There is so much that gets said about leaving behind people and relationships that no longer serve us, that have brought along so much hurt for us that we couldn’t recognise ourselves anymore. We all know (in some ways) that that is the right thing to do, that is the thing that needs to be done. But what we also know in our hearts is that sometimes, even with the awareness of what the right thing is, it is an effort to actually be able to do it. And the distance between this awareness and the doing is what makes our worlds so much more difficult and anxiety-ridden. It’s what brings so much pain we forget how to breathe. Because the wrong things exist in the first place because they serve some purpose for us, they fill a space that we will have no idea how to fill once that thing is gone.
I think this holds true for people, relationships, habits, structures, systems. I think this is one of the biggest reasons we resist any kind of change. We want to be able to hold on to the comfort of the familiar and the known, even when it harms us in many ways. And for that reason, I think it is important that we pause to see what kinds of spaces the wrong things are filling for us in our lives. I think it is important to grieve this loss. It is important to grieve the shedding of things that harm us for all the ways in which they bring comfort in our lives. I think it is important to grieve this ambivalence because, in the fight between one or the other, we lose parts of ourselves that become difficult to recover later.
In Tender Tale #4, I wrote about sustaining and oppressive documents. At that time, I wrote about it in terms of what they are, not in the essence that they carry in my life. Of course, the existence of letters of kindness is enough to say exactly how much letters as documents mean to me. I think the act of writing a letter to someone is an immeasurably beautiful one — you sit down with the intention of telling someone what they mean to you, you sit down with the intention of sharing yourself with them and solely dedicating some moments of your life to thinking about them and appreciating them. The slowness and the stillness inherent in writing a letter to someone is what grounds and centres me. And to be the one on the receiving end of something like that is what gives me a reason to keep going on, it reminds me to appreciate myself, something all of us tend to forget every now and then.
This year, clearly, has decided not to stop messing with us. The things that it is putting us through are unbearable, to say the least. And it seems/feels endless. So as a generalisation, we are all not in the best of our states. We are all struggling to firefight through our everyday challenges amidst a global pandemic. And on some days, it just feels pointless.
On one of those days, I took out a big yellow envelope safely tucked in my cupboard containing all the letters I have received so far in my life. The feel of the crumpled and worn-out paper and the slight fading of the ink were instantly soothing for me. The nostalgia of the day I received a letter when I was in a new city, alone. The nostalgia of the day I received a letter on the day I came back to my city after 2 months. The words of love, appreciation and the monotony of everyday life. It was all so life-giving! And I was reminded, yet again, of why we need to keep writing to each other, of why I need to keep revisiting these reminders of love and hope, of why I am here and why I matter and that this, in fact, is the point of it all.
‘femme in public’ by Alok Vaid-Menon
Alok Vaid-Menon’s work has always worked as a guiding and reassuring light for me. Their work has always reminded me that the things I think and worry about are not inconsequential, that it is a matter of concern why hatred comes easily to so many of us than love and compassion. I also feel absolutely lucky to have seen them perform live and have a signed copy of their poetry book.
Hear me read a piece from this book below:
Trigger Warning for sexual and physical assault
Sometimes I just need to hear that what happened to me was not my fault.
‘Nobody Knows I’m Here’ on Netflix
‘Nobody Knows I’m Here’ is a Chilean drama film about Memo’s life and story as a recluse and a misfit in the society with dreams that bring a lot of hurt his way. It is a slow-burning film, with some exquisite shots. Memo is not a character that has many dialogues, yet is expressive and full of life in ways that defeat words.
Watch this film if you have been made to feel alone because you don’t fit in, because the shape and size of your dreams are not what the world can fathom.
Watch this film if you have felt unloved and alone because you’d better be alone than be hurt by someone you trust.
Watch this film to witness how sometimes just a few words (and visuals!) can express in ways no words can.
Hugs in Words
As I sit down to write this every month, I always feel surprised at my consistency and determination with this. Even with the self-doubt crippling in, in the form of weird thoughts like ‘oh but are people even reading it!’ ‘oh maybe they find it boring’, I have been able to keep at it for 11 months. And I would be lying if I said I found kindness every day of these 11 months. But every month, in sitting down to write this for you, I have been able to find little slivers of hope and kindness to share with you. I have been able to find things that deserve to be written about for the world to read, even if it was just a smile through a mask or a simple yet warm exchange with a loved one.
And today, this is my hope for all of us. It is my hope for us that even when we may not realise and/or feel it every day of our lives, whenever we sit down to actually think (and write), we are able to find something, even if it’s a tiny thing, to hold on to and reassure ourselves that it will be okay. And that no matter what, we can be whole. Even if it’s in fleeting moments, we can feel whole. We are whole.
Love and Light,
A Request: If you would like to monetarily support my work and help me keep this newsletter free, please reply to this email or write to me at email@example.com mentioning the same. Thank you! 💛