All of last year I was berating myself for always loving people with a tinge of obsession. I came to the conclusion that it is not right to love like that. You erase the person and make the story of the person bigger than they actually are. Of course, nobody lives up to the story you make about them in your head. (But my mind retorts: Well, I do live up to the stories that people make about me! Bcz baby, baby, baby, I’m your man!)

Anyway, the compromise I came up with, because I remain an obsessive person, is that I could channel this madness in fan-ship. I truly get high while cheerleading or staning. It is a socially-approved madness, that only annoys people who know you. So you will hear me gushing about how I am in loOove with a certain celebrity from time to time. I keep adding more to the list, giving each of them a separate but equal pedestal. I have undying love for all of them, and I will frequently wax poetic about their genius and charm.

I have been thinking about whether it is sexist to objectify someone for the purposes of art. Like, if I was a man, it would be seen as problematic to project so much idealism onto the idea of the woman. I have been reading Urdu poetry and sometimes, I am taken aback and wonder how messed up the whole genre is, with so many men professing unrequited love and the lover’s voice is absent. But I also enjoy it thoroughly because I am the same monster, only assigned female.

This led me to another realisation: I write only about my muse(s).

Simping is requisite for creativity! It is so un-feminist of me but I need to obsess to write. For the longest time during this prolonged writer’s block, I had chained myself from ever writing about him if I had to heal; and also my ex had distaste for my obsessive ways. So in trying to be rational, I let go of the fuel that drives me: fantasizing about my muse.

I think all this while, I have been waiting for someone who enjoys being written about, who would delight in it, even if it took mean turns, or if I remoulded him into something shinier. (Would he dare to live up to it? I guess it is bound to be a downhill journey.)

Anyway, what I have realised is that I want to be irrational and obsessive. The price of being rational is too much, and I refuse to be that dull. Even if it is only for short-lived affairs, so be it. I will make it eternal in secret. I guess, I am condoning the monster for the sake of art!

Calling truce with crazy,
tame shewolf.

PS: This month, I have been obsessing over Ali Sethi and calling it “Urdu language immersion.”

Am I a monk now?

Okay, it has been clearly established time and again that I am an atheist. I can appreciate someone’s devotion, discipline and faith, but I can’t live with them to watch them do it.

Having said that, I am not religious about being atheist. I do believe that the pursuit of existential questions and morality is a spiritual journey. So, recently, I have been fascinated with Taoism. I read two books: Tao Te Ching (the original text written by Lao Tzu, and of course I am reading an English translation) and Osho’s explanation of the Tao. There were other books that I left because it was too prescriptive for my liking.

I have been thinking about meditating on the poetic texts and what it means to me at a certain point of time, like how I do with poetry. Tao Te Ching really lends itself to that kind of a breakdown. But I wonder if I will intellectualise it too much and miss the point altogether.

Anyway, the reason I am drawn in by Taoism is because it has no personification of the spiritual. “Tao” literally just means “the way.” I thoroughly enjoy the ambiguity of it. It starts with an anarchic claim:

The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.

Tao Te Ching, Chapter 1

I also love that within it, the principle of dialectics, of yin and yang is so strong. It talks about vitality and action but with a sense of passivity. I love its non-violent stance. There are so many socialist undertones that it brings peace to my heart. I also love the idea of “Flow,” which has become the focus of lot of psychology that tries to understand the creative process.

I am feeling contemplative about it but confused if I should write down my thoughts on the 81 chapters, or record them as a creative project.

Unsure but tempted,
tame shewolf.

The will to love

He said love is infinite.
One could love more than one
and each could taste different
but it’s still the same old love.

He said love is paying attention.
Two eyes to drink your lover to
and each glance reveals different
but it’s still the same old love.

I have heard of love abundant.
Once, in a river unsure,
Two fishes danced to the bounty
Many joined their celebration.
Many more were forgotten.
They stayed swimming to the unknown.
It felt like the same old love.

