Monday, December 30, 2013

Four Years Later

"Four little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away.
Mother Duck said "Quack, quack, quack, quack!"
But only three little ducks came back."

Once upon a time, back when life was as straightforward as a small, inexpensive toy inside a milk chocolate shell, I convinced myself that the little duck in the nursery rhyme was lost. I remember singing (somewhat out of tune) to the song playing on the VHS and praying to God (because I still did that back then) to help the little duck find his way home. I remember feeling really scared for the little duck, and there was also a time when I wished I could share a piece of my milk chocolate with him, just so I could make him feel better, just so I could make him feel a little bit less lost. What I didn't realise back then, however, was that maybe, the little duck wanted to get lost. Because maybe, getting lost means finding your way. And so maybe, getting lost was the best thing that could have happened to the little duck; him, and all the other ducks who were brave enough to follow in his waddles.

* * *

With that short trip down memory lane and a nursery rhyme that is still very much out of tune, I am pleased to write that today is Life Unplugged's anniversary. If I'm being completely honest though, I'm trying really hard not to get over sentimental over the fact that this blog is now four years old. For one thing, it's a nagging reminder that life is going by rather quickly. Nonetheless, the fact that I still feel the urge to write after so many months, after so many words, could only mean one thing — getting lost means always having something beautiful and exciting to write about. In fact, now I know for sure; getting lost was the best thing that could have happened to that little duck in the nursery rhyme.

And even though life is no nursery rhyme, getting lost is the best thing that could happen to anyone. And so I urge you, I urge to you get lost. I urge you to lose yourself to happiness. Dip your heart in a jar of joy, and if that jar cracks somewhere along the way, I hope you'll find the strength to get a new one. I urge you to fall in love with someone who looks at you like you're the seven colours of the rainbow combined into one. And when you do, remember to hold on tight. I urge you to lose yourself to books and to music. Lose yourself to the words that inspire you, the rhythm that transcends the boundaries of everyday life. Most importantly, I urge you to lose yourself to life. Lose yourself to the beauty that surrounds you, that breathtaking beauty that you often fail to see. Look around you. Is it dark where you are? If it is, I urge you to open yourself to the light, to the magic of colours. Don't succumb to that ounce of darkness. There's a beautiful picture hiding behind the dull colours if you choose to open your eyes. Open your eyes. Be that little duck I used to sing about a long time ago. Lose yourself. It will be the best thing to happen to you this year. Trust me.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Ventriloquy of Life

I had a serendipitous encounter with the universe last week, so I did what any curious human being would do, and asked him for the truth. It was short and it was bitter sweet. It was nothing more than a moment of weakness, but in that moment, I felt the need to ask the universe for the truth, so I did. Now, considering all the hurdles it throws at us on a daily basis, I thought my request was quite reasonable, but the universe laughed, thinking I'd gone mad, which, perhaps, I had. But this isn't about that. This is about the universe and his lame attempt at answering my possibly pathetic question, a question only a few have dared to ask. This is about what the universe said, or didn't, when I demanded to know the truth.

He hesitated at first, then something in the air around us changed, and he told me all about it. He told me that there is no truth, at least not in the strictest sense of the word. He told me that there is no truth, only perfectly moulded lies. And I believed him, mostly because I didn't know any better. I never do. He told me that the truth is like a Nintendo game with a clear beginning but no foreseeable end. It is complex and imaginary, an illusion if you will, like the magic tricks Houdini performed in the late 1800s. And like Harry's tricks, the truth is only temporary, so it is said to fluctuate from one show to another. The truth is, in fact, a circus show, and we are merely random wanderers who just happened to be passing through. We are the circus freaks. We are the dummy puppets manipulated by an introverted, invisible ventriloquist.

"I call it the ventriloquy of life", the universe said, smirking. And in his smirk I noticed something I failed to see before. And it was then that I realised that the universe is as clueless about the truth as the rest of us. He knows that it exists, and that it's there, but he knows better than to try and understand it. Because the truth is messy, and messy is complicated, and no one likes complicated, not even the universe himself. So then I made a promise to myself, a promise I knew I would break sooner or later. I promised to never ask the universe for the truth again.

Until today. Today I had another moment of weakness.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rough Diamonds

And if this is the price I have to pay for letting you go, then I deserve it. But I am poor and I cannot afford it. You see, last night I had a penny, I had it in my right hand pocket, but it's gone now. It's gone, and I am poor. Just like that woman who I blindly assume is old because she cannot afford to look any younger, the same one I see every day, outside Sainsbury's, sitting next to the one pound trolley filled with useless crap she accumulated throughout the years, guarding it as if it was the most precious possession a human being could ever have.

And it's bone chilling cold outside, and she has never managed to sell that one over abused copy of National Geographic, but sometimes, when I'm not too busy wasting time on my overpriced smartphone (which, as it turns out, is not smart at all), I see her attempt to smile. And sometimes, I see myself attempting to smile back. And for that one second, I forget all the reasons why I chose to doom my day to hell this morning. Because now that I think about it, hell is not about waiting for something for an excruciatingly amount of time. Hell is not this.

