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Starry Complexities

“We could whisper to the stars and tell them what happened to other stars, billions of years ago, tell them how they shattered and turned into people. Do you wonder if stars tell their children that when you die, you become a human? A faraway life, on a small blue planet. “

luviiilove
Art by: LuviiiLove

I can already imagine it, with starry complexity. We will linger at the space station, floating around to haunting piano music softly diffusing across the universe, echoing down lonely black holes and asteroid fields. We’ll hang the clothes to dry on one of Saturn’s rings. On Saturdays (Or however we decide to name it) we’ll have barbecues on the sun and plant artificial roses on dwarf planets and dying stars for a pilot whose plane has crashed to find someday. We’ll pluck stars from space and rearrange the cosmos, play tennis with asteroids and write messages with our fingers across nebulae for Earth to see.

We can hide on the moon, sometime. Lie down in the sea of tranquility and tell corny jokes about how we aimed for the moon. We can close our eyes and move to the dark side, and pretend Earth doesn’t exist. We’ll live out our days in an alcove on a planet no one will ever discover.

We’ll make paperboats, watch them sail and burn in a constellation of stars. We could even reach inside one of them, our hands travelling all the way to the molten core, and touch someone’s consciousness. We could whisper to the stars and tell them what happened to other stars, billions of years ago, tell them how they shattered and turned into people. Do you wonder if stars tell their children that when you die, you become a human? A faraway life, on a small blue planet. So, children if you want to say hi, all you have to do is shine bright and they will know who you are? I wonder if humans are star-ghosts?

We could also hollow out one of the planets, and make home inside.

Trust me, we will never get lost. I have the universe inside of me. Did you know that there are more synapses in the human brain than there are stars in our Milky Way? And there are more possible brain connectivity patterns than there are atoms in the Universe? Our minds are larger and more infinite than the Universe. We are multitudes, eternal matter in perishable bodies.

“When we die,” you ask “do you think we go back to being stars? Do you think that some part of us goes into space? Like, the parts that used to be our eyes, when they rot and become dirt and minerals in the Earth, then feed a tree that later gets turned into wood brought on a spaceship—do you think I could see the universe then? Do you think I could get to be a part of it then? That I will be welcomed, like a missing limb, and I will finally remember? And slowly, like that, the Universe will start being whole again.”

“But you’ll forget me then, you’ll forget Earth.” I say.

“Not if you come with me.” you smile “Then we’ll forget about the lives we had here. But it’s okay, because you and I, we go way back, we were stars together. Then, we can remember who we were meant to be all along.”


Listening to:

Note: This is Day 25 of my NaNoWriMo Writing Challenge. I’m afraid with this one, I totally pretended like Science wasn’t a real thing. Don’t shove your hands down molten cores of stars, kids. You’ll be dead before you even get to try. You can read my previous entry for the challenge here. Also, ‘more infinite’ isn’t…really a thing. But eh, dramatics amirite.

 

All your kind words.

Art by: Titsay

I will take all of your kind words and keep them in a book. Every acknowledgement and encouragement, every advice and well-intended remark ⁠— every word, every word, I gather close to me like a fragrant bouquet on a summer’s day. I feel it as I feel the sunlight on my skin, the warmth of a star light-years away.

All your words have left an imprint on me, similar to a pattern left behind by a pressed flower.

An imprint like a touch of sweetness. Something to say that I was there and you were there and our lives crossed in the gentlest of ways.


Note: Thank you 💚

Home-making.

Art by: Gürkan Draman

In the half-light, half-darkness of not-yet morning, I breathe peacefully, content to be tending to my own little world.

On the rooftop, my basil saplings are pushing against the soil, glistening after being watered half an hour ago. The kettle bubbles and gurgles over the fire. In some moments, it will let out that odd whistle-shriek I have grown familiar with. Droplets of condensation are pearling on the lid of the weathered teapot, falling back into the milk tea I poured a little while ago. The wind welcomes itself to a dance through my sleep-mussed hair. Clouds drift in and out of view from my window. Every now and then, the neighbour’s drying clothes wave at me and spread the scent of lavender.

These compositions of sounds and visuals are the building blocks of my small existence, the evidence of the littlest things falling into place.

It’s strange that I actually enjoy this: doing the dishes and other menial chores. It is not the task itself that draws me in. Rather, it is the meaning behind it: the crafting of my own little life, the making and taking of space in this never-ending, callous world.