I see: love is intention
That poets mix with time
Imitating the fishes that stayed
leaving poems behind.

Koi Fish Painting Japanese - Free image on Pixabay

End the debates

Maybe there must have been a grand era of debating in public, but I have not experienced a mind-changing debate in my life.

I think all of us have become better at understanding the structure of an argument, and can pick out facts to prove whatever you believe in. What is the debate meant to achieve in a “post-truth” world? How do you argue about gender or oppression in the woke political climate? There are so many facts to prove a bigoted point, and such a leftist “bias” to reality. You can’t convince them; they can’t convince me.

I feel bad and even cautious about making this statement, because as a teacher, I really understand the importance of scrutinising your beliefs. Debates seem like a good arena to do that. But, I feel discussions are a better space which can lead to changing minds. I really want everybody in the classroom to feel safe enough to be loudly stupid. Most people do learn from discussions more than they do from textbooks. Only if you have some prior knowledge/experience does a subject pique your interest.

Debates come with the connotation of a winner and a loser. Whenever I have an online debate, there is a sense of “wanting to have the last word” on the matter. So mostly, my tactic has been to let the person have the last word, but let it be obviously stupid exposing their assumptions.

In the classroom, I avoid having the last word but encourage students to summarize the thoughts that were brought up, or end with something sane that we could all agree on. If I have an opportunity for longer after-hours conversation with a curious student, this “Socratic questioning” tool helps me direct them.

No photo description available.
Source: “Socratic Question Sheet”

I would rather discuss deeply, than indulge in debates to change minds. I am very loud about what my stance is, and it is a joke amongst my students how predictable my positions can be. I have thought about how I cannot be neutral, because there is no apolitical education, just transparent political education. I am not trying to convert anyone. You can dismiss what I say and I will not waste my energy to prove to your how right I am. However, I am sure that if you give it a serious thought with empathy, your conclusions will be similar if not as radical. When you think about issues, and are not alienated to the stakes, you know where you stand.

I know this is a passive, non-urgent stance. Like, education is urgent because if you don’t speak fiercely, a Nazi would do it for you. Sometimes, I feel like I should be invested in winning the argument. The truth is I have been more apathetic about entering a reactionary maze than ever. Debates simply mirror the beats of an intelligent conversation. It is an ego-high.

I think that true learning happens over time. Very few get an aha-moment in a debate and take a 180 degree turn. The aha-moment indicates the tipping point, not the journey of conversations, doubts and reflections. So, I would rather provoke with a good question or a compelling story than dump statistics to win. [Statistics are important, of course. Facts are important. It just seems that they are not compelling anymore, and I have never been a resourceful trivia person. I don’t have a list of talking points to counter the other talking points, because I don’t read talking points.] If you are a good listener and can spot the thought leap, and ask the right question, you can make the unapparent bias apparent.

However, sometimes I do succumb to telling people off by telling them to read more social theory. But most times, I wish people had more empathy and self-awareness.

Basically, an whole essay to tell you: don’t try to start a debate with me. I may come off as a stubborn person. You can ask me my opinion, and I will give it to you in beautiful prose. Ask. Joke. Share. Discuss, instead of debate. Otherwise I will only wait for your last word to ring stupid…

Won’t rule; Won’t be ruled,
tame shewolf.

PS: Waiting for the day when everybody knows the labour theory of value as a talking point.

Boundaries? what’s that.

Then, I wouldn’t be overwhelmed by people and need to have reclusive breaks. Or reach a saturation point where I scream, “ENOUGH”

And why do I do that? I don’t like to be rude to people and take a u-turn to being alone. But I keep finding myself in situations that I can’t bear one more quirk.

I think the root may be that I get shocked that someone else is not as accommodating or caught up about me as much as I am with them. I am all about on-going consent with every person all the time. After a point, I get tired because there is no release space for me. and I find myself in these situations over and over again.

