Taught Me the Alphabet

When they first told me, I couldn’t believe them. My shock was so palpable that at first I thought I was being pranked. When it finally settled in that my grandfather has indeed passed away, my anxiety took hold. I started thinking about him, which led to a series of inexplicable emotions.

I feel guilty. The last time I was back home, a relative told me I should check up on my grandfather and make sure he’s doing well. I just brushed the idea off; after all, my grandfather made a huge mistake in his life, right? But now I am thinking, I should’ve checked up on him. He IS my grandfather, and his huge mistake hasn’t really affected me directly, right? RIGHT?? I keep thinking back to these childhood memories I shared with him. For God’s sake, he TAUGHT ME THE ENGLISH ALPHABET! Yes, I was taught in school afterwards too, but the way he taught them to me was unforgettable. In a way, he was with me when I started my journey of loving the English Language. He also taught me how to play card games, and even though he always cheated on the game, it was always fun when I caught him and he’d act innocent, then we’d just laugh like there’s no tomorrow.

I keep thinking about how I’m never going to see him again, and that I could’ve seen him one last time nine months ago, if only I’d been able to forgive what he’s done to my grandmother. Oh how stupid and selfish I’d been!

I feel scared. Scared of what the future might hold. Scared for my grandmother, who’d been sick for more than six months now. She’s always been my rock, my support and comfort through my constant troubles, and the major source of motivation to keep me going through to the end of the day. We are really close, and since she’s gotten sick, all I keep thinking about is how short our goodbyes were, and how I wish I’d told her how important she is to me back then. I wish I’d told her, before she got sick and is barely able to talk anymore. She is even barely aware of her surroundings (that’s what brain surgeries do). I wish, I wish, I wish… It was all so easy in the past tense.

I am terrified. What if my grandmother also passes away before I get to tell her how much I love and look up to her? What if I don’t talk to her or see her again? Things are too hard as it is, with my having lost a major source of daily motivation and comfort, and constantly worrying about her, scared that the next minute I’m going to get a call saying she’s died too…

When someone close to you dies, you start thinking about all the things this person means to you, scared that someone else you love will suffer the same fate soon. I can only hope these thoughts fade with time, and that my grandmother hangs in there, for I will always be waiting for her to come back to me, and to everyone who cares about her.

 

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Like Sunlight on a Cold Morning

I am stupid.

Stupid for getting unbearably attached

To you.

I cannot bear it

Anymore.

It hurts

More than you can imagine.

Hurts like sunlight on a cold morning.

Hurts like the alarm sound

After only an hour of sleep.

I’ve decided to take matters

Into my own hands.

I’ve decided to stay away

From this blinding pain.

But how can I?

After everything

Is it possible that I revel in this pain?

This beautiful, beautiful pain.

This never-ending, bittersweet pain.

How can I escape?

This sweet intoxication..

Tell me

How can I?

Mourning Star by Gemini Syndrome

Here’s the thing: a song doesn’t have to be “slow and quiet” to be sad, and Mourning Star by Gemini Syndrome is quite a proof of that.

Generally, we associate happiness with upbeat songs, and sadness with quiet ones. This, as a mere generalisation, is true in many cases. It’s also false in as many cases. Take Mourning Star for example. For an upbeat, hard rock song, it brings me close to tears every time I listen to it, and I can’t help but ponder the meaning of the lyrics and find a different interpretation each time.

“I lived my life through recapitulation… everything is still a haze.”

This song is the perfect song to hear when you’re angry at the world. You listen to it, you cry, you get rid of all those negative emotions that have been plaguing your every waking moment, then get up and face the world with refuelled determination.

“I stop myself every second I try. Every minute of time is another I die.”

Now if this isn’t depressing, I don’t know what is.

According to Aaron Nordstrom, the band’s lead singer and primary song writer, “that song is more of a diatribe about the fall of Lucifer from heaven and in that sense of metaphor for everybody’s kinda battle with their own faith in, I don’t want to say God necessarily, but you know, their place in the universe and your purpose for being here.” That is the literal meaning of course. But he also mentions that he was going through a rough time in his life when he wrote the song, and the lyrics reflect that. Filled with expressions of pain, this song beautifully portrays the emptiness you feel when life is constantly bringing you down and making you feel like you don’t belong.

“But heaven doesn’t want me. Now heaven won’t know me…”

If you knew what it meant to me, you wouldn’t have reacted that way. If you stopped for a second to consider my feelings, if only you didn’t assume I’m okay. If only you hadn’t said the things you said. Then maybe I’d have felt comfortable with you again, maybe I’d have talked to you more freely, the way that I used to. When words are uttered, they can’t be retrieved. Their effects are done, and you no longer have a say in what they can do to another person. The hurt is done, and you can’t take things back.

My words are unerring tools of destruction, and I’ve come unequipped with the ability to disarm them.”

Then again, that might be the result of remembering too much about too many things. A week away, you might not even remember what you said, but a year further, I’d still be dwelling on those words, wondering what drove you to throw such hurtful creatures at me. Wondering what I’d done wrong. Because I still do not understand. And I wouldn’t dare ask you to help me understand, because what if you mistook my question for reopening old wounds? What if you do not understand either? What if you lash out at me again? I guess… I guess I’ll never find out. I guess there are things better left unsaid…

“If you knew what it meant to me

To make it through tonight

You would be a mourning star

And guide me through this life.”

*all quotes are from the song itself, except “My tools… to disarm them,” which is by Maggie Stiefvater.*

A Reader’s Journey

Disclaimer: I love recalling, and writing about, past events in very boring detail, so please bear with me through all the boring details that are a big part of who I am, and naturally this post as well.

