lost in kolkata

Story

It happens in my dreams.

At least once a month, I find myself sitting up in bed, weighed down with whatever this dream is supposed to be telling me about myself — how I can never make it to wherever it is I’m trying to find.

I get lost. I miss a bus. No one can hear me. No one helps me.

It’s an anxiousness — a longing — of trying to remember how to find things again.

Kolkata-city1

Why Kolkata? Well, I spent some time there nearly a decade ago. And while it was intense, I left feeling exhausted, but full of life and life’s unfairness. I left with a bigger (and aching) heart. Everything had changed for me.

A lot happened in that decade. I got married to a girl I met there. We had a wonderful and sometimes shitty marriage that led one of us to shift a bit more than the other. And with that, I decided to shift too. I was too stubborn to fight for something I felt was a lost cause. Maybe we both did.

I found cooking. I found my way back home.

That, I at least have figured out. I know where I am now, and I do know what I’m doing. At least I think.

When I wake up after my dreams, I take a sip of water and attempt to let it leave my brain. I listen to the white noise of the machine next to me drown out anything that might keep me awake. Because when you live by yourself, noise can be safety. It can also be a scarier thing.

There’s not always a way out. Rarely do I discover the destination and mostly end up leaning against a wall, hoping someone will grab me by the arm and take me. Anywhere. Anywhere that isn’t the hopelessness of feeling lost and abandoned.

The relief that is waking up to your own bed. Safe. Warm. That you have a good job to walk into with good people that believe what it is you want to do. That is a thing I never take for granted, and it feels almost dreamlike if I’m being honest with myself.

But I know I will sink back into it. That same dream. Perhaps after I’ve been talking about it with someone over too much wine and food. The reality of life’s intensity, its sadness and its overwhelming ability to make me feel tiny and gigantic.

I suppose I got lost in Kolkata, and I haven’t been able to fully find it again. Maybe it needed to stay there, on the streets with smoking charcoal and exhaust from buses and rickshaws and angry men.

I found a lot more than I lost,

the city of joy,

and that which lives within.

you are awake now

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I had a dream of all my failures.

I woke up pitted against myself with the reminder.
Now is not a good time,

I said to myself.

I stumbled down the hallway half awake to fill my glass with some water and thought,

I guess everything stops working, eventually. (Like I had figured out some deep, philosophical question.) Maybe I just needed to hear something true.

At this point, my dream was still fresh. I felt terribly broken and alone.
I thought about all the jobs I’d left. The people who have left me, and a lot of things in between.

I do not believe in energy wasted. I tell people this all the time. No matter what end, the things you put into forward motion are eventually transformed into something else.

As my day moved on, I was still a little hungover with things like regret and ‘I should haves’. I know better, I swear. But you know how dreams can move in and out. Sometimes they create little lies that reside in our subconscious. It is no fault of ours, except for the billions of electrical pulses creating tiny memories for us to wander in.

I was tired. It all felt a little too real. I guess maybe my defenses were down.

Then, there were the things that pulled me out of my own little war with myself.

Watching my nephew slurp down a chocolate milk.
Or even just seeing the weight carried by my family.

Waking up

I started to shake it off, as though I had grown some shell over my skin that was getting too tight and needed to be shed.

Failure is such a strong word. In the way a lot of words that we use to describe extremes. These days, I refuse to let words define personal circumstances and weigh me down. Call them what you will, but failure is only a word, and I really don’t have the space to have everything figured out.

I don’t have to know everything about myself.

I don’t have to know what or why all the time.
That is exhausting.

I felt a movement into myself. A dialogue. I needed to put those dreams to rest themselves:

you live today.
move in and out of your troubles,
like some rhythm in a song.

remember that sometimes, there are no grand finales,
remember that it is all like a tide, sometimes leaving you with an abundance,
and sometimes washing things away into a great wonder.

but it is no fault of yours that this happens, only it is what always happens in this world,
it is not against you, though some days, you find it hard to leave the comfort of your own space.

energy is absorbed and expelled, all the time.
some seasons we are given more than we need,
and sometimes, we are left with nothing.

let go of your need for power over everything,
because it’s obvious this will never, ever work.

instead, pay attention to the person sitting across from you,
and look them in the eyes and listen.

they are the truest reality

listen. let go. and keep moving.
listen. let go. and keep moving.

you are awake now.

listen.
let go.
keep moving.