Love life – Stricken.

Disclaimer: This is gonna be a heavy post. 

I might be somewhat of a morbid person cause I have a strong liking to watch movies that make me cry and literally hold my heart in my hands. I actually enjoy sitting through a movie where I constantly feel as though I’ve a dagger slashed up against my throat. Where I get so immersed in the film and the characters, that nothing else around me matters. Don’t get me wrong, I can enjoy a light-hearted rom-com just as much, but if you give me an option between a movie that would make you cry and one that you will laugh your stomach out, I’d choose the former.

That was exactly how I felt watching Stricken. It was a very good film I have enjoyed after a long time. A movie that made me cry, laugh (amidst my tears), think and question.

Is cheating nature or nurture? Is terminal illness an excuse for one to cheat? Are you expected to slip in the face of adversity? Are you expected to stay faithful even after your partner has passed on? Who has it harder, the one who has the cancer or the partner battling with losing the love of his life? Would you rather live life knowing how you many more months you have to live or live in the not knowing? Would you still love your husband if you know he’s cheating on you while you’re here battling cancer? How do you feel about the nights you spend in the toilet puking, while the one you promised to have and hold on to, in sickness and in health , ’till death do us apart is satisfying his lust with the body of another woman? The one with a better body and perfect breasts.

Here’s a good review about this film.

If you haven’t already deduced, this film is about love, cancer, cheating and fatherhood. I might even want to re-watch this again. Am I weird? Yes, I think so cause I like to battle sadness with sadness. I listen to sad songs when I’m sad. I hope I’m not alone in this.

Do you enjoy/hate watching movies that make you cry?

On the topic of grief and death, this article (Comforting that collides with grief) is a worthwhile read.

“Of all the things we learn as we go through life, learning how to express grief and sorrow is not among them until you are face to face with it.”


Dealing with death.

Please be warned this is gonna be a heavy post. I may or may not make sense in many areas or at all. But, this is just how I see it – death. 

I count myself lucky that my closest of kin i.e. grandparents, uncles, aunts and parents are all physically around with me. I haven’t lost a close friend due to death yet. But, I’ve been affected when I hear about the sudden passing of familiar faces. The faces you saw frequently, some occasionally. Yet you never would have thought, that would have been the last interaction. When such a thing happens, I begin to wonder why things had to play out such? Why were they caught in that situation, in that moment? Why hadn’t it been someone else in that place in time? Why did they do something out of the norm? Were they destined to die? Or, was it just a matter of bad luck?

When my distant uncle passed on 4.5 years ago, I was amidst school commitments. I didn’t know how to react when I heard the news as I was wrapping up the event I had organised. I couldn’t remember when I saw him last. When I last heard his laugh. But, I wished him well for he was in a better place. He was a religious man. He was a grandfather to many. A happy man who had lived life. His passing felt natural, justified.

My cousin passed on in an accident, mishap when she was a few months shy of turning 12. I was in my secondary school at that time. Around 15 years old. We didn’t grow up together and saw each other during family gatherings probably once a year, hence were not close. I wasn’t deeply affected by her death. I was sad, for she passed away at such a young age when she had a whole life ahead of her. I felt sad for her parents, her two older siblings who doted on her being the last child of the family. I wondered why she had to climb onto her stool to grab her favourite dress when she had already changed into something else after coming out of her shower. Did she want to surprise her dad who was returning home after a business trip for Father’s Day? Why did her mother enter the shower just after her daughter came out? Would this have happened if her mum had showered before her daughter went in?

Time is said to heal wounds. But, does it? When it’s not just hurt but loss. The loss of a life. The loss of your loved one. The unexplainable amount of pain you feel in every bone of yours. When sometimes even tears fail to pour the pain in your heart out. Some deal with death by turning to religion. They seek peace and comfort in the guidance He shows. Does it really work? Some try to busy themselves with things, in the hope of occupying themselves so that their mind doesn’t wonder off. Some turn to alcohol to numb the pain. Some continue mentioning their loved one’s name in dinner conversations to feel his/her presence surround them. To feel as if they never left you and that they’re just on a really long vacation in the Caribbean. Some get inked and do a lot of other things to feel physical pain. Some seek other forms of love in the attempt of replacing their loved one. I would think that fails, doesn’t it?