Hell is watching people pass you by and ignoring you. Hell is going through the trash so you could fish out stale bread thrown away by big men in black suits. Hell is sleeping outside, come rain or come shine. Hell is having to wear the same dirty clothes over and over again. Hell is not knowing what central heating feels like. Hell is not having a place to call home.

No, hell is not this, and yes, I miss you, and the price I have to pay for letting you go is high, but I am not poor. We are not poor. We are ordinary people embellished with rough diamonds we are afraid to cut.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Twenteen

19

I wish I was good enough for poetry slam;
delicious, refined, like strawberry jam.
Because if I was, I'd perform one for you,
and it'll be the one you always turn to.

But I'm afraid I'm not that good yet.
You see, I'm like a lighter without a cigarette.
Instead though, I'm going to write this down,
all the way from the city people refer to as London town.

20

When you were born, I asked you not to grow up, but you did,
until eventually, I said hello to the adult, goodbye to the kid.
You were a beautiful baby, but even more so now than before;
your heart (especially) points to a path that goes straight to heaven's door.

And I know you don't really like to celebrate the date of your birth,
but some of us want to celebrate the day you came into this earth.
I for one, without you, would most probably feel lost,
like a snowman who's lived his life waiting to defrost.

You are everything I always wanted you to be,
just like that acoustic song I listen to on my mp3.
For you, I want every mountain to be moved,
and every last shred of sorrow, removed.

For you, I want the sea to smile at the sun,
and if there's sand beneath your feet, I want you to run.
Because this is your life and you deserve to live it,
so if fear keeps getting in the way, I want you to kick it.

Remember that happiness doesn't have to come at a price,
and that, for now, will be my last piece of advice.
Welcome to the beautifully complicated age of twenty.
And just in case you have forgotten – I love you, plenty plenty.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Nice To Meet You Anyway

I wanted fire. You gave me rain.
Rain and a deep fried ice cream.
Cold, covered by a crispy warm shell.
You know, someone should have told you,
and they should have told me as well.
Someone should have told you
that if the water's murky,
then there's no wishing well.
Someone should have told you
that for boredom there's a cure,
one I'm not willing to endure.
Someone should have told you
that passion is hereditary,
dare I say mandatory.
That opening up is not a crime,
and it doesn't even cost a dime.
Someone should have told you
that it's okay to get burned,
that's how tables get turned.
Because you see,
I wanted those tables to turn,
and I also wanted them to burn.
I wanted fire and you gave me rain.
Rain and a deep fried ice cream.
I wanted fire and you gave me rain.
But it was nice to meet you anyway.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Some Hearts

There was a time in my life when I tried to define happiness. Now I realise happiness doesn't have a definition; happiness doesn't want to be defined. Now I realise I'm not a happy person; I just have sixty serendipitous milliseconds of absolute euphoria every now and then. And yes, it may not be a lot, but I reckon it's enough. Some hearts are richly poor, and that's okay.

Some hearts just aren't capable of storing that much joy. Some hearts thrive on those accidental bouts of happiness. Some hearts dance in the dark to a jukebox song in a silent memory. They dance, somewhat awkwardly, to the sound of the saxophone emanating from the Golden Jubilee Bridge. They bloom on Sunday mornings on top of Primrose Hill. They get slightly drunk on half a bottle of white wine and they bathe and they smooch beneath the neon lights overshadowing Leicester Square. Some hearts go through life injecting stained happiness directly into the bloodstream when all they really had to do was wait.

When all they really had to do was be patient, and wait, just a little tad longer. Because yes, even though some hearts seem to do extraordinarily well on their own, no heart is an island. Some hearts need to bloom together, dance together, get slightly drunk together. Some hearts need to reinvent Oxford's definition of happiness, mostly because it just doesn't make any sense. Some hearts are only temporarily happy. Instead, they have one hundred and twenty serendipitous milliseconds of absolute euphoria every now and then.

Because some hearts are richly poor, and that's okay.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Outside The Comfort Zone

So what happened was, I got in a car, on a plane, on a bus, in a taxi, in another taxi, and then somehow, I got here. Now I don't really know how long it took, nor how long I think it took, but if I had to guess, I'd say it was around twenty five hours and five minutes, which is pretty much the equivalent of a lifetime spent suspended in an imaginary cardboard box drawn in the middle of where you are and where you desperately want to be. So if you really think about it, I mean, really think about it, it must have been a very long time, which it was.

But I figure that's what you get for naively pretending, for twenty five years, that hope and patience, who subtly hold each other's middle finger throughout most of their life, are a foolproof portrayal of the soul. That's what you get for pretending it didn't matter. Because of course it mattered. It mattered when you first thought it did and it mattered when you realised that you were hibernating through life, day by day, without acknowledging that something within those four walls you hide so comfortably in, is in fact wrong.

Those four walls within which the fiction on screen and the lyrics to the song you hum to yourself every morning are real, but only inside your head. That box inside which taking the plunge is not scary as hell, and moving forward is comfortable and safe and has pretty coloured butterflies adorning every square inch. But you know where safe and comfortable and butterflies get you? Nowhere. That's where. They get you nowhere. Maybe they do, at first. Maybe they do get you somewhere, but nowhere you would want to be. Not really.

