Paper doll

Paper dolls and mannequins. Smiles sliding down molten plastic.

There is an art to being hollow. I do it better than most.


For ritual, there must be sequence. An order, a series of events.

So listen, and listen carefully. Like all art, the process is simple, but a single misstep can kill you.

Remove the glass from the paintings that hang on the walls, plaster your windows with film. Shatter the vase of those flowers in your room; throw the shards where they cannot reach you.

Dull your blades and deaden your teeth.

Blunt your pencils, and cut your nails till they bleed.

Now, you are ready.

Close your eyes and listen. Do you hear it? No? Listen harder.

I am nothing. I am nothing. I am nothing.

Say it like a kiss, brushing against your skin, rubbery and vile. Say it with hope, and then say it with despair.

Listen until you can hear nothing else; listen until the words trip over another, like children, like waves, until they become no words at all, but pure sound.

Listen, and you’ll hear the softest of undertones to this; a cadence, a beat, a rhythm.

Lean into this sound, touch it with your trembling fingers, let it fall in pace with the beat of your heart.

You are weightless, you are free. You glide through your life smoothly, yet without grace.

You are paper, a lewd cardboard cutout, made by clumsy fingers and a blunt blade.

Don’t resist, let yourself be cut.

Are you scared? Nervous? Don’t worry; this is all normal.

Isn’t that what you worry about, the loneliness of an isolated experience?

Sweetheart, you have a long way to go.


Let go of your worries, let go of fear. You have no place to hold them. They will seep through you as easily as water through air.

The light might gleam in a single instant, but close your eyes and look away, for all it will do is blind you. Darkness, in its steady chill, is much more reliable.

You are nothing. You are nothing. You are nothing.

Repeat it till you believe. Don’t strain, it’s not that hard. There is an art to becoming hollow, but it’s simple.

Give until you can’t give anymore, and then give away the part of you that resists. Lay your heart bare, let them butcher it with their knives; and smile, for God’s sake, you look so morose.

The heart, you see, is a deceitful thing. Its blood will choke you as fast as it gushes with life. In the end, it’s your heart that will guide the knife to your own throat.

So feed its pain until you can’t feel anything else, until you can’t feel the pain itself. Until it becomes like the sky; ever-present yet unnoticed.

Only then, will you have mastered it. The art of dead life.


In all the millions of words they weaved, they couldn’t find a string of letters to describe you. How does that make you feel?

Can you feel at all, through the heart that hears only the sound of its hatred?

Don’t cry; there is no word for you, so tell yourself that you are a novelty, you are unique.

Isn’t this what you’ve always wanted?


Photo by takahiro taguchi on Unsplash

PS In May 2019, I will be moving to a new web address. I’m shifting to a personal domain and I’m so, so excited for you to see it! Buying my domain is giving me so much more freedom for new features, design, and I can’t wait for you to get started there.

But on the downside, all those of you who’ve subscribed to my blog here WILL NOT be notified of new posts anymore. I’d hate for you to miss out just because I’ve shifted addresses, but WordPress doesn’t offer anything to straighten this out.

So to make sure the change is as smooth as possible, I’d be so grateful if you’d enter your email ID below so we can stay in touch. You can opt-out any time, no hard feelings. I hate spam and I’ll only be reaching out every two weeks or so for blog updates, I promise.

Thank you, again, for all your support. ❤

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255 Comments Add yours

  1. Swatt Art says:

    Enjoyed that, thanks

    Liked by 3 people

  2. gpavants says:

    Hi Shreya,

    Creation is a painful and a joyful process. We loose before we gain.

    Thanks,

    Gary

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I love the way you put it. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, Gary ❤

      Like

  3. ahenda fredrick says:

    I’ve red this poem, Faceless, Bare, Vitese, Synosure, The heart of a crowd, the one after you…I think writing is a calling in world.

    Your mind is an infinite library that I would like to peruse for a while…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad you’re enjoying my work. Thank you so much for taking the time to read ❤

      Like

    2. ahenda fredrick says:

      Continue with the same spirit, let that fire inside your mind burn more, you have a loyal follower in me…
      I’ll read as you write literally…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Fathy_writes says:

    Beautiful read. Intense and capturing

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Fulfilling eternity in nothingness.. beautifully crafted

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Wow. That was powerful and sad that I feel so connected to this. The linesYou are nothing. You are nothing. You are nothing.

