The best version of myself might be around the corner but I can’t get to that corner simply because I don’t wish to. It’s hard being good & it’s much easier to be your shitty self – people leave you alone when you’re your most shitty self. They stop relying on you and you stop letting them down. You proudly announce to the world that this is you – you’re flawed and you accept it. Except I don’t think they’re flaws – I think they’re choices, choices that pave the road to the procrastination station. Being good takes work, it takes courage, it takes dedication. The world is too cruel of a place for our goodness to come effortlessly. Kindness is hard and scary, it comes with a lifetime guarantee of disappointment and loss. ‘Not today buddy’, you hear your insides scream – ‘not in this decade’. You are constantly in battle with yourself, wishing nothing but honesty and trust but constantly tiptoeing in the devil’s territory – wishing to understand his ways. You’re constantly hating yourself and loving yourself simultaneously. Clinging to the insides of your head, desperately wishing to be heard and not saying a word. Letting people down is the easiest thing we could do, that’s why we all do it. You’re surely but quietly sinking into melancholy. You’re your worst enemy, no one else matters.
Although I understand that there may only be a faithful 2 or 3 of you out there who read the stuff I post, I feel an undeniable obligation to you to be entirely honest in my words. Ernest Hemingway said, “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know”, and maybe I’ve been afraid to be entirely honest. My writings, though relatable, have been vague. Maybe I was too concentrated on writing relatable pieces or maybe it was just a way for me to write without really writing. I know now that a true writer does not hide behind his words but bleeds through them. A true writer shouldn’t be on the outside looking in and observing his whereabouts and writing beautifully about it. He should be suffering along the men and women he’s trying to relate to, and if he has suffered – as we all have - he shouldn’t be afraid to tell us about it and to bleed onto the pages and leave nothing behind. It’s something I’ve been struggling with because being honest is difficult, and pretending to be honest is easy.
I have been suffering from writer’s block for a while now, and it’s been killing me because simultaneously I have been fighting an inner battle. My only wish was to be able to write all about it, because my pain always inspires me and I desperately wished to be able to write about it as I was sure of its dazzling affect on the word document. I would be so proud of my work because it would come from such dark places. Sometimes, it seems, when I suffer – I secretly rejoice at it because of its literary potential. Some might think it’s sickening, I think it’s artistic.
Lately, however, I have not been able to write anything. It seemed that every time I would try to write all the words that I was desperately trying to purge out was frozen in an imaginary box inside of me. My desperation to write turned into frustration and grief. As if I was mourning the death of the potential words I could write. Oh how beautiful they would look and sound on paper!
It took me a while to finally realize the problem. I quickly recognized this feeling because I had felt it before. When my mother was diagnosed with cancer, I couldn’t write for 6 months. I would sit at my computer and desperately wish for words to flow through me, as they had done so effortlessly before. Why were there no words? I was feeling so much, if anytime was a good time to write this was it. I felt nothing but pain and fear. Weren’t those the prerequisites to good writing? I understood, after six months of failed attempts at my literary projects, that the reason I couldn’t write was because I couldn’t be honest. I couldn’t admit, to anyone, not even my keyboard—that I was feeling angry and scared. I was feeling helpless and I felt I had no control over anything. How can I write about my feelings if I wasn’t ready to be earnest in the way I was dealing with it? Sometimes, I chose to deal with it in poor ways, like limiting food intake to make up for the lack of control in my life. Oh, how foolish I was. Did I think that it was going to make her better? Somehow the less I ate the less hair she would lose? I spent 6 months trapped inside of my own body not finding any kind of release except the constant weight loss that I found to be on the track of and my short tempers that would result in either tears or shouting…shouting at nothing.
As my mother’s condition started to improve I had a chance to look back and see the mess I was, and feel sort of proud of the long way I had come. I quickly would realize that I couldn’t pretend to be strong in front of everyone, while slowly but surely fall apart in private. My story is no different, as there are many stories like my own- the only problem is that I used to be so afraid of sharing it. As if some wall that I had built up would come tumbling down if I write this down. Maybe it would come down, but maybe I’m ready for what’s behind that wall.
Although intriguing, this piece is actually not about a self-destructive young girl with a sick mother. It’s more about what all that represents. Being honest is so important in what you write because that’s the only way it could really be true to you.
