I lean; open the window, to feel the breeze rise up through my chest, and touch my cheeks. Dogs wander; they rule the streets in the darkness below.
As sirens pass, I lay in bed, in arms that once protected me. Now; harbingers. Of pain. Of fear. Of broken promises. They serve as snares that entrap me.
And if you were to ask me why I shake in your arms in the night, I would confess it was the cold of the open window. Convinced you are satisfied with the explanation, I would return to cry myself into sweet slumber.
The adventure doesn’t have to be good, to be worth having.
More often than not you pick up a book in order to see the protagonist brave adversity; to overcome obstacles corporeal or otherwise, endeavour against an antagonist mental or physical and reach a natural conclusion – rather than read how fantastic their lives are at all times, and how regardless of the black upon the white of the page it continues that way until the end. If we were to do that; if our characters were to stay static and for everything to remain unchanged regardless of what happened – then it would be as much use to us as if nothing happening at all. If life is a state of change, why would we endure an experience of nothing; of stubborn unchanging?
It makes sense for our character to change, evolve and develop from moment to moment, exponentially even from chapter to chapter; regardless of if that development is ultimately better for them, or worse.
What this tells us; is that what comes next, does not always have to be the time at which you were most happy, for it to be the time you most needed. It does not have to a time you were most proud of; in order for it to be a story you may later wish to tell.
In fact; a large number of stories you’ll recall from your youth, involve actions you would never take again. Or unintentional copious amounts of alcohol.
The age of anxiety is upon us; because we feel as though what we have now isn’t that great, and that it’s only going to get worse. Which seems terrifying.
In order to avoid it, we try to cling on to this exact moment, knowing all the while that inevitably it will be taken from us, whether we like it or not.
Rather, offer no resistance. Let it go.
Do not be afraid of what’s to come; relish in the experience, knowing that if what is to come is pain, pleasure will be put into perspective, and it will follow in time.
What comes next may not be the time of your life; but it will be yours. What you can decide, is your perspective upon it. And how you will tell the story, when its over.
This article is best paired; with the following:
Isn’t it so interesting, that of the people we are kind to; often ourselves is not one of them?
How often, would you say that you can look at the accomplishments of others, and revere in astonishment, and yet upon self-reflection, you appear to see nothing to remark on the path behind you?
Even when others praise your accomplishments – or perhaps even simply your character – still there is a fog of doubt which seems to rarely clear. And so although you have done so many things, and many things right, it would appear to you that you have done nothing at all.
Perhaps next time you look at the person staring at you behind the glass, you should see them as others do; without the filter of you.
Brevity, alone, does not make you intelligent.
It is fine to speak a statement, and mean it exactly as it is said. To speak succinctly, and to the point. But the “problem” in language, is its open interpretation of it. Without clarification, you would be better off saying nothing at all. And yet it seems as though often, people regard it as profundity. As though to say, “With strength, you are delicate.” is insightful. When in fact, it provides no information at all. No evidence, and merely contradicts itself. And yet people can apply it to the self; “Well yes, I am strong, and yet I have feelings… so this is true!” … But actually that wasn’t what was said… in fact, that was just what you wanted to hear. In the context of when they wrote it, they could be a bodybuilder and have meant as your strength training increases, so too does your likelihood to injury yourself, and remain fragile. So actually, nothing of note was said, because we still don’t know what they said. So we may as well have thought to ourselves what we wanted to hear.
Obviously, the intended point of some forms of literature, such as poetry, is brevity. And it is to evoke personal feelings, discussions, and emotes, in as few a word as possible – so of course for the sake of this argument, poetry and certain forms of artistic prose are excluded.
Equally verbosity is not intrinsically the solution. With the addition of words that can be taken in multiplicity, you increase the chances of contradiction, or fulfilling a point that you did not make. Which obviously increases your appeal to a wider market, but your intended point might have never been heard. Remarkably enough, this can also allow someone to come across as intelligent or insightful, as long as someone persists long enough to find what they want. If someone were to write for twenty paragraphs, briefly touching different topics, the chances you cannot agree on a single thing they say, is insatiably low. Someone could say something horrific, bigoted, and downright rude, but if they justify it with, “We all want to move towards a brighter future for the children of tomorrow.” you would be inclined to agree with that end statement. And so you might consider something you otherwise would not have, simply because you feel like you agree on some points.
You must not hammer home the point, when it has already been made, for risk of bending the nail. But equally, it does not make you intelligent to say something to confidently, yet so vague, that it can be taken not so literally in so many different ways.
