A Seaside Apparition

you scare me

because lately
i’ve been imagining you
every afternoon
sitting next to me by the sea
on my left side
where the sun usually sets

you look at it
and i look at you

an aura of sweet shared silence
encapsulates us into a bubble
we say a word here and there
but really language falls terribly short
when faced by one’s soul by the sea

then when darkness falls
and the moon comes out gleaming
from the other side
its silky light reflects faintly on my face
as i look at it
and you look at me

Definition of love

artwork by Muhammed Salah

lately i’ve been going around
asking people what love feels like
to them

it dawned on me the other day
while listening to a love song in the car

that my definition of love
is to feel a newfound desire to exist

to finally feel like
i wouldn’t want to die any minute now

to feel like i still have
so many beautiful moments to experience

to feel the weight of a lifetime ahead
getting lighter, smoother, easier

to know that there’s someone
who truly loves me
for simply being myself

and perhaps most importantly
to know that by my mere existence
i’m making someone’s heart feel
full of desires to carry on
existing, exploring and evolving

To Be Labeled As a Writer

I write; and for the sake of my human existence, I guess I could be called a writer. I say “human existence” because between me and me, I don’t explicitly refer to myself as a writer, and therefore I am only so in the eyes of others who are in this human experience with me.

You see, it’s always different—the way we see ourselves and the way the world sees us. I’ve come to learn that one must surrender to this reality and be okay with it. Here’s why: they’re not in your mind. They’ll never fully grasp the wholeness of who you are, and likewise, you won’t fully grasp other individuals either. We’re all ever-evolving, ever-expanding beings. We cannot stop time, therefore we cannot avoid change. Some of us like to put labels on ourselves, and some simply don’t, even though they’re aware that the creative activity they do puts them in a certain “category”—for lack of a better word—and are therefore eligible for a certain label that helps others understand them better.

In my case, I can’t call myself a writer. But I write, and I have been living with words since the age of fourteen. So, to people, I am quite simply a writer. Because what else could I be in this respect? So I accept it. I understand that there has to be a word, an identity, that would make me more comprehensible in the eyes of others. But I also cannot afford to put that label on my shoulders and draw its lines around my body, my space, my possibilities. I let the word be stamped on me (it is a beautiful word after all..!), but I don’t let it define or limit me. This limitation which automatically comes with labels is what supports my decision to never again put a label on myself—especially on my writing—unless I want to destroy that part of my life and dwindle its significance…

Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps this all stems from my intimidation towards the formidability of the word itself—”writer”. Perhaps I’m still in the first chapters of my writing journey, and seeing myself as a writer will only come after a certain level of maturity, a deeper companionship with pen and paper…

All I know now is that I will openly embrace the label “writer” when I’m no longer living and writing—when the label will no longer interfere with my writing. Only then can they say, “she was a writer.”

Mystery To Myself

artwork by Aykut Aydoğdu

i park
facing a tree
the sun has set
music all the way up
seat all the way back
there are no stars in this city sky

what am i thinking?
what am i feeling?

if silence and noise
could exist simultaneously
than that’s what’s happening
underneath the bones of my skull and ribs

i don’t know if i’m hurt or angry
or if this aching knot of ambiguity
stuck in my throat for days
is directed towards me
or someone else

i’m a mystery to myself —
i don’t bloody know anything!

i’ve climbed walls to ascend
towards self-awareness
and i’ve dived a thousand miles
into the cold and dark of my inner world
yet i still remain oblivious
to the universe that brims within

maybe my judgment
is clouded by pessimism
but all i’ve discovered
is that being human is an enigma
that can never be understood
nor has hope of being solved…

A Simple Life

i dream of a life in nature..
blue and green and all the sun’s rising and setting hues..
to be free—physically, mentally, spiritually..
to be softly, imperfectly, ethereally, simply and complicatedly human..

i dream of a life that looks and feels
like a poem..
a life that flows like a river
and smells of flowers..
a life where ice cream is just ice cream
and whipped cream over hot chocolate is not the end of the world..