I wish I could say I’m angry because that would make this piece an angry rant at everyone and anyone, but I’m not angry – I’m disappointed. You know the way your parents would tell you they’re not angry just disappointed and you would realize that having someone disappointed in you is so much worse, because being angry can be temporary. Being angry is sort of in the moment, it’s fueled mostly by passion and temper – but disappointment is different. Disappointment means that you thought of the person to be better than that. You looked upon the individual to be of great character, and when you realized they were not – it wasn’t anger, jealousy, or even pain. It was disappointment, like when a child is finally told that Santa doesn’t exist – he might cry and deny it at first but at the end all that’s left is disappointment, because the way you wish things were – weren’t. Eventually he’ll get used to the idea, and he’ll start making fun of the kids who still believe in Santa. The people you admired for certain things, proved to you to be average. I guess the problem is not that we’re angry, it’s that people prove time and time again that they’re just like everybody else, — average, mediocre, and flawed. Which maybe makes us sad because we realize we’re desperately wishing to be better than we actually are as well.
Disappointment is like a pill that takes a while to affect you. At first you think you’re angry, or sad, or hurt, or even…indifferent. Soon enough you realize that it’s disappointment in people you thought so highly of. It’s like when you come to an age and you realize your parents are people too, and they don’t have it as together as you thought. You view them differently, and a part of you wishes they stayed those untouchable authorities you looked up to.
People fuck up all the time, they’re messy. We’re all messy I guess. We think we’re doing okay and then we do something which screws the whole thing up, and we screw over other people just as other people screw us over, and it’s really hard to believe in each other anymore because of all the bullshit there is that exists in the midst of our friendships, our relationships, and in ourselves. We get caught up in our principles, and our bullshit beliefs in nothingness. All we’re really trying to do is exist amongst one another and maybe even understand one another. We anxiously wish to belong to one another, because you know what’s worse than being disappointed? Being lonely.
I used to think that people just happened- that they woke up one day and recognized the person they were supposed to be and went for it. I used to think that as we grew up we would learn the ways of the world and would eventually fall in sync with it. How did we become so confused? When did we become so weak? So pained with fatigue of a life unknown – a life so innocent and pure for it has not seen the burdens of time. We think we know everything – but we don’t, we know nothing, and as we spend more hours on this earth we find ourselves losing our beliefs – forgetting our ways – forgetting the difference between right and wrong. We begin forgetting simple concepts of humanity, treatment, friendship, and love. We forget simple manners such as how to be gentle with people, how to be civil, how to be graceful. Life doesn’t teach us how to communicate with one another, it teaches us how to tear each other apart. It rarely ever succeeds in portraying the human kindness in others; rarely does it provide us with the ability to move forward. Though its beauty cannot be debated its bitterness is also as illuminating. As we go through it, life carefully but willfully attempts assassinations at any sincerity or dignity we may possess. It plays with us a bitter game of hide & seek, and we always seem to be looking and searching for a purpose, a sense of truth, and a sense of belonging, because at the end of the day all we want is to belong. The truth is we’re all lonely, we’re all empty, and we’re all searching for souls to help us pass the time- to fill the indescribable void that fills our souls. All we really want are distractions – distraction after distraction, we meet and greet strangers who possess nothing but their own burdens, their own demons, and their own heartache. We quickly disregard their needs as we try to obtain them as disposable beings that are only there to keep us numb, keep us safe, and keep us vague. Then there comes a time when we have a unique opportunity to look back and wonder what went wrong. Where did we mess up? When did we decide to become immune to the art, to the passion, to the unexplainable feeling in our chest that tells us that the moment is here, the moment is now, what are we waiting for? When did we shy away from adventure, from culture, from creation? When did our lives become good enough and our schedules so organized? How come we didn’t know better? How come we didn’t fight harder? Today is the day to fight.
In the midst of darkness I have learned this; I have learned that you have inspired in me an undeniable desire to shine. You have given me courage to chase the most malicious monsters away for you are no longer here to blind me from them. I have spent so much time wondering where you have gone and why you have done so – but I am no longer entwined with curiosity. I have searched for you in the darkest corners of the darkest rooms – until finally recognizing the sweet smell of spring that brings with it the familiar sentiment of change. I am happy to have known love, and to have been swallowed by its immensity. I am proud to be standing where I am and to have learned what I have learned. I will carry a piece of you with me wherever I go; like a proud owner of some coffee shop who frames his first dollar; I will frame your love – as you are for me what that dollar is to him; a symbol of firsts, an earning that symbolizes a transition into adulthood, a triumph that can only exceed itself into glory and pride. But just like the owner with many more dollars – I will, too, have much more heartache, much more agony, many more failures, but most importantly- many more conquests. I have blamed you for my emotional unrest when in reality I am lost. The breadcrumbs I have dropped on my way here lead me back to your door – it’s an easy path and I know it well, but I no longer wish to run to you. It will take time, it will not be easy and I will fail many times before I see the sun shining behind the mountains again. I know I will make many mistakes and sometimes I might not be able to distinguish between what is right and was is wrong – as the world feels heavy upon my shoulders as I suffocate in a pool of my own expectations. But I will also get it right sometimes and I will finally understand the purpose of my heartache as I now understand the silent but beautiful feeling of acceptance.
