Writer’s Poem: After a while…

Writer’s Poem: After a while…

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I don’t think enough credit is given to translators. I’m saying this because, there are some incredibly amazing poetry I have come across, which I wouldn’t have been able to read if not for the translators who transformed the various original languages in which the poems were written into English.

Today’s Writer’s poem Wednesday is a poem by the Argentinian writer, Jorge Luis Borge. “After A while” is a poem which resonates with a reader, it tugs on one’ emotional strings while at the same time, leaving a resounding message. It is the of understanding and advice. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

After A while by Jorge Luis Borge

After a while you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and chaining a soul.
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
and company doesn’t mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises.

And you begin to accept your defeats with your head up
and your eyes ahead,
with the grace of an adult, not the grief of a child.

And you learn to build all your roads on today,
because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans,
and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn that even sunshine burns
if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul,
instead of waiting for someone to leave you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure;
You really are strong,
you really have worth.
And you learn,
and you learn,
With every goodbye, you learn.

Translated by Veronica A.  Shoffstall

p.s I would love to hear your thoughts on this poem. It really is a favorite of mine. (And yes, I have far too many favorites 😄)

 

Mental Health Friday #29

Mental Health Friday #29

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Today’s Mental Health story entails the journey of Rahul, through growing up battling with a chronic condition- Vitiligo, in a stigmatising society, and its impact on one’s mental health.

“Ladki ka rang saf toh hain na ” (Girl’s complexion is fair, right?) – a question so often asked here in our country (India), even today, by so called well educated ‘to be mother-in laws’ of 21st century. Such is the unfortunate obsession for fair skin in our beloved country. But look at the irony of the fact, when your whole skin is about to turn white, you panic like anything because suddenly, you are being looked down upon for no fault of yours.

Well here I am, presenting my story (it won’t be sad & boring, I promise) spread over 13 long years of my struggle with a skin disease called Vitiligo or Leucoderma, which in layman terms can be simply put as a problem of white patches, whereby melanin pigment of the skin starts fading away and your skin colour starts turning milky white.

Irrespective of how deadly a disease is or for that matter, how adverse the circumstances are, you just need to hold on, you just need to believe that things will eventually turn better for sure.

The reason why I want my story to reach masses is not to glorify my successful fight with an incurable disease, but to convey that irrespective of how deadly a disease is or for that matter, how adverse the circumstances are, you just need to hold on, you just need to believe that things will eventually turn better for sure. Hoping against hope is basically the key.

Coming back to Vitiligo, well the disease in itself is not painful at all. There is absolutely no physical pain whatsoever, but believe me , the taboo associated with this disease just fills you up with so much of inferiority complex initially, that you almost start hating yourself .

The ordeal started one fine evening, when I was about 11 years old. I returned home after having a horrible cricket session with my friends (I was out for a Duck and went for too much runs while bowling, if I remember correctly). I was anyways, dejected because of the day’s proceeding, but suddenly my mom noticed a small white patch on my knees and she panicked –“It’s a white spot! Come here, let me see properly ”, she said, with her eyes already in tears.

This looks like fulveri (another synonym for vitiligo) ”, she said with a heavy heart. And a pandora box of worries & uncertainties started from there on.

My life was never the same after that day. Every now and then, my mom’s panic stricken voice and fearful expressions on being asked by her friends about my white spots, were more than enough for me to know that something huge and something bad has happened to me.

Then started a vicious and unpleasant circle of countless clinic visits to all the dermatologists in the city and in the nearby cities including Delhi. For the initial few days however, I was unable to understand the gravity of the situation (I wish I had never understood, for ignorance is bliss sometimes) and I was more in a confused state but eventually I started feeling a little odd, I started to hide my spots. So much so, that I intentionally stopped wearing shorts at all and trousers/jeans came to my rescue.

I can still recall that extremely uncomfortable feeling of insecurity, that feeling of guilt for the crime that I had never committed, which stayed with me for next 3-4 years during school. After that, though the treatment continued (steroids & all), but this negative intensity started to lower down a bit, not because I made peace with vitiligo but because I changed my focus. I started preparing for IIT. –> #Changing the Focus does help!

But despite the likes of Irodovs & Resnick Hallidays around (my engineer friends can relate to these terms easily), I could not clear IIT and boom!! Vitiligo came to haunt me again, this time more ferociously. It was all over me, spreading like a wild fire.

