Only I Know Me So Intimately

“Here is the question: If you could talk to your 16-year-old self, what would you say? What advice, warnings, or encouragement would you give your younger self?” 

Here are Dale’s and Jessamyn’s responses to this question, they inspired me to go and meet my younger me.

When I offer a serious advice as an adult/parent to a 16 year old and when I get back in response “Mom, chill”, it hurts, more so frustrates. But I had never known as a 16 year old that rejecting an advice that is offered, shrugging shoulders indifferently, rolling eyes could hurt. I think I hurt my mother, left her frustrated and anxious about me most of the time.  Now when I go to offer advice to the 16 year old me, my job is easier than my mother’s was, because the younger me is more understanding, more receptive; she knows the hurt and pain experienced by the older me in parenting. Also I know the younger me more intimately than I know my son, also more than my mother knew me. So I can hold my younger self very closely, with so much of love and understanding, not with the puzzlement and anxiety of my mother.

I know you are in love; I will never use the word ‘crush’ because it makes the relationship sound trivial. I do not want to ask you where this relationship will take you in the future, if this is for a lifetime. Know this, lifetime could be a single day, one year or a hundred years. Do not worry over marriage, commitment; you are young for that now. Oh just be with him, demand that you want to see many sunsets with him. You can kiss him if you want, he has such soft eyes and a warm smile.

You know that you are beautiful in a different way, in a way that makes people pause and look into your eyes. Do not get obsessed with it; do not fret wondering what others find in you, lest you lose it in the process of searching.

You are worried that others see you as a nerd, so you do everything to prove you are not. You bunk classes, neglect your studies and go for movies with friends. Then you get worried that others are not taking you seriously, so you withdraw and get distant. Do not worry how your friends see you; they do not see you at all, they are so worried how you see them. So…

You wish that you live in a larger house, do not have to travel in public transport, could wear expensive clothes, and have short hair. Trust me, these things will not matter a couple of years later. I was like that, I thought I was too special and deserved to dress and look like a princess. Look at me now swathed in yards of sari, hair gathered in a hasty knot, lugging grocery and paying bills, and I do not mind it at all.

You will be at crossroads to choose between this or that, I suspect that you will soon wonder if you want to follow academics or become an artist. Do both, choose one and come back for the other. Don’t you have a lifetime for that, and here lifetime is hundred years!

You lock yourself away reading books and painting. I wonder if you write as well! I see a diary, but do not dare to open and read it.  Do you by any chance write poetry?

The Sediment

He lies under the calm sheet of water
soft breath of silver veil drawn on the face

ripples join hands, kiss, linger and part
leaving silt, lace of dirt and crumpled sand

dark secrets of the ocean laid bare by waves
a shell from the seabed puffy with water

waits to rupture, words like zephyrs escape
from mouth squeezed by implosions in the lung

the o of vacuum, fish mouth pouting
sucking as balls of sand fill the nostril holes.