Bilkish Vahed

Rebellion & Romance

Category: Rebellion & Romance (page 1 of 8)

Emotional War Zones

My landlord came to fix a blind. As he was leaving, the evening breeze drifting in, he said, “Its the full moon today, or maybe yesterday, do you get cranky with the moon?” “I’m cranky all the time!” I said. Not because that’s true, it isn’t, it just made for light banter. 

But cranky sparked a flood of remembrance of the meeting this afternoon at the office, when tempers had flared and scathing barbs were hurled around the room. Seething anger and frustration hung heavy in the air. People who felt trapped or stuck and dissatisfied, clanged and crashed against each other.  A hurting feeling crept up in me. Is this acting out what we commonly call office politics?

Later a colleague who has my back said to me, “You have to develop a thick skin.” I know where he’s coming from, but I don’t want any such thing. A thick skin is to dull my sensitivity and connection to my self. To switch off my ability to discern when the behaviour in the room is bizarre, off the wall, confounded, ugly, adults playing out their confused emotions like children. 

Was it crankiness, the moon that made me hypersensitive today? I don’t know. The workplace though can feel like a war zone, the top generals fighting with cruelty and dirty tricks, and dishonest spin to hold flimsy power. It’s the dirty business of politics, but need it be?


I’m sloppy about birthdays, don’t focus too much on them, until that is I actually wake up on the b-day, the phone begins ringing, gifts and messages arrive, then my own excitement builds and blossoms into merriment.

The Birthday Party, John Singer Sargent

Friday was my birthday. The officials, statisticians, the guardians of record-keeping – they tell me that this b-day I turned 58! Me, I say piff. There’s nothing about me that matches that austere number. And that, I believe, is the end of that.

Chocolate & Bugaboos

Moodily I stuff my mouth with one more piece of chocolate. Dark, luscious velvet smooths my palette, slides easily down my throat. When the last hint of sweetness is no more, I’m left hanging.

Slumping gloominess besets me this evening. 

Nothing’s happened, nothing in particular. Nothing and everything has triggered this hollowness. 

Sit down quietly on the couch, I counsel myself, be still.  But sitting doesn’t turn off the internal prattle: Don’t forget to buy electricity. Don’t want to be caught in blackness now, do you? What was A’s sarcasm about this morning? He’s so slippery, so loud, so hurtful. Must call my mother before it’s too late. Suddenly piercing through the chatter, a bizarre thought takes hold of me with supple clarity. 

“You know that feeling of euphoric release,” it says to me, “when after a period of constipation – even just a day – you finally are able to unclog the blockages and let go? You know that feeling of delicious release?”

“Yeeess, “I say suspiciously. 

“Well that’s all that’s needed right now. Just let go.”

Oh no dammit, I think, not that puerile wisdom!

“Let go of what?” I demand.

“Everything. Nothing. The grey clouds. Just let it go.”

“No, no, no, nooooo,” I retort loudly, “fiddlesticks!”

“Yes, yes, yes, just let the bugaboos go.”

“The bugaboos?”

“The bugaboos, the goblins, monsters, vexations, discontents. Look from a different angle. Try it, you may surprise yourself.”

Letting go is not something I know how to do. When it happens, it does so spontaneously. I know it by a shifting stream of fresh thoughts. Somethings moved, eased the internal pressure. Relief softly fills me.

The Cowboy

When I was growing up, I watched western movies incessantly. When playing together – my siblings, cousins and I – if I wasn’t allowed to be John Wayne, I refused to play. I was always John Wayne.

Adam Jahiel Photography, ‘The Last Cowboy project’
Movie, “Jane Got A Gun”

Now that I’m grown up, I wonder about my connection to the cowboy? Not the real ones, you understand, not those real cowboys in Colorado or Texas, or the Pampas of Argentina, not those actually herding cattle on a ranch; for me it’s about the mythic cowboy figure in my own inner world.

It’s curious, in Westerns, it’s not the women characters that I pay attention to. Sure there’ve been some interesting women, but they’re always eclipsed by the man on the horse, the romantic figure who roams outdoors, whilst the women remain within.

A strong, silent man, that’s how I think of a cowboy. Strong character, who walks tall and proud. A plain talking man of few words, who when he does speak, speaks with directness, says what he means. Honour is his internalised code. He inspires trust. Courage flows in his veins, you can rely on him.

The traits of my mythic cowboy are seductive. Come to think of it, they’re qualities that make for both a fine man and a fine woman.

Something Missing

Many a day, I have the feeling that I’m missing something.

If only I could just figure out that elusive piece, then all the randomness of my life will mysteriously re-configure into something glorious, then my heart will grow still and quiet with an inward sigh.

Yes, if only!

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