I deal with death by being silent, cause I really think words fail in such moments. Even words like we are all here for you feels like it amounts to nothing although offered with a heart full of love and comfort. There is nothing to be said or done cause all you’re left with are questions when a death hits you so suddenly. You wonder why you took life for granted although you knew very life is short. You knew better than that, despite the cliche-ness of the phrase. All the grievances you had harboured, the anger, the ego all pales when something larger than life hits. All that runs through you are wishes. To have one last time with your loved one. One last conversation. One last touch. One last laugh.

I still offer my words of comfort to someone who is dealing with death. Physical presence by being there for someone works wonders most of the times. But, I’m not sure if I would like these reciprocated when I’m on the receiving end.

You eventually heal. Or, get somewhat close to that. But it takes a long while. A really long while to get there. To find strength beneath all the pain. To continue living life to make your loved one(s) proud. But how do you get there?

How do you deal with death?

Farewell, my friend.

Death. The word that impacts you only when it hits you. The sudden demise of loved ones, forgotten friends, familiar faces. Only then, does it feel all the more real. Otherwise, it’s often a far-fetched, distant part of human life, often not even spoken about.

I admired you for the zest you had about life the first time we struck conversation seated in the lecture theatre. The break during the talk we had to endure for 3 modular credits. The “I dare eat alone” campaign you started in the Arts canteen. I replied you “I’d be there” but couldn’t make it in the last minute. We didn’t have many conversations thereafter since the common lectures we had were few since we were in the final semester. But, I sought inspiration from the pockets of your life you shared via Facebook. Your love for outdoor sports. For music. For travel. For photography. For life, at large. Your positive attitude and optimism.

Amazing photography is the one thing that inspires me on a daily basis. Amidst the coldness of the world, selfish beings, hurtful worlds that get hurled in moments of fury, earthquakes and tsunamis, photography makes me feel like not all the beauty in the world is gone. Not all wasted. Someday, I wish my pocket and also time allow me to travel around the world just to shoot. And by then, I should have mustered up enough courage to venture the world alone.

I posted this above paragraph along with the photo on my personal blog on April 13, 2011.

Even now, I still love the shot. You captured so many thoughts and evoked so many emotions within me. The whole ‘lost in translation’ effect made me pause and reflect.

I take a moment to remember the person you were, you are. You still are. The person that has left so many footprints in the hearts of many you’ve impacted, inspired over these years. 26 short-lived but well-fulfilled years in my eyes.

Rest in peace, my friend.

On secrets and healing.

I was introduced to PostSecret by my sister some time ago. Today, I decided to read some 300 over postcards that had been complied and published in the form of a hardcover book. A book, Frank dedicates to every person who faced their secret on a postcard, released it into a mailbox, and bravely shared it with me, the world, and themselves.

PostSecret is an ongoing community mail art project, created by Frank Warren, in which people mail their secrets anonymously on a homemade postcard. The concept of the project was that completely anonymous people decorate a postcard and portray a secret that they had never previously revealed. No restrictions are made on the content of the secret; only that it must be completely truthful and must never have been spoken before. Entries range from admissions of sexual misconduct and criminal activity to confessions of secret desires, embarrassing habits, hopes and dreams. Little did Frank know that a project he started to cope with his own emotional crisis, would reach out to so many millions of people from all over the world. It became his personal experience of healing through art.

I healed reading the secrets of these strangers.

-I found these stamps as a child, and I have been waiting all my life to have someone to send them to. I never did have someone. 

-Sometimes I wish that I was blind, just so I wouldn’t have to look at myself everyday in the mirror.

-I am homeless and no one (not even my family) knows about it.

-My father died when I was 12, I couldn’t cry.

-I’m really scared of losing all my weight because then I will be forced to face my fear of men and have no where to hide.

-I stay in a job I hate because I know I won’t pass a drug screen anywhere else. (and I do drugs because I hate my job.)

-Sometimes after dark my friends and I strip down to our bras and panties and run around our local park, swing on the swings and feel so free. Afterwards I sketch it. We call it liberation.

“Sometimes just the act of sharing a painful secret can relieve some of the pain.” – Maryland

-I am terrified I will never get married.

-I’m 25, and I’ve never been kissed. It’s not that I don’t want to… it’s just that no one else does.