Which is probably why cutting your way out of the box is so damn difficult. Because there's a lot at stake, a lot that could go wrong, a lot that might not necessarily meet those ridiculously high expectations. But then you do. You put your fears aside, you take your naked heart out for a spin, and you do. No more second guessing. No more vague hopes of being swept off your feet. This is it. Make it or break it.

* * *

And so here we are now. It looks like you've made it. You're outside the comfort zone. Yes, maybe you're a couple years too late, but who the hell cares? You got here in the end. And it's so unbelievably perfect you could cry. But you're not going to. You're just completely overwhelmed at how good it feels. It's beautiful, and it's exhilarating, and the best part is, it's real. It's not happening on a movie screen. It's not written on a lousy piece of paper. It's not floating inside your overactive imagination. It's real. And it's your real. Just yours, and no one else's.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Almost Everything I Wish I'd Say

I went out for a drive the other night. I put on my most recent, eighty minutes long mixed CD and I went out for a drive. I do that sometimes to clear my head, to get rid of the cutscenes. I don't know what it is exactly, but there is something oddly relaxing about driving in an empty road, windows down, and knowing that in that moment in time, there is nowhere else you have to be, nowhere else you'd rather be. So you drive, and because there is nothing else stopping you, you keep on driving. 40 km/h. 60 km/h. Eighty. But then something does stop you, and you stop.

You stop, in the middle of the road, because Track 7, the name of which you don't remember, reminds you of all the things you have left unsaid, the things you'd rather jot down on a piece of paper than have the courage to say out loud. You stop because the defence mechanism you not-so-ingeniously devised for your oversensitive heart, is not working. It never did work. You stop because then you remember the real reason why you're out driving in the middle of the night, in an empty road, while the cool, hot summer breeze, waltzing in through the open windows of your second hand white car, dries the tears you have been putting off for so long. You stop because you remember. And then, it hits you.

You're leaving. Again. And you're scared. Yes, I'm scared, even though I've done this once or twice before, so I probably shouldn't be. But I'm still scared. Because this time it's real, this time I have to grow up, and I don't think I'm ready to grow up. I don't think I want to, at least not in the way real grown ups grow up. I don't want to be a real grown up. But I guess I have to. So I'm going to try. I'm also going to try and write down almost everything I wish I'd say, because as it turns out, the things you don't say are the ones that need to be said the most; they are usually the ones that matter the most.

Truth is, though, I don't really know where to start. Sometimes words fail me, especially when it comes to the things that matter. They fail me or I fail them. Either way, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if you don't always have the right thing to say. It doesn't matter if the words in your head have a rainbow aura surrounding them, but when they make it to your mouth and out in the open, they sound like that little girl who just discovered fairies don't exist. It doesn't matter. What matters is that you say them anyway and by any means necessary. What matters lies in how well you can parade what's hidden deep within your heart.

Like the fact that I love you. But you already know that, don't you? I know you do. What I don't think you know is that I'm sorry. I really am. I'm sorry for wanting to leave. I'm sorry that this is not enough for me, and that it probably never will be. I tried, I wanted it to be, but it's not. Not like this. And I wish I can somehow make you understand that it's not your fault, that if I could, I'd take you with me. Because you are, and will always be, the best thing that ever happened to me, and the thought of not seeing you every day breaks my already-very-fragile heart into a million tiny pieces. But I have to do this. You know I have to. Because this is that moment people talk about when they're 40 or 50, when they're having dinner with their children, and they're talking about how "if only", put together in that order, can be two of the saddest words in this world. This is that moment.

This is it, the moment I have been dreading for a whole year, the moment I have also been waiting for for a whole year. This is it, and now I have to go. I have to go, but a big part of me will always be here, with you. I will always be here with you, for you. Always. And just so you know, it's not you who isn't enough. It's everything else. Because you, you are way more than enough. You, are everything.

You, are my everything, and I love you, a lot. Oh, and one other thing. Please don't forget me.

 Almost Everything I Wish I'd Say: Playlist 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Almost As If

I was sitting on the edge of your black leather sofa.
You were over there, by the kitchen counter,
pouring us both another glass of red wine;
bitter, sweet, touching cloud number nine.

Then you remembered about the playlist,
recorded on a less vintage version of a vinyl,
perfect for musing over the silky sound of smooth sax
and our favourite sultry summer jazz tracks.

And we drank and we danced on the balcony,
slightly merged to the camouflaged city skyline,
like two fools under a voracious voodoo spell,
ignoring the redundant 'do not disturb' signs at the motel.

But then morning came, and you were gone,
almost as if you never existed at all,
almost as if you were over there
and I was over here, patiently
waiting for you
to silently
disappear.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

You Are Alive

I don't know why exactly, but we often underestimate the effortless happiness of just being alive. I, writing this, am alive. You, reading this, are alive. You are breathing. Your heart is beating, and it's pumping blood all over your body, from one end to the other. You are alive and you probably don't even care. In fact, you're probably wondering what it is about life that's supposed to make it so worthwhile. Or maybe you just had a bad day, or a couple of bad days, and you're thinking that life, and every little thing in it, is out to get you.