It is then important to understand, that extremes of either, do not fulfil a need, alone. We have all read poetry that makes no sense, because of its determination to succinctness, and yet we have all read books, that ramble on for hundreds more pages than they should have, to the point even the author becomes a little lost. Instead, a careful balance of the two may be the solution. To keep it brief as to say exactly what you want, without allowing for a thousand iterations of what you might have meant. Equally, try not to keep it so brief, that you almost cut it off in the middle of your –
It would be fair to say that at some point, we have all been frustrated by a crying child. Perhaps it is a baby, who is uncomfortable because their ears are popping on a busy plane returning home from some holiday destination. Perhaps it is a toddler, who will not be getting an extra toy today, during their visit to the supermarket. Or maybe it is any other plethora of potentials, that is driving someone somewhere wild, and boiling their blood.
It can be irritating, and we may even feel like shouting and letting it all out, you may think the child or the parent is to blame. But simply; if you have found yourself in this situation, of being red faced and ready to erupt, it is you who is at fault. Because you are distinctly choosing not to be so kind and considerate.
Consider this; we have all been heartbroken one time or another. Perhaps a loved one passed away, or someone very dear to us moved on. And at the time, it is horrific. We feel empty. Lost. As though no amount of good remains in the world. As though this stabbing, heart-wrenching pain, is the new pinnacle of our existence. Of all the things that have happened to us at that point, this is the worst. People come and go, they stop for a moment and tell you, “Everything will be okay.” but you ignore them, because in the moment you genuinely do believe that it won’t be okay, or that you can’t bear the pain. At the time, it is the worst thing that has ever happened to you.
Well… What age were you when you remember that? Say you were in your teens or your twenties, perhaps you were the fortunate few who lasted until later in life to experience such heartache. Regardless, you will have already experienced an extensive line of events to make you strong, to build you up into who you are and ensure you can endure more and more that life throws at you.
But to a child; not getting a toy – might be the worst thing that has ever happened to them. To you it’s nothing – you’ve not been given toys before, or maybe you know that your ears will pop on a long journey… but they haven’t experienced that yet. It’s easy for you because you are strong, and you have forgotten that. It’s easy because you have much more difficult memories you have faced, and you have overcome those, so by comparison losing out on a toy doesn’t seem so bad. It seems trivial.
But you must be more kind, because it is the worst thing they can compare anything else to. Imagine you thought you could have the world, and for free – and then one day someone told you “No.”? You would think, “Why? What have I done to deserve this? It isn’t fair.”
In fact, if you ever had a tantrum, even once, you did think this. It’s not because you were bad, or that this random child repeating the feat is bad; it’s because they’re new.
They have not learned. They’re new to the world, the good that she brings, and the bad she delivers.
So rather than losing your temper, and letting trivial inconveniences irk you more than they should – let it go. They are learning, so that they can be better. Be an adult; and do the same.
When the seed in your hand has come from an apple; it does not matter how much you wish for it to be an orange tree. Regardless of whether you pray, and request for it to change; when you plant it, and bide your time until it grows, it will always be an apple tree, and bare more apples to enjoy. It does not care for your desires, nor does it care how much you desperately would like to try something new. It is an apple tree. And it will be an apple tree. There is nothing you can do to influence that outcome.
Do not spend your time in vain, wishing, with thought and prayer, or with some kind heuristic botany. Instead, find your new solution. Allow that apple tree, to be the little apple tree it needs to be, as you pursue what it is you need. Do not spend a moment of thought, on sadness over what is essentially a desire for control, where this control is an illusion.
There is so much in life, that we fuss over because of a perceived control over it. And as humans, when we lose control of something it gives us great distress. It gives us anxiety, because we feel as though we no longer can predict or even understand the outcome of any given situation, which in turn gives us anxiety. A tension, which is a desire for more stable conditions.
But the truth is, that whether we like it or not, we have less control over larger things than we would like. We can love someone with all of our hearts, and give everything that we are to them; but that does not mean they will be kind in return, offer us any time, or reciprocate that love with us. We can train a lifetime for a given task, and manipulate our paths in the best way possible to achieve the goal when the time is right; but that does not mean there is not a chance we could be run over by a bus tomorrow. Equally there are those who will be greedy, do iniquitous and horrific things; and never be caught for it, and die thinking they got away with it.
Once you submit that control over anything but your thoughts and your actions is an illusion, the rest of the pieces of your life seem to fall into place. And you find that rather than fighting every wave in the sea, to get where you need to be; you simply adjust the sails.
It is okay, to disagree.
It is okay to like someone, but have aspects of their life which do not cohere to aspects of yours.
Imagine a kaleidoscope, with a near infinite number of fragments, which with a single near infinitely small turn will change the outcome of the projection it gives. The chances that any two people land on the exact same image and their views align, becomes quantum; but that doesn’t mean they can’t both enjoy each others pretty patterns.
It can be a struggle, at times – usually because of an error in how one might perceive what it means to disagree. Disagreeing, does not mean you dislike the person whom you are disagreeing with, and vise versa it does not mean they have an aversion to you. It simply means both of your opinions do not align, at this one point in time. And as you know, your thoughts, loves, hates, passions, and ambitions change almost daily. Maybe a turn of the kaleidoscope in the future may bring you closer, or further away, anyway. But for now they do not work out. It is not so severe an obstacle to friendship or more than you might believe it to be.