As a kid, I wasn’t a huge reader. I just read whatever my parents got for me, or what I had to read for school. It’s not until I read my first Enid Blyton book that I realised I actually love reading. That book was called The Six Bad Boys, and as far as I remember, it followed a group of six boys (obviously) who deal with difficulties at home and with their parents. They form a secret hideout where they meet, and keep food and books among other things. This book does not have a happy ending like most children’s books, no. I sometimes can’t even understand how a kid my age (nine years old at the time) could comprehend the enormity of the themes the book dealt with. I suppose for me it was still “fiction”; at the time, I hadn’t reached the book-obsession stage, where I deeply empathise with the characters. But now I can tell I was learning to.

I remember reading a particular chapter of that book, where one of the boys was talking to his mother (who I found very obnoxiously cruel most of the time). I remember her angrily talking to him, and punishing him for offences as small as ‘eating’ extra food, or rather stealing it and keeping it in that secret hideout (but she didn’t know that). I remember that scene almost made me cry, and the proof of how much it affected me is that I am here, eleven years later, still remembering it. I also remember that boy’s name started with a “P” (boring detail, huh?)

Most importantly, I remember thinking that the boys weren’t really “bad boys”, as per the book title, which is something I probably will never understand until I re-read that book one day (yes, I still own the tattered copy my parents bought for me eleven years ago!) After that, I sought out Enid Blyton’s books in particular, and came across two others of her stand-alones; The Family at Red Roofs, and Those Dreadful Children, the former being even more heartbreaking than The Six Bad Boys. I still wasn’t an avid reader at that point, though.

Further down the road, I read two other Enid Blyton books, which were part of her Five Find-Outers Mysteries series. I also came across a series by Anne Mazer, namely The Amazing Days of Abby Hayes. The books in this series follow a diary format for most of the narrative. However, what I found unique about the series is that the main character, Abby’s, mother gave her these very weird calendars, with a weird quote for each day. So to go along with that, at the beginning of each chapter in the book, there was one of these random yet peculiar-at-times quotes. (I actually remember writing all these quotes down on a paper a few years after I stopped reading the series). I remember flying through these books, staying up late on many hot summer nights just to finish them. These books were what shaped my reading experience as a child.

The weird part is that, at some point down the line, I completely stopped reading. I do not remember any reasons, or how exactly that happened. I just remember the day I rediscovered reading a few years later. I was sitting in class, my senior year of high school, and I see one of my classmates crying over a book. I am intrigued, “what is this book that is so sad it’s making my friend literally weep?” Curiosity got the best of me; I found out which book that was, and the next day I was reading it as well. You guessed it right, that book was The Fault In Our Stars. Now, although I think it’s extremely over-rated, I always credit it as the book that brought me back [to reading]. I did not cry like my friend did, but the book gave me the push I needed to keep reading; after I finished it, I looked for similar books.

This eventually lead to the discovery of my favourite author, the author that truly reignited my passion for reading; Sarah Dessen. The first book I read of hers was Just Listen, which I remember loving much more than The Fault in Our Stars. However, that did not stop me from seeking other John Green and Sarah Dessen books. I read Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines soon after, followed by Dessen’s The Truth About Forever, and Along For the Ride came a little later. To this date, I consider The Truth About Forever to be my all-time favourite book; the main character was very relatable, and her journey to acceptance is one that is quite inspirational, as well as emotional. Fun fact: one of my close friends recently got me a signed copy of The Truth About Forever! Needless to say how ecstatic I was!

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I have to admit, though, I lost interest in reading John Green books soon after, but vowed to one day read all of Dessen’s novel. And I am happy to say that at this point in my life, I actually have read all her books, even the newest Once and for All. Perhaps my life is not as much of a failure as I think…

That was the point when I started reading again, and I haven’t stopped since. I mostly read Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Science-Fiction, Dystopia, and Contemporary, but I do try out other genres from time to time. Some of my all-time favourite series are The 5th Wave, Shatter Me, Throne of Glass, The Infernal Devices, and The Maze Runner. When it comes to YA Contemporaries, I usually prefer stand-alones (the reason there aren’t any contemporaries among the favourites I’ve listed). More about that in the following posts.

That is all about my journey towards becoming a reader. Being a reader is a journey in and of itself, and not simply a destination. So I am proud to say that my journey has been successful so far, and there are no signs of my slowing down any time soon!

Until later! Wishing everyone a good night (or morning, depending on your time zone)

Currently reading: Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6) by Sarah J. Maas. I haven’t read much yet, but so far so good. Let’s hope it stays that way, and that I get more time to read tonight.

Currently listening to: Where Is the Edge by Within Temptation. A very beautiful song, by one of my favourite Symphonic Metal bands.

Introductions are due

Hi everyone!

So considering this is my first post, introductions are due. However, since I want this place to be a safe haven for my thoughts, personal and otherwise, I’m going to introduce myself without mentioning my name, or details that may help you identify me.

The only thing you really need to know about me is that I love books and music, both of which I don’t know how I would live without. Which normally means that you can expect a lot of music- and book-related posts. So if you like any of those things, even if your taste is different from mine, stay tuned; personally, I love hearing people talk about things they’re passionate about, even if I don’t agree with what they’re saying. It’s refreshing to see people like that…

You should probably also know that I’m a university student, and I start my senior year tomorrow. So I hope I can keep this up even during the busiest times of the year.

One more thing: at the end of each post, I’ll have two pieces of information for you: what I’m currently reading and whether I’m enjoying it, as well as what I’m currently listening to, either RIGHT NOW, or generally these days.

So yeah, stay tuned for posts, with varying lengths and topics, coming up your way very soon!

Currently reading: Will start either Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo, or Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas. Or both.

Currently listening to: The Harrowed and the Haunted by The Decemberists.