My other analysis is that I am such a encouraging, people pleasing yes-man that I meet anxious abusive nutcases that really stretch my limits. If there is one thing I want to put a stop to is meet new people who are predisposed to anxious thinking. I would want my chill to meet other chill people, and not soothe non-chill people. Of course, everybody needs a break from anxious people. They fucking overwhelm everybody around them and never develop coping mechanism well-adjusted for social situations. I always thought anxiety in people is a phase but apparently it is a welded-in personality trait.

[This became quite an anti-anxious people rant. Hahaha..]

If only I learn to make boundaries. But if you asked me, what makes you tired? or what do you really not want to do? I still couldn’t point out. I don’t mind anything till I start minding it. There is a switch flip, and I am out. I wish I had a list of behaviours/needs that I should have a boundary for but I don’t.

I think I can tolerate any behaviour if I believe it is a temporary mood that is justifiable. But if temporary moods become climate patterns, then I realise that I am stupid and I have to get out of this terrain.

What can I do better? What are the smaller boundaries that I can have so I don’t have to run away?

tame shewolf.

Politicking with people

“But they are a good person.”

What a stupid argument to continue being indecisive about someone.

Everybody can afford basic decency despite their bullshit political leanings. I don’t feel guilty in calling out people’s bad politics, and I am not saying they’re doomed for hell either. But after a point, I find right leaning politics impossible to converse with sincerely.

I don’t think

“But they are from our political leaning/this identity.”

However, the opposite is also true: You may be horrible, unempathetic and intolerable despite your explicit “woke” politics. That’s boring too. I feel disenchanted by the harshness or a politics that is focussed on centering suffering as a tool.

I am sure I will soon meet a Commie too who will be disappointingly human. But let us postpone that till I have read all the books. 🙂


tame shewolf.

PS: Brain is a fog. all I can muster today.

Love is the prisoner’s dilemma

Okay, hear me out.

I have been watching this anime called “Kaguya-sama: Love is War”. It is a hilarious Japanese anime, and I am convinced about its premise: the first one to fall is a loser. This premise is strong that its exaggeration of it in different episodes totally makes for a good laugh, as you wonder if this is the state of heterosexual romance in general.

But before that, let me explain to you what the prisoners’ dilemma is. It is part of rational choice theory, and this example gamifies the situation into a riddle. The riddle is: if two robbers are suspected of committing the crime together, and investigated in separate rooms and thhese are the options presented before them: What would be the best choice you could make not knowing what your partner would do?

Remember, if the partner confessed & you remain silent, you go to jail for 20 years! So the punishment for staying silent like a fool is heavy, and ratting out (assuming your partner would also do it) is still something you could bear. But if you both remain silent, you both could be free! What would you do?!

prisoners' dilemma
Detailed Game theory explanation here.

Anyway, my larger point, inspired from Kaguya-sama, is that love is this prisoner’s dilemma.

  • The person who falls in love deeply is the certified idiot.
  • The person who doesn’t fall in love has nothing to lose.
  • If they both confess together, then it is happily ever after in prison!

For the miniscule possibility that the other person feels the same way, will you go all out and suffer like a fool?

Don’t fall in love, kids. It doesn’t look good for most of us. That’s that on that.

Yours certified idiot,
tame shewolf.

Looking for alternates

Most of my childhood and early teenage years were spent trying to find perfection outside of family. I would want an alternate to replace my family members, and friends even.

I would dream of being understood or expressing myself louder in a new setting. Of good uncles or aunts who are open for argument. Of friends who just get it. Of course, imagining a different set of parents.

I slowly had to just accept that there is no alternate parents or a family that I can get. Maybe I set myself to disappointment, when I replaced teachers to be that kind of intellectual guides. Or found adults to vent to, but was disheartened to see that everybody is human.

[Now when I see my teenage students being kind to me, I am always shocked thinking I didn’t like seeing human frailty in adults. So, grateful! Of course, had my fair share of mean students but then I know better to not take it personally.]

