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?
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.
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!”
We are still at the foot of the mountain when the sky clears and the first hints of a sun appear.
And here it is.
The city and the paths of our lives.
Somewhere out there, our lives are unraveling in our absence. The baker is rushing on her feet, carrying out trays of bread for us to buy later. The hyperactive ophthalmologist is probably up already, checking to see that I have an appointment later today. The bank is investing my savings away; light sunrays must now be dancing in the spaces between my thick, bunched up duvet, left in a hurry earlier. Police officers are milling about by the barracks; stray dogs are already wandering the uneven streets of this reckless city in search of a life.
This is where we have been born, where we live, where we will die.
It’s a bizarre experience: to have lived in one place all your life.
Where others might associate a garden to one moment in time, one summer, one person, this whole landscape is a gallimaufry of memories to me, each one piled on top of the other. 24 years spread too thickly over these same buildings and streets. Memories from all the ages and transformations of our lives layer every corner of this city; every park bench, bus stop and hole-in-the-wall restaurant bears a distinct patina of nostalgia.
Out there in this maze of lives are the people we used to be, stored in the minds of people who once knew us. People who don’t know what we’ve become, for whom we slowly stopped existing, erased by absence.
I no longer have the courage to take the road where we walked together, forever ago now, a lifetime back. But there are days when I still have to. Days when I must push past the rush of memories, the thickness in my throat and walk all over my feelings because Life simply calls for it.
It’s never easy to be the one who stays. There is no place to hide, nowhere to run to.
Here it is, below us: the paths of our lives, the layouts of our existences.
It’s 6 o’clock on a Sunday morning and the city is still blissfully asleep, not yet rubbing its eyes nor tossing in a half-awake state. It is so dark out that we need to measure our steps, to scrutinise the path ahead before advancing onto it.
It’s 6 o’clock on a Sunday and we’re climbing a mountain.
It’s not much of a climb, if I am honest. A long, serpentine path has been carved into the mountain, and asphalt laid smoothly on top of it to see joggers safely to the peak. But still, the way up is steep, the early morning air biting.
There are much better things to do at 6 a.m. on a Sunday. There are warmer places to be.
Yet here we are, hearts stuttering, beating briskly in the misty heights overlooking the capital. A cold drizzle has cut through the air and a smell of molasses is rising from the bushes, concentrated in the textured mass of thick, yellowing vegetation.
The smell of a flooded apartment.
Earthy and pervasive yet so very oddly soothing. There is a reminder enclosed in this scent, tugging at a memory in the far recesses of my mind. Remembering it is akin to pulling at a root buried deeply and firmly in the ground — it is tough and unyielding, refusing to be taken from the comfort of its situation. Then all at once, after rigorous tugging that seems to have done nothing to dislodge it, it loosens traitorously and gives way, sending me reeling.
And as I am reeled back, I fall into the depth of a moment passed, a memory once silenced in the graveyard of memories.
“We will all die.”
His voice is deep and rich; long stretches of silence settle between his words. There has always been something about the way he speaks, the way he delivers his thoughts that draws people in. I have never been able to emulate him in that or in much else, really.
“Young or old, rich or poor, today or tomorrow. We will all die. One day, I will die and—”
And it will all have been for naught. The homes we built. The love we harboured. The traces we left.
We make but ripples in the water — thrown by some mysterious Hand, our lives skim the surface of existence, disturb its deep waters before we run out of whatever magic lights up our eyes. Some of us get in multiple ricochets before falling, the kind that inspires awe, that makes you think there was more to us than flesh and bones. For others, it is the exhilarating feeling of flying, followed by a rapid and unforeseen descent. Most of us, though, make quiet ripples, lost in the herd movements of life. But one way or another, we all end up on the ocean floor, nothing but the fading comments (“This was a good one!”, “It didn’t go very far.”…) accompanying our slow descent into the deep unknown.
“One day, I will die and you will stay. And then one day, you too will die, and your children will stay.”
The smell of freshly-turned earth hung all around us, damp and tangy, so strong it bottled the moment, sealing it with this scent.
One day, this smell will get stronger. One day, I will be wrapped in it, in the stiff white robes, indifference and camphor crystals of death.
