Young Minds of Medium Featured Writer: Niharika Gursahani

Niharika Gursahani (via Medium)

Niharika Gursahani  (via WordPress) is our youngest contributor. She found out about the Young Minds of Medium How Do You Sing The Blues Call via A Cornered Gurl on WordPress and emailed me to see if she could contribute even though, she is slightly younger than the minimum age requirement for YMOM. After reading a few of her pieces on WordPress and her draft for this call, it was BEYOND easy to make an exception. And now, the featured piece:


The Rhapsody of The Blues

Young Minds of Medium “Blues Call”

Photo Credits —Gary Blonder

An archaic tune plays over the dusty radio,
Reminds me of a dwindling duet I almost forgot a second back,
Every cosmic binder of the universe,
Wants me to never forget the rhapsody of our love.

Our rhapsody was melodious,
The tune was full of life,
And the lyrics of this rhapsody,
Were the loving letters I wrote to you.

This rhapsody hit me hard,
But somewhere in the lyrics, we drift apart,
And the bridge we built with committed chords,
Collapsed as you broke the guitar strings.

This rhapsody was our lovers’ call,
I sang it and it beckoned you to me when I needed you,
And you followed my voice and sang along and gave me comfort,
But now when my ears sense this tune of the Blues,
They bleed a stream of shattered love.
And I scream louder than breaking glass.

Pillows don’t comfort me the way I was comforted,
When I cried into your arms and soaked your shirt in those tears,
My pillow only absorbs my pain but doesn’t relieve me of it,
The way you did when your chest was my only pillow.

I can hear your voice hiss through the corridors of my brain,
Corridors painted your favorite colour with our pictures hung up on the walls,
With this now irritable rhapsody playing in the ballroom of my mind,
Which is my destination to be in hallucinations,
When drowning in insomnia,
Dreaming of you in my arms,
Dancing an endless dance.

I can’t sing a note anymore,
My throat is blunt of unspoken words,
The rhapsody of our love burns me down to a soulless spirit,
And this spirit can’t survive with her soul anymore.
You are my soul.
I can’t sing the Blues anymore,
Because you tore apart my vocal cords.
Pain is the only note I can produce,
But now I have a heart of stone and a spirit devoid of love,
Which has no voice of its own.

I can never cease my love for you,
You are my life and you are my death,
And now that the rhapsody has lost its life,
I dream of only death,
As I gulp down a handful of pills,
Drug me of a faraway fantasy,
This fantasy which I can only achieve,
With the sacrifice of my present life.

And the pills start their deadly effects,
As my body slowly turns into stone-like my heart,
I am nothing but a mere corpse,
As grim darkness crawls up to the ceiling walls,
And as the noises intensify of the dead spirit’s desperate insanity,
I still hear over the drunken voids,
Rhapsody which still plays over the dusty radio.


Originally published via A Cornered Gurl on Medium.

The Building Blocks of Me

Supriya Bhonsle via Mixkit.co

Stepping Out of Fear’s Shadow

The crows caw and squawk outside my window. It’s a beautiful, sunny Sunday morning and Jernee and Nala are quiet. They are resting while I work. The weekends are designated days for in-depth writing, reading, listening to music, soul-searching, and growth. I am learning how to shed old skin and create positive energy spaces for myself once again. I lost the sense of me a long time ago. I allowed fear, rejection, one-sided relationships, and false senses of love to rule over me. In the throes of sadness and pain, we can become fickle beings, even more than we already are.

I am learning how to shed old skin and create positive energy spaces for myself once again.

Opportunities are presenting themselves and instead of swatting at them because I do not know what agreeing to them will bring, I am saying, “Yes!” to open doors and walking through them. I always sit with something new for assessment purposes — to understand and research it thoroughly before committing. Quick decision-making can go two ways: good or bad. I’d like to aim for more good outcomes than bad and I have done this for the most part.

I am setting up my life as I would building blocks. Every new aspect, change, or decision is becoming a tool for growth and my future. I have goals set and many of them, I am planning to accomplish before the end of 2020. I have curbed my spending, devoted more time to reading and writing, and focused on building a brand. If I do not get a headstart on my future now, I may never do so. Once time has passed you by, it doesn’t circle back around to collect you on the rebound — it is ready, even if you are not.