I thought I had stopped looking for ideal versions of thing in people, and just being grateful for whatever version of a person that I come across. I don’t look for ‘soulmates’, just someone easy to talk to and be with. But there is always a shadow of perfectionism lingering that keeps me alienated.

I guess, this is me reminding myself to let it go.

It’s quieter now,
tame shewolf.

Tiny tragedies that add to the despair

When I am depressed, the big things do not affect me whatsoever. I will plough through the day and do everything that is expected of me, without any grumpiness.

But what will break my back is if I spill water on my quilt and I have to clean that up.

Yes, that is my tiny tragedy.

It is weird what I will sulk over and that is when I am know I am depressed.

  • The internet is slow and the funny show online is buffering.
  • The lid of the bottle/jar doesn’t open.
  • I have to take a bath but can’t decide what to wear.
  • I can’t find words to drive my point.
  • I can see someone being nice to me but feel a dissociation to it.
  • I tore off a button or something.
  • I have made three typos in a row.
  • I dropped my spoon which adds to my chore. (basically my klutzy behaviour becomes overwhelming to bear)
  • I have a low score on Scrabble, or even Tetris (which I stopped playing bcz it was a foolproof test of how bad my concentration is on that particular day).
  • I write a terrible sentence, and I don’t even know how to make it better.

These things can bring me down for an hour or so. I don’t even think that is worth saying to someone, “Look, this made me sad today.” I mean, I couldn’t without making it a joke. And then I don’t like that I made a joke of it to seem “not weird.”

Actually, listing this made me laugh. So maybe, I am over November blues already.

Mostly inconsolable,
tame shewolf.

PS: I did spill water on my quilt, just when I was going to write a post on loss.

I cleaned it. I sulked. I taught a class like a nice person. Here I am, in no mood to write my intended topic. Laaife!

Could I allow myself to write fiction?

Over the years, I have made so many promises on the blog. I have waxed optimistically about how I am a changed person, how I will be a prolific writer, a writer who will write and not think about how difficult it is to write. I have cried bitterly in words about how I am suffering a creative block and how it is just a phase. I have repented on my knees for the monster-police in my brain that stops me from writing.

If someone did this to me outside of me, I’d shoo them away. The truth is I am my own bad boyfriend. I don’t lie to myself; all I am is evasive. I will write the poetic apology but not the sincere love letter. Isn’t it just easier to beat yourself up than keep promises?

Recently I read that it is self-care to keep promises to yourself. This has been a mean realization because the only person I can postpone is me. My life takes meaning only if I live for others. For myself, I wouldn’t (couldn’t) even get up from the bed. I would be okay if it all ended for me. I care two hoots. It is a mix of contentment for what has been and a resignation bcz I am tired despite everything.

The only thing I want, if I must continue to exist infinitely, is to not be a doomed worker. So, all I do is rebel against bad workplaces or create my good working conditions in the little agency that I do have.

What else can I want for myself? Maybe some silliness and play. Things I always indulged in to amuse myself. So even if it lacks skill, I treasure it because I made it! Like we did as kids! So experimentative with genre and subject, and blinded with happy pride!

Guess what I really want to say is that I am going to attempt writing with the many online writers raring to take on that November project.

I am still afraid of writing a story. Lest, I psychoanalyse myself. Lest, all the feelings I want to dust off come out. Lest, I unravel. Confessing the truth is easier than fictionalising it. How. Why. What. I am not sure what is at play here. I wonder how my brain can muster more shame for writing fictional semi-autobiographical work compared to writing confessional angsty trash.

Anyway, maybe I will be brave enough to attempt it, or sober enough to write here regularly for a month, so that I have something playful I did despite how angsty it seems for a 28 year old to be writing like this—

November found me sad. What can I say?
tame shewolf.

When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin 
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?

~”The Lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock”, T S Eliot