Note: So this one is going to be posted in several parts, as every part talks about a different theme and it’s all quite long. About this first part: I am very frank about the idea/topic of death. The way I was raised, death was not something that was hidden from me, it was not seen as something that should not be talked about. Death is a part of life and that’s…that. But it is a heavy theme all the same so I hope it wasn’t too disturbing to read!
As always, sending lots of love and good vibes your way!
Though we may have broken it in, reined it in with made-up concepts like Time — though we’ve taught Life manners, dressed it up and studied its unpredictable nature, Life is still wild and hysterical, the same pulsating energy that first exploded in the Universe. It plays our games, obliges our whims for a while and then slams the table, leaving us scrambling for the pieces of our existence.
Let us not make Life out to be something it will never be. Life is not good or bad. It is what it is: a wild thing with no notion of itself, let alone the great, troubled depths of ethics and morality.
So Life will give. Life will take. It will sit with us, a comforting warmth, and give us summers and happiness in the scent of a flower. Life will tickle us in the small hours of morning and make laughter erupt deep from our bellies. Then one day, Life will leave us in despair, wrecked by tragedies we could not have imagined.
Knowing that, how can we think that anything — anyone — belongs to us? We hardly belong to ourselves.
So let us not claim ownership over what is fleeting. Let us not brand the flowers of Life with our names, soon enough, the wind will lift them and carry them away. Let us not try to bottle the wind or contain the tides. Let us instead embrace their coming and going. Let us feel the dizzying heights of happiness and fall apart in the lows. Let us become sublime and more truly ourselves in the pursuit of all that we will hold but never own.
It is in the experience and not in the owning that we find meaning.
Note: Happy New Year to you all! Sending you all the best vibes for this year. It’s funny, when I wrote this, it was just a general reflection on life. And then the very next day, I received news that illustrated the point of this piece with a sort of dreadful, cold accuracy.
My thoughts are a little homeless at the moment; I’ve said goodbye to yet another companion, this one endowed with thick, luxurious covers marked and embossed in golden motifs, regal against a smooth, creamy red. Its pages were pre-aged for comfort and delightfully thick, carrying a certain soothing weight to them.
And the size. Perfect for the crook of an elbow or for tucking at your side. Ideal to hold one-handed, to hide from curious eyes, for writing on uneven surfaces.
The new one is a bit too large in comparison. My thoughts swim in a sort of emptiness, with no lines to bring ideas together, to give them any kind of sense. Just an endless ocean of blank pages; a sort of void. It feels like a stripped-bare apartment. No touch of home. No cosiness. Just four blank walls and a lot of space that I am at a loss at how to fill.
Incidentally, the new WordPress editor feels the same now. Too open, too vast. Too much white. I feel a little overwhelmed somehow by its design; sometimes, I find that I am grappling to fill all this blank space with something, to make this blankness disappear. All this space is intimidating. I need corners, nooks and crannies; places to hide, to burrow into. I need bumps and dents in which to tuck my stories, somewhere safe where I can keep my words.
But well, about the new notebook. It’s no surprise it feels so impersonal: it’s just a heap of neat, spiral-bound A4 pages and was originally a company notebook. It’s not faring very well in the creative writing business. Office notebooks aren’t good homes for daydreams and words that only make sense upside-down.
It all makes sense now.
So maybe I’ll downsize, who knows. And keep these white, blank pages to draw these colonial-style houses I long to put to paper.
Note: While I am infinitely grateful for even having paper to write on and an internet connection to share this, I will admit to being a little bit of a notebook snob. It is what it is.
I am bathing in the comforting darkness of a late, late night, caressed by its sweet anonymity.
Beyond the window, leaves rustle, but no one save the insomniacs like me hear them. Somewhere out there, if you follow the dark long enough, you will find the light. Somewhere in this night, there is a daybreak. Not metaphorically. But very much in actuality. If you walk and walk along the deserted highways, if you are able to slip through the narrow pathways that open onto the ocean and if, after that, you reach the horizon, there will be a sun waiting — warm and glorious. A promised day.
Somehow, it is there that I find myself now. In this rising sun, kilometres away from this dark room and the cold circulating inside.
I’ve done nothing in particular to feel like this. At times, these thoughts catch me off-guard and I stay up waiting for the sun to rise, feeling eternal.
