It could be worse..

Don’t tell people “it could be worse.”

Yes, it could, of course it could be worse.

A broken wrist trumps a temporary headache. A tsunami trumps a bad rainy day.

Children lost in war trump children lost in hospitals. Or do they? Does a broken heart trump a broken dream? Does a dead child trump a dead pet?

I could list them all out for you and you could tell me which is worse.

What is the acceptable limit to misery?

We could tell each other, ‘it could be worse.’

We could play this little game of hurts all day, best each other with our little condescending words.

I could point to all those breathing, walking ghosts I see pass me by. I could tell you how I stay up at night fearing I could turn into one of them.

The world could be ending for at least a hundred different people today in a hundred different ways.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a broken leg or a broken heart, a dead dream or a beloved lost. The world ends when it has to. It could feel like it’s crushing you and suffocating you for no reason at all. It’ll choke you on your thoughts and make you want to give up.

And then you turn to a friend, a website, a ted talk, an article; only to have that little bullet fired back at you; ‘it could be worse.’

And I’ll tell you this, I wholeheartedly agree that yes, it could indeed be worse. But it doesn’t excuse the fact that you have what you have. That your thoughts, your life, your circumstances are suffocating you right now.

The world will end, but it will begin again. It’ll be horrible, but you’ll stand back up from the rubble and you’ll take your time to recover and count the casualties. And the world will begin again and the flowers will bloom and birds will sing and you’ll know you survived the apocalypse. There’s nowhere to go from there but up and ahead.

The world crashes and rights itself again. And sometimes you keep going back to what happened and how it made you feel and you sink in again only to remind yourself that your survived the apocalypse.

– Aiman Shamsi

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Do you remember? 

Do you remember, 

When we navigated our way through the hills

Carrying cupids arrow in our hearts,

Pierced in all its magnificent glory

You took my hand,

And led me up the hill 

Filled with promises of mountains to climb,

And stories to tell

‘Don’t think,’ you said to me, ‘just say yes’

‘I’ll be by your side throughout the rough and stony paths’

I clenched my fear in a fist

And threw it out to the sea

I resolved to climb the toughest mountains 

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You gave me the toughest mountain to climb,

The one I need to climb alone 

No slow dances, no song birds 

I speak to these mountains alone,

They tell me what they think

‘I see your bravado,

But I wish you’d dance again.’

– Aiman Shamsi

Roadmaps

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We burned bridges
And found other new ways
On the roadmaps of our histories

We found places together
I found my hiding place within you
The places we called home

These homes that we abandoned
These places that still carry us away to another time
This place that I still call home

I don’t know who lit the first match,
Me or you?
We built a bridge and now it’s burning

I’m still wandering, finding lost roads
Finding other ways
In the roadmaps of our histories.

– Aiman Shamsi

Angel In The Dark

She’s sick, but not the kind that’s very obvious.
Not the kind that means hospitals and medicines and IVs.
If you were to look at her, you wouldn’t even notice it unless you paid close attention to the way she held herself.
Like her body was a sculpture she’d glued back together.
And when she laughed, she’s got the most beautiful laugh in the way that it’s contagious.
But sometimes her face caved in on itself, giving her away.
Sometimes you can catch the subtle hollows behind the gleaming sparkles in her eyes.
Sometimes she let the sadness in.
Though make no mistake, she wasn’t unhappy.
She wasn’t a hollow home that harboured ghosts.
She was filled to the brim with passion. With love.
She gave love like free candy on Christmas.
She tried to be the torchlight so she could help the ones she loved to see right, even when sometimes her own darkness threatened to turn it all black.
But sometimes she failed.
To be the glue that held together broken parts.
To be the light that chased down the dark.
To be the bonfire to a winter heart.
Though she kept her darkness at bay.
She knew how to be a candle to her own darkness, to melt but to never give in.
She knew how to survive.
She wasn’t unhappy.
She knew how to not let the sadness win.
She was broken, the kind that didn’t need mending.
The world breaks us, and she was sick the way most people are.
– Aiman Shamsi

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Anything But Ordinary

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We’re not the characters in a modern age fiction called ‘life’ we see ourselves as. Our lives are not linear narratives with a singular problem to solve or a singular path to self-growth and self-foundation. We are much more complicated than that. We are a tangled web of loves lost and gained, of truth and lies, of moments of magic and hell. We’re a humongous bunch of paradoxes. We’re the humans drowning in 30 feet floods swallowing cities whole, we’re the superstars in a young adult book turned to movie, we’re the soldiers fighting for peace on the edge of the world, and we are the murderers killing innocents in cold blood. We’re the sinners, the do-gooders, the revolutionaries. We’re all that and we’re human. So don’t you dare say we’re ordinary unless it is a synonym for everything that’s not. We’re anything but ordinary.

– Aiman Shamsi

Words

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Don’t take back your words. You don’t have to. Words cause damage, but the lack of words can do the same too. You have to say what you mean, show them how much you care, apologise for the mistakes you made. But is that enough? Words can never be enough, that’s what I’ve learnt. Maybe we could find new clean words, erase everything that’s been said and find just the right words.  Our words, I’ve realised, are tainted by everything we’ve said and done before. When I say I don’t care, you and I both know I said I’ll always love you. So do I still? Do I really not care? Were we just kidding when at 2 AM I talked to you about all my fears, when you told me about your past? Maybe our words no longer make sense. ‘I miss you’ translates into ‘I need you’ or ‘I’ll hurt you again’? And do I really mind the hurt when one glorious moment of knowing we care could almost make up for all the pain. I don’t know.

All I know is that words stopped making sense a long time ago. When ‘I love you’ translated into ‘I want to believe that you’ll stay but hurt me once more.’ Maybe I’m certain you will. Or maybe I believe I’ll do the hurting this time.’ Though I could never. Who am I kidding? Go ahead. Tell me about how you stopped believing in love, and I’ll tell you about the girl who looked at you like you were the fireworks that illuminated the sky above her every new year.

  • Aiman Shamsi