Every chore is an act of creation.

I sign my name and intention each time I prepare to welcome myself into the future. Or each time I stretch lazily into the present, taking comfort in it.

It’s a beautiful life. It can be.


Note: Call me crazy but clothes drying on the line is somehow so romantic.

Her.

I imagine this is what she would have looked like.

The purified, wispy white hair of later old age peeking out from behind her headscarf, loosely arranged around her rosy face. The same kind eyes and gentleness. Except, she would have had strength even then – that brilliant liveliness and loudness, the same sense of humour that so boldly painted her personality.

It’s been 10 years, my Mother reminds me.

How could it have been? Life has grown around the wound, the hollowness that was left once she was snatched away. The pain has dwarfed in comparison to 10 years of life. But it never fully went away. It never will. Grief is the mark Love leaves behind, it is where we pour all of our feelings, our care and frustration, our anger, our despair once there is no one to receive it.

Seeing her always triggers a back and forth between tears and hope. Tears because they look too similar – it’s like seeing her, hearing her, feeling her again.

And hope, gratitude that something of her survives.

How many people get that? How many people get to have such vivid recollections? As though the person was truly there again, for just a second. Who gets that? I do.

It is a kindness. It hurts but it is a kindness all the same.

I’m always a little shaken after these encounters. We all are. My sisters burst into tears as soon as they saw her. She understands, they all do. They know the pain of loss, how tender it leaves you in places, even if it’s been 10 or 20 or 50 years.

I’m 25 and well, I want to tell her. Life is long at 25; everything has both changed and remained the same. I think of you even now.

For now, these thoughts will keep falling in the timeless space of grief. But someday, someday…

25.

Art by: Sseongryul

It’s already here.

The idea smacks me in the face at times.

This, right now, is the future I used to dream of.

This is the impalpable life I envisioned so distantly when I was 12, when I was 21. I’ve reached here somehow, pushed by Time, rushed into the next minute, the next semester, the next year and now to my mid 20s.

Expectations of grand careers, loves, travels and kids notwithstanding — the most unsettling thing about being 25… is that it does not at all feel like it ought to.

25 is uncertain, in that strange way an object loses its shape and dimensions as it descends into water and lays there, unmoved. The sight of it is troubled, changing with each ripple and sunbeam that flits across the water. 25 is so far away somehow, I always have to convince myself that it is true whenever I say it.

I am 25.

I am 25.

It’s logical. I was born 25 solar revolutions ago, therefore I am 25. It says so on my ID, my passport; it’s the box I tick now when I fill surveys, the number people use to form their understanding of me. 25.

Twenty and five years.

The first 10, a child. The second 10, a succession of transitions. Then 5 years fumbling, 2 of them in a pandemic.

That’s a lot of maths but I can cope with the number, irrational as it feels to me. 25.

25.

I’ve said it so many times, I’ve been 25 for 6 months now…but it always feels like a borrowed word, no matter how confidently or proudly or gratefully I say it.

25.

It’s on loan to me now and soon I’ll have to swap it out for another murkier-looking number.

Actually, I’m already 25 and a half.

Oh, what a pickle we’re all in! A masquerade, a performative dance with deadlines.

What power do numbers have that outweigh who we are inside?

Why are we bound Why do we bind ourselves to these bits of data and rearrange who we are to match a number, to dance to the tune of expectations and fall into square categories?

I am 25, yes, but also a million other interesting things. My age is not the most striking part of me, not the path that leads to what is true and essential in a person. It is a loanword, a name tag that Time will soon replace.


Note: So it is that time of year now where I go “Oh, it’s been a while!” 😂

Listening to:

Nightscape.

Artwork by Hajin Bae
Photograph by Eduardo Acierno

Trigger warning: Street harassment, misogyny

I, as a girl, am terrified of the night —this world owned and ruled by men since the first dawn.

I find myself engulfed in its obscure depths, comparable to a small fish darting in the abysses of the ocean, this place of corners and hidden holes that the sun does not touch, deserted in some places, teeming with unprecedented creatures in others. In it, men lie in wait like eels that could snap you without you even feeling it, others like angler fish that lure you with the illusion of compassion, and yet others who, in their numbers, amass the strength to harass.

At night, my very existence is an anomaly, an anachronism begging the question: “What is she doing here?”

