cut’ to ‘4th cut’. Raw, freshly picked tea leaves were put together into the first and we watched as the machines sifted, cut, and finely ground the leaves into tea dust at the end of the line.

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From start…

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…to finish.

But that wasn’t all.

Following the ‘cutting’ process, the minced tea leaves are left to dry in a huge, rather scary-looking machine that heats up to 104 degrees. Call me irrational but I didn’t step anywhere near that hunk of metal, happy enough to witness the magic from a safe distance away.

Around the room, there were informative posters on the benefits of consuming tea with a special focus on green tea. Highly informative but mostly disregarded by the people there who were more absorbed by the age-old machinery around us.

The connecting room to the exhibition had a small stall where people lined up to have a small cup of healthy green tea minus the sugar, honey, or sweet goodness they were used to. Mom, dad and I all got our own cups but having gotten used to the bitter taste, we didn’t so much as flinch while drinking it. It was amusing to see others, though, who were new to the taste make faces and cringe before discarding their cup, still half-full. One look and I knew they weren’t so keen on experimenting with green anymore.

The merchandise shop was filled with tourists, all stocking up on bags of tea leaves. There were so many varieties on the shelves with generous offers like ‘buy three and get two free’. And I watched happily as my mom tossed box after box of green tea leaves that would easily last us a year into our shopping cart before wheeling the way toward the till. Of course, we also got our fair share of other types as well.

What can I say? Indians are suckers for good offers.

And thus, our trip to Munnar came to a flourishing end.

We went back to the hotel, gathered up our things and had a final photo-shoot in the beautiful outdoor garden. I said my goodbyes to the hill-station with a smile on my face and bags of tea in the backseat. I had something to look forward to trying once I got back home after all.

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I’m not quite sure when my next trip will be. Life has got me booked for the rest of the year but I do hope adventure will come knocking at my door. Perhaps, another hill-station to explore like Coorg, or a thrill-ride with friends to WonderLa.

Until then, I have my memories preserved in these diaries to keep me happy and a whole lot of tea to give me company. I think this catchy slogan captures it all perfectly.

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Greater Heights (#munnardiaries)

We started off the next day, bright and early, with a number of places visit on our itinerary.

First stop – Mattupetty Dam. The infamous dam is known for being one of the most essential sources of power for the state of Kerala through its conservation of water for hydroelectricity. The tiny travel pamphlet I had on me also stated that it was a common visiting ground for elephants. Unfortunately, we didn’t bump into any at our time there but again, the view of the landscape and the large body of water proved its magnificence.

Next up was Top Station! The drive to the highest point on Munnar took a while but the cool air coupled with the nature that surrounded us made it a beautiful journey. Luckily for us, despite the telltale signs of rainfall in the sky, the view waiting for us at Top Point was not at all shrouded by the clouds.

1700 meters high, it felt close enough to touch the heavens. Sometimes, you visit places and see things that’ll never quite leave you. That’s what Top Station was like. It wasn’t just the spectacular view that etched a permanent picture in my mind but that feeling of being so faraway from…everything, far enough to liberate me from everything that was waiting down on Earth.

Mom, dad and I spent a good hour there before the growling of our stomachs got the better of us and we decided to head back to town to grab lunch.

On our way back, we made a brief stop at the infamous Echo Point. As its name would suggest, the river bank carries with it the natural phenomenon of an echo coming back to those who shout their lungs out at the spot. There was an abundance of greenery, as expected, with the lake in the middle and tall trees surrounding the forest on the other side.

It was crowded too, with families and kids standing near the edge of the bank and screaming their names, waiting with bated breath to hear their voice echo back to them. I wish I could say I’d shouted something too but I had settled for watching the others do it with a smile on my face.

And of course, without fail, we took a few more pictures there too.

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I think what I took away most from that day wasn’t just the hundreds of photographs or the aesthetic pleasure of witnessing nature at its finest. But the weightlessness of just being.

Living in the city, amidst the rush of life as a university student and surrounded by throngs of people that all have an agenda of their own, I am forced to move along with the crowd and toward a future that I am both excited and scared for. But at that moment, I didn’t feel any of that.

All I did was simply…exist. And sometimes, we need to take a step back and realize what a blessing that is in and of itself.