“Dear Frank, how I wish I could hug everyone and tell them that it’s ok. It’s ok to be scared and angry and hurt and selfish. It’s part of being human.” – Ohio

-My sister and I explored each other sexually as children. As the older girl I feel guilty that I may have molested her.

-When I was 3 my dad liked me to brush his thick red hair. One day he asked and I said I didn’t want to, I never saw him again. He went away and then he died. I am 65 and I still think it was my fault.

-Sometimes I wish I had lung cancer so my mum would quit smoking.

-I play a game when I’m in church. For every person who passes by me to go up to receive communion I think to myself: “How much money would someone have to pay me to have sex with them?”

-My friends and family think I am this sweet innocent girl. But, they don’t know I’ve posted nude photo’s of myself on the internet.

-Sometimes when I’m having sex with my wife, I’m thinking of my mom.

-I have this fear that I’ll never have an orgasm ever.

-My father was jailed for the rape and molestation of his girlfriend’s daughters. He’s been there several years. I’ve always suspected he molested me, as well. But I’ve never said anything, and I’m scared to find out if my suspicions are true. I’m not sure if my father is the imprisoned one, or if the one imprisoned is me.

-I haven’t spoken to my dad in 10 years.. and it kills me everyday.

-In a crowd (friends, family, strangers) I always wander which of us will die first.

-When I find a picture on the ground, or at school, I put them in my scrap book and write a paragraph and pretend the people in it are my friends. And I don’t feel so alone.

-Three years ago, my dad died. One year ago, I lost my virginity to a guy I dated for a month. If my dad was still alive, that wouldn’t have happened.

-I wish my parents would reach out to me.

-At a young age, I was raped by a boy on the back of a school bus. Since then, I sit as close to the front as I can get.

-I force new acquaintances to address me by my shortened name because it makes me forget my past.

-I broke up with my boyfriend who used to call me darling when we made love because I fell in love with a man who calls me slut when he fucks me.

-I hated my childhood.

-I joined because I was patriotic. But since they succeeded in convincing my life is worthless, I’m just hoping I get shot. – Suicidal soldier

-I know it really stinks. But, I like the smell of my own poop.

-I still haven’t told my father that I have the same disease that killed my mother.

-I only ever played sports to feel like my father loved me.

-I am a Southern Baptist Pastor’s wife. No one knows that I do not believe in God.

-I was seven years old the first time I attempted suicide.

-I was probably the only one who knew he was an addict. I never said anything. He died six months ago today.

-Sometimes when I do Chinese takeout, I order for 2 people so I won’t look like a fat, lonely loser. Then I eat it all.

-I once planned to kill my mother.

-Dear Frank, I have made six postcards all with secrets that I was afraid to tell the once person I tell everything to, my boyfriend. This morning I planned to mail them, but instead I left them on the pillow next to his head, while he was sleeping. Ten minutes ago,he arrived at my office and asked me to marry him. I said yes. – Canada

-I only smoke Pall Mall cigarettes so I can remember you forty times a day.

-I’d rather get skin cancer than be pale.

-The night he died he tried to call me. When I saw it was him, I didn’t answer.

-I sent myself flowers on Valentines day so people at work would think I was dating someone!

-I’m getting a tattoo about love to cover a scar that reminds me of just how much I used to hate myself.

-I trashed my parents house to look like I had a party while they were out of town.. So my mom would think I had friends.

-I know that sending in a stupid postcard to share with a bunch of strangers won’t do a damn thing to change the daily loneliness and unhappiness in my life. I sent this anyway.

-I’ve given away all my secrets and I feel so free. 

“I like to believe that whenever a painful secret ends its trip to my mailbox, a much longer personal journey of healing is beginning-for all of us.” – Frank

-I used to be a lesbian. No one knows. Not my best friend, not my boy friend, no one.

All of these secrets touched me. They made me pause for a minute and think about the person who was behind the secret. I could relate to some of them, and to the other more painful secrets I read, all I wanted to do was hold their hand and offer comfort. Be it give them a reassuring hug, or whisper to their ears “it’s gonna be okay” or to just sit in silence.

Whatever your struggle is, seek comfort in knowing that you aren’t alone.

We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone. – Orson Welles

Share your secret with a stranger. You’ll heal, and your secret might help another heal in the process.

What about you?

Never let me go.