See the thing is, vitiligo is someway directly proportional to your worry hormones. The more the anxiety levels are, the quicker is it’s spread. That was a horrible time – a career failure after 2 years of rigorous preparation & an incurable disease which I was battling for last few years – just too much for a 17 -18 year old to handle. I started thinking of ending my life. Yes, it is true, I was really low on confidence and was almost hopeless. Had my family not supported me that time, I would have committed suicide. –> #Family Support does wonders!

To find out how Rahul overcame his struggles and lived to tell/write his story, be sure to look for next week’s Mental health Friday post! 

Thank you very much Rahul for sharing your story with us. Do check out his blog at The passportsouls.travel and say hello. 

If you’d love to contribute and share your story on Mental health Friday, I’ld love to have you. Let’s join hands to talk about Mental illness and blur out the stigma associated with it. You can contact me on My email address: mykahani@yahoo.com

 

Hope- a 4 letter word

Hope- a 4 letter word

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Hope-
Without it
I would be, a mess
Of a person, a shadow
Of a human, a remnant of
Someone who could have been;
Without it- I am nobody.

So I hold onto it,
Arms weary, feet dirty
And I cling onto it,
Mind boggy, heart aching
And I claw deep into it,
Fingers piercing
Last mechanism.
And I do not let go,
Despite the darkness
Building around me.

Hope-
A four letter word
Without which…

The above image is courtesy of THE odyssey online

Mental Health Friday #26

Mental Health Friday #26

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I know, I know, there are quite a number of us here for whom the previous year was fraught with dampened expectations, punctured dreams, heartbreak and betrayal. I have a fair idea of what it feels like; I spent a chunk of 2017 popping Fluoxetine and Quitiapine, and I “coincidentally” lost a job one month after opening up to my struggles with depression.

I lived out of my suitcase for six weeks, waking up next to warm bodies in Calabar, squeezing my six-foot frames into Nissan Micra taxis in Ibadan, and rolling on large dusty mattresses in Port Harcourt. I was ignored by people from whom I expected support, and I overdosed on Haloperidol, but I’m still here, I’m still here.
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I want you to remember that Hope is a verb, and that Optimism is a noun that still exists in dictionaries.

There may be a large volume of uncertainty as one year gives way to another, and you really can’t be blamed for that (for some, seeing out each day was tasking enough), but I want you to remember that Hope is a verb, and that Optimism is a noun that still exists in dictionaries.

In 2018, I hope you find peace, I hope waves steer you to shores, and I hope that the darker rooms of your mind find light bulbs that last significantly longer. I hope you find love, and if you have, I hope that you sustain it. Never lose sight of the fact that every emotion of yours is valid, and you have the right to be vulnerable, to be sensitive, to be intense without apology. If he is not comfortable with it, if she tries to stifle you, don’t be afraid to take a walk.
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I am all too aware of how helpless you can be when trying to hold on to love, and how hard it is to resist chasing after yesterday, but this year, I hope that you learn to move on and get over, I hope that you learn to attach premium value to your feelings. I am not oblivious to what it means when someone has you wrapped around their finger, but you deserve the one who wants to be with you everywhere (ok, almost everywhere, to avoid a restraining order), you deserve moments that are the stuff of dreams, and there’s need for you to stop having your heart dragged around.
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I hope you recognize fake love when it is swung in your face, I hope your lives get entangled with people that are worth the sacrifices

Sure enough, no one owes you anything, but I hope you run into people who’d be willing to help you with no long talk, I wish that this is the year you finally get it together, and I hope you come to terms with the fact that you can’t have everything (godliness with contentment, or something like that). I hope you recognize fake love when it is swung in your face, I hope your lives get entangled with people that are worth the sacrifices you have to make, yea, I hope Life finally allows you to find your rhythm in 2018.
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Much is made about worthy causes and progressive movements, but I hope that “group think” does not erode your mental faculties, I hope that you don’t shelve the values you hold dear in the name of being “woke”, heck, I hope that you get to have a mind of your own in 2018. Here’s hoping that you avoid needless drama, and here’s hoping that your decisions are well advised, so that those who detest you would find no opportunities to kiss their teeth on your account.
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True, not everyone attaches importance to the hype and anticipation that comes with another January, but I like to think that the calendar deserves its respect…and in all this, I am convinced that Someone is watching over us, so (for those who believe) feel free, send shout-outs to Him!
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Here’s to adventure and memory-making in 2018.