And that's where you'd be wrong. Because the fact that you're alive right now could be the best thing to happen to you today. (It probably is.) Because, this morning, there were people out there who thought they had a tonight, and they don't. And tonight, there are people out there who think they have a tomorrow, and they don't. It's unreal, I know, but they won't be here to see the sun climb from behind the mountains, or to experience its very first rays penetrate their skin. They won't be here at night to look up at the constellations in the sky and feel ridiculously negligible and small while doing so. They won't be here to listen, on repeat, to their favourite all time band, or watch, for the tenth time, the soppiest movie to ever be created by mankind. They won't be here for that adrenaline rush that accompanies travelling, or that warm, fuzzy feeling of waking up to a breakfast in bed. They won't be here to smell the first September rain, or the sea spray as it collides with the pebbles on the sand. They won't be here to kiss that boy or that girl they've had a crush on for the past year. They won't be here to cook dinner, light a candle, read a book, run a marathon, or say "I'm sorry", "I love you".

They won't be here. But you will be. Because you are alive. You may have forgotten, but you are. You are alive. You are breathing. Your heart is beating. Listen to it. Feel it. Do you feel it? Yes? Good. Now go out there and do something about it.

Please.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Hopeful Idiot

Down at the travelling carnival,
amidst the sunflower fields,
I met a hopeful idiot
who said life was like
a flying kite, soaring high up
in the sky. But he ain't
never seen a kite before,
because kites are for
children, and a child,
he is not. He shrugged as
he tucked the cigar in the
left corner of this mouth,
then he told me all about it,
how he heard the animals whisper,
how it took them a while to open up,
how they promised to show him
how to make a god damn kite.

And there was fire in his eyes,
the kind of fire that doesn't go out,
the kind of fire that burns until
the only thing left burning
is yourself, and the stuffed
lion through the ring.
He puffed on his cigar,
slowly taking it all in.
It was meant to be his very last one,
the last one before he sees a kite.
Tonight, he's making himself a kite.

But tonight's the night
they replace him with the lion. They're
letting him burn through the ring of fire.
That's what the whispers were all about.
And he still doesn't get it. He still thinks
life is like a flying kite, that fire doesn't
burn, that fire doesn't hurt. And it doesn't.
Not really. He's only aching for the kite
he never got to see.

Except he did,
he did see it,
for what I failed to tell him
when I first met him,
down at the travelling carnival,
amidst the sunflower fields,
was that he was
the hopeful idiot, and I
was his god damn kite.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Road To Anywhere

"Where to?" he said as she hopped into the back seat of his big yellow taxi. She was wearing a long blue summer dress and a white flower in her hair. She looked nothing shy of heavenly, so much so that if she were to be a book, and if you were to judge a book by how good it looks from the outside, you would think that she was someone who had it all figured out, like they supposedly do in heaven. But she didn't. Not that day. She needed time to think, time to put it all together in her head. Tucking the dress, gently and neatly, beneath her legs, allowed her a few extra seconds to do just that. But through the rear view mirror, she saw his gentle blue eyes looking at her. She knew the metre was running. She knew she had to say something eventually. She knew time was a luxury she couldn't afford. Time is a luxury nobody can afford. And there he was, waiting for her to say something, waiting for her to give him an answer, a reply, anything. "Say something," she whispered to the little bird hanging by a thread on the bronze necklace in between her breasts. "Just say something."

"Take me anywhere," she finally managed to say.

"I, um. What do you mean?"

But she didn't know what any of this meant. If she knew, she wouldn't be there. "I don't know, I'm sorry. I don't know where I want to go."

"That's okay, I get it, I do. But how can I take you somewhere if you don't know where it is you want to go? I'm a taxi driver, Miss. It's in my job description to take you to a destination."

"Look, I know this doesn't make much sense to you, but I need you to trust me, okay? Because today, everything I thought I knew about life has been turned inside out and upside down. I had goals, I had plans. I never thought I had to make space for surprises. And I never did like surprises. But here we are. Surprise, surprise. I was going to go on a road trip across the States. I was going to travel the world. You see, I had plans, a lot of them. I had a destination. But not today. Today, I don't have a destination. Today, I just want to go somewhere, anywhere. And I just want you to drive. You don't have to know where. You don't have to understand. I don't expect you to understand. I don't think I want you to understand. I just want you to drive. Please, just drive."

She didn't have to say anything else. He just drove.

* * * * *

Two months later, she's sitting next to him on the front seat of their big yellow taxi. Through the rear view mirror, she catches herself staring at the big neon sign they just passed on the highway, the same sign she saw in his gentle blue eyes that morning when they first met, the sign that says "this is the road to anywhere".

"Where to?" she says, looking at him, a cheeky smile spread across her face.

From the corner of her eye, she can feel him smiling. "You're the driver now, Miss," he whispers, twirling a white flower in between his nimble fingers. "You're the driver, you decide."

* * * * *

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tomorrow, When You Are Young

I looked at you and I saw it, that spark with which you used to decorate the silly little things in life. I saw it. I saw it because I wanted to see it not because it was there. I saw it because you wanted me to see it. And then I asked you what it is you really wanted because I honestly couldn't figure it out. You smiled, pushing the tiny freckles on your cheeks closer together, then whispered "I don't know".