Kathy: It had never occurred to me that our lives, which had been so closely interwoven, could unravel with such speed. If I’d known, maybe I’d have kept tighter hold of them and not let unseen tides pull us apart.

Kathy: I come here and imagine that this is the spot where everything I’ve lost since my childhood is washed out. I tell myself, if that were true, and I waited long enough then a tiny figure would appear on the horizon across the field and gradually get larger until I’d see it was Tommy. He’d wave. And maybe call. I don’t know if the fantasy go beyond that, I can’t let it. I remind myself I was lucky to have had any time with him at all. What I’m not sure about, is if our lives have been so different from the lives of the people we save. We all complete. Maybe none of us really understand what we’ve lived through, or feel we’ve had enough time.


Have you ever loved someone so deeply that it hurts you? It made, or rather, makes you a better person but still, it consumes you. It’s like a leech feeding off your soul. Like a parasite. All you think about as you get by the day are your shared memories. Memories of all the conversations you’ve had. The tears and the joy shared. You know you’ve to let go and quit being there for everyone else. It’s time you started taking care of yourself. But, how do you do that? How do you let someone go? Especially when they are the reason you breathe easy. Cutting them off is like suffocating yourself with a cloth in the mouth. Mind you, there is already a dagger piercing the heart.

Cut me off. I quit. 

Looking for alaska.

John Green’s first novel and yet, I was blown away. I loved his style of writing. This book reminded me a lot of Perks of being a wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

I loved the fact the ending wasn’t happy nor were all the questions raised, answered. It felt so real, that it didn’t even feel like I was reading a fictional work. In John Green’s words when asked about the ending,

“The truth is that in our lives we are all going to encounter questions that should be answered, that deserve to be answered, and yet probe unanswerable. Can we find meaning to life without those answers? Can we find a way to acknowledge the reality (and injustice) of suffering without giving in to hopelessness? Those are the questions I think Miles is confronting at the end, and I wanted to argue that through forgiveness, it is possible to live a full and hopeful life – even if our world is saturated with injustice and loss.”

Please read this book if you haven’t or re-read it, if it has faded away from your memory. I literally couldn’t put this book down and finished it within a span of hours.

There is such beauty in tragedy.

Any of his other works that you’d like to recommend me?

Paris, Je T’aime.

Paris, Je T’aime features 18 short stories shot in various parts of Paris involving different casts and directors. I’m not sure if watching this after having watched New York, I love you made the difference, or not; but I thoroughly enjoyed this much more.

There are a few stories that reached out to me more than the rest.

Quais de Seine – a young french man striking up a friendship with a young Muslim woman despite poking fun at all the other women that passed by him when he with his 2 other friends. This story felt refreshing as usually, no one makes the effort to extend friendship to a person who shares no visible similarity with themselves. I enjoyed the innocence in the friendship.

Bastille – a man who intends on leaving his marriage for a much younger lover ends up staying with his wife after she reveals to him about the terminal illness she has been plagued with. He rediscovers the love he once felt for her as he tends to every need of hers, sacrificing his own happiness at times. I enjoyed the selflessness the man showed. The selflessness, love is supposed to stand for.

“A life he was planning to quit between the entree and dessert.”

“Every little thing had a different flavor, knowing he’d never be able to do it for her again.”

“By acting like a man in love, he became a man in love again.”

Place des Victoires – a mother grieving over the death of her son and seeks comfort by a magical cowboy. Poignant acting by the mother, I was moved.

“Where did you get this strength?”

“From God.”

Place des detes – a Nigerian man is nursed by a lady paramedic as he’s dying from a stab wound. He asks her to have a cup of coffee with him as he recognizes her face.  He had apparently fallen in love with her since the first time he saw her. By the time she remembers him, and the coffee she had ordered arrives, he has died.

14th arrondissement – a woman’s love affair with Paris.

“Then something happened, something difficult to describe. Sitting there, alone in a foreign country, far from my job and everyone I know, a feeling came over me. It was like remembering something I’d never known before or had always been waiting for, but I didn’t know what. Maybe it was something I’d forgotten or something I’ve been missing all my life. All I can say is that I felt, at the same time, joy and sadness. But not too much sadness, because I felt alive. Yes, alive. That was the moment I fell in love with Paris. And I felt Paris fall in love with me.”

Paris, Je T’aime. Always.