I never want to forget about beauty.
I never want to forget about light- any kind of light… the way it gleams through cracks in doorways and glistens through the blinds. Colours dancing on the walls, and soft and peaceful shades. I don’t want complacency to keep me seated and sure in things in which I have found nothing before.
Even when joy flickers on my eyelids, I blink and only darkness. Only for a second. But I let the evil enter. I listen. I let it shade my solitude, allow it access to my thoughts. I want to control or to ignore it. Control is fleeting, because I cannot attain it, though I try with endless run-throughs and sickly waves of guilt. Ignorance is no better, for it smothers my joy, holds her back just a little. It puts restrictions on my freedom, imposes limits on my peace.
This is not the life I want. This is not the choice I want to make.
Happy Christmas Eve!
This time of year is so filled with hustle and bustle and duties and distractions that many may feel surprised that Christmas is already upon us. And yet Advent, the season preceding Christmas, is not about business or endless lists of tasks and various stresses. It’s about waiting.
Waiting. I feel like today this is a word that we don’t like all that much. It may even be a word that we aren’t very familiar with. The world encourages us to expect what we want when we want it. Why should we have to wait? There are things that we need and we need them now. Besides, waiting seems to suggest silence, and who has time for silence when there are so many things to be done?
Advent is about waiting.
What do we have? What do we have, really, when it’s all taken away? What is left? What remains in the ruins of the things that once were ours but now elude our grasp?
The thought is daunting. The idea that the world on which we lean and the things around which our lives are built are temporary. Fleeting. They will pass. Not just things but people. Feelings. Thoughts. Moments. Dreams and hopes. Disheartening perhaps. That’s what it is. Peeling back the outer layers is painful, and what’s more, it exposes the shell underneath. For that is all that’s left. This tiny forlorn shell that is self. All we really have and all we are.
I’m not trying to be unnecessarily negative. I’m not trying to be realistic either. This tiny shell to me is full of hope. In fact, this shell is truth. It is not hollow and it cannot be shaken or broken down. When all the cloaks which cover it are stripped away, the shell can be stripped down no further.
When we enter the world, awareness sets in. A sense of the other is eternally present, an internalized gaze directed towards us from those capable of judgement and praise. The significance lies not in the fact that we are being seen, but in the knowledge that we are being seen and how this affects our own actions.
Our current culture emphasizes visibility in all aspects of life. Social media actively promotes the constant display of private, everyday activities. Perception is everything. There seems to be an unstated assumption that unless something is documented, it doesn’t matter; that unless something is shared, it has no worth. Actions begin to gain value for how they can be shown to others, rather than for the carrying out of the actions themselves.
Does this heightened awareness influence our behaviour? I would argue that it alters our intentions and expression of self quite profoundly. Our intentions are what direct our path; they are the foundation and motivation behind our actions. So what happens when thoughts of external reactions begin to seep into our plans and decision-making processes? What happens when we set out to do something with the knowledge of how it will make us appear?
The hardest thing in life is learning to be your own person. The world proclaims the glory of the self-made man, of the almighty individual. We learn that life is something you must do alone, that who you are is less important than what you make of it, and that this outcome is entirely dependent on your own merits and efforts.
No wonder self-discovery is so difficult. What a horrible place to live: beneath the pressure and the condemning whispers, beneath our own weaknesses, since our merits and efforts inevitably lead to failure. I am afraid to become this kind of person, because I know alone I am not enough. But learning to be your own person does not involve overcoming this fear of individuality; it involves turning to the source of our true identity and individuality.
It’s highly unlikely any of us have been spared that moment of rejection: of loneliness and deep-seated disappointment when someone we trusted lets us down. Life has certain inevitabilities, and sadly, I think this is one of them. We are all too human to repay or be repaid entirely for our own trust or another’s trust in us. However, I think there is something to be said for our role in who lets us down and how they do so.
A lot of life is spent looking for others who will understand us, or at least take the time to try. In my opinion, this is one of our most deeply felt human needs: the need to be understood. We all want someone to listen to our hopes and fears and feelings, to see us truly as we are.
At the same time, we often don’t want to talk. I know there have been many occasions when my response to the generic “how are you?” query is “fine,” when I’ve been anything but. I want to be seen, and yet I shrink away from the light if it might expose my weaknesses. A paradox of sorts. Maybe it’s because I’m not comfortable with generic. Maybe none of us are comfortable with generic, with shallow, surface level interactions, even though we often pursue and produce them.
I want to say something that has probably been said a million times before. It’s about reading- in case you couldn’t tell from the title- and why we could all benefit from doing more of it. I hope the following words don’t simply sound like a hollow advertisement, a brochure about the importance of books, especially in this “modern” world.
So how do I create something new out of a message that is tired and overdone? Maybe I won’t accomplish this feat at all, but I think I’ll make my attempt by detailing my own reading experiences. I have always loved writing, so perhaps it goes hand in hand that I’ve always loved reading as well. The two are closely related, obviously. From reading, I have learned a lot about ways to weave words together, and through reading, I continue to gain new insight that helps me to hone my craft.
We often are so blind
We do not see beyond ourselves,
Little things of value
So elude our reach
For we do not reach at all,
We sit and hold our hands,
Fancy things we’ve learned as set,
Staunch, unchanging things
Why is it so hard to live in the moment? It is a commonly spewed piece of advice we all generally acknowledge. No, it’s not healthy to dwell on the past, nor is it beneficial to hover over our expectations for the future. Yes, living in the moment is what we are supposed to do. It’s what we tell others, what we tell ourselves. But sometimes I wonder how much time any of us really spend there. In the present, that is.
I often feel like it’s easier for my mind to flit away in the midst of happiness. It seems backwards somehow. Joyful days should consume those fearful thoughts and dissipate them. But whenever life is good, I feel more terror at the prospect of it getting worse later.