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I think I’ve managed to convince myself that the past four months without electricity or internet access at home has been quite a heroic episode. I’m back with lights, back online, and it seems that I haven’t felt this normal in ages. And so it winds down to nothing – I thought it was a liberating four months though. Sleeping without any fans or air conditioning, no lights at home, no computer to do my work with. It was liberating, but now I’m back on my crack. I guess it will take a long while to get used to being me.
You see these hands to do what work they can find, and you see these feet to take me place. You see this heart, ardent for a space to fill. I’m not here for a revolution, but I’ll try my best. If I’m going to change the world, it’s going to be done one person at a time. I’m just like everyone else, still struggling to master this human experience – falling short, but coming up again to try. It’s the only thing I can offer to this world as a testament to this life I’m living.
Lord give me strength.
It’s one of those rare days where the sun’s warm enough to melt the icy air that’s been around town lately, and everyone seems to be out today searching for a little warmth. Strands of conversation float up with what’s left of the chilly breeze.
Your fingers trace the circle that’s the edge of your cup. Across you, two complete strangers strike up a conversation. Your smile’s not for me to discern, but your eyes betray you. When you’re done with your drink, I can tell you’re not ready to go.
The swing of the door tells me I’m right.
There was something in the air that clung onto everyone today, and you just knew the day was going to stretch. We watched the hours crawl by and took them down, every grudging minute by minute. There weren’t any conversations worthwhile enough to take us away from the moment that we all weren’t living anyway. So we counted down the minutes until it was five, and made our quick descent to gawk and talk in conspicuously loud voices – as if it would make any change. So the handshakes lose their sincerity, and the chatter dies down.
Tomorrow will be better.
These days I’ve been feeling very different, as if settling down to a new routine. I felt childish, innocent, like it was my first few days at school. I felt the charming dread that coursed through my veins as I didn’t understand (or perhaps did not wish to understand) the economic concepts the lecturer taught. I wanted to go home early again, and watch noontime cartoons like I used to.
Today I felt as if I was seven all over again - the first first-day experience seemed to be re-living itself in me, quietly telling me that this isn’t it.
Chemistry from one to two, it’s the worse slot of the day. Watching from the back of the lecture theatre, it’s hard to tell what’s going all the way up in front. The rustling of lecture notes and the quiet scratching of pens and pencils gently lulls me into a vague slumber. The lecturer’s sarcasm and little movements annoy the hell out of me. Idly I take down the notes I’m obliged to take down, knowing full well that I’ll forget all the formulas and equations as soon as I’m out of the lecture doors.
The day, unmercifully, drags on.
She’s grey today, strumming her guitar hesitantly staring into space – unsure and strangely unpredictable. Most days she’s in a swirl of either blacks or whites, she’s either up or down, yes or no – and if there’s anything she’s caught in, it’s a dilemma. I’m not here to save her, I’ve got too little in my life to add to hers – too little colour, too little problems, too little truly good days in my life.
Today she’s lost like never before. She calls my name as I walk away, but I pretend not to hear.
I don’t have enough to give.
To be alive is to be weak, to be fallible, to be dangerous, to be vulnerable, to be limited. To be alive means there are times that you’re going to be so tired that you cannot help but lean on people. To be alive is be alive means there are times that you’re going to fail, and the people who love you best will stand up for you. To be alive is to take risks know that there are people you can fall back upon. To be alive makes you realise how little of an island each of us are.
When it rains here in this city, the thunder plays bass, the rain plays the hi-hats, and God, in a rare appearance, plays
. Down here, each of us plays our lonely solos when our turn in line comes.
What’s the rain after all? Just a bit of delay, a splash on the windowpane, a little more white noise in an already noisy city? It doesn’t make this place any less soulless or heartless – it just makes it more indistinct that it normally is. For once the buildings don’t stand out so much from the sky they hold up.
On hot days when it rains, those strange little insects come out at night. They buzz around the streetlights, hover above the tall grasses, with seemingly not much in mind. They don’t have a name, or if they do, I don’t know it, nor do I know anyone who does. They come out for just one night, and come tomorrow, the streets would be littered with their tiny corpses – the body and the wings separated as if a rite before they die. What strange, fragile lives to live – to dance for a night for all to see, and then die.