Written by Jerry Chiemeke who is a lawyer, screenwriter, writer, editor and a critic and writes at JerryChiemeke.com. I came acrosss the inspiring post above on one of the groups I am in, and requested Jerry for permission to share it here with You guys. 


If you’d love to contribute and share your story on Mental health Friday, I’ld love to have you. Let’s join hands to talk about Mental illness and blur out the stigma associated with it. You can contact me on My email address: mykahani@yahoo.com

Writer’s Poems of 2017

Writer’s Poems of 2017

As promised, I compiled a list of all the writer’s poems I posted in 2017. It totals about 42 poems.

This year, I tried to share with you guys the poems which touched me, and stayed with me. Poems which made my heart tug and my brain work. Poems which reminded me why I fell in love poetry with the first place. The list comprises of authors ranging from the old school poets like Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson to 21st century poets such as Carmen Gimenez and Joan Murray. Here’s the list below:

 

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1) Thoughtless cruelty by Charles Lamb
2) How frail the heart must be by Sylvia Plath
3) Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
4) Personal by Tony Hoagland
5) Mother To Son by Langston Hughes
6) Mother’s Smile by Michael Burch
7) To March By Emily Dickinson
8) Do not go gentle into that good night By Dylan Thomas
9) Silence by Billy Collins
10) In Flanders fields By John McRae

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11) Sympathy by Paul Laurence Dunbar
12) I’m a fool to love you by Cornelius Eady
13) For the young who want to by Marge Piercy 
14) Cartoon Physics, part 1 by Nick Flynn
15) The little white hearse by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
16) In The park by Gwen Harwood )
17) Love Is a Dog from Hell by Charles Bukowski
18) O captain, my captain by Walt Whitman
19) Alone by Maya Angelou
20) Stop all clocks by W. H. Auden

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21) Not by Erin Hanson
22) Bleeding Heart BY Carmen Giménez Smith
23) Domestic Situation by Ernest Hilbert
24) To the young who want to die By Gwendolyn Brooks
25) Her Head by Joan Murray
26) Dear Reader by Rita Mae Reese
27) I, too by Langston Hughes
28) The mother by Gwendolyn Brooks
29) The Mothering Blackness by Maya Angelou
30) The Nail by C.K Williams

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31) Annals of the closet by Katie Queen
32) I am! by John Clare
33) Middle Age by Pat Schneider
34) I walked a mile with pleasure by Robert Browning Hamilton
35) The art of losing by Elizabeth Bishop
36) Soul unraveled: Rising from the ashes
37) Where my books go by W.B Yeats
38) My November Guest by Robert Frost
39) Mrs. Caldera’s House of Things By Gregory Djanikian
40) Words by Anne Sexton
41) Waving goodbye by Gerald Stern
42) The Ballad of reading gaol by Oscar Wilde.

Thank you to everyone who visited every Wednesday to read, like, comment and share. I really appreciate you giving me the listening ears to hopefully not bore you with my favorite poems. ♥️

Mental Health Friday #3

Mental Health Friday #3

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The effect of stigma on an individual’s acceptance of a diagnosis is something I find extremely important. As I noted in my last mental health Friday post, my first diagnosis came at the age of five.

At first glance, one might find it easy to stand in judgment of a mother that turns away the opinion of an expert. However, in my case, I was most likely one of the first children diagnosed with Early Onset Bipolar Disorder and at that time (1974), the term Manic Depressive was still prevalent. I can only try to imagine what the “label” would mean to my mother at that time. Something to the effect of her daughter being crazy, stupid, and/or dangerous. To look at her daughter, she knew those things were not true, but had she had a realistic view of what the disorder meant, she may not have so hurriedly pushed it aside.

the books I read, and later the internet, gave the worst case scenario as they do with most illnesses

At the age of 23, and receiving the diagnosis as an adult, I made an effort to educate myself. What I found to be the problem in seeing this in myself was that the books I read, and later the internet, gave the worst case scenario as they do with most illnesses. These things were not the case for me and so I turned it away myself, based on my oddly extreme ideas on what the diagnosis meant. Read more

Mental Health Friday #25

Mental Health Friday #25

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Today’s story was sent in by Ian, touching briefly about his experience in Psych ward and there after,

It’s been a looong time since I was in hospital, the last time. Since then, thanks to government cuts, they’ve closed the psych ward where I had become so regular, I think that I could have earned airmiles from it. That makes me feel weird thinking about that. Places where we were, parts of our lives that no one knows about.