    Repeat it till you believe. Don’t strain, it’s not that hard. There is an art to becoming hollow, but it’s simple.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They really spoke to me. I feel like i’ve been there many times and you’ve captured it in this dark, beautiful way.

      (Haha accidentally hit enter the first comment)

      Liked by 3 people

    2. Ah no problem. I’m glad (glad?) it resonated. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  7. So raw! Completely blown away by this piece! 😍

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it ❤

      Liked by 2 people

    2. It takes courage to be that raw with emotions. I consider it and then chicken out.

      Liked by 4 people

  8. clinock says:

    INTENSE in a good way…

    Liked by 3 people

  9. jschulle says:

    Your style of writing is so captivating! And this piece is beautiful!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you. That means a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for sharing such a real and poetically authentic expression of the journey into the community of loneliness and isolation where hating ourselves is a prerequisite – and where our percieved evidence that our worth is less than zero is amplified. I truly hope you have found the treasure map hidden in this place that leads you out into the richness loving ourselves gives. If not please msg me my heart breaks for you from experience and I have a torch that can shine a light on a way out.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your kind words and support. It means more to me than you could ever know. I tend to write from memory, not through present experience, but your thoughtfulness is appreciated all the same. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

    2. lwjkjr says:

      I am so thankful you can write so well from memory and express your feelings so deeply that it evokes similar memories in me as I read.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. joannehuston says:

    POWERFUL! The frightening and sad road to the Hollows!

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I very much enjoy, and identify with your writing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. I’m glad it resonated. ❤

      Like

  13. Unbelievable, this is amazing! Wonderful job—I love it!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you. That means a lot ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  14. This was incredibly captivating, I love your style of writing!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Anand Bose says:

    Well crafted words. Anand Bose from Kerala

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Euphrates. says:

    Amazing write up. Haunting.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you. That means a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. boballoo3 says:

    One of the best pieces of writing I have ever read on here.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you. That means a lot.

      Like

  18. the0ldmonk says:

    This is as heavy as my depression and that’s a lot .

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That was such a thoughtful piece… and I’m honored that I could be an inspiration to it ❤

      Like

  19. I. Loved. This. Line: “Isn’t that what you worry about, the loneliness of an isolated experience?”

    For me, the loneliness of an isolated experience is what makes us strong.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Jack Thomas says:

    Incredibly haunting, the pain and the suffering. Great writing. I pray for your soul, hopefully you find hope and more joy in life than pain!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your thoughtfulness. It truly means a lot. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  21. gokubusiness says:

    Very good writing, just Amazing.
    I am a beginner, give me some tips to improve myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. deesharelwani says:

    Incredible! This was so dark and moving, I loved it

    Liked by 1 person

  23. sugar high says:

    this was such a rollercoaster of feeling, weaving in and out of helplessness and weakness contrasted against a forceful, unwavering voice. would ride again.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. I’m glad it resonated. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Shreya this is piece has really affected me. Thank you for the follow! I intend on reading more of your work. Wonderful work again!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you. I’m so glad it resonated ❤

      Like

  25. Gordon says:

    Very strong. In a sense, frightening at times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I suppose I meant it to be.

      Like

  26. oneofeach7 says:

    Beautifully written – but also sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. keithakenny says:

    I was expecting something more like “Paper Doll” – which is also sad.

    I want to have a paper doll that I can call my own
    The kind that other fellows cannot steal
    So then those flirty flirty guys with their flirty flirty eyes
    Will have to play with dollies that are real.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shivers.
      On a side note, the entire human obsession with dolls in horror stories is so odd. What is it about those cheerful, innocent symbols of our childhood that sends goosebumps running down our spines?

      And this is actually the first time I’ve come across the song, so I spent about 15 minutes trying to figure out what you meant by “I was expecting something more like “Paper Doll” – which is also sad.”

      Insecurity strikes: it was sad that I didn’t live up to the expectation? I didn’t live up to the expectation? I didn’t live up to the expectation?
      *tries not to cry*

      Like

  28. I saw you stopped by my blog the other day and thought I would visit my neighbor. I should’ve brought something akin to a bottle of wine in thanks…your writing is incredibly beautiful! It was an absolute pleasure to read. A bit disturbing…Lol!…but the pain associated with depression, anxiety, and similar disorders, is disturbing to live with. I feel a bit of an emotional kin-ship with you. Been dealing with this shit my whole life. You took something ugly and made it sound hauntingly beautiful! What a wonderful gift you have!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you. This means more to me than you could ever know. And I loved your piece, Tomorrow, by the way: it was one of the most honest portraits of depression I’ve ever seen. Thank you for that.