“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
Oh Mr. Kerouac how I wish to find the right words! I am a lover of words. I am a believer that words can change lives; they can leave imprints in people’s hearts. “Talk is cheap” they say, it’s true, but only because we don’t know how to express ourselves anymore, as a culture, as a society we have forgotten the value of words. Of course they’re cheap now, how can they not be? We tell lies to make it through the day; we say things we don’t mean to get things we want. Of course talk is cheap! It’s almost free- we talk about inconsequential things, and we forget to tell the people that matter how much they actually matter. The words are there- they are clinging onto the inside of our mouths fighting to escape our lips, but they never do- instead; they die a tragic death inside our hearts because we were too afraid, too selfish, too prideful, to say the things that matter. So instead we say the wrong words to the wrong people at the wrong times. We have become a society of LOLs and Tweets. We have become lazy with our words because they have become almost irrelevant, which only leads us to become cynical because we are forced to never believe a word people say. We are forced to second-guess the things people tell us, because chances are the words are exaggerated, watered-down, or just altogether lies.
We have become cowardly; we now let our text messages do our dirty work. See the problem is not that technology permits us to be anti-social or afraid, it’s that it paves the way for us to hide ourselves easily, because we can hide behind our iPhones or our MacBooks and create indestructible beings. I just wish we weren’t so afraid, all of us, to be able to use the right words for the right people. To tell the people that matter how much they matter, and how lonely we would be without them, before it’s too late- because it seems to me that it’s always too late.
We desperately wish to connect to one another, but have lost the ability to do so; we have lost the ability to connect to people and feel the souls we could touch, the realities we could recognize with them. We are careless with our words because they’re so easy to come by. As technology has made it easier and easier for people to communicate with one another- no matter where, in the world, they may be- you’d think it would make communication an important thing- but as life has taught us, anything that is easy to come by becomes useless and loses its value. People don’t put much thought into their communications with one another because we think there is so much time to say the words we never did, but soon enough we all learn that time has run out.
Words, however, are not the only things that have lost their value. In a sense, people have too. We have learned not to get too close to one another, because we know, in the end, we will only let each other down- and when we don’t get too close, we become replaceable, we become ordinary, we fall into stereotypes- all because we are too afraid to say things we wish to say, to love things we wish to love. People lose their value when I wish to spend time with you and you are busy, I don’t mind- I don’t mind at all. It’s scary because I know that if you can’t make it, I can call someone else. It’s scary to think that our yearnings to spend time with people have become nothing but routines to fill the void in our hearts, and to temporarily suppress the loneliness in our hearts.
Most people don’t ask you who you are because they like to find out for themselves. There’s something so exhilarating about trying to figure people out, something so thrilling about uncovering the human being. Like a puzzle waiting to be solved we instinctively attempt to examine the individual. So exquisitely is the human mind and soul constructed that we indulge in the idea of overcoming the obstacles that stand in the way of complete knowledge of the person standing in front of us. We accept the challenge that will face us along the way knowing perfectly well that what we find might not be something we want to know.
How come we can’t just create a pamphlet of who we are and hand it out to people we feel deserve to know? How easy would it be to get to know one another? I mean it sounds foolish and a little crazy but wouldn’t that make it easier than trying to figure people out and failing most of the time. Now some might argue that we couldn’t do the whole pamphlet thing because it would be way too easy for people to get to know us. I mean what if we lose the pamphlet and then some stranger on the street will learn about our fears, our yearnings, our faith, and our dreams.
