On Cheat Days, I Write.


I’ve realized I don’t romanticize life anymore.

It started with labeling things that I earlier classified as poetic now as cringe-y, but slowly and surely, it’s evolved into something much more concrete – a coping mechanism.

No, I don’t mean to say that I now perceive life to be as bland and lacklustre as the bowl of overnight oats that everyone on social media suddenly seems to be eating. It’s more like I’ve been seeing life as it is (if that’s even possible). I’ve slipped out of the gown of romanticizing as a snake would shed its skin; for me, it has been a healthy change – necessary, even. It’s the difference between a realist and a pessimist. The glasses through which I gaze at the world (and my days in it) are unfiltered, but that does not imply that the view through them is all shades of grey.

Life continues to present to me (almost) every day its keen sunrises and the specks of dust floating up to my bedroom air as if in a trance. Life continues to give me sudden bouts of uninhibited laughter on certain days, the smell of pizza from the oven on an occasional evening; the satisfaction of ordering something online that fits just right, and how on some nights, the music I listen to feels like it was composed just for that moonrise.

It’s almost as if sometimes, life is so beautiful that it doesn’t really need my help exaggerating its appearance, does it?

I agree that it’s probably impossible to completely un-romanticize everything. The need to find beauty is too deeply embedded within our souls, even if at times the only way to discover it is to invent it ourselves. 

It was once a necessity for me to braid moments in time into unending metaphors and during this time, it was almost effortless for me to write – to spin the most random of observations or feelings into chaotically arranged stanzas of poetry. But it was just as important for me to discover this new world where sunsets are just sunsets, where pizzas are a fun treat that has to burn away during the next workout and every day is another chance to do better, to find myself, and to grow. To learn and unlearn, maybe that’s the circle of life.

This is not to say I am content being how I am, content with not ever writing unless I have a deadline. The reaction in motion is gentle but an active one nonetheless, to try again and again – not in an effort to romanticize life once more, but to venture and rediscover an activity that once brought me immense joy, and catharsis.

I want to write a beautiful line about the moment I had this epiphany, about how suddenly, the sound of footsteps in my living room pattered in perfect rhythm with the static noises in my head; or how all the pieces in the metaphorical puzzle of life felt more lubricated and suddenly fit into each other a little better, a little tighter; or how the breeze softly caressed my face as the tiniest of smiles blossomed on it.

But the truth is, the realization came quiet, unburdened, and easy – as if it hadn’t taken its own sweet time making itself known to me. It simply walked up to me with an obvious expression, as if to say, “I’ve been right here and you really hadn’t known all these days?”

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