      Looking forward to seeing you around! ❤

      Like

  29. samvanm says:

    Surely there is no depth in hollow… only the echoing devolution of a dark phrase bouncing around ones’ insides – like the void in a paper machete pinata – expecting the blunt intrusion of a stick. This had depth and soul and ache! All braided around the irony of knowing its’ introspection was not hollow at all. Bravo!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love the way you put it. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. It truly means a lot ❤

      Like

  30. Kurian says:

    A top rated blogger. Thank you for connecting Shreya

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Love your writing! you inspire me to get back into a more poetic form of writing. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m delighted to hear that. Thank you for taking the time to read and reach out to me.

      Like

  32. soanuthatch says:

    Wow! I love the voice you use here. That voice feels so adamant and so decidedly confident that you believe those words. They smother you. I worked as a mental health nurse. If my patients had had your talent, I think this is how they would express their struggles. I’m going to enjoy spending time in your words. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m honored to hear you could see this in my work. Thank you for taking the time to read and reach out to me.

      Like

  33. Storyography says:

    I can’t remember enjoying discomfort quite so much.
    I think you invented a new genre – ironic dread.
    wonderful!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it.
      And ironic dread: I like that…

      Like

  34. These descriptions, these symbols, these words, they all work on many levels.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thank you.

      Like

  35. BoardFlak says:

    Interesting description, but I think there’s far too much buzzing around in my head to ever get it empty.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. I could feel you…writing yourself down. I wonder whether my understanding matches others’.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think every interpretation is different, and every interpretation is equally true. And that’s the beauty of it.

      Liked by 2 people

  37. Reblogged this on Honeymoon in Bali and commented:
    Still wondering about the cardboard

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Wow. This is impressive. So well written. Usually I’m more wordy, but I was just blown away.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much. I’m glad you enjoyed it. ❤

      Like

  39. You just described what people are turning in to. The world is becoming your words. Fantastic poetry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Frightening.
      But I’m glad you liked it ❤

      Like

  40. This is absolute class. Iam beginner here and so it took me a number of efforts to fully grasp the poem. But it was worth it. I never knew that ‘Nothing’ can be detailed into this much depth.

    Out of this world.

    👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. That truly means a lot.

      Like

  41. Mon says:

    You’re amazing

    Liked by 1 person

  42. I couldn’t think someone could write about ‘nothing’. I really enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Rohit. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    2. My honour! Your style of writing really inspires me to write something dark as well as beautiful. Just like this post.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. I’m delighted to hear that and I’d love to read it when you do!

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Thank you! (i am still young so it’ll take some time and experience to craft it.)

      Liked by 1 person

    5. Of course. We could all do with a lot more time and experience. There never seems to be enough to go around.

      Liked by 1 person

  43. This is a really scary post, I could feel fear, at first I felt like I am reading about a psychotic person then it just becomes scarier. All of a sudden I may not have alive even. The image really helps set the feel. Thanks for sharing, an albeit scary post. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha, I wrote it at a terrible time, and when I read it again, there’s the strangest nostalgia, but also a foreboding with it. The most frightening of situations are the ones closest to reality.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Must have been a rough patch, I am still getting chills re-reading it. XD
      ‘The most frightening of situations are the ones closest to reality. ‘ May I ask why?

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Why the rough patch?
      I wish I knew.
      They come and go, flitting in and out of my life. I might wake up feeling the happiest I’ve ever been, and then there’s this crash, and you never see it coming, so it’s only all the more frightening. Have you ever felt like that?

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Yep, mostly during my pms week, I am easily affected. But I feel pms is not the issue here, it is probably cause of the bottled up emotions then when comes the volatile week, a trigger will turn me upside down.

      Liked by 2 people

    5. Very true. It’s frustrating: that one trigger is almost never significant, so it’s only harder to explain, that this is the culmination of months of with-held emotion, not just this incident…

      Liked by 1 person

    6. Yes, and the explanation part is what we have to tell to ourselves to get over it. Which is the hardest part!

      Liked by 1 person

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