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.
I have been so busy questioning Life that I can’t seem to live it.
My tenderest years I spent feeding my doubts, utterly taken by greater-than-life hypotheses about Meaning and Existence. The questions grew large and looming, dwarfing me in the process, until one day I fell into one of them, into the black hole of one “Why” too many. Further down the rabbit hole I fell, to the point where it became all I knew; I could only vaguely recall there ever being some other life before it.
And so I spent many years surrounded by a kind of darkness, in the search for “Truth” (although, in reality, it was more complicated than that). I was looking for the Truth, the kind humans have been searching for since the dawn of Time, but also for my own personal truth, my own story. I was looking for myself, trying to see, through the very limited lens of my consciousness, the whole truth of the human condition, the efforts of mankind sketched against the then-vague concept of the Universe.
Ironically, by trying to widen my worldview and deepen my consciousness, I became monomaniacal, so astoundingly focused on the task I couldn’t see what I’d become.
Life graces us all with at least one piece of irony.
Then, I spiralled.
Days blurred into nights and Time melted under the sun until Life became Existence, and I did not know myself anymore.
I’d love to say I woke up one day to the sunlight caressing my cheek. I’d love to say its warmth shook something in me and jolted me awake.
But I stayed locked in the dark. I let my teenage years just go by. I never truly celebrated the year when I was 18. This feeling was all I was; it erased everything else, every other kind of identity. And it was so hard to explain — how could I when I didn’t even understand it myself?
But slowly, unwillingly, I crept out into the sun. I opened my eyes to it, its brightness burning my retinas. Then I crawled back inside for months in a protective darkness, in a safe stillness. Then I came out again. I would spend a day in, a day out. Now the days have turned into months, the months into half-years. And slowly, I am converting Existence to Life again.
This time around, I believe I am going about existentialism the right way: I ask questions and in so doing, uncover dark rooms, encounter still, darkened worlds within my consciousness. And in the midst of all this darkness, I try to find the light that shows me around it.
It is this simple: do not get eaten by the dark. Always carry some light with you, within you.
We all have that spark, no matter how dire the circumstances, how extreme our suffering. As long as there is life, there can be light.
Do not let the darkness overwhelm your light. Even if it is flickering, light always overpowers darkness.
Note : I remember when I started this blog, I was still in the throes of all this dark existentialism, of these huge concepts I could not fully comprehend, did not know how to handle. And now I am all “A kaleidoscope of butterflies” and “Warm, honeyed sunlight”. Whodathunk.
“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. “
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.”
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.
“We do what we do because we want to bookmark our existence, to cry at the Void that we are, we were. For a moment, we were true and infinite and you could not touch us. “
I used to think that lovers who carved their initials on trees were stupid. Why would you hurt a tree like that? I used to get angry. But now that I’m older I get it, I think.
Cave paintings, initials on a tree, even youtube ‘firsts’… You do it to say:
“We were here!”
To show that there was a ‘we’ once. You carve those initials to show that there was happiness and laughter and joy during a picnic on a summer too beautiful, too blurry to remember. We were alive! We lived, we loved. We were there. So complexly, so beautifully, so mind-numbingly, persistently, resentfully, there.
And even though the love has gone, even though our lives have passed, we are still there. We will always be. A picture of us etched into a tree lost in this world somewhere.
We need others to see, others to know. Because it is not enough to tell ourselves it was real. The memory of how real it was will stray in the black holes of our consciousness. It will be lost if others do not remember. If the memory isn’t shared consciousness, or if it is not agreed upon that it is reality, it will all be lost. If you’re the only one who remembers you, then everything you have been dies with yourself. And after a while, you stop being real.
So we try our damnedest to buckle ourselves to choice moments of this life. Even though in reality, Life is a great waterfall that perennially flows, carrying us with its currents. And any attempts to go upstream, to defy its waters will ultimately lead to a slip, a fall. Even so, even if it is foolish, I understand now. We do what we do because we want to bookmark our existence, to cry at the Void that we are, we were. For a moment, we were true and infinite and you could not touch us. We shone so bright we illuminated the ultimate darkness of our existence, like the city lights that sparkle so bright they can be seen from space.
Note: Day 8 of ‘NaNoWriMo’. You can also find the entry for the previous day here 🙂
” It is not a sadness you manufacture, not something you own or create. It is something you find one day when you listen. And after that, it is always there. It does not mean I am unhappy, no. Just that the world I see goes far beyond the world I live in now. The world I know is a hundred thousand layers deep and counting—always.”