Sometimes I jokingly talk about my time “on ward” in small, self-deprecating anecdotes.
‘I didn’t get to take a phone inside, in my day’ or ‘If I had said that on the ward, they would drug me up’.

No one gets the humour.

There are still some songs that I cannot listen to, even after all of these years. Not that I don’t love them – but because they come balled up with feelings that I know I might not be able to slow down once they start rolling.

Psychosis, Manic Depression, Major Depression, Borderline, Morbid Ideation – these are terms that sometimes crop up on the radio, and every time they talk about them, it makes me want to groan. The people they talk about are either axe-murderers of somehow brilliantly gifted celebrities. I am neither.

Madness did not give me special insights into the world, it did not make me violent, and it did not make me quirky-and-brilliant(TM). It just made me broken, and stuck.

I still take medication, sometimes – although none of it ever seems to work. I take it as a precaution rather than a cure. God don’t let me become like that again, I pray.

And after it all, after my twenties thrown away – literally in the loony bin – where am I now? Am I better? Healed? I’m still stumbling and wondering what happened.


If you’d love to contribute and share your story on Mental health Friday, I’ld love to have you. Let’s join hands to talk about Mental illness and blur out the stigma associated with it. You can contact me on My email address: mykahani@yahoo.com

Writer’s Quote: Words

Writer’s Quote: Words

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I was listening to a lecture today by a speaker, Mufti Menk, and he was talking about having compassion for our fellow human beings.
It got me thinking, how can we have compassion unless we are kinder with our words. “Words”- a five lettered syllable which has the power to make or break another person. And yet, we throw words around like lightweight.

I say, we, because as much as I do not want to admit it, I am very much guilty of using words wrongly and hurting another with the words I have uttered. This is the reason why I am sharing this poem today by the confessional poet- Anne Sexton. This is a reminder to myself first of all, words need to be handled with care.

I hope you like the poem and get inspired by it.

Words by Anne Sexton

Be careful of words,
even the miraculous ones.
For the miraculous we do our best,
sometimes they swarm like insects
and leave not a sting but a kiss.
They can be as good as fingers.
They can be as trusty as the rock
you stick your bottom on.
But they can be both daisies and bruises.
Yet I am in love with words.
They are doves falling out of the ceiling.
They are six holy oranges sitting in my lap.
They are the trees, the legs of summer,
and the sun, its passionate face.
Yet often they fail me.
I have so much I want to say,
so many stories, images, proverbs, etc.
But the words aren’t good enough,
the wrong ones kiss me.
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
but with the wings of a wren.
But I try to take care
and be gentle to them.
Words and eggs must be handled with care.
Once broken they are impossible
things to repair.

Mental Health Friday #11

Mental Health Friday #11

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People with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) are often thought of as manipulative, self harming attention seekers. Their lives are a mess … they aren’t able to function like normal human beings. Nobody would ever give them a job …

But, in reality, we really aren’t like that.

I was diagnosed with BPD last year. On 4th July 2014 I received a copy of a letter sent to my GP.

“Amelia is a 20 year old university student who lives at home with her parents.

Diagnosis: Borderline Personality Disorder with mood instability, self harm, atypical eating disorder, low self esteem, dysfunctional interpersonal relationships, and feelings of emptiness. Her mood is dysthymic and varies frequently.”

A week later I received another letter discharging me from the care of the Mental Health Services. Apparently there was nothing they could do for me.

The bottom fell out of my world. How could a psychiatrist label my personality as disordered?! How could they ditch me a week later? I have spent the last year trying to understand this big, scary, stigmatised disorder.

BPD is completely different for everyone. There are nine symptoms, and to be diagnosed you must fit at least 5 … so there are lots and lots of different combinations! Every day I understand it a little more, and for me it is a disorder of extremes.

I completely love my diagnosis and completely hate it in equal measures. Half of my life is so dark that I can barely drag myself out of bed. The other half is bigger, brighter, and more beautiful than you can imagine.

I can flip between the two in a heartbeat. Everything is black or white. I love you or I hate you.

I self harm. I have attempted suicide. I dissociate. I panic. I am impulsive. I can get angry. I am terrified of being abandoned. I don’t really know who I am. I have periods of feeling nothing at all. Everything is very very intense.

But I am human.

