Grief Sits With Me Every Time I Look for Love

Trigger warning: This article contain mention of mental health struggles. 

Grief needles the thoughts of self harm on days when I would be peeling an orange to make sure I survive the next day. I keep trying to avoid this conversation but grief keeps pulling me near the white window with a cigarette in my hand to show how lonely I have been.

I wake with more acne on my face, wondering whether its just dehydration. My chapped lips crush against my teeth, tempting the blood to pull some attention of the people asking, “So who kissed you this bad?” But the truth is, every man that touched my lips only left the sonnets of grief I kept humming under my blanket.

Grief pulls out my poetry book, and tells me how no one ever read that I wanted to be heard and not sympathised with. But I still tend to believe that each poem I wrote was a way to survive because I never knew what being heard was or how it feels when someone can recognise your pain through the silence.

All I ever learnt as a child was that emotions make you weak. They won’t fetch you the colourful balloons you tend to lose in a crowded carnival. Guess I held on to the balloons tighter, just like grief held on. Grief knotted my throat to let me dissolve all the sadness within me. I thought that’s how every person lives, peeling oranges to survive and hiding tear stains with a skin care routine.

But now all I see is that I am different. I cry more than I laugh about the longing Hozier speaks about. I tend to feel harder to leave any place of joy because I know grief will cage me again. I can’t see lovers around me beating drums of romance with Pablo’s unrealistic expectations because I know love isn’t constructing a cemented building for me to stay in forever.

Neither is love that language that can hold on to me for longer. All I have ever known of love is all I couldn’t feel when men left bruises of grief on my body. I paste them and walk around naked to let others believe that I am happy without a man who wants to hold on to me. But don’t we all just pretend to be who we are not?

Also read: Gender is Poetry

Grief tells me that I am neither damaged nor hurt, I am just longing to find little spaces of kindness. I know this is not how I wanted grief to hold on to me, but neither did love. Grief tells me that, ‘You poets are the ones who build these expectations from people so that you don’t bleed through words’. But how would one understand sadness if not as a poet languishing in his own?

So here it is, the love, the sadness, the grief and the plastered memories of helium balloons blowing away to reach out to your lover. When grief sits with you, you fight back to avoid it. You want to just walk away from that space and make yourself believe you deserve the best, but grief ties you like a snake where you freeze and don’t move any further. You are trapped with all the lies grief makes you believe in and then you go back to your old room, peeling oranges and smoking cigarettes.

You laugh at another man who promises to text back after his teeth clutched all the pain you held onto for a week. You go around reciting poems of sadness and say its all a metaphor but the truth is, you want that helium balloon back.

Grief sits with me even if I know that this isn’t going to stay permanent because I am now comfortable with a world of my sadness where I know I won’t have the fear of it walking away from me.

Harshit Jalan is a 21-year-old Journalism student, who writes poems and articles on gender and queer representation. You can find Harshit on Instagram @harshitbreathingpoetry__

Featured image credit: K. Mitch Hodge/Unsplash