But you knew. Of course you knew. You knew how much I hate those three tiny words put together, in a rush, without any sort of meaning whatsoever. And it's not only that, it's that you didn't have the decency to follow them by any of the sheer volume of words that exist in the English dictionary. Because if you think about it, when they asked Einstein why the apple fell from the tree, when they asked Galileo why the earth revolves around the sun, neither one of them said "I don't know". They used a dictionary and came up with a much better explanation. It's all good though. I get it, or at least I'm trying to. You're no Einstein and you're no Galileo. You're just someone who's still trying to figure it out.

And you should do that. Because truth of the matter is, figuring things out is not easy, or as easy as kids your age make it out to be. It's a process, and like most processes, it takes time. But then again, time is relative, and no matter how much you try to get a hold of it, sometimes you just can't, which is, incidentally, another word I despise. Still, I understand that there are moments in life where "can't" and "I don't know" make more sense than any other lie you try to make yourself swallow. Which is why you should know this. I lied when I said I couldn't give you an answer to that question you so desperately wanted an answer for.

I knew the answer. I just didn't know if you were ready for it. But now, now I think you are. "Tomorrow, when you are young."

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Because You're You

There's something about you that inspires me,
much like the sun at night caressing the sea.
There's something about you that makes me want to be better;
a pirate sailing the oceans no matter the weather.

Because you are the person I always look up to,
when I'm lost, wandering, without a clue.
You are my picture perfect reflection,
standing by close at each intersection.

And I honestly don't know how you do it,
without ever really saying "I quit". (Although I guess I do.)
Because I see it everyday behind those eyes;
courage, hope, strength, someone who tries.

And yes, while I do know that we sometimes fight,
and most of the time you're the one who's right,
I also know that you are a hero, the real one,
the one who's always there when all is said and done.

So with that in mind, let me tell you this,
so that after I can give you a kiss.
I admire you,
I respect you,
and I love you.

I love you because you believe in my dream,
even though sometimes it makes you want to scream.

I love you because you taught me how to be strong
when everything around me seems to be going wrong.

I love you because you appreciate the little things,
not the lives of the rich, the queens, and the kings.

I love you for a million more reasons, but most of all,
I love you because you're you.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Existential Crisis

Every now and then we all have one. It's an inevitable rite of passage, like puberty, but without the emotional turmoil of having to wait for your sex organs to grow. It's also a mouse trap, with cheese imported from a small village in Switzerland as bait. It's Pandora, opening up her box and unleashing a plethora of questions that start with who, what, when, where, why and how. It's a lot of things actually but what it really is is an existential crisis.

One in which everything changes as time stands still. One in which knowing means nothing and not knowing is worse. One in which synapses short circuit, brain spins out of control, and the central nervous system starts to second guess itself, and just like that, everything you once thought you knew is replaced by trivia you had forgotten to think about. Such as.

God is an illusion who lives inside a magician's overactive imagination from which he then goes and pulls a white rabbit out of the hat. Death is a game of dominoes, but with twenty eight blank tiles, and sooner or later we are all expected to play yet neither one of us knows how. People die, bodies decompose, and we are never to hear from them again, and if we do, well, if we do, something's not quite right. Life on other planets could be the equivalent to death on this one. Success is not about how many certificates you've got hanging on your wall but about how you feel on the inside after you've hung them. Having a strong career doesn't mean anything unless it gives you something worth waking up for in the morning.

Humans cannot fly but children almost certainly can. Earth is not flat but in another world it could be. Life is an unfinished sentence because she who was writing it didn't think it –

Thursday, May 23, 2013

'Tis The Time To Be Confused

I read somewhere on the internet that the mid-twenties is the time to be confused. So I obliged. Over the past six months, I have embarked on this wonderful journey of self-inflicted confusion, and to date, I have no idea what's going to come out at the other end. Truth be told, I don't really want to know, as I was led to believe that it is all part of the fun. Still, the restrained, less carefree, more uptight version of me cannot help but wonder if this is really worth all the invested time and effort.

And just as she is wondering that, I hear an echo in the distance. Maybe it's real. Maybe I'm making it up. Straight ahead, piercing through the mist and fog, I see dark silhouettes walking towards me, pointing their index fingers at me. ("Could this be the zombie apocalypse?") And they're whispering, words I swear I've heard somewhere before, words I don't want to hear, at least not right now. But they keep going at it, with their robotic tone of pity mixed with a little bit of mockery. "Go find yourself a nice boy, pretty child. Date him. Kiss him. Get him to marry you. Then, once you've done that, open yourself to the tiny miracles of unprotected sex. You do that my love, and we promise you'll find the happiness you've been searching for all along." And then they're gone. Along with my chance of ever finding happiness like they do on 90210, apparently.

But then I start to think of all the other things that could, and have, made me happy throughout the years, and suddenly it doesn't seem so bad. Suddenly, confusion seems like the only legit option. I think of the heavy backpack carrying itself to that rock music festival as we slept in undersized tents under the stars, the email received unexpectedly on the second day of May, after months of waiting, telling you that you are good enough, that things always happen the way they're supposed to and not necessarily as you would have wanted them to. I think of the city that felt like home even though there wasn't an actual home to go back to, the strangers who smiled, reassuringly, almost as if they knew something significant was up. And now I remember looking up at the night sky, tears in my eyes and Joshua Radin's The Greenest Grass playing in my ears, and for the umpteenth time this year, I felt confused, because you're allowed to be confused when you're twenty-four. I was confused but I was also happy. You got that? I was happy, you barbaric narcissistic zombies. I was happy. I did not feel it, I've been numb for too long, but I knew that I was.