Some of you might say that we can’t make a pamphlet because it would defeat the whole purpose of love, friendship, and family. The process of learning about one another is as important as getting there and finally knowing each other. For example, how striking is the first year of a relationship where two people are learning about one another. Learning about each other’s bad habits and their worries. Learning about each other in a way only close friendship or love can create, the kind of learning that happens because you quarrel often and about inconsequential things. The kind of learning that only happens when you love another human being to the point that you love the way they get a wrinkle under their eye when they have apprehensions about things. It’s true that you can’t put those kind of things in a pamphlet, but I think what we don’t see is that if we were to make a pamphlet we wouldn’t know what to write in it.
I could write in the pamphlet everything I wish I were. I could write things there that I think I am but am really not. I could change my pamphlet with each person because I would wish them to see me in a certain light. I could write things that are undeniably true but patently irrelevant. I could tell you everything I am but leave out everything I’m not. You would get to know me on my grounds and with my decisions. You would learn about only the things I want you to know and I would control the information that flows through you. Oh what power we would have over the opinions others build about us! How phony our relationships would be with human beings.
But I say we wouldn’t know what to put in it because the most significant things are things that we are not aware of about us. It’s your job to untangle my ambiance. With you I will learn who I am because you will challenge me in ways no one else has. You will test my beliefs and you will struggle with my ideals. We will learn about each other and about ourselves. How can I put that in a pamphlet? How can I put in the pamphlet about all the things that you said you loved about me? Or things that you will grow to love about me. How can I put in the pamphlet about how you said I make that unsatisfied face every time things don’t go my way? And how you love that face anyway, even though you will grow to hate it.
I could write in my pamphlet that I’m a girl who expects too much of the world she lives in because she believes in signs, and miracles, and art, and friendship, and sometimes those things are not enough. I could write that I twisted my ankle dancing when I was 13 and never fully recovered from it and now when I walk long distances I feel the pain and just pretend that it’s not there because, like many things in my life, I have too much pride to admit that there is something causing me pain and I rather just walk it off. I could write that that same 13 year old girl saw the relationship her parents had so it taught her to never show her future kids that she was unhappy because kids will grow up to be adults and those adults will forever blame their parents for all their inner demons, when in reality they should be grateful for all that they had. I could write that I feel that rules are for the simple-minded and that nothing significant or worthwhile ever came out of following the rules. I could write that I recognize the kind of person you are from very early on and this is tragic because I spend so much time trying to cope with your flaws. I could write that I only attempt to love the people who are so emotionally distant from me because everyone else is so easy. I could write that I lost a ring someone gave me once and I know it’s at my house and it gives me unease every time because I fear that I will find it at the worst time. I could write that my pride never ever allows me to chase people, to beg people, even to ask for help. I could write in the pamphlet that my mother battled with breast cancer and I lost my faith because of it. I could write all this but you wouldn’t believe me.
You wouldn’t believe me because what I wouldn’t be able to put in the pamphlet is exactly what you need to know. I can’t put in the pamphlet how you will feel the first time I lose my temper with you, or the first time I will cry because I have realized your bitter disparagement is who you are and I can never count on you to believe in me. You will never reassure me that I could fly if I really tried to grow wings. I can write that my favorite poem is “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley but you will not understand why until I recite it to you the way it should be recited. I can put it in the pamphlet that I write because there are some things I can’t speak but you will not fathom what I mean until you receive a letter from me communicating things I have never communicated to you before, only them will you comprehend. I can’t put in the pamphlet the first time you hear me laugh and realize that it’s really loud and obnoxious and girly and that I kind of sound like a toddler. I can’t write in the pamphlet that I think I secretly attempt to love the ones who will never be able to emotionally let me in because I know that once it’s over they will be the ones who suffer because they have seen so much love and benevolence from me, and I will win because I have seen nothing. You wouldn’t believe me until we are apart and you realize that you feel the coolness of the earth in your hair and it seems that the sun has been missing in your face for a while now. I could tell you that I talk way too much and way too fast because I fear that time will run out and I will not have expressed everything I wish to express. But you will not believe me until you experience the words I will use to describe your character and I will desperately wish you could use your words to poetically build my story but you will fail not because you are incapable but because you don’t see the world as I do. Overtime I will realize that my candle is burning out because of the coolness in the room and I will eventually become bitter and tempered.
I could write that I am exactly like my father but you wouldn’t understand what I mean because you don’t know who he is. I can’t write in the pamphlet that the problem I face with the people in my life is exactly the problem my father has had with my mother because she never really understood who he was and she never could incite him because she never believed in him, and I can’t write in the pamphlet that my fear is that I will become him and his bitterness will be my bitterness and it will ruin me too. I can’t write those things in the pamphlet because you will not see my face when I’m telling you this and you will not sense the hidden fear of my life through my eyes. I could tell you that I wish of a life worth writing about but you wouldn’t understand me because chances are you don’t see the same world as I do and you haven’t read the same books that I have.
