Posted in Musings

Good Housekeeping

Maybe it is because I have not written in so long, I can almost feel the seams of my mind bursting with all the words that are waiting to get out.

Writing is something that I have always held in high regard – that one thing that was secondary to nothing in my life. If I feel the compulsive need to write something down, everything else gets shot down. Deadlines, exams, meetings, routines, people. I pull the figurative lever down on the circuit breaker and retreat to the darkness of my being, looking for the light within. Some days, there are clear beacons of thought, beckoning me with a glare so bright I find myself squinting. And at other times, all I can make out are fireflies fluttering about, almost taunting me to find my way about without running into sharp edges and hurting myself. Some days, I grope around blindly for hours and give up.

It has only been a while since I started using this space as a journal as well, accepting that not all posts need to be beautiful and perfect, and that putting up unhinged and unfiltered deliberations do not necessarily taint what I have built. I reason that I ought not care about appearances out here, and throw open my messy self for what it is.

My mind is cluttered and chaotic, and at times I wish to chuck all the non-sparky parts out, shove the tattered-but-homely showpieces inside artisanal wardrobes, and put on a colorful boho display worthy of shiny home décor pages, where every idea aligns perfectly with every opinion, and reflections bloom and grow in moderation like a perfectly green creeper hanging down a macrame pot holder. But these illusions seem to last only if someone is visiting. The moment I encounter people, the sun shines through translucent curtains and the corners grow cozy, brimming with colorful cushions, rugs, ottomans and perhaps a wavy snake plant. How wonderful, they exclaim, how delightfully full of life you are. But as soon as they leave, things change; dust starts to gather on fabrics, leaves turn brown at the edges, laundry builds up on the easy chair and coffee stains mar the table cloth. The windows remain stubbornly shut.

I wish I could peek into others’ minds and see if they struggle with housekeeping too.

Maybe if I could just get myself to de-clutter, I wouldn’t have to hunt for sanity over and over again in drawers overflowing with craft supplies long past their expiry dates, or cause the spare key to my heart from disappearing under the weight of all the broken locks and keyrings I refuse to throw away, knowing well that I will never encounter those doorways again. Everywhere I look, I see hope and despair intertwined – half-read books, broken toys, sheaves of loose paper, half-used pens, torn sheets, lone earrings, large rusty vases – all hovering half-way between a bleak past and a sanguine future, taking up too much space in the present.

I levitate longingly towards simplicity and minimalism, and yet one hand clings adamantly to every memory that ever was. Maybe all I can do is get a bigger house, or build another storey, I quietly tell myself – a place with a bigger attic and even more bookshelves, so that new words can bounce off these walls without tripping over ancient sentiment, and the monsters can be boxed up and shifted from under the beds to the far corner of a loft, hidden from sight. I need to grow and expand, I tell myself, till branches burst in through the windowpanes and color me green.

I can almost see it; growing into a tattered mansion with brown roots lining the weathered brick walls, and vines creeping in and out through ruminations. When by chance someone comes to visit, I shall have them admire the neverland-ish charm of the place, and lay down on a bright red hammock strung across the living room, swinging to the rhythm of the breeze wafting in through broken glass. I shall chat with them over birdsong, and serve cakes in porcelain plates with the slightest crack along the edge. When they leave, I will bid farewell through wide open doorways and make myself comfortable on a crinkly mattress of dried leaves.

And when I occasionally open a ragged brown box of mossy memories, I’ll find wildflowers blooming within.



A wayward thinker hiding behind the facade of necessary courtesies

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