There is a gentle sadness about Life. Something about growing and getting old. Because when you grow, you also outgrow and when you live, you also outlive. This gentle sadness courses through all that we touch and are, through all the known and unknown universe. It is a truth we cannot fight. Just like we cannot deny that the sun will rise and set or that the rain will fall. We are witnesses, actors in a play that we ultimately do not decide the end of.
And yet, this affliction, this soft greyness is not too common, I find. Even so, it is a way of viewing the world. A way to find beauty in the dusty city. It settles like a blanket over me, this feeling. During sunsets and in nature, as the midnight fireworks go off, as I stare away into the sky, as the end of our adventures draws near and the quiet reigns.
Often, I am quiet because I think that all this beauty dies one day. I am quiet because I am sad for the world. The one I live in, the one in 10 minutes from now, even the one from eight hundred or eight thousand years ago. It is not a sadness you manufacture, not something you own or create. It is something you find one day when you listen to the world’s stories. And after that, it is always there. It does not mean I am unhappy, no. Just that the world I see goes far beyond the world I live in now. The world I know is a hundred thousand layers deep and counting—always.
Sadness is the state of life and the world. It is a reality you learn to accept as you accept that the planets rotate around the sun and that gravity exists. There is sadness that lasts, and there is nothing to do with it, save for acknowledging it.
“The memories one day will flare, bright and summery, whirling through this body, all the way to my fingertips, to the strands of hair your fingers pushed back one stolen afternoon — and my whole being will remember what it means to be.”
Ungrounded. Not floating—not flying and yet not rooted, I am caught in in-betweens, enmeshed in threads of Fate or Entropy I do not control. This heart, gushing hot, red blood is stoical. Everything tastes grey and I’m lying because I don’t even remember what life has been like these past 24 hours. This body is not mine, these memories— these small, distant touches of warmth— do they really belong to me? Or are they just electrical signals that buzz through ‘my’ brain? Mere pieces of data that can be forgotten, erased out of existence? How important can my existence be if it can all be reduced to such fragility?
All I am, all I know is this voice. It echoes thoughts in a dark room, raises questions, throws around truths that cannot be faced or acknowledged. I, I think I’ve gone and done it— I’ve overthought myself out of existence.
It’s not good.
It’s not bad.
It is what it is.
And it too, will come to pass as all things must.
The memories one day will flare, bright and summery, whirling through this body, all the way to my fingertips, to the strands of hair your fingers pushed back one stolen afternoon — and my whole being will remember what it means to be.
But that is not now, so when you ask, kind and unsuspecting, if I am fine, what other answer can I give but yes?
We always see more, feel more, think more than there is. We attach concepts to ideas, weave symbolism into art and inject meaning into everything we do. Our minds are elaborate castles with hidden traps, dungeons and secret passageways. Our thoughts are labyrinths, our dreams oceans of unexplored depths.
And then, as if that wasn’t enough, as if our minds were not already uncharted territories, we find ways to link them to others’. We connect our worlds with theirs. And so, if our minds are worlds, then our relationships are galaxies that contain all of us, from the deserts of depression to the mountains of glory, through the fields of love and the black holes of mourning.
We are charged with meaning, alimented by purpose.
It is phenomenal that we can create all this from bodies that are essentially clay, that we can build worlds with something as mortal and fragile as the human body.
It is awe-inspiring that our ideas can transcend Death, that our existences are not limited to our lifespans.
But even so, it is both a blessing and a curse to exist so complexly.
Because you can see the beauty of a flower, but in the same breath, you also realise that it will soon wilt. You cannot be truly happy because the voice nags. There are whispers of ends that reach your ears, ideas of loss that poison your bliss.
No wonder so many intelligent people are sad; they see untold outcomes. And not many of them end well.
You have castles of thoughts that await, but inner peace evades you.
What is the point of owning such a big estate, such expansive worlds, when you do not even have one broom closet where there is quiet?
The mind is loud, noisy.
It bustles, it always works.
It overheats but it never stops.
It overthinks but it never stops.
So sometimes, I wonder.
I escape the mind by going further into it, by seeking its hidden cracks.
Sometimes, I want to be something simple. Like a cloud. Float gently around the world and distribute rain, sometimes thunder? I can do that. There would be no need to have inner peace then, because I would just be.
Cogito Ergo Sum? More like Cogito Ergo Sum.
The mind is too loud,
the thoughts require too much.
I just want to close my eyes and be.
I just want to close my eyes and breathe,
feel my heart beat and look at a flower
and only think that
it is indeed very beautiful.