The most magnificent people are the people that challenge our beliefs, the ones that change our theories about the world. The ones that break the silence between what we say and what we wish we could say but are too afraid to speak, the ones that realize all the things that I have mentioned without us saying a word. The ones that understand that I am impatient and hopeful, and that I pretend to be calmer than I actually am, the ones that understand my incalculable belief in art. The people that will understand my obsession with the theatre or the ballet. The people that will accept my flaws as I have accepted them. The ones that will apprehend my boredom with apathetic beings.
One thing is for sure; no time will be wasted. There are many things that I am but lackadaisical is not one of them. So welcome or goodbye. Depending on who you are.
Charles Warnke wrote a beautiful piece called ‘I Have A Few Last Words’ where he writes from the point of view of a man who is dying in a car crash and is regretting all the things he didn’t say to the girl he loved and now it’s too late because his death is here. He wrote “It’s such a noble goal to die content with the last things you said to the people you love” and I remember thinking how beautifully he constructed the idea of being absolutely at piece with the feelings you have expressed to the people who need to hear it. I remember reading that piece and understanding that what he was trying to say was that people often say that we should always tell people how we feel because they might die one day and then the guilt we would feel would be overwhelming. How selfish is the act of telling someone you love him/her only because you fear you might feel guilty if they die. Instead, Warnke tries to build on the idea that we must tell them because WE will die one day and it would be incredibly tragic if they never get the chance to know how you felt about them. That is what a noble goal is, to be completely satisfied of the world you’re leaving behind when you finally leave it.
I think there’s an undefined beauty in the way things fall apart. I’ve always heard the term ‘beautiful disaster’ but never really understood its significance. Once we have stepped outside of the calamity is when we realize how beautifully it broke us, tapped into our soul, destroyed it, and then simply walked away- leaving us stranded with nothing but utter loneliness to consume our empty inner being. It’s so beautiful to finally, after avoiding it for so long, let yourself feel naked misery. You let it consume you but most of all you let it in because you no longer feel ashamed of it.
Expressing feelings is never an easy task because it requires one to openly admit to their weaknesses. For example, when people fall in love it’s so hard to admit to themselves, their friends, and even that one person they fell in love with. It’s hard to admit because one realizes the complications his/her feelings will bring to the rest of his/her days. I mean the mere thought of that person not loving you back is so catastrophic that it has the ability to destroy any possibility of the words ever soaring out of one’s mouth. What is this ignominy in our nature that never allows us to speak our minds (or our hearts)? People are beautiful beings because they fight day and night to pretend to be something they’re not and to pretend to not feel things they actually do. Their fear of expressing any truth in their spirits is always mistaken as expressing weakness. But true weakness is not in the expression of one’s desires or fears- on the contrary, weakness is the cowardly act of hiding our dreams and our yearnings.
So we go on about our day, putting on theatrical performances of whom we want to pretend we are. In reality, we are all hiding from who we are and only a significant few ever really come close to knowing us. Everyone else is just a car in traffic, they eventually move on. But I think it’s important to always know the difference between the people who are extraordinary enough to be entitled to our words and the people who are not. Because those particular people need to know how we feel about them.
Now I can finally pose my question to the world! And my question is this: how can we open up our hearts to people who have spent their entire lives avoiding opening up theirs to us. How can you expect me to always be the one to give you all of me and, in return, always receive your cheap attempt at words? How venal of you to expect me to always be the one revealing my compassion to you, especially when you have spent all this time hiding from your own compassions. So if I do die tomorrow, I’m pretty sure I will be okay with the last things I said to you. We often make the mistake of expecting our loved ones to understand what we want from them. Our whole lives are sometimes built on ideas of desperately wanting to be let in. But it seems to me, my friend, that you have never let me in because you knew that I would be content with who you were regardless. So, if I go to bed tonight and never wake up, I am content with the last things I said to you because they are a description of all you have ever given me. But I must also be grateful, for it is for that exact reason that I didn’t feel I lost anything at all. When no compassion or heart is ever manifested itself to you- you will easily move on from it, for you never felt its presence in the first place. I’m sorry I’m finally out of words to give you.
With undying pride,