I bared my soul and felt vulnerable finally, after such a long time It feels good to be human, it feels good to cry, it feels really, really good to finally let go. I finally can take off the little blue post-it note that’s been nagging at me from the corner of my eyes for the past few hours. I can tear it up now, throw it away, and never think of it again. It’s like taking a continent off the world that’s been sitting quite uncomfortably on my shoulders these past few weeks. I’ve finally broken my hardened heart.
I can’t help but laugh at the way you stammer on stage as you hold your script in your trembling hand. When you’re done, you smile that nervous smile of yours at the polite applause they give you as you stumble off stage.
I can see right through you because I’ve been in your place before. I’ve been in your shoes, trembling. I’ve been in your words, stuttering. I’ve been on your stage – helpless, nervous and so very awkward. I know what it’s like up there, and I can’t help but love the way your humanness shows through your facade.
It doesn’t take much to for us to realise how fragile we really are. Our little hierarchies, our communities, our systems and these games we play with ourselves. Building houses of cards waiting to be toppled in a snap of a finger. All we need is a push, a person, a voice strong enough to shift things only slightly out of order to end this play our a sour note. While the world outside keeps moving on, our games grind to a halt – and we toil again only to build another house of cards as fragile as the previous one.
Do not go gentle into that good night
Rage, rage against the dying of the light
Dylan Thomas understood us when he penned those lines. He understood, so long ago, why we invented the comb over, why we hardly go out without makeup, why when we’re older we dye our hair black, blonde, red. We are afraid of death – mortally so – afraid of our mortality, afraid of going and not leaving anything behind. But not too afraid to fight it. We do not go gentle into that good night, we rage, yes we rage against the dying of the light.
It takes a lot to be naÃƒÆ'Ã‚Â¯ve.
If I live life only to love the people who loved me, it’s going to be one hell of a miserable ride for me. I don’t think anyone wants enemies – in any case, I don’t, but I make them anyway.
It takes a lot to go out to the world with an open mind and an open heart. You need guts to try. To try and risk falling down, to laugh out loud and risk not being laughed at, to be open and risk being hurt.
It takes guts: dare to be naÃƒÆ'Ã‚Â¯ve.
Today I fell short. I’m not doing the right things. I’m just moving the things that have to be moved into the right places, that’s all. I’ve got a grid that I’m sticking too rigidly to, I’ve got a square I’m living within and I seem to be stuck along with the movements of the hands of the clock every single day. I don’t see others because I’m too busy looking at where my feet are walking.
I’m not sure where I’ll be heading. I’m not sure where I’m supposed to go next. I’ll be needing some leading over there.
Look where we’re headed. We’re a generation going backwards, looking back in time because we don’t have a future stable enough (or bright enough) to look forward into. We’ve not survived any wars, we’ve not seen any revolutions, and we’re on the perpetual verge of something happening. But it never does until it does. When it does it shocks the hell out of us, as if we never saw it coming our way. We’re the generation without any heroes to look up to, without veterans to honour, without causes to live for. We’re a generation losing ourselves by the day.
I’m not good with finding right things to say at the right times. It’s been intense and I don’t know how to cope with two less people than there are. And not only two less, but three, four, and even five less than the perfect number I had in mind. Where did all the time spent go? Was it worth it in the end? I know the answer to that. It wasn’t the end that made it happen, it was the late hours, the speeches given and friends made. Yes, in the end, the journey’s really the destination. Thanks, guys.
When I though the excitement died down when the applause faded after we finished our show, It didn’t. It brimmed over even when we were moving all the amps, drums and the other stuff back to their rooms.
It wasn’t so much an excitement. More of an elation – how you feel when you know you’ve tried your best and know it’s been a job well done. No matter how tired we are, and how quickly we fall asleep tonight, it was great because of every single person that was there. Thanks, for being there, and thanks, for making it great.
I’m down again after a very short high. I can’t bring myself to admit that for one, it’s over, and another, that I can’t change anything. It’s awful having to leave people behind with hearts broken, it’s awful having to grit your teeth and continue walking on to a destination you’re not entirely sure of. It’s awful knowing you’ll never be back at the same place again, looking at things through the same eyes again.
Thank God for first times – but what happens after the first times are over, what happens if our first times never take place at all?