Divided

photo by Aykut Aydoğdu

i am shattered
scattered beyond reach
i can’t say what i feel with certainty
for parts of me feel something
and other parts feel the opposite altogether 

it’s like i’m a battleground,
an Earth of two irreconcilable poles
of opponents, dualities, paradoxes,
continuously fighting one another
for something or other —
never wining, always simultaneously losing

Undisturbed Solitude

photo by austinrhee

sometimes
it dawns on me
like a weight suddenly pressing
on my shoulders

that i do not know
how to be in others’ company
that i do not know
how to engage with the world

it feels like everything
outside of me is foreign;
the stimuli are sharp and loud and invasive
and i just can’t sync with them

it pains me
that i have absolutely no desire for it
i have no motive to get out of my cocoon
nor a desire to let anybody in

i hear of people
living in continuous undisturbed solitude
and i feel an ache, a sudden pull, an innate desire
to live a life like that

Quarantine Diaries: Day 79

7 June 2020

i’m living the art of enjoying the little things in life; the fleeting moments of serenity and joy in my days..

the timeless noon hours at a café with my book and notebook;

the coldness of iced coffee as it flows down my throat in this humid heat of June;

witnessing the magic of writing: when words materialize in the immaterial world of my mind and find themselves out in the real material world of pen and paper;

brushing away the mockingly judgmental voice in my head as i write with my horrendous handwriting;

the image of myself as a girl sat with the company of her books in the corner of a café;

taking photos that make my days look well-spent;

the momentary pleasure of sending out a tweet;

the cold blow of AC in my car after an hour-long sunset walk — which i refer to as ‘The Walk of Sanity’;

memories rushing into my mind’s eye as i listen to an old playlist;

the smell of hand sanitizer that reminds me of my childhood vacations when my siblings and i would snack on chips in the car during long road trips and would then clean our hands with detol wipes;

the ticking and tacking of my nails on the iPad’s keyboard as i write this..

i think life’s good now. there’s a subtle layer of apprehension in the air, but maybe this is the beginning of a new life.

Quarantine Diaries: Day 66

25 May 2020

these months of quarantine taught me that there’s so many things in life that i love. there are so many moments and people and objects and experiences for me to pour my love into. in deprivation and restriction i tasted the most delicious of feelings: an ardent love for life and an appreciation for the sacredness and value of this fleeting, seemingly insignificant human experience.

putting travel out of the question for the near future, i discovered that driving my car around this land that’s tiny on the map but vast on foot is a good enough replacement for a summer unlike any other. i learned that reality is sometimes surprisingly better when it doesn’t go as planned and when we let go of tradition to experience something new, something we wouldn’t have chosen had we had the choice. we fool ourselves into believing that our joy can only be found in doing a certain thing (travel in this case), but in reality we can find even more joy in the flexibility to embrace circumstances that may be far from ideal, but that nevertheless have their own essence of enjoyment.

this will certainly be the longest summer break of my life, and it is up to me to make it memorable for good times rather than bad.

Quarantine Diaries: Day 65

24 May 2020

it’s 1am now. i’m snuggled on my couch with my cozy crochet blanket and linen pillow and iPad, reading an ebook. i’m suddenly astonished at the magical quality of nighttime when i’m the only one awake while the whole house sleeps. it feels calmer.. much more solitary and even spiritual than when the house was still filled with life and lights and my siblings’ voices during Ramadan. even though i’ve spent almost the entire day on my own (save for a couple of hours visiting family) it’s only now in the silent midnight that i truly feel my solitude.

it seems all one needs is a good book and a loving friendliness with oneself to taste the true joys of solitude. now that i ponder it, it’s becoming apparent to me that there are different types of solitude… tonight i discovered (or rediscovered) a type of solitude that makes me wish the night would last forever.

25 May 2020

i slept at 5am and woke up at 5pm. i’m miserable. my cousins and their kids are gathered at our house. i feel the urge to mute my ears. i love them and appreciate them and am happy that our house is where they like to gather, but i want to forget their presence because i’m sad to be someone that locks herself in her room instead of joining her family. it’s not their sounds i want to block, it’s the reminder of who i am that their voices trigger. i talked about solitude yesterday. this is yet another type. the sad, guilty, lonely type. part of you wants to be with people, to enjoy their company while it lasts, but a greater, much more dominant part keeps you locked in your own world, wearing unmatched pajamas and looking far from presentable and not caring about it because no one’s there to judge except yourself and you’ve accepted the way you look — maybe more like hopelessly resigned to it — so you live in peace in your impenetrable cocoon..