So yes, I know I may not have it all figured out just yet, and I know I'm not exactly following the convention here, but I will, eventually. And when I do, it'll be because I'm ready. When I do, it'll feel right. When I do, it'll probably be because I've run out of adventures that take my breath away. Till then, I'm sorry, but I would much rather be confused. Because in the end, being confused can only mean one thing, that you care enough about something worth being confused about.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Don't Know Why

I don't know why
we wait for life
to put things into place;
it's like asking flowers
to grow beautifully
in a broken vase.

And I don't know why
people smile when they're happy
and cry when they're sad,
and if they do the opposite,
they're considered mad.

And I don't know why
people cry "Jesus, can you help me now?",
when before they used to adore and
kneel down before the holy cow.

And I don't know why
trying is harder than being,
when you're caught in a moment
between fighting and fleeing.

And I don't know why
you're still lost,
and why I'm right there with you,
and why we never seem to get lost together,
together, like sand and sea,
far away but still touching,
open but still limited,
one and one but never two.

I don't know why.
I never do.
Do you?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Hearts Melted In Sweat

Six months ago I joined a gym. I had never been to a gym before. However, this one is conveniently located three minutes walking distance from my house, so after a lot of waffling about, I decided to take the plunge. Every day except for Sundays, I go and I work out for an hour  just enough time for two episodes of Family Guy and half a music album. Hour's up and then I'm gone, much to the disappointment of Mr. Scale who has been desperately trying to get my attention ever since he laid eyes on me. "I'm sorry Mr. Scale, but frankly, I don't care very much for you. You're just a number, and I'm not doing this for you. I'm doing it for the pumping adrenaline. So, um, yeah, goodbye." And with that, I leave.

Then today, while I was whispering my daily I-don't-care-for-you speech, which incidentally coincides with my cool down routine, this boy came in. I've seen this boy before. He's eighteen, maybe nineteen, and reminds me a lot of Chris Griffin (minus the hair), the socially awkward character from Family Guy. He burst in with this big sweet smile on his face, a smile that would melt hearts if hearts weren't already melted in sweat, and the first thing he does is joke about the pop song playing in the background. He seemed happy. I think he was having a good day.

But then something happened. He stepped on the weighing scale, took a quick look around as if he was about to witness something immoral or illegal, and then stepped off, quietly. He seemed sad, disappointed somehow. Gone were the dimples on his cheek. Gone was the sparkle in his eyes. Gone was the confidence with which he was living today. He passed by me on his way to the treadmill area. I gave him a faint smile and he beamed back. On my way out I noticed the girl to his left and the man to his right, who, unlike him, were running really fast on their treadmill. She was wearing a pink crop t-shirt and tight white shorts. Two treadmills down was the badly tattooed, contemptuous version of Ryan Gosling who flirts with anything that moves without batteries. And then it got to me.

This boy lives in a society where beauty, and sometimes even happiness, is measured by a number on a scale. Some might object and say that it's not, not really, but deep down you know that it's true. Having big biceps and a six pack, or perky breasts and a tight bottom, is considered eye candy, candy you would want on top of you in a game of who-licks-who. I, for one, would be lying if I said that I do not occasionally enjoy some eye candy. But here's what I also enjoy. Here's what I also think is attractive and deserves the same kind of attention.

Hazel eyes, widening up with joy, as they reread their favourite book. That brown tiny freckle in the middle of an ear lobe. The way a nose cringes when it's trying to associate a smell with a memory. An upper lip asking the bottom lip for moisture. Nail-bitten fingers picking up a sunflower from that garden at dusk. Imperfect hands writing perfect poetry. Slightly stumpy legs walking, slowly but firmly, towards something they really want. An inspired compassionate heart beating inside a beautiful soul. That big sweet smile that would melt hearts if hearts weren't already melted in sweat. You, healthy and happy. You, looking in the mirror and humbly telling yourself "I'm beautiful".

Because you are. You are beautiful. With or without those big biceps and/or perky looking breasts.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Other Way Round

Right, so let's pretend, just for a minute, that you are not here and this isn't happening. You are not you and here is somewhere else. Close those beautiful eyes of yours and imagine a world where everything is as it's supposed to be. No ifs, no buts. Feel the rush of wind on your skin as you plunge yourself into this delightful microcosm of impetuous infinity. Here, you can be whatever your heart tells you to be, because in a game of heart-brain-scissors, heart beats brain every single time. Here, you don't have to make up a lie just so you can feel good with yourself, because truth of the matter is, you won't need to.

In this surreal existence, the sun goes up at dusk, and birds and fish tease each other somewhere in between the sky and sea. Humans, accompanied by the harmonious symphony of claps, cheers and encores, make passionate love in the middle of a crowded street. God is your next door neighbour, on whom you can spy through those miniature binoculars, courtesy of that overrated museum downtown. Falling in love is relatively easy over here because trust issues do not exist and do not intend to. Which is why people are happy throughout most of the day and not the other way round. Dreams are unnecessary. Here, you can do whatever you want, go wherever you please, and you won't be judged for it. Here, life and death do not need to be constantly defined. Because life and death are interchangeable. You can die and wake up whenever you want.