I quietly watch in the corner as you conjure your words like fireworks, enchanting the crowd. There's no magic here tonight, and it's not all science either. I've watched your show too many times to be fazed by your antics. You play with the crowd, and they play along willingly, wiled by your guiles abd quelled by your smiles. I know your show. But after this elaborate play is over, I want to revel in the knowledge that I can see right through the person that pretends to see right through everyone else in the audience. You know you can't.
What’s it to you who comes out the greatest or the least? At the end of this long and tiring journey, you’ll have to see that what mattered was that we all started at the same point, and we all ended at the same point. We took different routes, we took different times, we took different abilities to finish it – but we finished it, and it seems that the journey counts so much more after the end. We’ll all be waiting at the finish line, waiting until the last person comes in. Don’t you know it? We’re in this together.
Breathe. It’s only the beginning of an entire year of long hours, late nights, great times and even better friends. After all, we’re not one out of a thousand over people. We’re not even one out of five houses, much less one out of eighty-seven other people. We are one. One organization. One school. One voice. One heart.
It’s been great, but it’s only going to get better, even if it’s going to get tougher. We’ve got paths to forge and paths to create. We’ve got places to go, lives to change, opportunities to take. Let’s get up, get going.
I’m rebuilding my life because it’s about time for change. It’s time to change my mind, and time to change the way I look at things. I’m starting all over again because I’ve stayed here for too long, grown too comfortable, and seriously need to get out a lot more. I’m still trying to tear down the walls I’ve been building around me with my words and my distance. I’m trying – and I think I’m long overdue for a change – and I’m still very much fallible. But I’m trying, with all my weaknesses and the little things that complete me.
I saw you across the road that day, and wasn’t really sure where we were heading. But I was sure you were heading the other way. You were there, across the too-wide road. Five, maybe six lanes wide. Wide enough – that is, too wide – to call your name. (Or even hope for you to hear when I did.) Then again, if you did see or hear me, then you pretended you didn’t. Just in the moment I was sure that this world was big – way too big, like they say (used to? do they still?), for the both of us.
On the dashboard, the odometer hits 100,000 today. And yes, the temperatures hit a new low today. We’re up, then down again, down then up. I’m sorry but this is the way it’s going to be for a long while to come. Thanks for playing, but try again, or try another game. Look where we stand, and take a good look, because we’re not going to stay here for long. We move – backwards or forwards, it doesn’t matter (maybe it does to you), but the fact remains: we’re moving. It’s going to take a while to get used to this.
It’s another car ride hitched back home. You watch the world pass by at ten times its normal speed. The lampposts throb by leaving the car in a spasm of amber light. It’s a long day and you can’t wait for it to end. You build a wall of words around yourself, placing your periods deliberately, leaving your sentences hanging in an ambiguous haze. I know there’s a lot that you can’t talk about, and even more you can’t bear to leave behind. You get off, and I know it’s a new game that we’re playing with whole new rules.
I’m not sure where I’m called, but it’s not to here.
Ambition is not a bad thing. What’s a man without ambition? What’s a man without a future to look to, a hope for something better? Problem with me is that I’ve known ambition, and at the same times, I’ve know what it’s like to fall flat on your face. Everything’s here for me to pick from, but it’s not for me to decide. I know I have other paths to walk; I have other differences to make in other different places.
I’m sorry, but this is not my place.
You have seen so much more amazing things that I have in the short life that you’ve lived so far. You’ve done so much more, you’ve been on more stages, talked to larger crowds, and received more accolades than I have. You have more ambition than I do, you have greater dreams that I’ll never dare to dream. New challenges don’t faze you, new places don’t unnerve you. It’s all in the whirlwind of change you’re perpetually in. You’re that high above me.
And I’m sure I underestimate you. At any rate, It’s not my place to hold you down.
Yes I stand and stare because I’ve been here before. The last time I told myself I would never be back here again. I was clinging on to the chain link fence staring at the setting sun and watching life go by and half the speed. I knew I wasn’t part of the plan; I was just there to spectate, and maybe, if I could summon up enough guts, cheer the players on. I wasn’t supposed to come back ever again, but I did anyway. I’ve been made my own fool, and I’m too tongue tied to make amends now
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