I am not a soul.

“No, we are not souls, you remind me. Not merely that. We are souls with bodies; we wound up having both our feet on the ground and our heads in the clouds. “

Art by Soey Milk

I often stress the superiority of the inside versus the outside. Of the mental versus the physical, the intangible sketched against the tangible.

I get swept away by the idea of ideas and boast about existing on a higher level— a dimension that is transcendent of bodies made of clay, dismissive of the ritual physicalities of life.

“I am more! I am more!”, goes my cry to the Void, “I am a soul anchored to this earth by a body heavy enough that I cannot drift away to the place that calls to me (this place somewhere between the stars). I am more—more than what you see me to be.”  

But I am wrong.

I am not a soul.

And you prove that to me without even a word.

Because there are days when I do not need the sharpness of your wit, the complexity of your stance on Divinity or your knowledge of the stars and the ocean and all else that lies in between.  It is those days when my head aches from the weight of my own thoughts and I cannot talk—for Lord’s sake, some days I can’t even be.

Those days, as much as my meaningless ego loathes to admit, I need the warmth that gathers within your palms. I need the sound of your heart thumping in my ears, the rise and fall of your chest against mine. And your fingers that draw patterns and tangles into my hair, your voice that cracks sometimes, imperfect and warm when you hum a little something under your breath.

I am not a soul.

In those moments, I am glad that there is this body. These bodies, both yours and mine and all the ones that have loved us til this day.

No, we are not souls, you remind me. Not merely that. We are souls with bodies; we wound up having both our feet on the ground and our heads in the clouds.

Ah, but when these days are past and Life is back to this lie that we can ‘normal’, I will argue otherwise. I will insist that our bodies – yours at the very least- are guided by an inner gentleness, a kind of ‘light from within’.

And that is who we are.


The World Will Miss You

Art by: Neko Katz Illustration 

Have you ever wanted to stop existing before? Not die—no, that’s too…drastic. But to just cease existing. To have your presence wiped away like words on a blackboard and to leave the world unchanged, undisturbed— as though nothing had happened.

Well, I have, and as much as I want sometimes to just stop existing— I can’t.

Because I take up not a space, but many spaces in this world—unwittingly, involuntarily. I cannot help but exist with a complexity I sometimes wish I didn’t own. But I do.

I am the child, the friend, the person who smiles at you and nods in the middle of a conversation when everyone else has stopped paying attention. I am a random smile you catch in a crowd, the person who orders the same thing every Friday at the café you work at. I am a voice speaking a familiar tongue in a scary, foreign place. I am a face that looks like yours when you are frowned upon for looking the way you look. I am the novel I hold in the stuffed métro, the one that holds dear memories and has warmth gushing to your chest on that grey evening in the lonely, buzzing metropolis.

And when I go, I will leave all these spaces empty. And that will change the world in its own way.

So I cannot stop existing. I cannot go silently, and pretend to be going the way I came.

If I am here now, it is because I entered the world with a bang, with a piercing cry into the noisy world that said:

“Here I am.”

So if I can’t go quietly, if I can’t go without knocking over a few lives, then I should as well go the way I came, with a piercing cry into what they call the void, in a voice that says quite immaturely, quite laughably —like foolish lovers who carve their loves on unsuspecting tree trunks— something, something along the lines of

“I was here.”

And this is a cry the world will hear decades after I am gone: in my books, in my paintings, in my art.