Note: So when I was little, I had really bad insomnia. Often I would just wake up in the middle of the night and sit by the window in the dark, waiting 3 or 4 hours for the sun to rise. I’ve tried multiple times to write about these weirdly formative nights but they were just that: attempts. Somehow, this 2-minute midnight scribble is the closest I’ve gotten to describing the feeling 🤷♀️
I’ve been accused of hardcore cynicism in my time.
But well, life’s like a cat. It scratches me and then wraps itself around my legs. It finds me when I am feeling low and sits with me. Life endears itself to me, again and again.
In my hurry to leave for work, I left some chia seeds at the bottom of a jug of water. Without even seeing the light of the sun or caring to obtain my permission, these little devils sprouted on the side of my vessel. On one side, their roots unfurled all the way down to the shallow water; on the other, their long, green necks stretched to catch a taste of that promised glory, the nourishing touch of sunlight.
I know some people don’t believe in it at all — to them, every event is a result of your choices and Life’s own randomness. Other people believe in it sometimes, usually when something big happens, the kind that makes them say:
“I don’t believe in Fate, but even I can see that this is not a coincidence.”
Then there are those who do believe in it, quietly, without raising much of a fuss about it. On the opposite end of the spectrum, are those who attribute everything to Fate, who remove free will from the equation altogether, choosing to be moved about by life, instead of choosing where to go. All the same, surrendering is a choice, is it not?
“To what extent do I believe in Fate?” I found myself asking, faced with a strange set of circumstances I itched to call by another name. These events spoke to my heart but failed to satisfy my mind with some rational explanation or other.
But is there a reasonable explanation for everything? Should there be, should we expect one?
I thought I had answered those questions with a good degree of certainty many years ago, during The Great Existential Crisis™ that started in my early teens and lasted well into my university days. But they resurface every now and then, as though they had not been properly quashed the first time around.
The problem is not what I think, but what I believe. I’ve learned the two aren’t the same thing, that I can hold dramatically conflicting views without flinching. Logically, I know, for example, that I can never attain perfection. But do I believe it, am I entirely convinced that I can’t secretly get very, very close if I do X, Y or Z? As long as my heart won’t agree to something, I’ve found that a crack of doubt will always remain, not allowing me to seal the deal, to set the answer in stone.
Do not let your mind meddle too much with matters of the heart, whispers a voice inside my head. Not all problems can be dealt with reason, and the heart does not have all the answers either.
In my case, I have let my mind talk over my heart, interrupt it, cut it in speech, berate it, silence it. I’ve starved my heart because the adult world speaks in binary, of functions and formulae, of surface areas and investments, 5-year plans, employable skills, ‘worthy’ degrees, settling down and the stock market — concrete, well-defined things that form the foundation of daily life. This world does not make mention of everything that lies between the binary zero and one. It has no words to explain the twilight in all things, that which is flimsy and vapour-like, appearing and disappearing like the moon. It cannot describe, explain, understand or quantify anything that refuses to be corporeal, be it a feeling, an intuition, or a dream — and so, it casts it all aside.
My heart is all of these things: feelings, intuitions, dreams, wishes, worldviews, philosophies, musings. Physiologically, biologically, my heart is right where it needs to be. But spiritually — hearts do not, should not exist spiritually, thoughts should not be invisible. All the same, they do, they are. I have to accept that there is some part of me that is not at all corporeal, that it’s all smoke and mirrors beyond a certain point.With grace, I must recognise that the heart, ever-mysterious, has its own worth, one not determined by a decidedly practical society.
It’s a risky business though, trusting what you can’t see. Letting yourself be guided by what you can’t quite define. Seeing symbolism in things, treating events as signs. Yet I am also reminded, each time I venture beyond the gates of reason to dip into the pool-sky of my imagination, what we would be like if we didn’t colour a little outside the lines. If we dared not cross to other worlds, if we dared not believe in what has not yet been done or explained.
Free your heart, free your heart.
Do not let it be chained to a reality that does not understand it. Let it roam freely and find itself, until one day, its erratic intents align just as you knew they would.
So as I stare a fragment of Fate in the face, I ask myself:
“To what extent do I believe in Fate?”
Note: I hope you are all keeping well, wherever you are. Where I live, the number of cases has dramatically decreased and lockdown restrictions have been extended until the 15th of May. After that, the country is set to slowly reopen.