You’ll find that it would be an awfully lonely world to be friends with someone only like you. For you are unique; in many ways you may not fully realise.
What’s more – is that if you in any way respect yourself, you will understand that with while perfection is an unattainable goal, you should still be striving to improve yourself. Always. And if you believe you can achieve this, without learning – you are undoubtedly still a fool. You may not always be – but for now if you believe you can improve without lessons taught, without experiment, and without others, then you are losing out on life. You’re doing yourself a great injustice.
Equally, to disagree with a loved one, ultimately is to show them respect. You respect them enough to say, “I’m not agreeing with you, just so you stop talking. I disagree with you because I think you could make a better decision in this moment. You could think better thoughts, and if not, and I could be better, I want you to teach me.”
So… disagree. Surround yourself with people who agree with you in your entirety, or that you believe yourself to be “better” than, then you will remain stagnant, and utterly extremist. If there is only one “truth” being spoke around you, you will believe it to be so.
Regardless, let me know your opinions. Disagree with me. I’ll love you anyway.
You’re smiling. Why are you smiling?
A long time has passed, although for all you know, it could’ve been the passing of some moments. You don’t look at your phone, or to the windows, and the sound of the clock has disappeared. Minutes and hours flow past, like tiny brittle rock slipped into a gentle stream, the underbelly of the little rock coursing against the river floor. It too will travel with turbulence, to a place of rest, where it needs to be.
Light fills the room, although not so much as to cause you to look away from the source. Feet are intertwined hanging off the edge of the bed. The two bodies look merged into one from under cover.
By the pillows, her nose is tucked into your shoulder, under the warmth of the sheets. Her cheeks tingle at the softness against her face. The covers bring a comfort, surpassed only by the press of her body along the length of yours. She pulls herself close to you in small motions, like tide lines on the sand. Her skin warms yours, although she clings to you for the heat, and something more.
Her hand rests, fingers splayed out across your chest, lovingly scratching at your skin. She looks at you now and then, hoping to catch your eye; but her beauty is so stark, you cannot hold a gaze for long. When she does not catch your look, she smiles into your chest instead. Occasionally, she lets out a long satisfied sigh as she does it.
Her hair smells sublime. But of nothing you can identify. Your fingers scratch lightly against the small of her back, and your hand smooths out across her body, feeling every groove. You mark them in your memory. You focus on things to remember later; because you can think of no place where you’d find greater joy and comfort. Its your happy place, the place you’ll return to when you need it most. You pull her closer, or hypothetically you do, for there is no closer you could be now. As your fingers run through her hair, you lie and think how thankful you are, that she’s there.
Suddenly you realise the room was never that bright, you were tricked by the ethereal glow that seems to follow her. She has a habit of accidentally tricking you with that.
At some point, she pulls her body to you even more tightly; and as her breasts press against your side, you take a breath, and you sigh.
She looks up and you, with those amazing eyes, entirely piercing and completely vulnerable all at once. She asks you, in almost a whisper, “What’re you smiling at?” with a cheeky grin. She bites her lip and rolls her tongue over the front of her teeth, waiting for the response.
You return the pearly whites, “Nothing.”, you say. But you know fine well you’re smiling for a reason.
You’re happy. You’re so happy. You’re in love.
And that’s all there is to it.
The first thing you should do in the morning, is make your bed.
By making your bed, you have ensured that regardless of what happens for the rest of the day to come, you have achieved something. It matters not the size of the task; only that you completed it.
It starts your day off with momentum to complete other tasks, and if the day decides to overwhelm you, you can guarantee that you can return home to a soft comfortable bed.
Begin to apply this to everything.
Make a reservation. Not because you require planning to control or to run your life; but because planning begat spontaneity. If you make a reservation in six days time, you are under no obligation to keep it. But what it does provide you with is an option, to make yourself or someone else very happy. It allows you to be free and easy, and have one extra back up option in your pocket. It provides a fail-safe, a winter contingency, that should all else fair, you have a net.
Write your reports, file your documents. Not because you enjoy doing these monotonous things, but because they apply weight on your mind. They take up ANY amount of physical space in your brain, which could be put to much better use.
Clean your living spaces. Not because the smell of ammonia stirs something within you, but because if anything were to happen in the day that provides excitement and a potential for a good memory, you should be able to focus all attention to that at the drop of a hat, and have nothing providing an obstacle to it. If you need assistance in making this particular one a habit, invite your crush or significant other over regularly. Nothing compels you to clean more, than the thought of the embarrassment of someone you’re in love with seeing your messy space.
But if all of these fail; if in fact you did not do that which you had planned, you let the day best you, and the majority of your tasks went untouched or unfinished. Do not worry.
You can return home, and go to bed. It will be ready, made, waiting for you.