But the minute's over now. You are here and this is happening. You are you and here is not somewhere else. Here is this. Here is now. Here is where everything is not as it's supposed to be.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Fearlessness

If there's one thing that life has taught me, it's that fear is a sign of weakness, a sign of cowardice. Fear is a brick wall specifically designed to keep you from fulfilling that bucket list you scribbled on that vintage leather notebook that night that summer. It's a bat, or a hundred of them, surrounding Bruce Wayne and his Batmobile. It's Clark Kent's close proximity to green kryptonite, hindering you from reaching your true potential.

Because once you demolish that wall, brick by brick, row by row, that's when things start to change. That's when Batman puts on his utility belt to save Gotham City from corruption. That's when the reporter for the Daily Planet in Metropolis goes into the telephone booth and changes into a blue, red, and yellow costume, complete with a cape, to stop the large meteor heading towards Earth.

And yes, while I do understand that we are no comic book superheroes, there is nothing stopping us from becoming one. Flying without worrying about gravity may be a long way away, true. But leaping over a tall building in a single bound, high enough so as to help you get over your fear of heights, could be one way to go.

Whatever your strategy, just remember that fear is the only thing coming between you and wherever your heart wants you to go. So be fearless, and don't let it.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Making The Bed

I often find myself wondering what it would feel like to not have to make our bed every morning when we wake up. I mean, wouldn't it be easier if we just got on with our lives without letting the fact that we didn't make our bed this morning torment us for the rest of the day? After all, in the grand scheme of things that matter, manual labour that involves tucking in sheets, removing creases, and fluffing pillows is purely inconsequential. Still, the inclination to start the day on a clean slate is hard to ignore. So you fluff, you straighten, you tuck, and you end up making your bed just so you could have some peace of mind.

Fast forward a couple of hours, and you're now lying in your bed, with your bedside lampshade on, thinking about that one thing you promised yourself you'd never do and then did because you had no other real choice. Only you did. Because you always have a choice. For instance, you can either choose to brush your teeth before or after breakfast. If you brush them before, you might curb your appetite. If you brush them after you eat, you'd run the risk of staining your recently dry cleaned suit. Either way, it's your choice to make. Just like it's your choice to be or not be happy for the rest of the day. Just like it's your choice to make or not make your bed every morning before you go to work. It's your choice. Yours, and no one else's.

There's a catch, however. If you do decide to make your bed, you'd better be sure you're ready to lie in it. Because unless there's a sudden change in sheets or a sudden change in weather, there's no turning back.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chaos

There was chaos in the city.
There is chaos in my head.
It's three in the morning.
Shouldn't there be some sort of comfort in this bed?

There was chaos in the city.
There is chaos in my head.
I looked it up on the internet;
you're either 'mad' or 'dead'.

There are people squirming at the current circus freak,
like a bird, singing, without its beak.
And there are wolves wearing wool that would make Vuitton jealous,
somehow mistaking fulfillment for acting overzealous.

And then there are the construction workers,
building a mountain out of a mole-hill,
singing "I hate this, I do, but I can't",
so instead they just pop another pill.

Because they live in a world where gossip is knowledge,
and knowledge is a bargaining chip,
on which they chew, digest, excrete,
and then slip.

Yes, there was chaos in the city.
But there was never chaos in my head.
It's four in the morning.
I think I'll just go to bed.

Life Unplugged | Chaos by Leanne Grech

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

This is for You

Yes, I'm writing this for you and only you, because today I don't care about anyone else but you. You might not realise that it is you at first, but you will, eventually. And when you do, you're going to smile that oh,-here-we-go-again smile that I despise so much, and you're also probably going to want to stop reading this. But you won't, because you and I both know that me writing this, today, means something. And while I know that words don't mean anything to you, they mean everything to me. So please excuse me while I continue writing.

Actually, I think I'd rather start again. Because if I do, and apparently I'm going to, I would tell you that I get it. I get it. You think that I don't, but I do. Of course I do. How could I not? You're not the only one who's scared of breaking down a six-foot concrete wall by yourself. Believe me, you're not. What makes this different than most of the other walls out there, however, is that you've got someone who's willing to help you break it. Or at least, if not break it, turn it into edible jelly, one that could (and would) also be consumed by queen bees throughout most of their lives. So there's that.

I would also tell you that it's going to be all right. That this, whatever this turns out to be in the long run, is only temporary. I would like to tell you that, but I don't think I ought to. Not because I don't believe it, because I do. It's just that holding on to hope can be extremely exhausting, especially when the line between temporary and permanent starts to fade into nothingness as time waltzes by. Still, if you wanted to, you could always try repainting over the faded line using the cheap colour palette you bought for Christmas the year before last. It may not bring you directly to the pot of gold, but it's a start. And that's what I think you need; a fresh start, a clean slate.

So go ahead, create one. Take down that six-foot eyesore. Kill every demon that has ever contributed to it coming up in the first place. And when that's done, go out there and start living. Life is hard, and it's complicated. I know that. You know that. Psychologists know that. Regardless, it's also very fulfilling if you know how to do it right.