Having BPD doesn’t stop me doing stuff that ‘normal’ people do. Most people who meet me would have no idea that I have ever seen a psychiatrist, let alone been stamped with a diagnosis.

Believe it or not, I have a job. And I am a manager! Last week I went to a fancy works-do, and although I was struggling on the inside, nobody pointed or laughed or realised that I was any different to anyone else. Next week I am meeting with the CEO of the business. Again, it will be hard for me, but I will get the job done just as well as anyone else. I can be the ultimate professional.

My GP was so shocked that I have a serious mental health condition and a full time job that she jumped up and declared that I must be cured! She was so over-joyed that she immediately cancelled all of my mental health referrals (the sight would have been quite amusing if I hadn’t been so furious!).

Having BPD does not make me weak, incapable, stupid, dangerous, or a liability.

So many medical professionals have seen my diagnosis and treated me like an injured puppy. A crazy injured puppy. They have looked at me with pity in their eyes.

I hate that. I am a human being. I am not crazy.

One of the most empowering and helpful things for me recently has been starting my blog. Suddenly a whole new world has been opened up to me. I am getting to chat to other people with BPD and am privileged enough to read their stories. I am able to speak out about my day-to -day issues in a community where I’m not being judged. Finally, I am beginning to understand that I’m not alone!

I desperately want the stigma that comes with BPD to be broken down. I want it to be accepted that people can have a serious mental illness, and really struggle with it, but that doesn’t make them any less of a person. We aren’t all crazy dangerous monsters.

Today’s contributor is Amelia who blogs at Borderlineamelia.wordpress.com . She blogs about surviving the diagnosis of Borderline personality disorder one day at a time.


If you’d love to contribute and share your story on Mental health Friday, I’ld love to have you. Let’s join hands to talk about Mental illness and blur out the stigma associated with it. You can contact me on My email address: mykahani@yahoo.com . For more information, visit  this post.

IMAGE CREDIT: HealthyPlace.com.      

Writer’s Quote: The Beauty Within

Writer’s Quote: The Beauty Within

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We moved into my parent’s new home when I was 12 years old. There was this neighbour who lived in the house adjoining ours. Word in the neighbourhood was- he was an old man who lived alone and wasn’t very nice. The neighbours avoided him and the children were terrified of him. It didn’t make matters any easier, the fact that he was the only resident of a 6 roomed duplex, surrounded by overgrown trees and bushes and lots of cats too.

But, yes, there is a point to this story. I don’t know what happened before we arrived but my interaction with him was nothing but nice. He turned out to be a very nice man. Plus, he had all kinds of fruits growing: coconuts, oranges, limes, bananas, which sometimes fell across the fence into our house, and became finders keepers. He passed away about 2-3 years ago.

The reason I am sharing this story is because, my poem for today’s writer’s quote/poem Wednesday, reminded me of it. It reminded me that some people are actually really nice once you get to know them. And neighbourhood’s unanimous declaration is not always the truth. The Poem is titled Mrs Caldera’s House of things, and I hope you have a blast in Mrs Calderas kitchen.

Mrs. Caldera’s House of Things BY GREGORY DJANIKIAN
You are sitting in Mrs. Caldera’s kitchen,
you are sipping a glass of lemonade
and trying not to be too curious about
the box of plastic hummingbirds behind you,
the tray of tineless forks at your elbow.

You have heard about the backroom
where no one else has ever gone
and whatever enters, remains,
refrigerator doors, fused coils,
mower blades, milk bottles, pistons, gears.

“You never know,” she says, rummaging
through a cedar chest of recipes,
“when something will come of use.”

There is a vase of pencil tips on the table,
a bowl full of miniature wheels and axles.

Upstairs, where her children slept,
the doors will not close,
the stacks of magazines are burgeoning,
there are snow shoes and lampshades,
bedsprings and picture tubes,
and boxes and boxes of irreducibles!

You imagine the headline in the Literalist Express:
House Founders Under Weight Of Past.

But Mrs Caldera is baking cookies,
she is humming a song from childhood,
her arms are heavy and strong,
they have held babies, a husband,
tractor parts and gas tanks,
what have they not found a place for?

It is getting dark, you have sat for a long time.
If you move, you feel something will be disturbed,
there is room enough only for your body.
“Stay awhile,” Mrs. Caldera says,
and never have you felt so valuable.

I just have to add this. Ever since I read the poem, that last five lines have stayed with me. So, was there anyone in your neighbourhood who had a mystery surrounding them?