My presence is an open invitation. After all, how dare I be in the world of men, if not to serve them in some way? If not to please their eyes, then to relieve their itching hands, to caress their deflated egos in dire need of a superiority boost? They inflate, these men of the night, when they understand that their presence can intimidate women. It is perhaps the only time when they have that power — when the world is stripped of expectations of good conduct, and all is let loose.

Their eyes are aggression enough. Their gazes land on me like unwanted touches, lingering like dirty hands that come too close for comfort or decency.

Most of them do not do anything, though. After all, they are not the sort of men to do that kind of thing, no. They are just men – boys, really – looking for some innocent fun. So what’s a taunt compared to actually touching a girl? It doesn’t mean anything if they walk close to you — what, the streets belong to everyone, right? If they call after you repeatedly, that doesn’t make them bad men, you know?

Women can’t take a joke. Now, that is the real problem.


I feel as if they win though, if I let them take the night away from me. If I let myself be scared.

There is a night that does not belong to men.

A night that is all cool breaths and freedom.

An ancestral night, the first one that welcomed all the stars and you and me in it.

There is comfort in darkness, as all the world fades into the distance and I retreat into the shore of my inner home.

I cannot let them take this away.


Note: It’s been a long, rough week. I don’t think I’ve ever posted something of this nature on here. I think it means I’m growing up, who knows. But either way, I hope that this coming week treats you well 🙂

Sundays, in essence.

Sundays well-spent feel strangely long, don’t they?

And yet, they contain as many minutes as any other day. Sundays are as long as Mondays, and that’s a fact. But hey, the Universe cares little for human concepts like weekends, in that way.

And yet, it doesn’t ring quite true.

In reality, Time flows in a warped way: too little, then too much, the distribution is never quite even. I’m of the mind that not all minutes respect the 60-second mark. Some minutes spill over like overly-eager orators, others quit halfway through. At least, that’s how it feels like.

The thing about Sundays, though, is that Time suddenly stops dead.

“Do what you want, I’m gone. You can live a while without me.”

Time tacks this note on a dusty window in a street you will never find except if you’re looking for it. It’s a funny place, my city. It’s so small. The streets churn many of the same faces in and out —in the supermarkets, the health centres, the street corners where newspaper vendors make a living… and yet. And yet she holds so many secrets, has so many pockets in which she hides foreign things: strange organisations that have existed for a long time, people of decidedly foreign origins, the secret life in city hotels… There’s a distinct smell of the unknown pervading the cityscape.

But you can only feel it on Sundays, the day when my city has been rid of its people, when the wind meets no obstacles as it runs, breathless, in the streets. Under the sleepy warmth of the sun, people melt gently. They loosen up, their jaws slack and eyes slow to blink. A lethargy has crept silently over them.

No one but the usual suspects inhabit the streets: old men wearing vests that open too generously on hairy chests, sitting on makeshift benches or leaning against a wall, making a row about the latest news and non-stories. A few children, not yet brainwashed by phones and other electronic devices, take advantage of the empty streets to run barefoot on the bitumen or to ride their flashy bikes.

Time has left, causing the world to unravel in slow motion in its absence. The vacated streets tell a story only the quietest can hear.

There is something of infinity that touches this world then, a moment that just is, that creates itself. Beyond the flow of Time and other such boundaries, the streets glitter with a unique magic, sighing into the eternising afternoon.

The afternoon is the space between two breaths — the momentary stillness between the inhale of morning and the exhale of night.

And there, right there, the barriers blur.

Reality bleeds into fantasy, the hands of the clock disappear and under one sky, moments past and the visions of tomorrow all come together.

In that moment of utter disarray, where all things shift out of their axes and vacate their roles, unruly now without Time’s watchful glare…


Note: So it’s been a while, yet again! I hope you have been doing well 💚 Also, I think it’s the first time I’m doing this: posting an unfinished piece. Truth is, it’s an old one but I can’t seem to find the continuation of this story — not in my notebook and certainly not in my head. But I’m fond of it, so here’s to hoping the rest magically comes to me as soon as I’m done publishing it 😂

Polaris.

Art by: Eyely Design

A blue night suffused with warmth.

There is only me and this Truth I’ve been rubbing shoulders with. It’s been keeping me company, engaging me in conversation — a faithful little light. I don’t know it and yet it feels altogether familiar, like Polaris, the North star: almost swallowed by distance, and yet also home. How can you feel so close to something that is so far away?

Still, still.

A hush falls on the room and I would say that in that moment I grow silent, but rather, it is in silence that I grow. Like leaves leaning towards light, my consciousness reaches for the stars, my inner self grabs for the many secrets the Universe keeps.