The crows squawk again. There are five of them. One seems to lead the others into a cawing fest as I attempt to drown them out. Nature will not step aside because you need silence. The wind does not know its whistle disrupts your thinking process. The rain has no forethought of your plans to pen three articles before dinnertime. It is up to you to stay focused and get the work done.

I am my own pep squad.

While alone at home, I have to take mini breaks for moments of encouragement. If I do not do this, the work suffers. And at this point in my life, I cannot let the work suffer. When I think about the possibility of shifting from 40-hour weeks to 30-hour weeks, maintaining a strong writing base, and studying methods to enhance and hone my craft, there is no time for suffering. I sing to myself. I say delightful phrases and aphorisms. I make myself believe that everything I envision, along with prayer and patience, will manifest itself into being. I am my own pep squad and I cheer myself on wholeheartedly.

Support: It drives me.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines support as follows: the act or process of supporting: the condition of being supported. (n)

I know how important support is: familial, by way of readers, and friend-based. I have grown from it. I appreciate it. It is what keeps me going on my worst days. If it were not for support, I could not be a writer. What I have gained in the sense of love, understanding, kindness, and acceptance, has come in vast amounts from support. From the day I began putting my work online until now, I have needed support and I have gotten it.

I sing to myself. I say delightful phrases and aphorisms. I make myself believe that everything I envision, along with prayer and patience, will manifest itself into being.


I am stepping out of fear’s shadow. I made the decision a few weeks ago and since then, even though my limbs shake and my stomach gets queasy, I press forward. I want to know what I can do — what I will allow myself to do if I remove myself from the harmful grip of fear. Some fear is good. It can be a reminder. There are things in life that require you to be fearful of them so you will not bring harm to yourself or others. I am mindful of this type of fear. It keeps me safe. It keeps my loved ones safe too.

“Fear is a feeling that is internal and is conscience.” — Dr. Mary D. Moller

“It arises when sensory systems in the brain have determined an external stimulus poses a threat. Outputs of threat detection circuits trigger a general increase in brain arousal and can result in altered threat processing: fear and anxiety disorders.” — Jaime Rosenberg

The fear I speak of is that clutching fear that barks at you to not do something because it’s bigger than you — to step back and away from infinite possibilities. It cripples you, stirs up anxiety, and causes your body to shift and change along with this emotion. This fear will not have my attention anymore. I am setting boundaries and it is not welcome. Am I frightened? Hell yes! But I will not remain in that mode. If I cannot move past the scary bits in life, how will I ever know what can be?

With each passing day, I urge myself to do something a bit more difficult than the previous one and for me, this is a massive accomplishment. I am taking a personal stand against what fear has done to me and what I have allowed it to do. Reprogramming my brain regarding this emotion will take time, but I refuse to sit back and continue to do nothing. There is a life that I envision waiting for me and I intend to experience it.

I am taking a personal stand against what fear has done to me and what I have allowed it to do.

These are the building blocks of me and with every step, I am changing.


Originally published via Medium. The link shared is a friend link as this an article behind Medium’s paywall. This article is also curated by Medium Editors and featured in the “Self” content tab for Medium.

Featured Writer for October

Esther Spurrill-Jones

Esther sent an email to me to become a writer for A Cornered Gurl because she had a piece in her drafts that she thought would be perfect for the publication and it was–it is. I have been reading Esther for at least a year now and with every post shared to Medium, she shows that her talents reach far and wide. She can do fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and micropoetry.

I am sure these are probably just a few of her actual literary abilities. When she’s writing, you’re reading. It’s hard not to. And for this, she is the featured writer for October. And now, the piece:


To The Man Who Told Me I Wasn’t a Feminist

“You can’t be a feminist. Feminists are anti-Christian and anti-men. That’s not you at all.”

Image created by author

I was in university. I must have been about 21 or 22. I was attending a campus Christian group/club when the topic turned to feminism. I mentioned that I considered myself a feminist. You and the woman who was leading the group turned shocked looks toward me and proceeded to tell me that a “real” Christian cannot also be a feminist. It was mostly you talking, but the woman nodded along and agree with everything you said.

To be honest, I don’t remember much of your reasoning because I wasn’t really listening. I was so shocked at what you were saying that I just stared at you with my mouth open. I probably looked like a fish. You probably thought you taught me something. You did.

I grew up in the church, so you might be surprised that I hadn’t encountered such blatant religious sexism before. I suppose I had, but it was mostly coming from old people like my dad (you were about my age), and never from women (at least not in my hearing). I was baffled that any person my age could think that a Christian couldn’t be a feminist — at least while continuing to be a Christian — and horrified that a woman could agree. I guess I had lived a sheltered life.

I had known you for a few months at this point, and I had a respect for you as the leader of the group. I lost all respect for you.

You taught me that I couldn’t trust a man just because he is a leader. You taught me that I couldn’t trust a woman just because she is a woman. You taught me that some young, university-educated Christians still believe in stupid, outdated sexist ideas. You made me even more determined to call myself a feminist.

You see, your mistake was in thinking that just because I’m a woman that I will listen to you. I don’t like to do what I’m told to do or be what I’m told to be. Like my Biblical namesake, Queen Esther, I will walk into the king’s court uninvited and ask for justice for my people. “And if I perish, I perish.”


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

Featured Writer for September

Nardine

A blossoming truth-teller of Egyptian descent was recently added to A Cornered Gurl. She took a bit of a break away from Medium and she was sorely missed. I remember hosting Nardine in This Glorious Mess, also via Medium, and since her return, the strength of her words are at an all-time high. Nardine writes from the heart and there is no shame in it. What she brings to A Cornered Gurl is soul-speak, the depth of the heart, and I am so happy that she is there. And now, the work that gained her September’s feature:


the girl in the frame

a poem

Photo by Daniel McCullough on Unsplash

Late nights, red wine (I drank it hoping to be someone else)

Tall boy, sweet words (I felt his tongue against my lips and hoped he didn’t taste the insecurity)

Small house, big crowd (I wished someone would see me the way I saw myself)

(I didn’t want to go home because it was late and I’d face my mother, sitting under the kitchen light, looking afraid to find something on me she didn’t want to see)

(Sometimes I dream that the space between my body and the world has no shape and I bleed into everything, like a girl with no outlines)

On the kitchen wall of my parents’ house

is a drawing I did when I was ten years old.

The girl is sliced in half;

on one side, she smiles,

on the other, she frowns.

(How can I merge the two women inside of me? One who is daring and one who is submissive? One who is fearless and one who is afraid?)

 

I ask my mother,

why do you keep that drawing

of the broken girl up on the wall?

And she looks at me, alarmed, and says,

why in the world you would think the girl is broken?


Copyright©2019—N


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium

Featured Poem of the Week

Susan Brearly

She brings with her, wisdom, experience, and the gift of gab within various forms of writing. She is unafraid to share what needs to be shared, regardless of its content. What she has given to A Cornered Gurl cannot be described. With each piece, new eyes set their sights on our small community and there’s no doubt that we will continue to grow. Her poem Syncopation is this week’s feature.

Syncopation

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Ah, my heart.
Jumping, fluttering, pausing
In syncopation.

A defect, 
modern science informs.

Lying still 
hear it, feel it
Reminding
every moment
This is the SPARK

Life, the gift

Death lingers, 
lingers in the pause, the void,
between this beat and the next.

A child’s terror
Knowing.

Listen
MY BREATH, MY HEART
It stopped.

No, they say. 
Your mind, it’s there.

Again. 
Again.
Again.
Night after night.
Terror.
Certainty.
Death is near.
Death is here.

Passion’s embrace.
Remember, heart says.
You are fragile
in this flutter
in this pause
in this deep murmur, the silence in the space between breaths,
an echo chamber of the universe
that whispers, “death is near, death is here.”

Whispering, “choose . . .”
Life?
Or Death?

I choose to move.

I run.


Thanks, Jennifer Kindera for this great article

*Children who are telling you about their very real physical experiences need empathy and the full gift of your attention and time. Believe them; believe in them.


Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.