Now, before I end this, I want you to read and understand very carefully what I am about to say next, once and for all. This is your life. Yours. Not mine. Not theirs. Yours. If you're not happy with it, change it. Not tomorrow. Not today. Now. Before the bees realise that they are getting high off of the jelly that once encompassed your wall. Before the colour palette (the one you bought for Christmas the year before last) reaches its expiration date. Because yes, contrary to what you and everyone else might think, it has one, just like pretty much everything else in life.

If you need me, I'll be here.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hundred

This right here is the story of a star who defied the laws of astrophysics in an attempt to make her dream come true. It is a story that happened one hundred years ago, on a night so dark it seemed as if the void had swallowed every street light whole. Predictably, because that is usually the case with dark night fiction, this story starts on a sour note. Thing is, the star in question was dying, and she was sad. She wasn't sad because she was dying. Well, that too. She was sad because she realised that her dream, the one she'd had ever since those swirling clouds of dust and gas collapsed, was slowly dying too. She had been trying really hard to come to terms with the reality of the situation, but what ifs have a way of resurfacing at the most inappropriate of times, like this one.

Neighbouring stars didn't quite understand what the distress was all about. Being a star was relatively uncomplicated. You're born, you sparkle until you can sparkle no more, and then you die. Anything else in between can only complicate the journey. Still, they respected her and her wish too much not to do something about it. The only problem was that the only celestial body capable of fulfilling the dying star's wish was the moon. Now you see, the moon is a proud entity. They found him orbiting the Earth with a margarita in one hand and a Cuban cigar in the other, clearly emanating the message that he wasn't too keen on striking up a conversation. Regardless, when they explained their reason for being there, which was followed by a lot of nagging and pleas, he had a change of heart (which is pretty ironic considering the moon is usually heartless). Now, what happened next is a bit of a stretch, because if it really did happen the way it did, that would mean that the Earth was moonless for a couple of minutes that day. But here goes.

So apparently, it is said that the moon set his pride aside that night; he stopped sipping on his cocktail, he stopped puffing on his cigar, and he stopped orbiting our planet. Instead, he paid a visit to the dim, dying star whom he found clinging, desperately, to that last shred of hope. "I hear you're in need of some moon magic", he said with a tone of someone who had been saying that same phrase for a really long time. "You've been an impeccable star throughout all of these years, so honestly, your wish is my command. Besides, I believe it's time to show the universe that dreams really do come true".

It was obvious, from the way he said that, that he was completely oblivious to the effect his words and close proximity had on her. But when he saw small spheres of plasma (the equivalent of human tears) streaming down her whole body, when he heard her mumble incomprehensible words under her breath because she didn't have any more strength to speak up, he understood. He understood that this is where he was supposed to be that night. He understood that something incredibly beautiful was about to happen right there and then. Most importantly though, he understood that some stars are not meant to be rooted. Some stars are not meant to be stationary. Because some stars have dreams that are bigger than all the laws of the universe combined together. And then some.


* * * * *

One hundred years later, on a moonless night...

"Look, look, mum! It's a shooting star! It's a shooting star! Quick, quick, close your eyes, make a wish!" His mum, not wanting to disappoint her four-year-old boy, closed her eyes, pretending to make a wish. And then she smiled, softly. She got down on both knees and she hugged him really tight to her chest. "Turns out the moon was right", she then whispered in his ears. "Dreams really do come true."


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Travelling Bugs

I don't know what it is about this kind of life that makes me want to keep coming back to it over and over and over again. I mean, let's be honest here for a second. Travelling is not all it's cracked up to be. To start with, packing is exhausting, especially for someone who has been unprofessionally misdiagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder. Then there's the security checks at airports, where you have to remove essential items of clothing after having invested valuable time in putting them on. Not to mention the seemingly inappropriate (yet somehow legal) touching by odd looking strangers who claim it is their profession to search for something that is clearly not there. Or if it is, it's very well hidden.

When that's done, and everything else is running smoothly, you get on the plane and you sit, on the right, in an even-numbered seat, because that's where you feel most at ease. Thirty minutes in air and you suddenly realise that that urgent bathroom call, the same one you ignored prior to boarding in an attempt to get yourself a decent seat, is now back. But you don't want to disturb the lovely old couple who have been nothing but nice to you throughout the course of that half hour period. So you dismiss the call, again, and suppress every thought that urges you otherwise. The fact that the fresh oxygen supply is limited doesn't help make the situation any easier. But it's all good because you're almost there now.

Quietly, and with a voice of someone who just woke from an afternoon nap, the pilot announces that you shall be commencing your descent at your destination. And then you do. With your book, your music, and your passport at hand, you make your way to the exit door. You step outside into the unknown and you take your first breath of foreign air. Make it deep. Don't move. Stand still for a second. Just stand still.

Because in that moment right there, that's when you know. That's when you know that no matter how draining and wearing it is, the journey complements the destination. That's when you know that those tiny little creatures, jumping on your heart like a bunch of six-year-olds at a playground after school, are there for a reason. And they will be coming back for as long as you need them to.

For as long as they all shall live.
For as long as you both shall do.