Reveal yourself to me, I ask.

Tell me who you are because I suspect that if you do, I’ll know who I am, too.


Note: Just me writing weird, semi-sensical things again 😂 But hey, self-expression.

Self-chosen.

Photo by: Miguel Gonzalez

Trigger warning: mentions of wounds and grazes

There is a burning sensation rising from my ribs, a sting keen enough to draw soft hisses each time my curious fingers graze the inflamed skin.

In the shower, I realised I didn’t just get hurt: I actually managed to scratch myself to the point of leaving marks. It’s usually what happens when I let my nails grow out: dotted red lines, like constellations, start meandering across my body.

“Much of your pain is self-chosen.” wrote Kahlil Gibran.

My fingers press a little harder on the swollen skin, stopping at the rigidness of the rib bone. The pain is sharper, but still burning somewhere along the pleasure-pain scale. It is the kind of minor pain that lights your consciousness, that offers a heightened sensitivity to life and to the experience of it.


You know, I chose to like him.

I chose the 5-hour long conversations, the crazed 2 a.m. ramblings, and the delicious warmth of not-quite-friends. I chose my pain when I chose my joy: that is how these things work. But it’s not quite pain, not a devastation; I haven’t cried for him though I’ve sighed into many golden afternoons and blue nights. It is not pain but rather something more faded, subdued.

Newspaper clippings of past moments. Out of focus memories. The smudged ink of this dying story.

It stings but not quite enough to truly hurt, the pinprick of it a proof that I have lived.

Much of your pain is self-chosen. Yes, very much so.

So long, O.


Note:
As always, I hope you’re doing beautifully! I found this interesting little article about the pleasure-pain idea: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20151001-why-pain-feels-good

A kinder sentiment.

Art by: Kyutae Lee

Trigger warning: death ideation.

Odd and contradictory as it may be — in moments of joy and beauty, I have often found myself thinking I could die then and there. There are other times when I have wished against all reason that the moment would never end, that I be allowed to spend the rest of my mortal years in it. But inexplicably, there has also been this.

It usually happens when I am at the right distance from everything: the people in my life, my daily routine, the names I respond to and all my attachments to this world. No longer am I the name on my identity card, the colour of my eyes or even the madness of my hair. No longer am I a girl in the bus, a vision or a tangible thing. My soul instead flies like a kite into the boundless skies, and the string keeps tugging, pulling, unraveling from the spool, like a scarf endlessly lost to the wind, dancing an infinite dance.

In these moments when I am so far away that all I know are the brushstrokes of clouds, I become the feeling I am experiencing: the blueness of the sky, the golden quality of sunlight, the faint rustling of leaves… I melt and become a mere mirror of experience and sensation, an echo-room for the beauty of the world.

I’ve often mistaken this feeling as a desire for death — a longing to stop existing beyond this point, having achieved the purest form of existence.

But it is not that, the Truth in me supplies. It is a kinder, softer sentiment, a freer one.

Yes, I echo, gentle and honest like a tired child.

I do not want to die. I want, instead, to dissolve into the sky and become the material of clouds. I want to be taken apart, memory by memory, and come undone like a tangle of threads until my soul is free to join the ether.

Like foam to the sea. Dust to Dust. A breeze in the infinite sky. That is my soul, a grand mystery solved, a stuffy room now breathing with light.

It was never about dying, it was always an unbecoming, a journey back home. But there are no words for that in the common language. The closest approximation has always been ‘death‘, but it is not that.

My soul is this feeling of light. Light in both ways: weightless and honeyed, like that one spot of light that falls on your desk one afternoon and in which particles of dust or matter rise, rise, rise as if called to some greater purpose.

I do not want to die. I want to be this, I’ve caught myself thinking.


Quote of the day:

“You swallowed everything, like distance.
Like the sea, like time. In you everything sank!”

— Pablo Neruda, A Song of Despair

It’s 00:27

and I’m writing a book review/analysis/blurb in an attempt to make something of myself.

I have work to wake up for in 7 hours,

but somehow it doesn’t matter right now in this dark-blue night

and these thoughts that pierce far into the future.

Overtaken by the reality that we won’t all be okay,

that we won’t all make it together.

But somehow, somewhere, someday,

at the edges of the Universe,

there must be a place,

beyond Time, and the years we never got to share,

where we will meet again.


Listening to: